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5 things we learned from the Chiefs getting thumped by the Packers

Right from the jump, Kansas City’s defense lost some crucial pieces — and struggled to set the tone.

Kansas City Chiefs v Green Bay Packers Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

In Week 13, the Kansas City Chiefs traveled to historic Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers for “Sunday Night Football.” From the very beginning, things were ugly. In the first half, the Kansas City defense could not get off the field, losing multiple players to injury.

After the team’s last-minute comeback fell flat, the Chiefs left Green Bay smarting from a 27-19 loss — their fourth of of the season.

Here are five things we learned from an icy night in Lambeau.

1. Andy Reid needs a bad cop

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Jacksonville Jaguars v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

There are two kinds of NFL head coaches: My-Way-Or-The-Highway dictators (like the New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick) or kind and genial Players’ Coaches like Kansas City’s Andy Reid.

Coaches like Reid believe that if you ride your players too hard — never allowing them to express themselves — eventually, they’re going to tune you out.

Those like Belichick think that if you’re too nice — letting the players do whatever they want — you run the risk they will not respect you. They will become an undisciplined, sloppy unit.

Either way, you risk mutiny.

When Eric Bieniemy was the team’s offensive coordinator, the Chiefs had both kinds of coaches. He was the “bad cop” to Reid’s “good cop” — a guy who could get on a player and browbeat situational football into their head. Without him, the Kansas City offense is a mistake-riddled mess. The players look unfocused. They are making stupid mistakes at costly times.

This season. tight end Travis Kelce has made multiple errors. Right tackle Jawaan Taylor leads the league in penalties. On Sunday night, running back Isiah Pacheco was ejected during a potential game-winning drive for punching an opponent.

Offensive coordinator Matt Nagy is good with Xs and Os; his knowledge is not the issue. He is just missing the one thing Bieniemy had in spades: the ability to truly ride a guy's backside when that is what he needs. Bieniemy helped maintain a balance in the Chiefs’ locker room, making sure the offense always swept its side of the street.

You can’t have both parents be Mr. Nice Guy all of the time. Otherwise, the kids end up eating candy for breakfast.

2. Brett Veach needs to take his lumps

Detroit Lions v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

Kansas City’s general manager has built two Super Bowl-winning rosters — and given the team’s fans an era of success like they’ve never seen before. He has a lot of well-deserved rope. He should be so far from the “hot seat” that he’s basically lounging on Neptune.

But that doesn’t mean he’s infallible.

Under his tenure, the offensive tackle group has been a mess. Giving up a first-round pick for the sub-par, unathletic Orlando Brown Jr. was pretty bad. But trying to fix that mistake by giving Taylor an $80 million contract is a travesty.

Then there is the Chris Jones situation. Throughout the offseason, the Chiefs were prevented from pursuing a veteran wide receiver because they didn’t know how the defensive tackle’s contract would shake out. Ultimately, this forced the team to sell the fan base a lie: that Kadarius Toney was a No. 1 wide receiver.

But what’s worse is that they actually believed Skyy Moore and Marquez Valdes Scantling were NFL-caliber wideouts.

Veach has a lot of big hits in his discography. But many of the B-sides of those hits are pretty bad tunes.

3. The Chiefs’ defense has a weakness

Kansas City Chiefs v Green Bay Packers Photo by Todd Rosenberg/Getty Images

The Packers came into this game with a great game plan: use the team’s own aggression against it. The Chiefs' blitz-happy, high-intensity defense has all of its best teeth in the front. It works only when those teeth — the players at the line of scrimmage — do their jobs. But if you can punch them in the mouth and get to the second and third levels, there isn’t a lot on the back end to stop you.

Green Bay ran down Kansas City’s throat. The only way the team could stop that attack was to bring more guys to the line of scrimmage — which then opened up the Packers’ play-action and quick-passing game.

4. It’s a game of attrition

NFL: OCT 12 Broncos at Chiefs Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Sunday night, the Chiefs’ injuries happened at the worst possible positions. In the very first series, MIKE linebacker Drue Tranquill left the game with a concussion. Later on, safety Bryan Cook was carted off the field with a lower-leg injury.

It’s Tranquill’s job to man the middle of the field and make pre-snap defensive adjustments, making sure everyone is lined up where they belong. Cook’s primary job is to make sure nothing gets behind him. Without Tranquill, Kansas City had to depend on inexperienced linebacker Jack Cochrane to do the job. With Cook gone, rookie Chamarri Conner had to perform.

With two important players missing, the heart of the Chiefs' defense was susceptible up the middle.

5. The Chiefs still don’t trust Rashee Rice

Kansas City Chiefs v Green Bay Packers Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

In Week 12, the rookie wide receiver had a breakout game against the Las Vegas Raiders — largely by running shallow crossing patterns. It was a sign that the coaching staff might finally be willing to remove his handcuffs.

But it appears this freedom was short-lived. On Sunday, Rice’s route tree was mostly limited to bubble screens.

Rice might not be completely ready. But it is better to let a wild mustang out of the stable than it is to keep pushing an old horse with no teeth harder than it was ever meant to go.

BONUS: The Chiefs don’t pay the officials

Kansas City Chiefs v Green Bay Packers Photo by Todd Rosenberg/Getty Images

A picture is worth a thousand words.

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