Overreaction #2: The LA Chargers defense has a problem with speed.
Last week, I mentioned that it was not an overreaction to say that the LA Chargers have a Top-5 defense, and they lived up to that billing against the Kansas City Chiefs. However, it appears that the Chiefs may have unveiled a flaw in the defense.
That potential flaw is speed. While the Chiefs offense simply was not better than the Chargers defense in this game, they used speed to get the majority of their points in the game.
The massive play in which this was exposed was when Tyreek Hill burned Chris Harris and Nasir Adderly to score a touchdown on a 54-yard bomb.
On the play, Chris Harris and Nasir Adderly seemed to be in a good position and perfectly prepared to make a play, but they were simply beat by Hill’s speed deep.
Chris Harris and Casey Hayward are an elite duo, but they simply don’t have the speed to keep up with Hill.
When the corners are unable to keep up with speed, it is necessary to have quick safeties that can cover deep.
Unfortunately, the Chargers are not well-equipped to do this. Rayshawn Jenkins does not have the speed for that, while the inexperienced Nasir Adderley has taken many poor tackling and coverage angles, likely due to his current inexperience.
Another speed mismatch that was evident was Patrick Mahomes against the Chargers defensive line and linebackers. Too many times, Mahomes was able to get first downs when nothing else was available simply by breaking outside of the pocket and outrunning the nearby defenders.
This may simply be a sign that the Chargers needed to adjust their coverage to put a spy on Mahomes, but they were unwilling to do so considering Mahomes’ throwing prowess. In a world in which the Chargers used a spy, it is likely that Kyzir White or Kenneth Murray would have kept Mahomes contained.
The more concerning thing long-term is the inability to keep up with receivers with elite speed like Hill. Until Nasir Adderley gains some more experience and learns to take better angles, keeping up with speed is a concern for this excellent Chargers defense. However, with some experience, this problem should fade.
Verdict 2: Slight overreaction