Did You Miss Me?

 35 replies

Hey, everyone, it’s been a while.

I wouldn’t say I like talking about myself for too long, so I won’t. I just took a break for a while. I didn’t really want to write this season much, and I wanted a season just to watch the games and enjoy it.

But I’ll admit this; during the 4th quarter of this game, I couldn’t hold it anymore. Talking to myself wasn’t going to be an option this time. Tweeting through it wouldn’t help. So, after nine months (which felt like years, tbh), I’m back. I don’t know how often it’ll be. Maybe 1-2 times a month. But after that abomination of a football game, I couldn’t sit silently again. So, let’s talk about what I enjoy most in life; the Kansas City Chiefs. And believe me…I have plenty of thoughts. Here we go with 10 Observations!

#1: The Big Three Of Mahomes, Hill, And Kelce Are Still The Best

Anyone that knows me knows I’m not the most positive person ever. That’s not my personality. If you want the guy that believes everything is amazing and you shouldn’t criticize the team/players, I wouldn’t recommend reading me. If you have that attitude, you’re not a bad person. But I’m not going to do that.

Still, it would be unfair of me just to come on this site after all this time off and only spew negativity. Through the first two games, the season’s story has been the sheer dominance of the Chiefs’ Big Three. Everyone knows how dominant this trio has been since 2018, but this might be the best I’ve ever seen. I may write about Mahomes individually at some point, but he’s been almost flawless this season. Yes, I know he threw the dumb pick yesterday, but he was so good on Sunday. His pocket presence is notably improved this season, and he’s way better in the quick game. He’s still making ridiculous plays. Anyone that thinks they have a QB as good as Mahomes is wrong, he’s the best in the NFL, and it’s not close.

Same goes for Kelce and Tyreek. Tyreek was the story of week 1, and Kelce week 2. I was able to go watch the Cleveland game live, and it’s still startling watching Tyreek’s speed live. Kelce looks as good as ever. I’ve never seen a route runner as good as Kelce, and he still is so athletic for a tight end. His feel for space is the best ever. There’s been so much written about Trav that I don’t even know what I could contribute to the conversation anymore, but he’s the best tight end ever.

So yeah, those three guys are still outstanding. They’re in perfect sync with each other and have perfect complementary skillsets. Don’t take these guys for granted, Kansas City. We have three all-timers on the team at the same time, in their physical primes. They’ll never cease to amaze me.

#2: This Offensive Line Looks Significantly Improved

If there’s one thing that was changed and looks great, it’s been this offensive line. They had to be better after all the resources we put into the position, but those guys have been as advertised for the most part, particularly the rookies. I will definitely write a review about Creed at some point, but he’s been almost flawless at center. His athleticism as a center is startling. Trey Smith’s been superb to start the season, already looking like a seasoned vet. Lucas Niang has been the most inconsistent of the group, but his run blocking looks fantastic. Orlando Brown and Joe Thuney haven’t been amazing so far, but nothing about them concerns me either. This group is getting way more push this season, and the pass protection inside has been so good. Kansas City put a ton of assets into it, so it was always going to be better, but the group has been encouraging through two weeks. Mahomes won’t be getting hit much.

#3: What Was Worse? The Tackling Or The Gap Discipline?

Trick question, they’re both horrendous! It’s tough to make big claims about this without All-22, but Kansas City can’t fit the run right now. Nobody has won a one-on-one block through two games outside Turk Wharton, especially our linebackers. Nick Bolton is the only guy who’s at least stacked a block so far. Whether it’s running towards the edge or inside, Kansas City can’t do anything vs. the run. This is the worst run defense I’ve ever seen. Granted, I’m biased about this, but how many positive plays have we had vs. two predominantly running teams? One?

That doesn’t even mention the tackling! Our defensive backs, particularly our safeties, can’t tackle. Tyrann Mathieu made multiple business decisions vs. Baltimore, and this has been Sorensen’s worst tackling season. When your safeties can’t come down and fit the run in any way, it turns seven-yard runs into 12-14 yard runs. That’s not to say our front seven is tackling well, but those two guys have especially been bad there.

So yeah, there’s no honest answer to this. Both have been dreadful.

#4: Brett Veach Can’t Evaluate Linebacker

I’ve had a back-and-forth relationship with Brett Veach. I think he has evident strengths and weaknesses. I largely disagree with the mindset that he’s a top GM in the NFL, but he’s not a bad GM. To name some strengths, I think he’s good with the cap, he’s good at evaluating defensive backs, and his offensive line evaluations have been mainly great. But he’s also got some severe weaknesses, and none are more significant than his inability to evaluate linebackers.

Through the first two games of the season, Kansas City has been downright HORRIBLE at linebacker. What makes it even worse is how much we’ve invested at linebacker. This current group has three top 100 picks and a 10-million dollar linebacker on the roster. And they still absolutely suck. Yes, Willie Gay has been out to start the season, but that still leaves two top-100 picks and the expensive linebacker. There are no excuses.

To talk about guys a little more individually, Nick Bolton and Ben Niemann have been abysmal. Niemann’s not surprising, so I won’t spend time talking about him. What I really wanted to talk about was Bolton. Kansas City media has been propping Bolton up for his two performances as a rookie, and that’s driving me insane. It’s like we’re watching two separate games. Yes, he’s had some really impressive plays at the line of scrimmage. He’s got pop in the hands. But he’s not an NFL-caliber athlete at linebacker. Watching him try to move in space is painful. Bolton cannot change directions in any way. Who did I just describe? Reggie Ragland. Damien Wilson. Those guys were average to below-average starters for the Chiefs. That was fine for us because we didn’t pay a ton for those players. But Bolton was a top-60 pick, brought in to fix linebacker. I was not fond of the prospect at all, and I’ve been disappointed about him in the NFL.

Anthony Hitchens has been poor. Willie Gay can’t stay healthy. Brett Veach has put an absurd amount of money and draft picks into a linebacker, and this unit is most likely still the worst linebacker unit in the NFL. No GM should get fired for their linebacker management, but Veach would’ve been long gone by now if they did. Kansas City is giving up well over 200 yards per game as run defense, and a large part of that is because of our horrendous linebackers. This is an organizational failure to fix what’s been our biggest issue (outside of QB before Pat) in the Reid era.

#5: How Is This Defensive Line Still Underperforming?

How is it possible we have two 20-million dollar defensive linemen, multiple Day 2 draft picks, and a 7 million dollar defensive tackle, and we still underperform in the trenches? Steve Spagnuolo is known for having dominant defensive lines, but ours looks bad again. That’s frustrating to any fan on the outside because this team has spent so much on our defensive line.

I don’t even want to talk about Frank Clark today. I’m so beyond arguing about him. He was bad. Chris Jones might’ve been worse. Alex Okafor looked lost entirely on the field. Nnadi and Jarran Reed were getting blown off the ball every single play. This entire unit sucked. This group looked like they were going to be one of the strengths of this team in the preseason, but they stink once more. This is an indictment of the Spags-Veach era. They’ve spent so much on this defensive line and have gotten nothing but poor results outside of Jones. I don’t even know what to say about it besides that.

#6: The Juan-Sorensen Thing Is Really Weird

So one of the weirdest stories from last season was how Dan Sorensen never left the field ever and Juan Thornhill’s inconsistent snap counts. The staff wanted to believe some of it was a confidence thing after Thornhill’s injury, and he clearly wasn’t fully healthy. Even though I would still rather have 70% Juan over any Sorensen, I get the logic. Juan recovered in a very short amount of time from a major injury, so you don’t want to strain him.

The problem? It’s been the same story this season! It was especially prevalent in week 2, where Juan barely played. He was their 6th defensive back on 3rd downs, which was hardly ever given our run defense issues. Sorensen played every single snap this week, playing as the 2nd safety for this Chiefs defense.

I don’t even have an explanation for why this is the case. It makes zero sense to me. Kansas City will tell you it’s run defense, but Sorensen has been one of the worst run defending safeties I’ve ever seen this season. His tackling has been putrid, and he looks a step slower coming downhill. Sorensen’s always been a crappy run defender, but this season is different. Yeah, Juan’s also a lousy run defender, but what he provides with range, ball skills, and versatility is so much more valuable than Sorensen’s “tackling.” Kansas City seems to have lost trust in Thornhill, and I feel genuinely bad for him. He was so good in the Cleveland game, and this staff won’t give him a chance. And it actively costs this defense.

#7: I’m Over Chris Jones At Defensive End

One of the storylines of the offseason was Chris Jones’s move to defensive end. Jones has pleaded to play defensive end for years now, but the staff wasn’t willing to let him commit to it. But with concerns about the depth and Frank Clark’s offseason, the team finally gave him a shot to play out there. This seemed to motivate Chris this offseason more than any other because he came into camp in ridiculously good shape. He leaned out his body even more and added more flexibility to his frame with pilates and training.

And those things have shown up as a pass rusher. Jones had two sacks from defensive end in his 1st game, including a nasty inside swim where he showed his improved flexibility to cross-face and collapse the pocket. His improved explosiveness allowed him easier access around the corner for his 2nd sack. Jones was used as a dime DE last year and looked competent there, but his week one performance rushing the passer from DE looked as advertised.

But I’m so done with the Jones defensive end experiment.

And I know it’s incredibly early to say that. It’s Jones’s second game ever at defensive end. With more time and repetitions, the thought should be that he gets better at playing defensive end. And to a certain extent, that’s true. But he doesn’t look natural at defensive end in any way. I get Jones has ridiculous length and power in his hands, but he’s been abysmal as a run defender so far off the edge. Baltimore and Cleveland continually ran outside zone or Counter at his side, and Jones has no counters to it. He’s slow to read anything outside and slow to get his body out and set an edge. He’s been getting sealed off the edge so easily, and teams are going to attack him in space so easily. He’s a liability as a run defender off the edge.

I know Chris wants to play defensive end more. If he wants to rush the passer from there on 3rd downs, fine. Give him a few extra reps there for his DPOY case. But Chris can’t be a full-time defensive end anymore. It’s taking away from his insane production inside. I’ve seen enough of it.

#8: Spags, Veach, or Reid?

I probably could go off on another 2000 words about this topic alone, but it’s a combination of all three. To keep it short, I blame Spags for his consistent trust/development of poor linebackers, Veach’s inability to scout the front 7, and Reid’s tendency to have soft teams. Spags hasn’t developed a single linebacker since coming to Kansas City, and he’s been given plenty of resources to do it. Veach hasn’t hit on a single draft pick or signing on the front seven yet outside of Emmanuel Ogbah, who left after one year. Reid has always had softer teams, but this one may be the softest I’ve seen yet. I guess everyone on this roster must be allergic to taking on blocks because no one does it. The tackling has been even worse. That’s some of the give-and-take you have with Reid teams, but this team reminds me of the 2018 Chiefs in that way.

So yeah, all three of them having their own glaring holes has led to the current mess. That’s all I got for today.

#9: Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Look, I’m going to try and be nice to Clyde. I loved Clyde predraft and have liked him since coming to Kansas City. His jersey hangs in my closet.

But at a certain point, we have to say it; he’s a bust.

Bust is a word I hate using. For example, I hated calling Sammy Watkins a bust. Yes, Watkins didn’t live up to his draft value, but he was still a legitimately good WR on successful passing offenses. He still brought a ton of value to the field, so how could you be a bust there.

But there’s no dancing around it; Clyde is a bust. He’s not the worst football player on the planet, but when you draft a running back at pick 32, he has to be better than what Clyde has done. There are no more excuses for Clyde. He’s playing with the best QB, WR, and TE on the planet. He has a Hall of Fame play-caller. This offensive line was fixed. It’s all on him. He’s had 26 carries so far, only for 89 yards. That’s 3.4 yards per carry. He’s added nothing to this offense as a receiver. He cost us a game this week. Clyde’s a bust and a bad look on Brett’s resume.

#10: Are Kansas City Still The Favorites If The Defense Doesn’t Get Better?

I didn’t know how to phrase this last question. The answer is pretty obvious. If Kansas City plays like the worst defense of all time, they’re not going back to the Super Bowl. Mahomes covers plenty of holes, but your roster has to have some balance on it to get where we want to go.

So, the question should be more about can the Chiefs’ defense improve? I mean, it almost has to, right? There’s no way they’re this bad the entire year with the talent we have on defense. We’re going to get Willie Gay back soon, and this defensive line should get clicking soon. Chris Jones is due for a hot streak soon. But is that enough?

Guys, I’m not sure. This offense is amazing and may end up being the best in the Mahomes era, but I don’t have a lot of faith in this defense. The lack of speed and physicality is really evident. Having a defense that can’t cover at the 2nd level while also being the worst run defense of all time is generally a bad combination, but that’s where we’re at. Spags will make adjustments that can help, but does anybody trust this defense to stop any good offense? At this point, I’m not sure how you could. And until I see more from there, I have serious doubts about Kansas City getting back and winning another Super Bowl, frankly.

Typical me. Writing over 2500 words about the Chiefs on a late Sunday night. I tried being short, guys. Anyways, I missed talking to people in the comment section. So I’m glad to be doing that again. You can yell at me if you want. I’ll take your rage. Go Chiefs.

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Chief-Blinders-On
09/20/2021 7:03 pm

Welcome back.

John Doerty
John Doerty
09/20/2021 4:43 pm

On the subject of the DL. It is all the more baffling that they brought in Daly, who by all measures seemed to be able to turn JAGs into very serviceable players in NE. Like, WTF. You are getting well paid players (which suggests talent) and turning them into JAGs?? Given Daly’s recent history I’m inclined to blame, I don’t know, everything else first. I just can’t wrap my head around it.

ArrowFan
ArrowFan
09/20/2021 3:32 pm

Good job I love your analysis. I do disagree with you on Bolton and CJ for now. I think the game plan had more to do with them not being able to stop the RB playing QB around the edge on option plays. To me, the game plan looked like if the edge guy goes unblocked you need to try and cover both the RB and the QB on option plays. This may be possible by some of the best DE and LB in the league but there are very few who can do this and be successful. I could be wrong but this is what my eyes were telling me during the game. A better plan would have been if the edge guy goes unblocked then you should go hit the QB with no hesitations or delays. If he has the ball go ahead and tackle him. If he doesn’t have the ball then you still pop him and get up in his face letting him know you had him covered all along. Let the rest of the D worry about the RB’s and TE’s. I think you are prejudging Bolton a little and you should give him more time. At least do a breakdown of just him and his play so far first. From what I saw last night he has the best instincts of any LB on the team and he isn’t afraid to commit to a hole. He also showed great speed and recovery at the goal line almost stopping Lamars second to the last TD. He may or may not make a good or credible LB but he needs more time before we drive the Bus over him. If CEH just doesn’t fumble at the end all of our perspectives would be drastically different right now:(

DenverDonkeyHater
DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  ArrowFan
09/20/2021 3:43 pm

I mean Bolton definitely looked like the best LB out there.

DenverDonkeyHater
DenverDonkeyHater
09/20/2021 12:52 pm

Ill be at the game next week. Can I cheer if Niewoman gets hurt? I mean dear lord. I just watched the clip of the game clinching run 15 times in a row. Baltimore is double teaming and/or chipping both lineman in the hole they are going to. Niewoman is on the right side. Hole is opening. He hits the hol… oh no he changes direction and runs into the ass of the dlineman who is getting his ass kicked. It almost looked like he was trying to protect the outside. I mean WTF, WTF, WTF. Its a 4th and 2. That was your good damn responsibility. If he gets outside, who gives a shit. What are you going do run Lamar down on the outside? What a FUCKING WORTHLESS PIECE OF SHIT!!!

KCChef
KCChef
09/20/2021 12:51 pm

When You Score 35 Points ( 28 by the Offense ) …Ya Oughtta Win … : (

DenverDonkeyHater
DenverDonkeyHater
09/20/2021 12:05 pm

If Darrius Harris and DOD are actually worse than Nieman and Hitchens then why are they on this team. Ragland? Id take Ragland now. He was a good run defender. Nieman and Hitchens are totally worthless in run and pass. Its time to bench Hitchens. Hes making too much money and sucks too bad.

SCKSChief
SCKSChief
Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
09/20/2021 12:08 pm

He refuses to attack and tackle. Wants to stand, hop, and wait like a bad junior high LB.

DenverDonkeyHater
DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  SCKSChief
09/20/2021 12:15 pm

And hes a “leader” on this defense.

Nate brings up a good point on Mathieu. He definitely makes too many business decisions. Again hes a leader on the D and it sets a bad example.

probablyamistake
probablyamistake
09/20/2021 11:51 am

I get everyone being down on CEH today, but I have no idea why the ball was in his hands with the game on the line. When has he shown that he deserves that kind of responsibility? When the game is in question, let your best players make plays!!! Have no idea what Andy was thinking there. This loss is on the staff.

MasterChief
MasterChief
Reply to  probablyamistake
09/20/2021 1:58 pm

We were playing for a field goal when we should have just let Mahomes be Mahomes and keep moving the ball himself.

Snafu
Reply to  MasterChief
09/20/2021 2:27 pm

A long field goal. At least make every attempt to get closer if nothing else.

SCKSChief
SCKSChief
09/20/2021 11:45 am

I just hate this defense. It might be one of KC’s worst…and that is really saying something. To me the jury is out on the LBs until Gay and Bolton have been in the lineup together for more than 7 minutes. Sorensen has to be a rotational guy, but for some reason they can’t seem to find someone to replace him. They still lack ANY good DEs and their interior got exponentially worse with this ridiculous CJ to DE stunt. CEH is not a bell cow. He needs to be replaced with a REAL RB…terrible draft pick. Starting to wonder if Veach got lucky with Mahomes and that is clouding our vision on his draft skills.

I realize it is only Week 2 and that things are certainly capable of turning around. After two weeks of the same performance (the most recent against a team with 15 players on IR), I just don’t see it…at all.

OL is significantly better. Mahomes needs to find a way to get rid of the PTSD from the last couple of years and trust them.

zulu trader
zulu trader
09/20/2021 11:28 am

yes

SCKSChief
SCKSChief
Reply to  zulu trader
09/20/2021 11:40 am

This is the correct answer.

SuperMegaChief
SuperMegaChief
09/20/2021 11:27 am

Should they bring up Gore and split carries with CEH? I’m not sure if that will spark CEH or demoralize him but he’s not working as of right now.

SCKSChief
SCKSChief
Reply to  SuperMegaChief
09/20/2021 11:40 am

CEH is a bust. Change of pace back, that’s it.

Nasrani
Nasrani
09/20/2021 10:38 am

Bolton will get it ironed out. He’s still a rookie. And remember Derrick Johnson circa 2009, when it seemed like he had his head in the sand? People were calling for him to be gone, and he went out and built up one of the most impressive resumes a Chiefs linebacker has ever had.

I haven’t quite given up hope on him. It was only his second week at game speed, and I have confidence he’ll figure things out down the stretch.

ArrowFan
ArrowFan
Reply to  Nasrani
09/20/2021 3:19 pm

I would also add that the game plan in my opinion was if the edge guy is unblocked you need to try and cover the hand-off and the QB keeper on option plays. This is a bad idea and why CJ and Bolton both looked lost on many plays. The game plan should have been if the edge guy is unblocked then you go hit the QB hard and only tackle him if he has the ball. Let the rest of the D worry about the RB. I could be wrong about this but this is what my eyes were telling me. I would also add that Bolton almost made a remarkable play at the goal line that showed fantastic speed and recovery skills against the RB playing QB.

upamtn
09/20/2021 10:31 am

well … I most certainly missed you, Nate … moreover, I’ve missed seeing GOOD CRITICAL pieces like this one (thank you!)

so much of what we get (and it’s not exclusive to AG) is the RahRahRah the Chiefs are the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread and Mahomes is a God and he’s NEVER lost a game in September (cough*choke*cough) or this and that and etc etc etc (he really needs to learn to throw it away when that’s called for)

yup, the D was putrid all night, despite having both Jones AND Clark (and they did pretty much nothing from what I can tell, which is just wrong for the money they earn) … last night was a Systemic Failure (from what I could tell, even Bob Sutton would have had the Defense as ready as what was on display last night)

the LB’s are a work in progress, but I understand your frustration

Sorenson … I know everyone loves to hate the guy, but he made a couple of stops in the Ravens backfield that definitely helped, and while he’s far from the fastest or most athletic guy on Defense, he DOES know how to maintain his assignments

Not gonna say CEH is a bust, but he sure doesn’t look like a 1st Round Worthy pick (even if at the end of the round)

on to the Chargers …

upamtn
Reply to  upamtn
09/20/2021 10:32 am

comment image

NovaChiefs
NovaChiefs
Reply to  upamtn
09/20/2021 10:42 am

I see promise in the LBs. Bolton looked good. Might have been being surrounded by stink that did it, but for two games, he’s made plays and been around the ball. Gay, if he gets back healthy, could be a plus.
I’m not ready to hate on Dan. He is playing at the level he can, and I think it’s the coaches that put him where he shouldn’t be.
CEH… I did expect more, but 3.4 every play and we win. Not great, not 1st round, but if he fooled people, he fooled the best. Didn’t Mahomes actually ASK for him?

DenverDonkeyHater
DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  NovaChiefs
09/20/2021 11:42 am

I mean Mahomes is not the GM. Just like Rodgers and Wilson are not GMs. When he makes personnel suggestions. You smile and nod and say “thats a great idea pat”

SCKSChief
SCKSChief
Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
09/20/2021 11:46 am

Input can certainly be sought, but at the end of the day the GM has to be the adult in the room because the pick is HIS and not the QBs. CEH is not good enough to be a 1st round selection…or a bell cow.

DenverDonkeyHater
DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  SCKSChief
09/20/2021 11:59 am

Keep him happy by making him think his opinion matters. It doesnt. The gm and scouts full time job is to evaluate talent.

SCKSChief
SCKSChief
Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
09/20/2021 12:03 pm

Just to make sure I understand, you’re saying it’s just a bad idea all the way around? If so, I can get behind that.

DenverDonkeyHater
DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  SCKSChief
09/20/2021 12:08 pm

I wouldnt seek out Mahomes opinion ever on personnel decisions. Its not his job. I mean the Rodgers thing was idiotic. Jordan love was a totally wasted pick. Wilson wanted to make his voice heard. But just like Pat his opinion doesnt matter. At the same time you have to make him feel special.

Straybrit
Straybrit
Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
09/20/2021 1:17 pm

Given his contract situation which means that he could well be here after many of the FO staff it probably makes sense to listen to any suggestions or opinions he might have on the offense – both players and plays. After all he is the central point when it comes to actually implement it all and he does have a reputation as a student of the game so his insights probably aren’t at the level of random internet commentators.

I certainly wouldn’t base the squad on that though.

In the meantime I think most of the defense needs taking aside and having the essentially ephemeral nature of their job security pointing out. Both players and coaches. That display yesterday is far from being adequate.

DenverDonkeyHater
DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  Straybrit
09/20/2021 2:03 pm

I think Pat trusts Andy to make those decisions so its probably a moot point. Maybe that will change if Andy retires at some point.

Somebody needs benching on that defense. Todd Haley did one thing right. He benched DJ

upamtn
Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
09/20/2021 2:40 pm

Todd Haley never did the right thing in the entire time he was with the Chiefs

DenverDonkeyHater
DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  upamtn
09/20/2021 2:49 pm

He was dick to Matt Cassel. And matt cassel deserved that. Didnt shake josh mcdaniels hand.

Maw423
Maw423
Reply to  upamtn
09/20/2021 10:58 am

I think it was EAFOX that said it, but Dan is just fine when he’s turned loose and can attack. When he has to read and react, he falls off a cliff.

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