After a great start to the 2013 NFL Season the Chiefs defense is one of the top in the league. The Chiefs defense was ranked the best in the NFL with the best pass rush up until a few weeks prior. The pass rush had a league leading 36 sacks coming into the matchup against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The question on everyone’s mind that day was; how will Peyton Manning and the Denver offensive line handle the best pass rush in the NFL? Much to my, and everyone else’s, dismay, they handled it pretty well.
At the end of the game it didn’t look like Manning even hot the ground once. Even with back up players on the line for the Broncos the Chiefs rush was contained and never made it to Manning for a sack. This could have to do with Manning being one of the fastest quarterbacks to get rid of the ball, but I’m not sold on that. I feel the teams across the NFL are figuring out the Chiefs pass rush and are making adjustments to counteract it.
With one of the most dominate defenses in the league, how else could Manning have escaped without tasting the turf one single time the entire game? There is nothing I would have liked to see more than for him to get up off the ground with that disgruntled look on his face wondering what happened. Unfortunately, this was never seen throughout the game. He eluded the clutches of Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, and Dontari Poe all night and was only rushed a few times to get rid of the ball.
With the way things have gone for the pass rush in the last few games I am hoping Bob Sutton has some tricks up his sleeve for the remainder of the season. Make some adjustments, or move some people around to force the offense to panic a little bit because that isn’t what they saw when watching film. Throw some different defensive packages at the opposing team and get back to making the quarterback be comfortable on the ground waiting for a Chiefs player to get up off of him.
The question that is on my mind, and I would think on all Chiefs fans minds, is where has the defense gone and why are they not getting past the offensive line as easily as they did in the first half of the season?
Am I also the only one who sees that Marcus Cooper is the target for all of the opposing teams’ quarterbacks to exploit? Looking back at some of the past games Cooper is constantly being beaten and taken for big yards when the receiver makes the catch. I am used to seeing him running behind the receiver trying to catch up on a big pass caught over his head. He does show some signs of hope, but we are bit late in the season for him to just now be getting better, and from what I have seen, that has been a very slow process. The secondary is lacking a bit despite Cooper, but no matter what way you slice it, Cooper is the exploitable option for opposing teams to take full and complete advantage of and get points on the board.
I hope the Chiefs defense I got used to seeing the first half of the season emerges once again and shows they can still dominate. Even with teams making adjustments to counteract the great pass rush I still think the Chiefs are the best in the league and will continue to dominate. They just need to figure out how to get back to basics and reintroduce the quarterback to the ground behind the line of scrimmage where they rightfully belong.
Follow Tim White on Twitter @taw266