Todd Bowles, Chiefs should be obvious marriage

Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs are in desperate need of a new defensive coordinator. One very familiar with Andy Reid is about to become available.

Todd Bowles is about to be fired by the Jets. Andy Reid should be monitoring the situation closely from Kansas City.

After spending six seasons with the Chiefs alongside Reid, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton is running out of leash. Despite a record-setting offense that routinely makes opponents one-dimensional, Kansas City entered Sunday ranked 31st in yardage allowed per game, last in passing yardage, 27th against the run and 28th in points surrendered.

In four seasons with the Jets, Bowles has amassed a 24-38 record in Gotham. The head-coaching opportunities are likely gone for the former defensive back, but his merits as a coordinator are evident.

In 2012, Bowles took over for Juan Castillo as the Eagles defensive coordinator under Reid. The following year, Reid went to Kansas City while Bowles moved on to Arizona. In the desert, Bowles thrived. The Cardinals ranked seventh and fifth in points allowed, utilizing a heavy blitz scheme that allowed Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu to thrive behind it.

With the Jets, Bowles has endured mixed results. The defense has twice ranked top-seven in points allowed, and twice been in the 20s. Although, one could argue the roster has given him little chance for success.

Even so, New York is outclassing Kansas City across the board. The Chiefs are forcing a three-and-out on 14 percent of their defensive drives. Only the Bengals are worse. The Jets rank 11th in the category at 22.6 percent. New York is also fifth-best in the red zone. Kansas City is fifth-worst.

When the Chiefs defense is on the field, it has an average lead of 8.01 points, the largest of any in the league. The Jets start an average defensive possession trailing by 1.37 points. On and on the list goes.

Sutton’s defense is anemic even with a group that features a future First-Team All-Pro in Chris Jones, who trails only Aaron Donald with 14 sacks. Dee Ford is also enjoying a breakout season, notching 11.5 sacks. Justin Houston and Allen Bailey have also been forces, combining for 12.5 sacks.

Still, Sutton’s defense continually lacks both results and creativity. Turn on film of Kansas City, and you get bombarded by Cover 2 Man Under. You also see an alarming lack of stunts and twists, and the consistent inability to make adjustments throughout the course of a game.

Perhaps even more damning was Eric Berry repeatedly screaming at his teammates with the snap imminent, trying to get them into the correct alignment. It’s now Week 16.

Many in Kansas City have been calling for Sutton’s ouster since the Chiefs blew a 21-3 lead in the AFC Wild Card game to Tennessee a year ago. Reid stood by him, and the front office invested both money and draft capital to improve the roster. General manager Brett Veach signed Xavier Williams and Anthony Hitchens, traded for Kendall Fuller and drafted Breeland Speaks among other moves. Somehow, the defense got worse from a year ago, when it ranked 28th in yardage.

Additionally, both Sutton and Bowles run a 3-4 scheme. The Chiefs wouldn’t need to blow up their personnel, only the playbook and mentality.

Once the season ends for Kansas City, and regardless of how it ends, Sutton needs to be replaced. The Chiefs can’t afford to waste prime years of Patrick Mahomes, demanding him to perform weekly miracles to win games in spite of the defense.

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