Chiefs HC Andy Reid addresses defensive struggles after loss to Ravens

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·4 min read
Chiefs HC Andy Reid addresses defensive struggles after loss to Ravens
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Their one-point loss on Sunday at the hands of Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens has the Kansas City Chiefs doing some introspection, especially about their defense. Officially the worst team in red zone defense, and arguably the worst tackling team in the league through two weeks, Kansas City has hit a tough patch of defensive play early in the season.

Without a doubt, this is not where the team thought they’d be after their sterling preseason performances. Back-to-back Super Bowl appearances had the Chiefs looking forward to being one of a handful of teams to compete for three straight championships, but without marked improvement on defense, they’ll be lucky to get out of the first rounds of the playoffs.

Andy Reid is acutely aware of how bad the loss in Baltimore looked, assuring reporters that he and his staff have a handle on the situation in his press conference on Monday. Speaking of the team’s struggles defending inside the 20-yard line, Reid said defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has spent countless hours trying to find solutions, and that answers were likely to come when the defense does the basic things right consistently.

“Yeah, so listen. Spags [Steve Spagnuolo] spent a lot of time in the offseason with that. We worked it a ton in camp, and we haven’t had the results here,” Reid explained, “We’ll keep pounding that out until we get it right. It’s one of those things, everything gets magnified when you’re in the red zone, whether it’s good or bad.

“Even if you’re not tackling in the field, and it doesn’t happen in the red zone, you’re not giving up blocks up the field, then it’s going to get magnified in the red zone. Everything’s a little bit faster and all your strengths and weaknesses get magnified. So, you’ve got to make sure that you kind of get these fundamentals down and take care of it.”

Asked how hard it is to fix the tackling issues mid-season, Reid told reporters that he thinks there is some kind of mental block holding Chiefs defenders back.

“I thought we got better with it the second half,” He said of the defense’s inability to tackle. “Some of that’s a mindset, not being so cautious, rallying to the ball, narrowing space for runners, again when you’re being blocked, shedding and then wrapping up. Those are all important things, but some of it’s a mindset that you have to take care of, so that’s where we go with it”

The worst offender of the defense’s tackling issues is veteran safety Dan Sorenson, who leads the league in missed tackles two games into the season. Reid explained the decision to keep Sorenson on the field instead of third-year safety Juan Thornhill, saying they both have a similar skillset but that Sorenson had a better training camp.

“Juan (Thornhill) and Dan (Sorensen), they do certain things the same and a couple things different,” Reid said, “It all kind of equals out and Dan really had the better camp and so on. Maybe a little bit more consistency there, but we love Juan and where he’s getting himself back to where he was his rookie year. I don’t want to take anything way from the effort that he’s put forward to do that. They all get a chance to play. I think we’ll take it step by step here and can’t have enough of those guys that can play.”

Thornhill only played a handful of snaps against the Ravens, but he could see an increased workload given Sorenson’s struggles. While there aren’t any magic-wand solutions on the horizon for Kansas City, Reid seemed confident in the team’s ability to get back to playing winning football. With a Week 3 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers in store for their second game at home, the Chiefs are sure to feel they have something to prove after their embarrassing loss in Baltimore.

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