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Pressure Points: 2017 Chiefs Thus Far

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Week 9 saw the Chiefs drop a close but disappointing loss to the Cowboys in Dallas. A bye week at 6-3 is by no means a terrible thing to have, but seeing as Kansas City could conceivably be 9-0 there are some things to work on. Whether the problem has been finishing drives on offense, getting late game stops on defense, or balancing the time of possession, the Chiefs are in need of some regrouping during their week off. Looking at the pressure points that this Chiefs team has will help us to understand where it might break next.

Offensive Line – Most Recurrent Pressure Point

Even with the return of Laurent Duvernay-Tardif to the right guard spot, Kansas City’s line struggled against the Cowboys. A defensive front that has been slightly above average destroyed the Chiefs’ blocking schemes in both rushing and pass protection. Duvernay-Tardif and center Mitch Morse have the chance this week to fully reintegrate themselves after their injuries. If Kansas City wants to continue being successful, it will need the offensive line to step up its play as a unit.

Run Defense – Most Concerning Pressure Point

Yet again run defense features among the list of pressure points for the Chiefs. Simply put, the Chiefs cannot afford to be bled the way they are every game. If Kansas City can’t make the personnel and scheme adjustments they need to get run stops late in the game, they’ll have trouble either stopping comebacks or making their own. Defense wins championships, but the Chiefs may not even have enough run defense to get into the playoffs.

Playcalling – Biggest Pressure Point

Kansas City Chiefs Terrance Mitchell, left, intercepts a pass intended for Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Tyrell Williams during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Carson, C

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Kansas City’s playcalling on both sides of the ball leaves a little to be desired. On offense, draws and screens on long-distance downs have been all too common. Defensively, there has not been enough blitzing. Coverage from a reworked Chiefs secondary and rush from the defensive line have failed each other.

Every screen on 3rd and long wastes a drive for Kansas City. Every time Justin Houston drops into coverage reduces the Chiefs’ chance at a sack. Head coach Andy Reid and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton need to trust and use their weapons. Trying to outsmart their opponents, they have schemed themselves away from their best tools.

The Chiefs’ playoff berth could depend on their bye week. Fixing the scheme and unit cohesion, especially among the offensive line and the defensive secondary, is of vast importance. The offensive skill players are having a banner year. This is a Chiefs team with the potential to win a lot of games in the playoffs. Shoring up their pressure points can help them maximize that potential.

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Augustine "Gus" Harmon is a student at Benedictine College studying Mechanical Engineering and Physics. His love affair with football started in high school when he first started watching the game. In his spare time he plays rugby and stays active in his faith life.

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