Yes, you read that headline correctly; it is time to fire Steve Spagnuolo as Chiefs’ Defensive Coordinator. The Super Bowl honeymoon is over, and it is time to make tough changes.
The issues with the Chiefs’ defense do not have to do with talent. Talent is not a problem when your defense has starters like Chris Jones, Tyrann Mathieu, Jarran Reed, and L’Jarius Sneed. Instead, coaching and scheme are the problems with the Chiefs defense.
The repetitive scheme of Spags has been a big problem for the Chiefs this season. Opposing teams seem to know what plays the Chiefs defense will be in on every down. It is how they keep getting Daniel Sorenson in one on one coverage. It is how runners have gaping wholes on seemingly every attempt. Whatever scheme Spags is running, it is far too predictable.
Being predictable is a death sentence in the NFL unless you are an all-time great unit. If you are the 1985 Chicago Bears, you can tell the opposing quarterback the play before the snap. Patrick Mahomes could tell opposing defenses what he’s going to do before the snap, and he’d still torch the defense. The defense of the Chiefs has some talent, but not all-time great talent. That means they need to be creative and surprising to put their talent into positions to succeed.
The best players on the defense should not be stagnant. Guys like Jones and Mathieu need to be moved around the field to keep the offense guessing. Spags came to KC with a reputation for aggressive play-calling; where did that go? The Chiefs’ are only blitzing 30.2% of the time, and that is not nearly enough. But through five games, Spags has run the same defense and is not changing.
If the scheme isn’t bad enough, the coaching up of players has been even worse. Since the Super Bowl victory, how many Chiefs’ defenders have gotten better? The quick answer is nobody. Mathieu went from an All-Pro to someone who barely makes a stat sheet this season. Thornhill can scarcely see the field even with Sorenson playing the worst safety in the league.
Players get better with coaching, and when they get worse, it is a sign of lack of coaching. The team can’t seem to tackle and are consistently out of position. Multiple times a game. That is all about coaching.
The defense is ranked 32nd in the league; it can not get worse. A coach worth keeping would be trying to improve and get better. Instead, Spags is running the same plays and doing nothing to correct the issues plaguing the defense. Players are getting worse instead of better.
Those are ingredients to fire a coach at the end of the season. But why wait until then and ruin a Super Bowl-caliber team? Spags need firing as soon as possible to get the Chiefs back on their Super Bowl track.