The Kansas City Chiefs showed another visible chink in their defensive armor while narrowly losing to the Denver Broncos Sunday. Their secondary has shown signs of crumbling in the past few weeks. Rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper, who was not too long ago in the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year, has taken quite a bit of that blame, though it’s certainly not all his fault.
During the first nine weeks of the season as the Chiefs pressed forward undefeated their defensive backs were banking on a few things, not the least of which were being up against quite a few mediocre quarterbacks and offensive lines as well as a bulldozer of a pass rush that was making a name for Kansas City. And Kansas City boasting one of the best defenses in the NFL was no joke, despite what anyone said about their having an “easy” schedule. The downside is that offenses around the league have started to crack the Chiefs’ code, so to speak.
With Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston temporarily out, Kansas City was left a bit strapped against Denver Sunday. Denver wide receiver Eric Decker scored four touchdowns on Cooper this week, though in Cooper’s defense as a rookie he is still developing as a player. His flaws are obvious and unsettling, but they will also be correctable moving forward. The same excuse can’t be made for Kansas City safeties Quintin Demps and Kendrick Lewis.
As for the Chiefs’ front defensive line, it is founded upon effectively rushing the quarterback. When they are unable to do that, as they were nearly all of both of this season’s games against Denver, they appear to be a glaringly unremarkable and ineffective squad.
The Chiefs take on Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins this Sunday. Griffin has only completed 11 of his 44 attempts at deep passes that have traveled 20 or more yards. Assuming the Chiefs’ defense — especially the safeties — stay on top of things, Kansas City’s secondary should have no problem recapturing their confidence and being the defensive force they were earlier this season.
If the Chiefs can beat the Redskins and then the Oakland Raiders in Week 15 (and chances are in their favor on both counts), they certainly have a great shot at nabbing an AFC Wild Card spot for the playoffs.