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Arrowheadlines: Chiefs’ defense is a real problem, argues The Ringer

Chiefs headlines for Saturday, October 9.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The latest

The Chiefs Defense Is a Problem—for Real This Time | The Ringer

Gay isn’t clearly much better than Bolton or Niemann—there’s a reason Niemann out-snapped him for much of last season—but he at least offers something different. Linebacker is an underappreciated area of defensive structure, as macroanalyses of defensive success usually focus on pass rush and downfield coverage. But for a defense living in the bargain bin at those positions, linebacker play suddenly becomes really important.

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has never invested heavily in good pass rushers. The Chiefs were top-10 in blitz rate in 2020, and look to generate disruption by sending rushers from depth. In the defensive backfield, the Chiefs largely line up and play man coverage—and with a deficiency at corner, they’re suffering for it. Kansas City is giving up the third-most receiving yards per game to WR1s on the outside, but they’re also surrendering the most to tight ends and the fifth most to running backs—the positions covered by linebackers.

Royals’ Salvador Perez will be drum honoree at Chiefs game | The Kansas City Star

The 2021 Royals season has ended, but catcher Salvador Perez will be back at the Truman Sports Complex on Sunday night.

Perez will be at the Chiefs game against the Buffalo Bills, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports’ “Sunday Night Football.” Perez, who hit 48 home runs and had 121 RBIs this season, will be the drum honoree for the game.

That means the popular Perez will be on the GEHA Deck before kickoff and will attempt to get the Arrowhead Stadium crowd fired up for the game.

Coach Andy Reid says Kansas City Chiefs did homework on Josh Gordon | ESPN

Coach Andy Reid said the Kansas City Chiefs did their homework on Josh Gordon. He said he talked with former teammates and coaches of the eight-time suspended wide receiver to see what the Chiefs would be getting if they acquired him.

The Chiefs, he said, found nothing to make them uncomfortable about signing Gordon, initially to their practice squad and then this week adding him to their active roster. Gordon could play in an NFL game for the first time in two years on Sunday night when the Chiefs face the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium.

By The Numbers: Chiefs-Bills Rematch, Cowboys-Giants Clash Highlight Week 5 | Fox Sports

3: The Bills are only the third team since 1990 to record two shutouts in their first four games. The previous two to do so won the Super Bowl (1991 Washington, 2000 Ravens).

11: The BiIls lead the NFL in takeaways, with 11, and are tied for first in turnover differential (+7).

5: The Bills are the only team to rank in the top five in both scoring offense (tied for second, 33.5 PPG) and scoring defense (first, 11.0).

14: Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes leads the NFL with 14 TD passes. He has thrown at least three of them in all four games.

2: The Chiefs already have as many losses as they did in the regular season last year, when they went 14-2.

5 Chiefs players the Bills must game plan for in Week 5 | USA Today

TE Travis Kelce

Speaking of bringing the game plan from last year, whatever one Buffalo had for Kelce in 2020? Burn it.

Kelce beat the crap out of the Bills defense in two games last season, scoring four times. Linebacker Matt Milano will make a difference in how Buffalo game plans Kelce and his status heading into Sunday is unknown due to a hamstring injury.

Chiefs to host ‘Crucial Catch’ for Sunday Night Football | KSHB

As part of the National Football League’s “Crucial Catch” initiative to highlight cancer awareness and cancer screening, the Kansas City Chiefs will host their Crucial Catch game Sunday night against the Buffalo Bills.

The Chiefs are teaming up with the University of Kansas Health System to bring attention to a timely and important health topic.

“The Crucial Catch game is going to emphasize the importance of cancer screening for several cancers. Prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, for example. And this is a really important issue because due to COVID, cancer screening was way down last year and we need to get the word out to the community to catch up on cancer screening because if patients don’t go through screening, then we catch the cancers late and they’re not curable. So this is really important for us to be able to partner with the Chiefs to get a word on this issue,” said Dr. Ronald Chen, the Chair of Radiation Oncology at the University of Kansas Cancer Center.

Around the NFL

Report: Jon Gruden used racially insensitive language in referring to NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith in 2011 email | ESPN

Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden sent an email with racially insensitive language about NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith in July 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The email, sent to the president of the Washington Football Team as the NFL and its players were in the midst of trying to resolve a lockout, said that Smith had “lips the size of michellin tires,” the Journal reported, saying it has reviewed the email.

Asked about the email by the Journal, Gruden said he didn’t specifically recall writing it, but apologized.

“I’m really sorry,” he said, according to the Journal.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers without Antoine Winfield Jr., Rob Gronkowski against Miami Dolphins | ESPN

Winfield Jr., who recorded an interception and forced a fumble in the Bucs’ 19-17 victory at the New England Patriots before missing the final two drives with a concussion, could not clear the concussion protocol. Mike Edwards, who had two pick-sixes in Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons, will get the nod.

Gronkowski will miss his second game after fracturing his ribs and suffering what Arians described as a “small pinch” in his lungs two weeks ago at the Los Angeles Rams. Gronkowski was able to progress to riding a stationary bike this week this week, Arians said.

Russell Wilson (finger) to undergo MRI following negative X-rays; surgery still possible | NFL.com

Wilson suffered the injury when his hand clipped Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald on the follow through of a throw during Thursday night’s loss to Los Angeles. Wilson returned for one more possession following the injury, but couldn’t grip the football properly to throw accurately, prompting his replacement with veteran Geno Smith.

Jets signing John Franklin-Myers to four-year extension as defensive end avoids free agency | CBS Sports

Franklin-Myers was in the final year of his rookie deal and has been off to a strong start through four games. The 25-year old has 15 tackles and three sacks — with five quarterback hits. This is coming off a year where Franklin-Myers had 19 tackles and three sacks as a reserve pass rusher — recording 13 quarterback hits. The 2021 season was Franklin-Myers’ first as a starter as the four games he started were more than any over his four-year career.

Raiders’ Derek Carr: Bosa’s Comments ‘Pissed Me Off’ | Sports Illustrated

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr addressed the comments made by Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa earlier this week, in which the 2016 Defensive Rookie of the Year said the veteran signal-called gets “really gets shook” under pressure.

Carr responded Wednesday, saying, “I don’t think he watched the game in the same order I did. I think he was just trying to get under my skin, which he did piss me off. ... He’s probably mad because I was talking a lot of crap to him during the game. It was an emotional day for them.”

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

5 things to watch as the Chiefs host the Bills

1. Limiting big plays from Josh Allen

The good news: Josh Allen hasn’t played at an MVP level since the end of last season. The bad news: the Chiefs’ defense might be exactly what he needs to get back on track.

Among qualified quarterbacks, Allen ranks 27th in completion percentage, 24th in yards per attempt and 19th in passer rating. Allen has just two interceptions but also has eight turnover-worthy plays, which is a Pro Football Focus statistic that accounts for any play that could have led to a turnover — even if it didn’t.

All of that said, Allen has still made plenty of big-time plays — and similar to Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, he can use them to offset mistakes. Limiting Allen will take a great effort from all levels of the defense: the pass rush to contain him to the pocket, the linebackers to limit his yardage on scrambles or rushes, and the secondary to cover receivers for the entire length of the play.

Steve Spagnuolo compares Mike Danna to Elvis Dumervil

“We all know the prototypical D-end is the six-four, six-five, long arms, right?” he noted on Thursday. “And that’s not Mike.”

However, there is precedent for smaller edge rushers to have success in Spagnuolo’s system: Oliver Vernon was basically the same size as Danna when he played for Spagnuolo in New York. The coach attributed part of Danna’s success as an undersized player to utilizing his lower center of gravity to get underneath the blocks of opposing linemen.

“Sometimes,” Spagnuolo said, “those guys with the leverage underneath and the long-arm rushes that Mike has (and that Elvis revolutionized, in my opinion) — I think Mike’s been able to take things a little step further in doing some of that stuff.”

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