The dominant theme in the Chiefs’ 42-27 spanking of the Patriots on Thursday night was: “Alex Smith did all that?” But that theme needs fleshing out, needs some crucial context: “Alex Smith did all that to that defense?”
He did, and that defense — specifically, the additions to a unit that was ranked No. 1 in the NFL in the Super Bowl-winning 2016 season — had no business letting that happen. Not on opening night, not on banner night, not in front of their own delirious fans, not in front of the constantly mocked commissioner.
And not on the watch of the coordinator whose growing reputation has been well-earned. Matt Patricia-coached Patriots defenses have been marked by turning pretty good parts into a beautiful whole. The parts the Patriots added this summer — Stephon Gilmore, David Harris, Kyle Van Noy among them — did, and do, look like obvious upgrades from last year.
As for the rest of them? I’d say you can buy Carolina because it’s not far removed from a dominant defensive season and because the young cornerbacks weathered some bad growing pains last season and came out stronger for it. I’m also buying Baltimore because of the caliber of its veteran personnel up front and in the secondary (though I’m hedging a little because of the reliance on rookie pass-rushers).
Green Bay and Dallas, I’d like to see do it again before buying in. Same with Jacksonville, even though the talent is clearly there on paper at all three levels. It just feels like we’ve been let down one too many times by that franchise. And the Rams? They won’t get Tolzien every week, of Cheap Jerseys Bike course, but I’m a Phillips believer, and this defense will get Aaron Donald back in Week 2. Optimism isn’t totally Cheap Jerseys 90 unjustified here.