I previously looked at the Chiefs' offense and all of the ways Andy Reid could look to attack the Eagles on Sunday afternoon, so now it's time to look at Kansas City's defensive scheme and personnel. This was not a high-blitz operation in 2016. They recorded the fewest amount of sacks (four) off of blitzes in the entire NFL a year ago. The Chiefs rely on their four-man rush to get home more often than not, which puts a lot of pressure on those linemen in the trenches.
The team didn't have Justin Houston a year ago due to injury, and they're missing Tamba Hali right now. Houston has returned and paired with one of the more intriguing young pass rushers in football on the opposite side in Dee Ford, the Chiefs still have a very disruptive presence off the edge.
Shot 1 - Having Justin Houston back in the fold adds more bite to this #Chiefs pass rush. When he pins his ears back, QBs are in trouble pic.twitter.com/MEMY3p3IGG — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) September 15, 2017
Houston basically wrecked the Patriots in the fourth quarter, particularly late as New England tried to come back in Week 1. He's a tough player to account for one-on-one because he's an explosive, savvy rusher who can win with speed, power, and technique. Lane Johnson will have to bring his "A game" on Sunday afternoon in Arrowhead.
Shot 2 - Four examples of Chris Jones' first step and ability to win off the ball. Explosive for a 320-pound man. Very disruptive up front pic.twitter.com/TVziIbY9gB — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) September 15, 2017
Defensive lineman Chris Jones is another player who must be accounted for because he is very athletic for a 320-pound man and his first step is in the top echelon of the league for interior rushers. The former second-round pick lines up inside and outside for the Chiefs depending on their defensive front. He's an issue for any protection scheme with his combination of size and movement.
Shot 3 - #Eagles fans are well aware of Bennie Logan and his skillset. Stout as ever against the run. Flashed in preseason and vs Patriots pic.twitter.com/TTk32ICvee — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) September 15, 2017
Eagles fans are well aware of Bennie Logan and his skill set as a nose tackle. He's not an extremely disruptive pass rusher, but he's stout against the run and is tough to move on the inside. He gave New England fits in the run game, and has flashed in every preseason game I watched of the Chiefs this summer.
When you watch this Kansas City defense, one of the consistent themes up front is the use of a Bear front. Going back to former Eagles head coach Buddy Ryan's days in Chicago as a Super Bowl-champion defensive coordinator, the Bear defense (or 46 defense) isn't used as an every-down scheme these days, but the front is still pretty wide spread. The basic concept of a Bear front for the defense is to "cover up" the three interior linemen. That means that the center and both guards will have defenders either directly over them or on their respective outside shoulders. The positive effects are twofold. It's very, very hard to create double teams in the run game against a Bear front, and with the giant mess on the inside it helps create running room for the linebackers at the second level. With Kansas City's pass rushers on the outside, they often get one-on-one looks out of these Bear fronts, and with the veteran Derrick Johnson leading the way at linebacker, the second-level defenders have plenty of room to run.
Shot 4 - One of the things you'll see a lot from the #Chiefs is a 'Bear' or 'reduced front'. Forces 1-on-1 matchups and makes space for LBs! pic.twitter.com/JdlZPPu5B8 — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) September 15, 2017
You can see the Bear front in effect here showing how it helps to create wide lanes for the linebackers to run through to find the football. It wouldn't shock me at all to see the Chiefs use a healthy amount of this look on Sunday afternoon.
In the secondary, Marcus Peters is one of the top cover corners in the NFL. If not for some concerns off the field, he would've been drafted higher than where the Chiefs nabbed him in the first round when he entered the league. The gamble paid off as he's developed and reached his full potential.
Shot 5 - Marcus Peters has turned into one of the best CBs in the NFL. His instincts, zone eyes, ballskills, competitiveness all on display pic.twitter.com/E5KgpEfgMN — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) September 15, 2017
The Chiefs keep Peters at left corner and don't move him around, so don't expect him to follow Alshon Jeffery or Torrey Smith all over the field. But no matter how he's used on any given play - off coverage or press coverage, man or zone - he's got the ability to make a play on the ball and create a turnover for the defense. Carson Wentz has to know where he is at all times and be wary, because he will try to bait quarterbacks into throws his direction only to pounce on throws. Peters is a fluid athlete with plus instincts and a competitive streak.
The loss of Eric Berry to an Achilles injury will be a loss both on and off the field for this defense. They've shown the willingness to cover tight ends in a lot of different ways on tape. Free safety Ron Parker has done plenty of it, and their linebackers and slot corners will be involved as well in coverage against Zach Ertz, Trey Burton, and Brent Celek. The player tabbed to take over for Berry in the starting lineup, however, Daniel Sorensen, is going to be the focus for fans. A former undrafted free agent, he's not known by many, but Sorensen has covered tight ends in this league. It's not foreign to him.
Here are two examples of Sorensen manning up Jimmy Graham, one of the most athletic tight ends in the NFL, and helping to force a couple of incompletions. It wouldn't shock me at all to see Sorensen as their "tight end matchup" when the Eagles' offense takes the field on Sunday.
Fran Duffy is the producer of "Eagles Game Plan" which can be seen on Saturdays during the season. Be sure to also check out the "Eagle Eye In The Sky" podcast on the Philadelphia Eagles podcast channel on iTunes. Prior to joining the Eagles in 2011, Duffy was the head video coordinator for the Temple University Football team under former head coach Al Golden. In that role, he spent thousands of hours shooting, logging and assisting with the breakdown of the All-22 film from the team's games, practices and opponents.