Could Defensive Changes Be on the Horizon for the Kansas City Chiefs?

Could Defensive Changes Be on the Horizon for the Kansas City Chiefs?

The Kansas City Chiefs’ defense can be won by any team. WithIt’s not about winning because of, it’s about winning. This has been the case for many years. Under Steve Spagnuolo, Kansas City has had below-average defense every year. Although the unit performed well in the two months leading to Super Bowl LIV, it has always shown more promise than actual production. Although the Chiefs could win the Super Bowl with this group, it’s time to make a significant change on the other side of the ball.

2019 2020 2021 2022

DVOA

14 (-2.6%)

22 (4.9%)

24 (4.5%)

25 (5.9%)

EPA/Play

18 (0.002)

19 (0.065)

23 (0.038)

20 (0.033)

Points per Drive

12 (1.85)

13 (2.13)

19 (2.14)

24 (2.27)

3rd down Percentage

11 (37.1%)

18 (41.0%)

18 (40.2%)

20 (40.0%)

Percentage for the Red Zone

9 (50.9%)

32 (76.6%)

16 (57.1%)

32 (68.2%)

The table below shows the Chiefs’ defensive ranks for certain categories since Spagnuolo assumed control in 2019. Spags’ first year was their best as an unit. They were in the top half for points per drive allowed and third-down percentage, redzone percentage and DVOA. DVOA is a stat that “compares a teams performance to a league baseline based upon situation in order to determine value more than average.” As defined by Football Outsiders.

Spagnuolo has been accused of claiming that Spagnuolo is not affected by Spagnuolo’s defense, which has many young players. It’s actually because the defense is still too young. This could not be more wrong. The best part of defense, aside from Chris Jones, has been the young players at cornerback.

Trent McDuffie is a star and Jaylen Watson and Joshua Williams are also playing well. The Chiefs’ defenses for 2019-2021 will prove Spagnuolo isn’t staffed with enough veterans. 2019-2021 defenses had a majority of the same core players, with fewer veterans.

August 14, 2021 Santa Clara, California USA; Steve Spagnuolo, Kansas City Chiefs' defensive coordinator, before the game against San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada - USA TODAY Sports

Spagnuolo’s defensive style is not designed to be used in the current NFL. It has nothing to do the player’s age and everything to do Spagnuolo’s preference for the type of player.

Here are the DVOA rankings for every place Steve Spagnuolo was the defensive coordinator or head coach.

  • Giants DC 2007 – 14.
  • Giants DC 2008 – 8
  • Rams HC 2009 – 31
  • Rams HC 2010 – 15
  • Rams HC 2011 – 17
  • Saints DC 2012 – 27
  • Giants DC 2015 – 27
  • Giants DC 2016 – 3
  • Giants DC 2017 – 25,

Spagnuolo was at his best before the 2015 season. The NFL game has become more distributed and generally faster since then. Spagnuolo prefers larger players on defense, especially on the defensive line. The people at the KCSN Laboratory These preferences were researched and Spagnuolo found that there are three thresholds he typically targets when he is looking for a defensive end.

  • Height – 6’3″, or taller
  • Weight – 260 pounds or more
  • Arm Length – 33 inches or more

These players are power rushers, who are strong against the run and can bend the corner. Chiefs struggle to reach the quarterback against mobile quarterbacks. The typical power rusher is unable to catch up with the athletic quarterbacks. These quarterbacks can easily evade Chiefs’ rush, which puts more pressure on the defense’s backend.

Mar 1, 2022, Indianapolis, IN, USA. Brett Veach, Kansas City Chiefs general manger, speaks to the media during 2022 NFL Combine. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski - USA TODAY Sports

Spagnuolo doesn’t want to change his views on the type players he likes. It’s time for the Chiefs to look into finding a new defensive coordinator in 2023 if they want a defense that can stop the modern NFL offense. The spotlight would also be on Brett Veach, the general manager, if there were to be a change of defensive coordinators.

Veach’s tenure with the Chiefs has been positive. However, a new coordinator would technically only be his third. There have not been any top defenses from the previous two. He will need to continue to draft quality players and build a strong defense to ensure that Patrick Mahomes doesn’t feel the pressure and allow the offense to win championships and games.

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