New Kansas City Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid made maybe his most important hire early on in his tenure. On Saturday, Reid added Bob Sutton to his staff as the defensive coordinator. Sutton was most recently the assistant head coach and linebackers’ coach in New York for the Jets.
It is a curious hire for Reid. Sutton has been an organizational man for the Jets for thirteen years, holding a variety of roles including defensive coordinator from 2006-2008 under Eric Mangini. Nothing stands out from his years as coordinator. In those seasons, the Jets’ defenses were merely adequate in the NFL for total yards and points allowed, finishing in the middle third of the league. In 2008, the Jets were one of the top defenses in preventing rushing yards and rushing average but little else indicates that this is an exceptional hire by Reid.
Right now, the Kansas City defense is the team’s strength as far as personnel goes. The defense features three Pro Bowlers in Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry, and Tamba Hali) and two others who are above average players (Brandon Flowers, Justin Houston). Despite these players, the defensive backfield has a lack depth and the defensive line has struggled for many years to apply any kind of pressure on the opposing quarterbacks. Sutton and his defensive staff will still need to really work with most of the players on the roster from that side of the ball.
In the last several seasons, the Chiefs’ defensive schemes have seemed vanilla, seldom blitzing with a cornerback or safety. Reid is on record stating Sutton has a creative defensive mind and is going to come up with varying schemes. He will need to do so if the Chiefs are going to improve on defense. Other than Hali, and in 2012, Houston, the Chiefs have applied very little pressure on their opponents’ signal callers. This must change if there is gong to be consistent success on defense.
Considering the fact Andy Reid is known for his offensive mind, the hiring of a defensives coordinator was a big decision for him. This hire seems to have been rushed somewhat. It doesn’t appear other teams were banging down Bob Sutton’s door in an effort to hire him. This addition to a key position on Reid’s staff seems uninspired on the head coach’s part and it certainly isn’t an exciting or flashy hire as far as fans are concerned.
Only time will tell if Sutton is the right fit for the Chiefs. As exciting as it was getting Reid into the fold, his bringing in Sutton to head up his defense is a lackluster move that inspires very little excitement.