Pass Rush Problems … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

The number stood out on the stat sheet after the Chiefs were blasted by the Chargers:

The Chiefs defense hit San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers once in the 28 times he went back to pass.

That’s just touching him; that doesn’t mean sacking him. The Chiefs were shutout in the sack department. It’s the third time this season they were not able to get the passer on the ground at least once. It happened in the first game between these teams and also against Philadelphia.

Based on the sacks alone, the Chiefs have shown improvement in their pass rush from last season when they set an NFL record for sack futility with just 10 in 16 games. This year, the Chiefs have 14 in 11 games.

However, that’s the second fewest sacks in the league. Only Jacksonville has less at 10.

Compared to the 38 sacks opponents have gotten against the Chiefs offense, they are a minus-24 in the sack ratio. That’s the worst number in the league. Those 38 sacks allowed are the second highest total in the league, with only Green Bay showing more at 44 sacks.

But our focus here is on defense and the pass rush. Too many times we get hung up strictly on sacks, but that number isn’t always indicative of pressure on the quarterback. We’ve got to dig for other numbers, like the quarterback hits. Only rookie DE Alex Magee was able to get to Rivers on Sunday. One in 28 passes by Rivers; that’s bad, very bad.

Another indication of pressure is completion percentage, and if a quarterback is getting rid of the ball early and in awkward positions, he’s prone to missing connections with his receivers. Rivers was 21 of 28, a completion percentage of 75 percent. That’s pretty darn good and an indication that Rivers wasn’t bothered by the Chiefs rush. On the season, opposing quarterbacks are completing 59.2 percent of their passes. That’s tied for 10th in the league for the lowest opponent completion percentage.

A third stat that can reveal pressure and that’s interceptions. Rivers did not throw one on Sunday. In fact, the Chiefs have just seven interceptions in 11 games, on 365 passes thrown against them. They are tied for third in the league with the fewest interceptions, as only Detroit and Cleveland have fewer picks with six.

“We have to put pressure on the quarterback,” said Todd Haley as he agreed that the Chiefs pass rush on Sunday against the Chargers was not good enough. “It’s a fine line; when you pressure you put people in a position of disadvantage and teams can make decisions versus you whether they want to block up protections and run two or three-man routes or get everybody out.

“Again, I think that we’ve got to create pressure. I don’t think that answer is always blitz or bringing five or six guys. There are other ways to create pressure.”

Whatever those ways are, the Chiefs need to explore and expand their use. The Chiefs were awfully conservative with the blitz against San Diego, basically leaving the pass rush up to the defensive linemen and outside linebackers. Even without taking chances and putting people in “position of disadvantage” Rivers picked apart the Chiefs defense and did it with a uniform that barely needed to be washed afterwards.

“I don’t know if conservative is necessarily the word,” said Haley. “We had a plan for the way we felt we had to play. Did we execute the plan? No. I don’t know if conservative has negative connotations or not. I think we tried to play the game the way we thought gave us a chance to win.

“The Steelers game, for instance, I would say in the first half we leaned towards the conservative side. I think the more we can keep games from getting out of hand like they did yesterday and go into the final 30 minutes of a game where we clearly have a chance to win.

“We had a plan for the game we had to play. If the offense doesn’t turn the ball over I would like to have seen the result.”

Haley’s plan for these games against the better teams on the Chiefs schedule is becoming clear: he wants to shorten the field and squeeze the clock. Haley wants to take fewer chances in the first half, trying to nurse the game to half-time and have the Chiefs leading, tied, or down by no more than a touchdown. Then, in the second half, the Chiefs coaches are taking more chances and opening up the attack.

Without a doubt, having the offense turn the ball over four times did not help the Chiefs pass rush in San Diego. But given that the Chargers threw the ball 59 times in two games and did not allow a sack to the Chiefs tells us they don’t match up against the AFC West leaders. That’s something that will have to be rectified going into next year if the Chiefs are going to be competitive against the division’s best team.

Coming up are the Denver Broncos, who have allowed 20 sacks; the Chiefs have two games against them. Then it’s Buffalo (33 sacks allowed), Cleveland (25) and Cincinnati (20).

Somehow the Chiefs must find a way to pressure the quarterback.

SIGNINGS, INJURIES & MOVEMENT AROUND THE LEAGUE

  • BROWNS – placed NT Shaun Rogers on the injured-reserve list (ankle).
  • BUCCANEERS – placed CB Torrie Cox and P Dirk Johnson on the injured-reserve list; placed G Arron Sears on the reserve/non-football injury list; promoted CB Brandon Anderson from the practice squad.
  • CHARGERS – expect to be without FS Eric Weddle for two to three games because of a sprained MCL that he suffered on Sunday against the Chiefs.
  • FALCONS – QB Matt Ryan will not play this coming Sunday against the Eagles because of the toe injury suffered in Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers.
  • GIANTS – placed LB Antonio Pierce on the injured-reserve list (neck).
  • PANTHERS – QB Jake Delhomme suffered a broken finger on his right/throwing hand in Sunday’s game against the Bills. His status for this weekend’s game against the Buccaneers is unknown.
  • REDSKINS – placed TE Chris Cooley on the injured reserve list; DE Jerermy Jarmon will not play the rest of the season because of a knee injury; RB Clinton Portis will not play this coming Sunday against the Saints as he continues to recover from a concussion; promoted LB Alvin Bowen and DE Rob Jackson from the practice squad.

FROM THE PAGES OF CHIEFS HISTORY

On December 1, 1963, the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the New York Jets 17-0 at the Polo Grounds. A “crowd” of 18,824 fans watched as the Chiefs were shutout for the first time in franchise history. The Kansas City offense actually had more first downs (13-10) and offensive yards (296 to 179) than New York, but they were unable to put the ball into the end zone. WR Frank Jackson caught six passes for 110 yards. The Chiefs moved the ball into Jets territory on eight of their 14 possessions, but only once cracked the 10-yard line. They had a first-and-goal at the New York one-yard line in the fourth quarter, but RB Bert Coan (right) fumbled and the Jets recovered. Jack Spikes missed two FGs for the Chiefs.

On December 1, 1974, the Chiefs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 17-13 at Busch Stadium. The Chiefs squeezed all 17 of their points between a pair of Cardinals touchdowns to pick up the victory. Both KC touchdowns were set up by interceptions of St. Louis QB Jim Hart, as S Mike Sensibaugh and LB Willie Lanier grabbed picks. QB Len Dawson threw a four-yard TD pass to RB Jeff Kinney and Wendell Hayes scored on a one-yard run. K Jan Stenerud added a 22-yard FG; that score was set up by a 47-yard run by RB Cleothus Miller (left), who ran 15 times for 95 yards. Dawson was 13 of 22 for 93 yards. Hart was 19 of 39 for 194 yards, but had those two interceptions.

On December 1, 1985, the Chiefs lost to the Seattle Seahawks 24-6 at the Kingdome. QB Dave Krieg and WR Steve Largent led the way for the Seahawks who dominated this game in front of 52,655 fans. Krieg hit 21 of 34 passes for 254 yards and a pair of TD passes, including one form 17 yards to Largent, who finished with seven catches for 101 yards. The Chiefs managed just 201 yards on offense, as they ran for just 52 yards. QB Todd Blackledge was 16 of 30 for 180 yards and he threw three interceptions. The only scoring for the Chiefs came from the right foot of Nick Lowery, who kicked a pair of FGs. FS Deron Cherry had an interception and LB Scott Radecic picked up a sack of Krieg.

On December 1, 1991, the Chiefs beat the Seattle Seahawks 19-6 at the Kingdome. There was only one touchdown scored in this game as the defenses dominated. QB Steve DeBerg hit TE Pete Holohan with an eight-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter. The Chiefs were able to run the ball, gaining 157 yards on 43 carries, as RB Barry Word (right) ran for 96 of those yards on 26 carries. DeBerg was 17 of 26 for 154 yards. The KC defense had an interception from FS Deron Cherry and five sacks, two each from LBs Derrick Thomas and Tracy Simien.

On December 1, 2002, the Chiefs beat the Arizona Cardinals 49-0 in front of 77,809 at Arrowhead Stadium. In the second biggest victory in franchise history, the Chiefs dominated the visitors in every facet of the game. On offense they racked up 477 yards and six touchdowns. On defense they allowed just 122 offensive yards, sacked Arizona quarterbacks five times and grabbed four interceptions. On special teams, Dante Hall had a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown. RB Priest Holmes ran 16 times for 113 yards and touchdown runs of five and two yards. TE Tony Gonzalez caught four passes for 74 yards and a 23-yard scoring pass from QB Trent Green. WR Mark Boerigter only had two catches, but both were for touchdowns, one from Green and the last one from second QB Todd Collins. On defense, rookie DE Eddie Freeman had two sacks and CB Ray Crockett had a pair of interceptions. Cardinals QB Jake Plummer was 14 of 31 for 88 yards and three of those picks.

SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY …

Born on December 1, 1963 in Chicago was C Tom Baugh. He was selected in the fourth-round of the 1986 NFL Draft out of Southern Illinois University. Baugh played for three seasons (1986-88), appearing in 29 games, with 16 starts. He finished his career playing the 1989 season in Cleveland.

Born on December 1, 1971 in Atlanta was DT Rob Waldrop. He was selected in the fifth-round of the 1994 NFL Draft out of the University of Arizona. Waldrop played in three games in that rookie season with the Chiefs. It was his only appearance in pro football.


22 Responses to “Pass Rush Problems … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • December 1, 2009  - el cid says:

    Not sure if it is coaching or scheme or quality of players but there is obviously something missing on the Chief’s D line. It has been a problem since the middle of the Carl era and continues. Over half the season is gone and T. Jackson still has no effect on Dline play. He is usually tied up on a DT and that is about it, also spends a lot of time on the ground. He may be learning how to play in the NFL but he has found nothing that works for himself yet. Magee seems to be learning but no starter material yet. Dorsey has not been to bad just a waste because of the 1st round tag. Because of the wasted picks, I am suggesting the #1 pick is a DL and we have cornered the market with the most expensive DL that produces nothing.

    OR

    Is it the coaching or scheme? We need a fix and looking at the efforts of Pioli/Haley to work on the defense so far, nothing has worked yet. No answers here, either.


  • December 1, 2009  - KC#9 says:

    Of all the coaches on the staff last year, Krumrie was second only to Herm on the list of guys I wanted to see replaced. Sure he’s a great rah-rah guy, but can he actually coach?


  • December 1, 2009  - MenInRed says:

    I think its more to do with Scheme than the players we have or have had, we have spent alot of high draft picks on that side of the ball. Pendergast is not worthy and Gun was forced to run cover 2 by Herm, something he didnt know nor like.

    The Stat that scares me more is Our QB getting hit and thats been a on going problem for a several years now, we need to pick OL hard and heavy over the next 2 years. If we can protect our QB and move the ball it will rest our Def and keep them off the field at least half the game if not more. Whats Waters got left 1 maybe 2 years left? Albert is the only future we have there so in short we need a min of 3 more studs on the O-line.

    If you go back and look at the last 3 years our D has been on the field on a average of 4-to-1, we need balance. With that, you will see what we have will work and work well.

    Go Chiefs!!!


  • December 1, 2009  - ThunderChief says:

    This lack of pressure on opposing QBs simply, again, points out the premium placed on the true effective pass rushers in the game. Put a Dwight Freeney in the lineup and voila!

    Those types of guys are rare, but rocks need to continually be overturned by the front office and scouts to find (another–Jared Allen)one to wreak havoc. Until then? Same old, same old.

    By the way, I agree with MenInRed that the top priority right now is shoring up the Oline. The Chiefs do that, and they CAN, plus get lucky and find another pass rush specialist gem somewhere, then look out!


  • December 1, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    I have to agree with KC#9. Krumrie has been the only constant. And I was really suprised that Haley kept him around. Disappointed, too. With the supposed talent level we’ve had on the line, we should be MUCH better than we have been. Maybe not great…but decent, anyway. Certainly not terrible, which is where we have been…and still are.

    Of course, trading away a monster like Jared Allen didn’t help much either. The absolutely perfect guy to anchor our Defense for years to come…and we traded him away. Stupid, stupid, stupid.


  • December 1, 2009  - el cid says:

    MeninRed – our offense is not any good right now, so yes the defense is on the field to long. That said, the Chief’s defense will have to be iron men and carry this team for at least two more years. A first round pick might shore up the DLine for that time, one offense lineman will not fix much on the offense (especially if it takes “years to learn” that position). Also I do not know where you see “what we have will work and work well”. Except for the Pitt game our defense has given up almost 400 yds total defense every game, that flat stinks by any standard.

    Lastly I do not see Cassel surviving three years with this offense line. But free agency has to be the answer, not guys like MUs Brown sitting on the practice squad.


  • December 1, 2009  - Jim Lloyd+ says:

    On the QB being hit, after 3 seconds Matt just stands there with a bluried eye look , like hes locked up .
    #91 is rushing the passes , but he meraly stays in an embrece out around the back of Rivers as he(Rivers) STEPS UP to throw ,then never makes an effort to roll back in to meet up so he can tackel him . All he has to do is roll 270 degrees ,back in to his left .( Just like Jarred Allen does )It looks like they want to be funny !
    Matt looks like he is looking for an adress , just really ,really lost . If he dosen’t move sometimes ( witch he dosen’t ) its easy to just run into him . Makes the O line look real bad .
    CHECK THE GAME FLIMS ————-HELLO ?????????


  • December 1, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    Problem is…

    The same thing it was when Haley got here. We need help at pretty much every position on this team. Outside of QB, which I not 100% convinced of either…the Chiefs need help at basically every single position. Fixing all those holes, even with one more offseason, is going to be a HUGE challenge.

    And yes, I purposely left off our kickers. While their jobs are important…it’s Offense and Defense where the game is won.


  • December 1, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    el cid says:

    “But free agency has to be the answer”

    Sounds good. In theory. But I still think the big problem is going be convincing GOOD players to come play for the Chiefs. It’s not always just about the money. Good players want to play for good teams. Pioli has his work cut out for him in that department, that’s for sure.


  • December 1, 2009  - SG says:

    “But I still think the big problem is going be convincing GOOD players to come play for the Chiefs.”

    Why do we still think FA will do the job? That doesn’t seem to be the model that other teams are using for the core of their winning team. The approach seems to be “let’s draft the players we need, coach them to play the way we want, and bring in some players who will follow our system and build a long term solution.”

    Is the team good or bad talent-wise? Should we continue to cry over spilt milk over whether we should have drafted a guy like Monroe or Oher in Round 1 – or see if the core of this team has changed? If we see the heart of this team change, then it at least gives some hope that we will have a strong group of players who can/will perform over the long term. Do we think 4, 5, or 6 wins is a reasonable target now? Let’s remember we have MORE wins after 11 games than we did all last season.


  • December 1, 2009  - Jim Lloyd+ says:

    Larry Johnson was such a huge distraction for so long that it slowed down the rest of the process .
    At that the D. and WRs have been tuned up .
    After that eye opening game last night (about QBs,& the level of preformance needed to compete in todays NFL ) that is where the FIXING is going to HAVE to start !
    There are FOUR Suppurd QBs in NFL football today and the next thing is the razor sharp and extreem coaching needed to go to that level .
    Brady-Breeze-Farve have the right help and Payton has learned how to do it on his own .
    Its a fast game & it is getting harder every day to catch up . Even Bill said , Shawn did better than he was ready for . Shawn Payton was shockingly good , I mean he more than had a grip on that game , he and Drew owned it from the first play and look who they were playing , YES they are the REAL THING !!!!


  • December 1, 2009  - Jim Lloyd+ says:

    The only way N.O. will be touched in the Supper Bowl is if their Buss has flat tires and they can’t show up to play .
    What’s scarey is that they seemed to be improving every week … A lot .
    If anyone missed it , NFL total Asuss will be showing it a lot this week .

    Don’t miss the first play , it will take you out of your chair .


  • December 1, 2009  - el cid says:

    SG just wondering? Of the last draft, just who added to these wins you are so proud of. The Kicker maybe, Mr. Relevant? Who else is making the Chiefs better than they were last year? You say draft players we need, coach them and bring in other to support the system. Just wondering who in the last draft are being coach to support the system (I know let us check back in 3 years to see if any are left on the team, so much crap). It seems to me any movement to the future is coming from trade, free agents, or guys off the street, more credit to Haley. Lastly, if the Chiefs cannot find at least 2 wins, the team, barring injuries, will have regressed noticeably from the Pitts game.


  • December 1, 2009  - Chiefs Fan 82 says:

    I have to agree with el cid on this one. The defense needs to drastically improve. We need need a NT to wreak havoc. I would love to see Suh drop to us in the draft however that seems unlikely. We also need LB’s badly. Coverage LB who can also blitz through the line instead of our blitzers who get no penetration what so ever. Other than Hali, our LB’s would be hard pressed to make another teams starting lineup. Vrabel is good but I think he is on the decline. His experience is what is keeping him competitive but he has shown, like Cassel, that without great talent around him, he is not as great as his NE days. Defense wins championships! Period. Olineman wont want to come here and passblock all the time because we are behind because our weak D gives up 400+. These big basterds like to pave roads and run block. They like to pancake LBs and DBs into the turf. Build the D first, then our mediocre offense wont need to score too many points. Look at the Bears in their Superbowl year vs the Colts.


  • December 1, 2009  - RedRum says:

    Mark my words….I see yet another DT in the first round and yet another disappointed fan reaction. I guarentee Pioli won’t take an O-lineman, simply because that is what everyone wants him to do and what he SHOULD do.


  • December 1, 2009  - el cid says:

    As long as the pick is after the first five, I will take any impact guy at about any position. Based on the Chiefs list of talent, a RB, WR, DT, DE, monster LB, S or OL are all needed. I scratch RB because they are a dime a dozen. Same with WR, to many bomb outs in first round. DT, DE, LB are possible adn S or OL are backup picks. Sorry see a lot of unhappy fans but it is part of the process and patience,


  • December 1, 2009  - el cid says:

    Almost forgot BIGGER question mark, who will be OC or DC in 2010. That will go a long way as to the direction of the 2010 draft. Say Weis as OC, may have enough talent to say the first pick goes to the defense….. OR….. Crenel as DC and first pick to offense to start that rebuild or at least move it on. Keeping Haley as OC pick might go to offense and Pendergast as DC and who knows.

    Lastly it would be very disappointing if the Chiefs copied the 09 draft in style. Jackson, Magee, Lawrence, Brown, and the TE just do not seem much bang for the buck. Especially since the team is not showing much inprovement much less a powerhouse at any position they drafted except for Succop.


  • December 1, 2009  - Bakjon says:

    The offensive line needs to be repaired first as the best way to keep the defense fresh is to keep it off the field. Also, some playmakers on offense are needed to make Cassell’s life a little easier. Secondly, the scheme as well as the staff needs to change. Too bad we couldn’t have gotten Williams instead of NO. We need to replace both Prendergast and Krumrie. If we could get Crennel and a excellent line coach along with help in draft and FA then we could have a chance if not next year then 2011.


  • December 2, 2009  - ED says:

    Guys get out of the mentality that defensive line are going to lead the team in sacks. Its not going to happen. We’re in a 3-4 scheme not a 4-3 scheme. Every team that runs the 3-4 their defensive lineman are not leading the team in sack their Outside linebackers are. I guess some of you are not to familiar with how a 3-4 scheme works. Its not Jackson, Dorsey, or Edwards job in a 3-4 to get sacks. Its to absorb offensive lineman so that the linebackers can fly around and make plays. If you look at Steelers and Ravens their defensive ends aren’t leading the team in sacks. Its their OLB Lamar Woodley, Terrell Suggs, and James Harrison guys like that.

    The reason the Chiefs are suffering getting pressure is because we lack an elite Outside linebacker. Until we get one its going to be tough. So among improving the offensive lineman in the draft we have to find away to get a guy that can get after the quarterback. So guys stop looking out our line to create sacks because we’re no longer running a 4-3 defense. In this defense linebackers has to make plays.


  • December 2, 2009  - SG says:

    “Defense wins championships!”

    Since you picked 82 for your handle, which LSU alum do you suggest we draft next?


  • December 2, 2009  - SG says:

    “Of the last draft, just who added to these wins you are so proud of.”

    El Cid, your comments seem to point to whether the process is working or not (NOT) at present. P/H approach – is it the right process or not – (remains to be seen).


  • December 2, 2009  - K See Fan says:

    Good point ED. I have seen people say that Tyson Jackson, Dorsey and Magee aren’t doing well. They are rookies and will get better with time. I feel that KC should trade their 1st pick if it’s in the top 5 or 6 for more picks. I feel there is only one person worth taking in the top 5 FOR THE CHIEFS and that is Okung. I like Safety Berry but I would like DE/LB from TCU Jerry Hughes or OU’s LB Travis Lewis.




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