Chiefs’ pass rush is more than the front 4. Steve Spagnuolo attacks QBs from all angles - world News Update

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nick Bolton, nan Kansas City Chiefs’ mediate linebacker, has spent half nan play connected nan sideline. While recovering from 2 injuries, a sprained ankle and a dislocated near wrist, Bolton tried his champion to connection tips to his teammates and coordinator Steve Spagnuolo by reviewing movie of nan Chiefs defense.

One of nan champion parts of nan sessions was erstwhile Bolton would marvel astatine really nan Chiefs attacked opposing quarterbacks done a assortment of blitzes.

Back connected nan section nan past 2 weeks, Bolton has rejoined nan fierce brilliance of nan Chiefs’ walk rush, a portion of nan defense that doesn’t trust connected conscionable nan protect linemen. As nan defender pinch nan greenish dot connected his helmet, meaning he gets nan play calls from Spagnuolo transmitted into his helmet, Bolton has relayed nan calls to his teammates, made pre-snap checks and executed alignment adjustments. Then, he has watched 1 of his teammates spell unblocked while connected nan short way to either hitting aliases sacking nan quarterback.

“I get a small jealous, man,” Bolton said Sunday, smiling aft nan Chiefs’ 27-17 triumph against nan New England Patriots. “The DBs here, they get a small spot much sacks than us. They’re flying around, man. Those guys activity difficult astatine it, nan trade of timing up nan blitzes and owning nan leverage to effort to support nan backmost successful nan box, truthful if they don’t get nan sack, personification other does.”



Chiefs acold from cleanable but bully capable to commencement pivotal 4-game agelong pinch a win

One specified item came successful nan 3rd 4th erstwhile nan Chiefs created separation from nan Patriots connected nan scoreboard. Facing a third-and-12 snap, Spagnuolo elected to not usage a accepted play call. Instead, he had cornerback Jaylen Watson blitz from nan perimeter of nan field. And moreover though nan Patriots had six players assigned to protect backmost Bailey Zappe, Watson, arsenic portion of nan Chiefs’ five-man blitz, recorded his sack little than 3 seconds aft nan shot was snapped.

Watson’s sack gave nan Chiefs a protect trifecta: For nan 3rd clip this season, a personnel of each level of nan defense — a lineman, linebacker and protect backmost — sacked nan quarterback.

Sack lunch, anyone?

Next up: #LVvsKC 12/25 connected CBS

— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 18, 2023

“We’re a unit team, from each position connected nan field,” linebacker Willie Gay said aft Sunday’s game. “To really capitalize connected nan plays being called, and to execute nan measurement we did, there’s nary weakness. We’ve sewage to support that going.”

The Chiefs, led by apical walk rusher Chris Jones and George Karlaftis, person collected 46 sacks this season, tied for nan 3rd astir successful nan NFL.

But erstwhile Spagnuolo has chosen to thin into his estimation wrong nan convention by blitzing, nan Chiefs defense has been capable to execute 2 awesome tasks: creating havoc for nan backmost while not surrendering agelong completions.

“This defense is simply a corporate group wherever everybody is going to get theirs,” protect extremity Charles Omenihu said Sunday. “That’s nan woody here. When your teammates are having occurrence and getting to nan quarterback, you cheer for them.”

When a protect backmost is portion of nan Chiefs’ blitz, nan portion has produced 9 sacks, nan 2nd astir successful nan convention down nan Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11), according to TruMedia. On 91 specified snaps (third astir successful nan league), nan Chiefs person grabbed 2 interceptions and allowed conscionable 2 touchdown passes, and nan longest completion nan portion has surrendered was conscionable 26 yards (eighth lowest).

Say it pinch us…


— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) November 21, 2023

The Chiefs besides person nan astir sacks (seven) from players successful nan secondary.

“Every week is simply a small spot different,” Bolton said. “I deliberation Coach Spags has a awesome paper each week of plays that are going to get one-on-ones for definite guys and definite looks based disconnected of what nan discourtesy does. Chris (Jones) gets nan astir respect connected our D-line and nan O-line is going to make judge they put 2 (linemen) connected him nan mostly of nan time.”

The Patriots did so person 2 violative linemen assigned to artifact Jones for overmuch of nan game. Spagnuolo, though, utilized nan Patriots’ protection strategy to springiness nan Chiefs an advantage.

Early successful nan 2nd quarter, mediate linebacker Drue Tranquill, who started half of nan play successful spot of Bolton, went unblocked erstwhile he sacked Zappe connected a first-and-10 snap.

NFL Network expert Brian Baldinger, a erstwhile NFL violative lineman — who played snaps astatine center, defender and tackle successful his 11-year profession — explained successful a video that he posted connected X, formerly Twitter, really Spagnuolo manipulated nan Patriots’ six-man protection scheme, moreover though 2 tight ends were connected nan field.

“The Patriots are successful a (right) descent protection, I think, truthful they usage their wrong 4 (linemen), including nan correct tackle to artifact 3 (defensive linemen),” Baldinger said Tuesday. “The (left) tackle (Conor McDermott) is blocking grass. The tight extremity is blocking a beautiful bully subordinate that you don’t really want. Pharaoh Brown is blocking (defensive end) Mike Danna, and Drue Tranquill is coming location wholly free disconnected play action. The backmost is successful a seven-step driblet and he’s sewage nary expertise to conclusion that.”

KNOCKED 'EM BACK‼️@DTranquill + #ProBowlVote

— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 17, 2023

Spagnuolo’s extremity each week is simple: Create arsenic galore blitzes arsenic imaginable to unit nan backmost and violative linemen by utilizing either a cornerback, information aliases linebacker. The dream for nan Chiefs defense, information Justin Reid said precocious past month, is that nan backmost aliases opposing play caller won’t cognize which type of blitz is coming successful a pivotal infinitesimal during nan game.

“I opportunity this each nan time: This is 1 of nan deepest playbooks and it continues to get deeper because we are ever putting successful caller plays,” Reid said. “When we execute what Coach Spags and his unit game-plan passim nan week, we play really well. That’s showing up this twelvemonth because we person nan correct guys to do it.”

Last season, cornerback L’Jarius Sneed collected 3 1/2 sacks earlier Halloween by blitzing from nan nickel spot. But Sneed became nan apical perimeter cornerback precocious past play erstwhile cornerback Trent McDuffie returned from a hamstring wounded and showed his awesome versatility arsenic nan nickel defender. McDuffie recorded his first profession sack and forced fumble precocious past play successful a triumph complete nan Denver Broncos erstwhile he did an belief of Sneed by blitzing from nan nickel position.

In training campy this season, Sneed told Spagnuolo he wanted to beryllium nan Chiefs’ protector cornerback — nan defender whose biggest work is covering nan opponent’s champion receiver — because he knew McDuffie could excel arsenic nan nickel defender.

So far, Sneed has been correct. He has played protector sum (on much than 65 percent of 1 receiver’s routes) six times this season, nan astir successful nan NFL, according to Next Gen Stats. In a nonaccomplishment to nan Buffalo Bills earlier this month, Sneed aligned crossed from receiver Stefon Diggs connected 23 of his 35 routes (65.7 percent), limiting him to 1 reception for 3 yards connected 5 targets, according to Next Gen Stats. McDuffie vanished nan crippled pinch his 3rd sack of nan season, a play connected which he was unblocked aft blitzing from nan nickel spot.

.@trent_mcduffie blitzes and gets nan sack #ChiefsKingdom

📺: #PHIvsKC connected ESPN/ABC
📱: Stream connected #NFLPlus

— NFL (@NFL) November 21, 2023

If McDuffie collects different sack successful 1 of nan Chiefs’ last 3 games of nan regular play — each of which are against teams being led by an inexperienced backup backmost — he will necktie Daylon McCutcheon for nan astir sacks (five) successful a cornerback’s first 2 seasons successful NFL history.

“Trent gives america a batch of flexibility,” Spagnuolo said past week. “(Rookie safety) Chamarri Conner is coming on. We knew it was going to beryllium a small spot of a slow process, but anytime we’re capable to put him successful location and support (Sneed and McDuffie) outside, it’s bully for us. We don’t ever do it because we for illustration to get nan different guys retired there, too. But having versatility, successful immoderate group, but particularly successful nan secondary, is big.”

Spagnuolo knows each of his blitzes will not lead to 1 of his attacking defenders reaching nan backmost unblocked. But Spagnuolo’s players understand that galore of nan blitzes are designed to illness nan pocket, requiring nan protect ends — Karlaftis, Omenihu and Danna — and Jones, from nan interior, to unreserved pinch due oculus subject truthful nan backmost can’t flight nan trap.

“Sometimes, location are immoderate things that we do — and I cognize it erstwhile I telephone it — that tin beryllium a small risky,” Spagnuolo said, smiling. “But it’s a risk-reward, right? There are a batch of those that you whitethorn aliases whitethorn not cognize that extremity up being really bully for america because it’s challenging for (the opposing offense).”

(Photo of Drue Tranquill sacking Bailey Zappe: Fred Kfoury III / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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