Should Kansas City Chiefs fans be worried about the team’s run defense?
It is important to address the most important critique of the Chiefs up top. The Chiefs let the Ravens run for 251 yards on 41 carries or roughly 6.1 yards per carry. This is not good, to put it nicely. This is a week after giving up 153 yards rushing to the Cleveland Browns.
However, this is not the statistic that Chiefs’ fans have made it out to be. To clarify, the Chiefs’ run defense has proven to be problematic and not great.
This is in no way a defense of the way the Chiefs’ defense has played the last few weeks. They have to play better.
However, these rushing numbers were put up by two of the best rushing offenses in football. The Cleveland Browns’ offense is built on Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Nick Chubb had the third-highest rushing yards per game and seventh-most rushing yards in 2020 (on only 12 games). Kansas City Chiefs fans know what Kareem Hunt can do.
Then this week, the Chiefs played Lamar Jackson, who is one of the best running quarterbacks of all time in only his fourth year in the league. He is also in an offense that is built on the option and quarterback running. Sure, 107 yards is no small amount, but that offense is built so Lamar puts up those kinds of numbers.
Further, an offense that is built to run completely differently than any other in the league will also block in extremely unique ways. Chris Jones was getting trapped or lost on the line of scrimmage almost every play as the Ravens gave him something new to deal with every single play. One play they would give him the outside and run inside. The next, they would not even block him and run three skill players straight at him to confuse him on how to defend the option.
Jones doesn’t have much experience lining up at defensive end in the NFL, and he may be regretting his choice a little bit after the first two weeks. Defensive ends get to the quarterback more often and may get paid more, but they also have way more responsibilities and need much more experience to be elite at the NFL level.
The Chiefs’ run defense does need to get better, but the reality is that that needs to come from the coaches than the players.