Well yes, but with the type of defensive scheme that Bob Sutton, the Chiefs Defensive coordinator, likes to employ the Cover 1, and given the blue print that has been laid out by the Chargers, Bronco’s and to a greater degree Colts, on how to beat that scheme, it will fall on this one man to prevent that strategy from working again.
How so? I’m so glad you asked…
In order to understand why Sanders is so important, let’s quickly go over the Cover 1 scheme.
In this defense, the defensive backs all play man to man coverage, not zone, and although there are many variations, the one common denominator is that the free safety is responsible for the middle third of the field.
He is the last defender and no offensive player is supposed to get behind him because if he does it’s 6 points on the other team’s scoreboard.
The FS in this scheme has to be fast, take good angles, be a sure tackler, and have excellent ball skills. Here is a good picture representation of how the FS is the last line of defense…
As seen in the diagram and as witnessed by the entire nation in the Chiefs vs Colts playoff game, if you are able to get behind the free safety then you are home free. That is why the Colts were able to beat the defense over and over.
Time and time again the Colts were able to get by the FS by just throwing it over the top or by using quick strikes to the slot receiver and then letting him out run the cb, who had the short routes and was counting on the FS, to assist him over the top.
So how does Sanders Commings play into this scheme? Well he is the new FS and the replacement for the player that shall never again be mentioned (Kendrick Lewis).
If you look at Commings’ numbers you can see why Dorsey stood pat on this kid. He stands at 6-0 and weighs in at 216 lbs, ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at the combine last year and had a 34.5″ vertical, but most impressive of all are his ball skills.
Having played as a center fielder in college baseball and having the skills to play in the MLB, it becomes apparent that he has the tools to be exactly the type of player the Chiefs demand out of a free safety in the cover 1 scheme they employ.
Don’t take my word for it watch this video of Mr. Commings playing against fellow Chiefs teammate Tyler Bray during their college days. What pops out at you is Commings’ versatility and ball hawking skillsl.
Commings doesn’t get beat deep a single time and always seems in position to make a play (his interceptions are at 4:00 & 4:51). I believe he has the tools and has the coaching staff in place to take the next step and become a quality player in the NFL.
He was hurt in 2013 but I believe he will get the nod and start as the Chiefs FS assuming he beats out the competition.
Only time will tell for sure, but I believe Dorsey and company know what they are doing and when coupled with Husain Abdullah as the back-up FS the Chiefs will have the players to make a significant improvement over their previous FS (player which shall never again be mentioned) and turn what was once a weakness into a strength.
So what do you think folks? Will Sanders Commings be the answer the Chiefs so desperately need at the free safety position? Or will he be a bust and ruin an otherwise talented defense?