Chiefs’ pass defense takes over No. 1 ranking in league

  Print article
 Oct 26, 2014; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith (21) and safety Kurt Coleman (27) defend against Rams wide receiver Kenny Britt (81). Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports


Oct 26, 2014; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith (21) and safety Kurt Coleman (27) defend against Rams wide receiver Kenny Britt (81). Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – St. Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis, who passed for 160 yards Sunday, discovered what six previous signal callers already knew.

The Chiefs’ pass defense is no joke.

The Chiefs entered Week 8 ranked second against the pass, and now rank No. 1 allowing 195.7 yards passing per game.

“I’m pleasantly pleased with that,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Monday of the defensive secondary’s growth.

Of course, Kansas City experienced numerous personnel changes during the offseason, which included the free-agent signing of Chris Owens at nickel cornerback and re-signing Husain Abdullah to play free safety, a position vacated by Kendrick Lewis.

The Chiefs turnaround from last season’s 25th ranking against the pass also comes while dealing with All-Pro strong safety Eric Berry’s five missed games with a high ankle sprain injury and cutting ties with cornerback Brandon Flowers on June 13.

Defensive back Ron Parker has more than filled in for Berry and cornerback Jamell Fleming started at left cornerback the last two games.

Rookie cornerback Phillip Gaines has filled in for Owens, who is battling a knee injury suffered in Week 5, in recent weeks.

Reid remained optimistic of the defensive secondary despite the numerous moving pieces.

“As a coach you always have expectations that you think and I thought that,” he said. “I still think they have room to grow, but I had high expectations for them.”

The Chiefs’ No. 1 ranking against the pass is highlighted by a secondary not allowing a 300-yard passer in today’s pass-happy NFL.

And that statistic arrives with the Chiefs already facing notable NFL gunslingers Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers.

“It makes you better,” Reid said. “It’s going to make you play at the top of your game and they are going to challenge you every which way. It’s a game of matchups, so the NFL they are going to try to match their guy on you and you’ve got to be able to stand up and meet that challenge. These guys have done that fairly well. We do have room to improve, though.”

Also helping the Chiefs defensive secondary is the team’s ability to get after the quarterback.

The Chiefs sacked Davis seven times and now have 24 sacks on the season.

FAMILIAR FOE

The New York Jets are currently 1-7 and made the quarterback move from second-year pro Geno Smith to veteran Michael Vick, a player Reid knows well, ahead of Week 9’s game at Arrowhead Stadium.

“I like him better when he was in my world with the same helmet and team because he’s a good football player,” Reid said of Vick.

Reid coached Vick in Philadelphia from 2009-12.

Vick, who signed a free-agent deal with the Jets during the offseason, last faced the Chiefs as the Eagles quarterback in Week 3 of the 2013 season.

He completed 13-of-30 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown against two interceptions.

Vick, however, enjoyed more success as a runner, totaling 99 yards rushing on four carries.

TRADE DEADLINE APPROACHES

The NFL’s trade deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, but Chiefs coach Andy Reid didn’t indicate if the team would make a move.

“I haven’t heard of anything right now,” Reid said.

Still, that doesn’t mean the Chiefs personnel department led by general manager John Dorsey aren’t exploring options on how to make improvements to the current roster.

“Dorsey stays on that like a wild man,” Reid said. “So they’re always staying like around these times when things are happening, they’re in lockdown mode. He’s got his guys in there doing all that.”

SNAP COUNT OBSERVATION

Chiefs rookie outside linebacker Dee Ford, the team’s first-round pick (23rd overall) logged a season-high 16 snaps on defense against the Rams.

Ford’s previous high came in Week 3 when he logged 13 snaps on defense.

Ford finished Sunday’s game with three tackles (two solo) and his first career sack, which he split with defensive end Allen Bailey.