Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid addressed questions from the media following the loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. The Chiefs head into their bye week with a 6-3 record. David Eulitt The Kansas City Star
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid addressed questions from the media following the loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. The Chiefs head into their bye week with a 6-3 record. David Eulitt The Kansas City Star

Red Zone

The Chiefs and NFL by beat writer Terez Paylor

Red Zone

Ask Terez: Fixing the run defense, fans’ annoyance and a switch to the 4-3?

By Terez A. Paylor

tpaylor@kcstar.com

November 06, 2017 08:54 PM

UPDATED November 06, 2017 09:00 PM

Following the KC Chiefs’ 28-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, beat writer Terez A. Paylor answered Twitter questions about Chiefs’ fans annoyance with their team, a switch to a 4-3(?), fixing the run defense and much, much more.

Seems like the bye week came at the right time, yeah?

— Cody Goodwin (@codygoodwin) November 6, 2017

You got that right. The thing that struck me when walking through the Chiefs’ locker room Sunday night was how many guys had ice on an ailing body part. Knees. Shoulders. All of that. This is a tired football team that needs a break, folks.

Shouldn't all Chiefs fans be happy about a 6-3 start? Especially after going 3-3 during a brutal 6-game stretch. The sky isn't falling.

— Zack Carpenter (@ZackCarpenter11) November 6, 2017

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Absolutely, Zack. I’m glad you’re keeping a level head about this. Heck, in my season preview column, I predicted them to be 5-4 at this point, which means they’re actually a game ahead of the pace I predicted. The problem is, the New England win in the season opener set the bar so high, it’s impossible for most fans to be satisfied with a 6-3 record after losing three of the last four contests. I don’t blame you guys for feeling that way, either.

Except for Conley, Offense should be able to regain it's early form. Not so the D. What can be done to stop the run & big passes?

— David Vanzant (@mpandf) November 6, 2017

The Chiefs’ players were fairly upbeat about the success they had stopping the run Sunday, particularly out of their nickel packages. The Chiefs used two inside linebackers –– Derrick Johnson and Kevin Pierre-Louis –– in that subpackage instead of putting a safety at linebacker, and they fared well. It was a positive sign. As for the big passing plays? Yeesh. Guys have to get better and work their technique in the secondary. Guys have to start making plays, and the front seven needs to be more disruptive. Bob Sutton can help them with that by being more creative with his blitzes. It’s simple but it’s not easy.

This season is gonna end like 2003, 2013, 2015 and 2016 right? Sigh.

— KSchaser in NE (@kschaser1) November 6, 2017

I don’t even blame you guys for feeling this way. This is my fifth year on the beat and I never used to understand why you guys freak out after bad losses. Your boy Melly did a great job explaining it last week, and after I’ve seen your guts ripped out twice in the last four years –– ’14 Indy and ’17 Pittsburgh –– I get it. The only thing I can tell you is that I still think this is a good team, and anything can happen in football. Enjoy the ride, folks. There’s a chance the Chiefs could still go the distance … just try to make sure your happiness is outcome independent of whatever happens with the Chiefs.

Why aren't we involving Hunt like we were when we were 5-0? Has to be some sort of correlation there

— Frankie Licausi (@licausifrankie) November 6, 2017

It’s because he’s 5 feet 10, 208 pounds and they need to make sure he’s at full strength for the rest of the season. I support leaning on other backs to get Hunt through the rookie wall. It’s a long grind of a season, folks. The good news is that I’ve heard very positive things about Hunt’s maturity and the way he takes care of himself after games. He does everything he can to get ready for the next week, and I’ve heard he approaches it like a veteran. That’s a great sign for you Kareem Hunt fantasy owners. Just stay patient, k beb?

What happened to running game? Lack of continuity with the line? Doesn't make sense to run all over everyone in 1st quarter & then disappear

— Charles (@HotChuckG) November 6, 2017

I wrote about this here, but the offensive line isn’t getting the job done. Period. Teams are doing some things to take away the run, but even coach Andy Reid admitted Monday they still should be running the ball better than they have been. I still believe in a lot of these linemen and I think the bye week will help them. I’d be really surprised if Mitch Morse and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and the rest of the bunch didn’t take their frustrations out on the hapless Giants, 1-7, with two weeks rest on Nov. 19.

Is the loss of Chris Conley a bigger deal than people are letting on? He’s a strong downfield blocker.

— JBHerman (@JBHermanMD) November 6, 2017

Prior to his season-ending Achilles injury, Conley was developing into a nice short-to-intermediate weapon for the Chiefs, a reliable chain-mover who could be counted on to line up anywhere, make the proper sight adjustments, block his tail off and be where he was supposed to be. That’s pretty valuable, and I do think he’s missed. As you guys know, I like Demarcus Robinson, but losing someone like Conley hurts the depth significantly. One more injury to the receiving corps puts Jehu Chesson the field, and we don’t know what he can do as a receiver (though he’s already a good special-teamer).

R coaches content with the pass rush? Seems like they game plan for having zero pressure on opposing QB. No changes planned to get pressure?

— Kyle Fisher (@TheKyleFisher) November 6, 2017

Yes, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton could probably stand to be a tick more creative and a tick more aggressive. But I also think the men up front have to do a better job of creating pressure on their own. Nobody was complaining about the scheme in September, when these guys were winning their 1-on-1 matchups and generating pressure with only four men, allowing them to drop a robust seven players into coverage. Remember folks, professional football is about Jimmys and Joes, not X’s and O’s.

The call Corporate Champion and ask u to make one bold decision one flyer of an idea to get over 11-5/playoff loss hump. What do you suggest

— Kyle Fisher (@TheKyleFisher) November 6, 2017

This is a great question. You want bold? How’s this –– I’d consider going to a 4-3 this offseason. But that’s just me, because I love the upfield nature of the 4-3 and I think it simplifies gap responsibilities for everybody. You even have (most of) the personnel to pull it off, as a Ford (RE), Jones (3T), Logan (1T) and Houston (LE) front would actually be pretty feisty, while a DJ (MLB), Pierre-Louis (WLB) and Ragland (SLB) crew –– or something like that –– wouldn’t the worst thing in the world. Alas, it’s likely a pipe dream. The Chiefs have spent the last 10-plus years drafting for a 3-4, and switching systems requires teams to evaluate players differently. The Chiefs have generally done a nice job drafting, so I’m not sure the risk is worth the reward. Remember, they can always (theoretically) draft better players to make make the 3-4 work better. But anyway, there’s my wacky suggestion.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid sees need for improvement in offensive line

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid sees the need for improvement by the offense after the team’s 68 yards rushing against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

John Sleezer and Terez A. Paylor The Kansas City Star