The Chiefs have been gashed on the ground in a big way the last three games, allowing 204 rushing yards to Seattle, 179 to Oakland and a season-high 215 to Denver on Sunday.
Gap discipline has been an issue, as has tackling.
“Listen, when things don’t go right — whether it’s during the game or you’re sitting here like we are now after the game, I am more apt to going back to fundamentals and making sure we get those things right,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “That’s where you start. And then you make sure schematically you’ve got guys in the right position to do these things … I don’t think you make it more complicated than that. Then you add intensity into that and then you go play.”
The Chiefs also have the option of shaking up the linebacker corps. Veteran Joe Mays was signed this offseason to be a starter at inside linebacker, but missed two months because of a wrist injury and has yet to break into the lineup.
“Well, we started working him in a little bit more last week in practice at the linebacker spot,” Reid said. “Some of it was using the hand, that’s the issue. … Part of tackling, you’ve got to be able to grab and do all that. And so we want to make sure that he physically is there to do that and get it right and get caught up with the speed on special teams and work through that to make sure he is right to go.”
Reid the fact he hasn’t regained his starting job has nothing to do with Mays’ conditioning.
“His conditioning is OK; he is all right there,” Reid said. “It’s just making sure that he is right to put in that position. And then we’ll work him in. He’ll get more work this week and as we go here.”
Reid, however, cautioned against belief one guy can plug a run defense that has been leaky, at best, recently.
“To point to one guy, I don’t think that’s what this is right now,” Reid said. “I think we’ve got to tighten up some areas from a staff and a player element together. We’ve got to make sure we sort through a few things there and get it right.”
Gaines makes an impression
Facing Peyton Manning for the first time is always a test for a rookie cornerback, but by the sounds of it, Reid is happy with how third-rounder Phillip Gaines fared in his first start against the future Hall of Famer.
Gaines, who was targeted six times, allowed three receptions for 40 yards and also had a pass deflection. He was whistled once for defensive holding and was beat by Emmanuel Sanders for 23 yards on third down early in the fourth quarter on a drive that ended with Denver’s final score, a 37-yard field goal.
“I thought Phillip had some good snaps,” Reid said. “We look at that last third down with the back-shoulder throw right there. That’s tough. He had pretty decent coverage. He came right back is what I look at. He got beat on that one, but then he came right back with a couple nice plays. Had an opportunity for an interception. He’d like to have that one back. But he was in position to make that and I thought he did well.”
Reid said there is no update on the condition of safety Eric Berry, who is feared to have lymphoma. Berry went through a number of tests last week.
“We don’t have any updates for you right now,” Reid said. “When we get them though, we’ll get them to you right away.”