Are The Chiefs Fixable?

 74 replies

So, the original title of this article was “The Chiefs Are Broken.” I was going to write it all last night after the game, discussing my displeasures with the Chiefs and their players/coaches. But I literally couldn’t wrap my brain around it. Yeah, it didn’t help that I was up 20 hours at that point when I was trying to structure it, but I didn’t even know where to begin, honestly.

Here’s the simple deal; the Chiefs are a broken team right now. They’re a genuinely bad football team. Whether it’s the coaches, personnel department, or the players, this isn’t a good team. They’re getting outcoached and outexecuted every single week. Last night was the climax of all the things that hurt the team in September. It was honestly one of the worst executed games I’ve ever seen a team play. Nothing worked all night, and no one was good. I mean, nobody played well.

When you have to write an article about that, it’s really difficult. I didn’t even know how to arrange it in my head. So I decided to wait a day. I would try to sleep some (I hardly did) and see if my brain could process the game better the next day. Well, fortunately, I was able to. But I decided to take this a different way. I could talk your ear (or eyes, I guess?) off about the problems on this team. The thing is, we all see them. I like to think I view the game more critically than people, but I’m not a genius by any means. You don’t need me to tell you Dan Sorensen is bad at football. Or that we’re turning the ball over too much. We can all see that. Instead, my goal here is to offer some solutions. I may have none. But we’re going to try and push forward here. Believe me when I say this; I’m not the guy who generally does this. I’m a pessimist at nature with this team. But let’s try something different for once. I hope everyone enjoys it.

Offense

So I know it’s hard to take this stance based on some of the incredible stats we’ve put up this year, but I haven’t been impressed by this offense minus an impressive performance vs. the Eagles. Things have been incredibly sloppy this year. It’s hard to explain without an in-depth breakdown into every play, but the timing of everything feels off. The offense isn’t clicking, whether it’s Mahomes having poor pocket presence, wide receivers not being in sync with Mahomes, or just simple drops and turnovers.

The turnovers are the devastating part of this and are entirely fixable. We’ve seen this version of the Chiefs turn the ball over often. Granted, we’ve never seen this volume of turnovers show up, but there’s going to be regression to the mean eventually. This won’t last forever. It’s infuriating now, but I think we’re almost out of that part of the issues now.

But turnovers aren’t the only issue. It just seems the Chiefs aren’t on the same page this year. Part of that is on Patrick Mahomes. Let’s be honest, guys; he hasn’t been great this year. I’ve been particularly disappointed with his pocket ability this year. This staff couldn’t have done more for him to fix the issue. They went out and got three incredible IOL to help solidify the middle. They’ve done that as well as you could’ve asked from them. Almost every IOL pressure comes on the feet of Mahomes. He’s just not comfortable in the pocket. Between this game and the Chargers game, Mahomes just doesn’t want to step into the pocket. He was erratic last night. He doesn’t seem to trust his tackles in any way, which may be fair. But that causes him to hitch with the ball too quickly and get serious happy feet in the pocket. It’s a serious problem.

Not to mention, Mahomes has been poor with turnovers and ball placement this year. His accuracy Sunday was terrible. He missed Kelce on an easy 70-yard touchdown. Not only did he miss Kelce, but it was also a 10-yard overthrow as well. There were multiple instances of Mahomes hitting the dirt on Dig routes over the middle to Hill and Hardman. He’s turning the ball over too much. Mahomes is still a fantastic and elite quarterback, but he’s not playing that way right now.

Luckily, I still have complete faith he’ll figure it out. Mahomes does this every year. Yeah, he’s struggling with it way more this year than in the past, but he’s going to adjust. I trust that his pocket presence will get better at some point this season because it does every year. More time and continuity with this offensive line will build up his confidence there. He’ll always be a bit loose with the ball, but the turnover issue will get better. I don’t need him to be reserved necessarily, but he’ll be a bit more careful with his feet and ball placement. He needs to figure out his pocket stuff first. Once he gets that, he’s such a good field navigator that he’ll be better with the ball. Mahomes isn’t playing great now, but if anyone will figure stuff out, it’s him. He’ll be better.

But Mahomes isn’t the only issue here. Andy Reid deserves a ton of blame here too. Here’s the deal; teams aren’t playing super complex stuff vs. the Chiefs. They’re showing 2-high safeties every snap and will either stay in that shell or rotate down to 1-Rat (Cover 1) when the Chiefs go condensed. And it’s perplexing the Chiefs right now. Teams have largely taken away the explosive play from the Chiefs this year, and there’s been no adjustment to it. Teams will show light boxes every play, but the Chiefs aren’t killing them for that. There’s absolutely no reason the Chiefs aren’t averaging 7+ yards every single run. Seriously! All the cornerbacks are 10-yards off on every play, and the safeties are 20-yards deep. The linebackers are dropping back every single play. They should be the best running team in the NFL easily, but they aren’t. How is this possible? Reid needs to get this running game going consistently. If teams are going to sit with their guys that far off the ball and present lightboxes, you will have to succeed running the ball. Teams aren’t changing their strategies. They’re asking us to run. So do it.

Not only that, the route concepts just have to be better. It seems every solution this team has is just having wide receivers work back to the ball or something short over the middle. There are no intermediate threats working well. Teams are sitting back in the zone and just rallying to everything underneath. Reid’s only solution seems to be throwing the ball short, but teams are doing an excellent job tackling in space this year. You have to hit that 15-20 yard window well. This offensive line is giving enough time for Mahomes to step up and hit those windows. We have to hit them. If they’re going to present middle of the field open out of 2-high, attack it. When they do rotate down into Cover 1, that’s when you can hit the explosive plays. But it’s still primarily 2-high. We have to attack the intermediate part of the field way more.

Luckily, these are all easy solutions. Reid just needs to adjust more. He will need to run the ball more, or at least be more successful with it. The Chiefs need to make teams pay for all the soft coverage they’re playing. They also need to attack the middle of the field more. That’s where Josh Gordon can hopefully help. Use his big body and catch radius to dominate that area of the field. Let Kelce work more over that area as well. And yeah, the turnovers and pocket stuff are obviously significant. But it’s about making easy adjustments to what teams are doing and executing better. This group has way too much talent to be this inconsistent. Reid needs to get in his bag more vs. what teams are doing, but I really do believe they’ll get there.

Defense

So I offered solutions for the offense. None of them are that drastic. It’s minor tweaks here and there, and just overall better execution that will help the unit. But defensively?

I have nothing, guys.

This defense just has nothing going for them. They suck on all three levels. They can’t get any pressure with a four-man rush, even though they’re paying a combined 45 million dollars for two defensive linemen. The linebacker unit is so bad at literally everything. The secondary isn’t good enough in man coverage to compensate for our ineptitude to get pressure with four. It’s easy to blame Spags and the staff, and they deserve plenty of blame for the roster construction of this defense. But in terms of play-calling, I’m not sure what he can do.

Let’s try to analyze things a bit deeper here. Starting with the defensive front, there’s not a real solution here for me. The group just sucks. I know the easy answer for fans will be moving Chris Jones back inside, and I think we’re going to see more of that going forward. Now that Frank Clark is playing again, they don’t need the same amount of snaps from him out there. But I don’t think that fixes everything for this defense. Yes, Chris Jones is a dominant inside player (although he’s been very unimpressive there this year). But teams are going to slide to his side of the field and neutralize his impact. The only way this gets any better is if guys opposite Jones are starting to win their one-on-ones, notably Jarran Reed and Frank Clark. Reed’s the real disappointment here. I didn’t love Reed’s 2020 tape at all, but I expected so much more out of him this season. But he looks lost on the field. Reed was never a splash pass rusher, but he’s providing this team nothing. I don’t even want to talk Frank Clark. I’m just so over the whole thing. He’s terrible, y’all. You got me. This group hit Josh Allen once on Sunday. They aren’t getting any pressure, and while Jones helps, he doesn’t fix this front. They’re bad.

But that’s not the biggest issue with this defense. The biggest problem comes with the linebackers and Dan Sorensen. Teams are just continually attacking them every play in base. Teams are just coming out in 12 personnel and dominating us. That forces us to counter with base, and teams are just easily picking on our linebackers and Sorensen. It’s all play-action or stuff to the flats. Nick Bolton and Anthony Hitchens are just so slow reaching the flat. Neither has any zone instincts at all, which allows easy stuff over the middle on Yankee or rollout concepts. Sorensen can’t cover any tight end in man coverage, which is killing us if we want to be aggressive with a man blitz. Tight ends have absolutely obliterated us in man coverage this year, and it’s not going to stop.

So play less base, right? Okay, but then we get gashed in the run game. If you’re countering with base, someone has to be in the run fit. Those guys are currently Daniel Sorensen and Tyrann Mathieu. Well, neither of those guys can deal with that at all. Tyrann has refused to tackle all season now, and Sorensen is an active liability every play. Suppose you want us to get light to deal with all the tight ends and explosive plays, cool. But then we’re getting run on every single play for 10-12 yards. We can’t have both ways, unfortunately.

And yeah, it’s easy to say just take out Sorensen and the linebackers off the field. I wish we could! But besides the fact that we have a lot invested in these players, there aren’t good players on the bench! I would kill to see someone besides Sorensen, but who’s it going to be? I wish I could say Juan Thornhill full-time, but that’s just not happening. Juan hasn’t been good this year either. Even if we just do that, we still have Sorensen on the field almost every rep because of how much we play three safeties. Maybe we just put Mike Hughes into the slot more and ride with Thornhill and Mathieu deep every play, but then you lose the versatility of Mathieu. Believe me, nothing would delight me more than less Sorensen, Bolton, Hitchens, and Niemann. But we simply don’t have the guys on the roster to do it. They’re going to play a ton, regardless of what we do.

There’s no easy fix for a defense that can’t rush the passer, cover the middle of the field or flats, or play man coverage behind it. That doesn’t even mention our total ineptitude to tackle. We’ll have the Spagnuolo conversation later, but no defensive coordinator is fixing this. We’re old, expensive, and there’s a lack of fire and motivation. Sorry guys, I wish I had more. I tried racking my brain for it. Maybe play 4 CBs next to Thornhill and Mathieu in the dime. Maybe more Willie Gay and Jones inside. But honestly, I don’t think it matters. Sorry. We need a total overhaul in 2022.

Conclusion: Will It Get Fixed?

It depends.

Here’s a simple reality; the Chiefs aren’t a Super Bowl team. I’m not saying anything controversial here. You can’t win with the defense we have. It requires a level of perfection offensively that is impossible in the playoffs. Good teams will do just enough to limit this offense, and we can’t do anything defensively to help solve those issues. We’re at best (And I mean best) the 4th best team in the AFC. The Chargers, Ravens, and Bills are all better than us. We have to start accepting it now. This isn’t our year.

But can we fix the issues to become a playoff team? Yes. It all comes down to execution. We need to stop turning the ball over. Mahomes has to be better in the pocket. Reid has to do more to help this offense out with his play-calling. But I feel they’re going to get that sorted out soon. While Reid isn’t doing a good job, he can’t sit on his hands forever. There will be some help coming soon.

But defensively, I have no solutions. They’re old, slow, and confused. They can’t rush the passer, stop the run, defend the middle of the field, or stop explosive plays. This defense needs a complete overhaul to solve the issues. We’ve stuck with a lot of these guys for years now, and it caught up to us. We don’t have the depth or young talent to fix it. This defense isn’t getting better, y’all. We have to accept it.

So anyway, it comes down to expectations. Can the Chiefs right ship, win 11 games, and be a good 5th-seed? Yes. I would bet get to some version of that team eventually. But can the Chiefs fix the team enough to be a Super Bowl team? Frankly, the answer is no. This defense is broken. We can’t be perfect offensively every week. You can’t make the Super Bowl every year. Some years are going to be hard. We’ll be a playoff team. But anything beyond that seems impossible at the moment. I want nothing more than to be proven wrong, but the leaks on this team are too big. Our Super Bowl window is closing. There will be a ton of work this offseason. But for now, the execution needs to be better. The question is, will the players actually fix it. I wish I had confidence. But I don’t. Please prove me wrong, Chiefs.

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Budahmon
Budahmon
10/12/2021 9:59 pm

A clue concerning this roster was how many of the players that were waived in preseason were signed off the waiver wire by needy teams. Was there even one? A team with B2B Super Bowls should be deep with talent and yet no one was signed

NovaChiefs
NovaChiefs
Reply to  Budahmon
10/12/2021 10:41 pm

Didn’t we have a few poached off the PS? Keyes I know of.

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  NovaChiefs
10/13/2021 3:28 pm

I think I saw Yasir Durant playing for the Pats the other week. Pitt picked up Charlton. Damien Williams’ in Chicago.

NovaChiefs
NovaChiefs
Reply to  Berserker
10/13/2021 5:08 pm

That’s kind of what I thought, that several of our cast offs has been picked up. Contrast that to years when NOBODY wanted anyone we cut

SCKSChief
SCKSChief
10/12/2021 7:10 pm

Brilliant work, my man.

The offense is fixable. Will Andy conform to what is required to fix it? Tough call there. They need better RBs because I don’t think CEH is the guy. I’d like to see more use of Gray, Kelce, and Fortson together. Also, the WRs have to quit dropping passes and tipping balls up into the air for INTs. Pat ISN’T good, at all, right now. Hoping it’s just baby-brain.

The defense has zero redeemable qualities. None. They are decidedly NOT fixable. They are shattered into a bazillion pieces. As far as I’m concerned, all of them could be dumped and replaced. Sadly, the real problem on this unit is Veach. He has whiffed on every attempt he’s made to solidify the defense.

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  SCKSChief
10/13/2021 3:31 pm

Veach has done outstanding work on the secondary, considering the apparent goal of limiting the budget there. I don’t blame Thornhill’s under-performance so far on Veach’s talent eval, I blame that on the coaches’ talent development.

EAFOX
10/12/2021 5:26 pm

This should remind us of the power of Dirty Dan

DenverDonkeyHater
DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  EAFOX
10/12/2021 6:14 pm

Dirty Dan the mormon Rudy

probablyamistake
probablyamistake
10/12/2021 5:24 pm

EAFOX
10/12/2021 4:51 pm

Is he available to help on defense?

EAFOX
10/12/2021 4:44 pm

Ideas to create a pass rush – Strap weed to the opposing quarterback and let Josh Gordon loose. Put Mecole Hardman at DE and tell him to drop the quarterback. I would mention my ex but the last time she played football, she was flagged for being in the neutral zone. She was playing deep at safety at the time.

DenverDonkeyHater
DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  EAFOX
10/12/2021 5:21 pm

We could use a big body to clog up the middle.

MasterChief
MasterChief
Reply to  EAFOX
10/12/2021 5:30 pm

I asked her to sit around the end zone and she sat AROUND the end zone.

upamtn
10/12/2021 4:44 pm

interesting link and stats here: the entire history of KC Chiefs DC’s … Sutton is actually #2 on the list … the longest tenured was Gunther Cunningham

https://pro-football-history.com/franchpos/9/8/kansas-city-chiefs-defensive-coordinator-history

EAFOX
Reply to  upamtn
10/12/2021 4:45 pm

We need another Gunther.

NovaChiefs
NovaChiefs
Reply to  EAFOX
10/12/2021 10:43 pm

We need the players who made Gunther Gunther

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  upamtn
10/12/2021 4:51 pm

Sutton was good for a while, until he lost his two ass-kicking DEs.

I mean…just think what prime Tamba + Houston would do for this current defense. I’m thinking problems solved, with just those two guys.

upamtn
Reply to  Berserker
10/12/2021 4:53 pm

so is it TALENT or SCHEME or COACHING or … all 3?

EAFOX
Reply to  upamtn
10/12/2021 4:57 pm

I might put those in that order

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  upamtn
10/12/2021 5:04 pm

Well, depending on what you mean by coaching…

No, on second thought, not depending at all. Yes, it is all three.

probablyamistake
probablyamistake
Reply to  upamtn
10/12/2021 5:29 pm
EAFOX
10/12/2021 4:36 pm

Defense
Corners – check – Sneed, Ward, Hughes, Fenton
Safeties – check – Mathieu, Thornhill, Dirty Dan – Get Thornhill and his speed back in the game and Dirty Dan makes a good third safety, never a good second safety.
Linebackers – our base has two – if you want to stop the pass, Gay and DOD – two fastest linebackers we have – if you are wanting to stop the run, does not matter unless you solve the leak in front of them.
Defensive Tackles – we may not have a choice but to move Chris Jones back – I am hoping that Nnadi is playing hurt with his hip, If Reed is adjusting to our defense, he needs to hurry, and Saunders looks fast when he is chasing someone down field.
Defensive Ends – IF we cannot pressure the passer, put your best run defenders here and bring in Clark on obvious pass plays.
Blitz quite a bit – better but not perfect.

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  EAFOX
10/12/2021 4:58 pm

I keep wondering about Nnadi. Just seems like something weird is happening there. Seems like he is only good when he is on the same field with Mike Pennel.

Remember how we (generic “we”) thought he was JAG at best for a while? And then he suddenly became a good player when we put Pennel out there? And now that Pennel’s gone, he’s instantly invisible once again.

Maybe it was a change in position/responsibility. If so, then the coaches need to put Nnadi back to doing whatever he was doing while they had Pennel.

SCKSChief
SCKSChief
Reply to  EAFOX
10/12/2021 7:13 pm

I disagree on the CBs. None of them have shown anything this season. Even Sneed has looked underwhelming. Completely disagree on safeties. None of them are any good right now, not even Mathieu.

Defense needs an overhaul and I think that means Veach needs to hire a defensive personnel specialist.

ArrowFan
ArrowFan
10/12/2021 3:48 pm

I think maybe just simplifying the defensive will help. Like you said no one is doing anything special to beat them up. I see way too much pre-snap motion and confusion going on. I know there are adjustments that need to be made on every snap but it seems the LB’s and DL are having a hard time just getting into position before the snap. Buffalo picked up on it and burned us at will. Matthieu’s statement after the game sums it all up. Line up and do your job.

Last edited 13 days ago by ArrowFan
MasterChief
MasterChief
Reply to  ArrowFan
10/12/2021 4:34 pm

I agree, but that’s supposedly what Spags was going to do last week. Maybe he needs to take it back to basics a bit more.

Berserker
Berserker
10/12/2021 3:20 pm

It’s partly my fault. I decided to stop hating Sorensen, and apparently my hate-force was the only thing anchoring Sorensen’s chi to the spirit of good football.

I guess I need to sacrifice a chicken, and then repeatedly slap its bloody corpse across Spagnuolo’s stubborn face until he benches Sorensen’s sorry ass.

upamtn
Reply to  Berserker
10/12/2021 3:26 pm

so glad you showed up to accept your fair share of the blame …

honestly, and even getting past Sorensen, take him out of the equation completely and what’s left? 10 other guys who look positively lost, dazed and confused, deflated and simply showing a complete and total lack of effort

4 guys couldn’t tackle a RB on Sunday … and that was like every play … hideously horrific and that’s putting it mildly … the DL is pathetic, the LB’s look pathetic, the S’s look pathetic (that includes Thornhill AND Matthieu) and the CB’s look … well, really really bad

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  upamtn
10/12/2021 3:39 pm

My honest taek is that the root cause is simply a lack of talent. Only one playmaker in the entire front-7, and a secondary built on the cheap except for Mathieu.

I really think Spags and other coaches, and leaders like Mathieu, did a good job making up for that for a while with smarts and discipline. But once the fails started to pile up on the field, then morale started to fail, and then it’s just shitstormed out of control.

Part of this current state is just the price we paid for those Superbowls, in overpaying for Clark. Maybe without that contract (and with those draft picks) we’d have another playmaker or two on Dline by now. It’s hard to complain about that since we did win a SB and two Lamars.

But there’s also a lot of mistakes that have been and are being made, by coaches and GM and players.

I really do like Spags and think he’s a good coach. But with things this bad, the only way out might be a “new voice” to get players’ attention. Also, the Sorensen vs Thornhill thing is just inexplicable, and I gotta think there’s more bad decisions being made out of stubborn desperation besides just that one.

This offseason, I think we re-do the Dline like we re-did the Oline, except keeping one player this time (Jones). I mean, that’s kinda the easy part, honestly. The hard part will be whether to keep or re-do some coaches.

Last edited 13 days ago by Berserker
Nasrani
Nasrani
Reply to  Berserker
10/12/2021 3:58 pm

I’m in agreement with most of your defensive assessment but I would argue that there’s more talent to the secondary by and large than you give them credit for. I think that Fenton has done well when called upon (is he perfect? No, but no one is) and Sneed is only getting better as time goes on (aside from that one glaringly obvious missed tackle where the guy hurdled him). Ward, when he plays, does pretty well also.

The linebacking corps needs some serious work, though. Yes, we just got Gay back, and yes, Bolton is a rookie – they’ll get better as time goes on. (As the old adage says, “Experience is the one thing you don’t get until right after you need it.”)

Up front, I say we keep Danna and Jones – most of the time they seem to be the only two who have any idea of what’s going on – and then the rest, well… let the chips fall where they may.

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  Nasrani
10/12/2021 4:10 pm

You’re right, I was too hard on the secondary there. They’re fine, probably even good, when the front-7 are doing their jobs. Back when the front-7 actually WAS doing their jobs, several months ago. We would need maybe the best secondary in the league to make up for the bad job our front-7 are doing right now.

I know that, but just didn’t say it well. But that is why I mentioned rebuilding the Dline instead of the secondary.

And you’re right about Danna, I don’t want to get rid of him. Wharton, the same But Danna should be a high-level substitute, definitely not the 2nd best player on the line.

Nasrani
Nasrani
Reply to  Berserker
10/12/2021 4:13 pm

I did hear Wharton’s name quite a bit on Sunday as well, come to think of it. Seems like he and Jones and Danna are the only ones who seem to get any push against the opponent’s O-line.

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  Nasrani
10/12/2021 4:27 pm

After we re-build our Dline, then Danna and Wharton can be the high level backups. Kinda like LDT and Long except, well, NOT old and broke.

upamtn
10/12/2021 3:14 pm

excellent analysis as always, Nate …

totally agree on Clark, and for once not even going to try to defend Sorensen … or anyone else on Defense (the few plays that I watched against the Bills I was dumbfounded by the lack of tackling, be it DL, LBs, or anyone else … Matthieu hasn’t made a genuine tackle all year (so it seems) … must want to get paid FIRST and THEN he’ll tackle someone (maybe)

so much to fix, and agree the Offense can be fixed (stop the turnovers, guys) but the Defense is pitifully pathetic (I had high hopes for Bolton and Gay this season, so much for that idea) and I’m so over BOTH Clark AND Jones … I know everyone wants Sorensen out, but if Thornhill is such an improvement, why isn’t he playing more? (could it be he isn’t as good as fans would like to think?)

totally ridiculous, and it LOOKS (to my untrained eyes) as if nobody on the Defense gives a damn: they’re playing in what seems like “slow motion” or something … is the Spags concept too difficult for them to understand? does it need to be simplified? should the Defense be more “read and react” or more aggressive instead? one thing I know is that no matter how good the Offense might be (and of late, other than the Eagles game, it hasn’t been all that good) there’s simply no way the team can win against high quality opponents (got lucky vs Cleveland) … at least, as of now

hoping they get it turned around and soon, because if not even “making the playoffs” hopes will vanish soon … it’s not too late, right now, but this team has to play with a sense of urgency: something we have yet to see thus far this season

DenverDonkeyHater
DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  upamtn
10/12/2021 3:24 pm

As far as Thornhill versus sorensen, worst case scenario it reminds me of cassel versus brady quinn. We all wanted to quinn. Why? Because we knew Cassel sucked and was hopeless. Quinn turned out to be worse. But you know what, we knew then.

Same thing. Let thornhill try. Worst case. Hes a disaster and at that point you cut him and bring up devon key.

upamtn
Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
10/12/2021 3:28 pm

maybe Sorensen should be at outside LB … or maybe just have him blitz every play (and I mean EVERY SINGLE DOWN, just blitz blitz blitz and on occasion he HAS to get luck and hit or stop SOMEONE on SOME play)

DenverDonkeyHater
DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  upamtn
10/12/2021 3:32 pm

Hed piss somebody off. Hes pesky if nothing else.

MasterChief
MasterChief
Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
10/12/2021 4:28 pm

Hey that’s a flag, so I’m ok with that.

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  upamtn
10/12/2021 4:23 pm

That’s exactly what Sorensen should be, just a blitzer. Basically the same way they’ve been using Baker.

They’ve tried Sorensen at LB before, it didn’t work well. He doesn’t have the size for it, and he doesn’t have the right instincts to navigate those crowded spaces to make up for his lack of size. The only thing he isn’t bad at, right now, is blitzing. Although he did let Josh Allen run away from him Sunday, in a straight line race, when Allen took off from a standing start and Sorensen was already at full speed.

Maybe Thornhill isn’t as good as fans think he is. But he is very skilled and fast. So, it’s the coaches’ job to MAKE him good. That’s what coaches are damned well paid to do. Hell, he already proved something his rookie year…so why not now?

But instead of taking a skilled player and, ya know, COACHING him up, it seems our coaches are totally abandoning their responsibility by choosing an un-skilled player who self-coaches.

I mean, why would they do that? Have they let a player, Thornhill, frustrate them so much that they’ve chosen to quit while still collecting their paychecks? So they can watch Sorensen fail, like they must know he will because they know what he’s capable of, and let him take all the blame? I dunno, but it’s damned difficult for me to come up with a charitable thought about the coaching staff in regards to the Sorensen/Thornhill situation.

upamtn
Reply to  Berserker
10/12/2021 5:11 pm

All right, now, I don’t want them to gain another yard! You blitz … all night! If they cross the line of scrimmage, I’m gonna take every last one of you out! You make sure they remember, forever, the night they played the Titans Chiefs!

SuperMegaChief
SuperMegaChief
Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
10/12/2021 3:28 pm

But with Thornhill, we have seen him have success before so why he’s not out there is even more perplexing. I know the coaches know more than we do but it’s still puzzling.

DenverDonkeyHater
DenverDonkeyHater
10/12/2021 2:29 pm

To me the only solution to the defense is get new players. But its the middle of the season you say? Who cares. There are guys out there that are at the very least far more athletic and definitely much much more hungary than the guys we have now. I mean we have so many guys on this D that are either in real or de facto contract years. Usually thats good for some extra umph but no these guys look slow and pathetic. You have multiple experienced olinemen eating twinkies blythe, ldt, alegretti, wylie. Make a trade. Scour the practice squads. Use some draft picks.

I just dont understand how you can keep bodies on the roster like watts and DoD if you have zero faith in them to play actual defense. Yes they are good special teamers but you dont have the luxury of having a bunch of special special teamers if you are giving snaps to the likes of Sorensen and Nieman. The donkeys are constantly pulling middle linebackers out of their ass. Late round draft picks, udfas. You need to try new guys. Not well this guy can cover kicks. Who gives a shit? Kick the ball through the endzone and play your long snapper and punter on coverage.

Last edited 13 days ago by DenverDonkeyHater
Big Chief
Big Chief
Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
10/12/2021 2:54 pm

I don’t buy that the players are the issue now any more than I did when Sutton was the DC. I’ve said it in other threads and I’ll say it again – I think the issue is coaching. I don’t know why the team is blowing assignments this year, but they are. That ultimately comes down to coaching. Either they aren’t getting sufficient coaching, or playing (and keeping on the roster) players who aren’t taking coaching.

But I really don’t think that is primarily what is happening here. I think that Spags, like Sutton before him, has had OCs in this league figure out his defense and how to beat it. Trying to put defensive players in a bind is what every OC in the league does. They find the weak spots/players and target them for mismatches and bad decisions. That’s why in Sutton’s last year you saw so many games where Justin Houston ended up chasing some WR/TE/RB 30 yards downfield. It wasn’t that you’d expect Houston to win that match up, it was the offense knowing that Sutton would put him in that position with the right formation and players. I don’t think it’s an accident that we keep seeing Daniel Sorensen chasing receivers across the goal line 40 yards downfield. Spags is putting him in matchups and positions where he is likely to get beat. It comes down to scheme. Right now the OC for the other teams are beating Spags in gameplan and execution. I’m sure some of it falls on players blowing their assignments, that happens to every team. But when it’s this much I think it’s because the OC has found the weakness in the D and attacked.

If you need pro-bowlers at every level for your defense to work at all, then the problem is with the defensive strategy, not the players.

Big Chief
Big Chief
Reply to  Big Chief
10/12/2021 2:57 pm

The good news is that getting players is hard. Making changes to your defensive strategy is much easier. It’s not that it’s simple, depending on how big the changes, but teams are used to having changes to the gameplan every week based on opponent. But the question is if Spags is seeing the problem and can he come up with a solution. I don’t think Sutton ever figured out why he was getting beat, much less how to fix it. Let’s see if Spags can do better. I think he can.

DenverDonkeyHater
DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  Big Chief
10/12/2021 3:15 pm

Agree and disagree. 100% agree that you cant have pro bowlers at every level. I also agree that spags needs to do much better. Disguise. Manufacturer pressure. Dont put guys like sorensen consistently in bad positions.

But we also have way too many guys that just offer little to no upside at this point. Reed has been a total bust. He offers nothing on the field. Nnadi has taken some of his snaps and that has worked somewhat. Niemann doesnt excel at anything. Gay taking some of his snaps was a huge upgrade. Unfortunately those are the only two places where we either have upgrades available and/or we have attempted to upgrade.

Clark and Okafor cant rush the passer at a high level. Giving Danna some of their snaps at least keeps them fresh I guess. Lets go get some young bonehead that can’t hold an edge for his life but rushes like a bat out of hell (think jared allen, no I dont expect to find somebody that good but that style of play). Go find a safety that flies and crashes into people. At least strike some fear into somebody. Go get a fat guy to clog the middle. Churn the bottom of the roster. I guarantee it will motivate some of the other guys too.

upamtn
Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
10/12/2021 3:21 pm

flat out simple: there’s no HUSTLE on this Defense … no heart, no soul, no hustle

DenverDonkeyHater
DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  upamtn
10/12/2021 3:25 pm

If Mathieu is their leader, we CANNOT pay him.

upamtn
Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
10/12/2021 3:29 pm

right?

enough $$$ wasted on Clark & Jones as it is

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
10/12/2021 4:00 pm
SuperMegaChief
SuperMegaChief
10/12/2021 2:18 pm

I respect and agree with most everything you said except for a few things. I don’t believe there isn’t anything that can be done with the defense. There is always something that can be done. They could scour practice squads and run simplified schemes. I’m under no delusion that this squad can be turned into an elite D, but a marginal improvement should be attainable. I also don’t buy into the Chargers being better than us. It took 4 turnovers for them to eek out a victory over us. I’m not sure that the Ravens are any better either. The only team that smoked us was the Bills so they can legitimately claim to be better than us. But for the rest, I agree with you.

DenverDonkeyHater
DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  SuperMegaChief
10/12/2021 2:34 pm

They need to start benching guys. If you dont know your assignments on game day, find somebody willing to study outside of practice. Enough Mr. Nice Guy. Do your job.

SuperMegaChief
SuperMegaChief
Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
10/12/2021 3:19 pm

I agree. A message needs to be sent. Bench those that fail, but you got to reinvest in them with coaching to bring them up to speed. Otherwise, the whole defense will be benched.

upamtn
Reply to  SuperMegaChief
10/12/2021 3:30 pm

the whole defense will be benched

I like it! bench every last on of ’em and let the Offense play Defense (hey, it worked back in the old days)

DenverDonkeyHater
DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  upamtn
10/12/2021 3:35 pm

Belicheck has played offensive guys on defense. Take an athlete put him in a position to succeed.

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
10/12/2021 3:49 pm

Well, Collinsworth thinks that Josh Gordon can bull rush.

upamtn
Reply to  Berserker
10/12/2021 4:17 pm

maybe Hill or Hardman at CB (they have the speed to keep up with WRs) … Gordon at outside LB … some of the OLiners on the DL

something has to work … maybe

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  upamtn
10/12/2021 4:39 pm

Didn’t Hardman actually play defense at some point at Georgia? Or am I dreaming that?

Gordon, he could probably play any position you asked him to… I am really looking forward to seeing what he can do for us, for as long as he can stay sober.

Last edited 13 days ago by Berserker
upamtn
Reply to  Berserker
10/12/2021 4:41 pm

no clue, just thinking out loud …

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  upamtn
10/12/2021 4:42 pm

You say what you type out loud? Like, while you type it, or do you read it to the room after you’re done?

upamtn
Reply to  Berserker
10/12/2021 4:44 pm

yes

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  upamtn
10/12/2021 4:47 pm

Alexa – Cut Sorensen.

upamtn
Reply to  Berserker
10/12/2021 4:49 pm

“I’m sorry, I don’t know how to do that” – Alexa

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  upamtn
10/12/2021 5:03 pm

Well I guess I should’ve expected that. I did hear that Alexa is racist.

MasterChief
MasterChief
Reply to  upamtn
10/12/2021 4:25 pm

Or just don’t put anyone out on defense at all. Stats remain the same.

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  MasterChief
10/12/2021 4:38 pm

The radio told me today that our defense so far is beating the all-time record for yards/play by a half-yard.

And when I say beating, I mean getting beaten.

EAFOX
Reply to  Berserker
10/12/2021 4:40 pm

Reminds me of a very old movie – “And the next voice you hear” in which God speaks over the radio.
Next time I hear a critical comment about the defense on the radio, our supreme being might be chiming in with his opinion.

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  EAFOX
10/12/2021 4:45 pm

Well, I do like Jason Anderson much better than Kevin Kietzman. But I wouldn’t call him a “supreme being.” Maybe a fair-to-middlin’ being.

upamtn
Reply to  Berserker
10/12/2021 4:40 pm

yup … historically bad thru the first 5 games

EAFOX
Reply to  upamtn
10/12/2021 4:42 pm

I believe God gave that a rec.

hoosierchief
10/12/2021 2:10 pm

I see where Gore just got moved up from the practice squad. I’d like to see him in a game – he looked good earlier.

MasterChief
MasterChief
Reply to  hoosierchief
10/12/2021 3:07 pm

We dropped Fountain though. Hope they are just shuffling and resign him soon.

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  MasterChief
10/12/2021 3:25 pm

Probably Gordon took Fountain’s spot on the 53, so hopefully he makes it onto the practice squad.

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  hoosierchief
10/12/2021 3:26 pm

Yeah, I have no idea why we’d want to trade for Mack like they’re reporting. Gore + McKinnon + Williams seems fine to me.

Gonna need all the draft picks to rebuild this crummy defense and get a WR or two.

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