Brandon Flowers not only believes that the Kansas City Chiefs can improve what was one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL last season, but that the Chiefs could potentially have the best defensive backfields in the league in 2014. Speaking with the NFL Network's "NFL AM" on Wednesday, the cornerback said that the offseason additions of Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson could have a major impact.
"We going out there trying to have the best secondary," Flowers told NFL Network's "NFL AM" on Wednesday. "Sean Smith is a big corner that can bump and run ... we brought in Dunta Robinson, someone who can come in and cover, (and) also, Eric Berry is always roaming on the back end. If we put it all together, man, I think we have the pieces to be the best secondary in the NFL."
The Chiefs' pass defense suddenly jumping to the top of the league would be considered a minor miracle. The group ranked dead last in the NFL giving up an average opponent passer rating of 99.9. Just five teams gave up more than the Chiefs' 29 passing touchdowns allowed, and only the Dallas Cowboys did as poor a job forcing turnovers through the air. Both teams hauled in just seven interceptions last season, which was fewer than Tim Jennings, Stevie Brown and Richard Sherman had as individuals.
Expecting improvement isn't out of the question, however. Flowers and Berry are young players who have had very promising starts to their careers thus far, and they will be another year better and wiser in 2014. Robinson has more wear on his legs at 31 years old, but he has been one of the league's best players at his position in the past. He will be could play corner or safety for the Chiefs.
As for Smith, well, Smith struggled last season for the Miami Dolphins. Per Pro Football Focus, no defensive back was targeted more times by opposing quarterbacks last season. He held wide receivers to a relatively respectable 54 percent catch rate at 11.8 yards per reception, but one would hope for more than two interceptions and eight pass deflections out of 113 passes faced.
Assuming Flowers remains the team's ace corner, Smith has to be better than Stanford Routt and Javier Arenas were last season to give the Chiefs a boost, however, which isn't too much to ask. Routt gave up a 64.1 percent catch rate at 18.8 yards per reception before being released midseason. Arenas was only moderately better at 65.2 percent but giving up 12.5 yards per catch.
Kendrick Lewis is the Chiefs' last remaining conundrum to solve in the secondary. The free safety struggled coming off a shoulder injury that forced him to miss the first seven games of the season. He is currently the presumptive starter next to Berry, but missed tackles and injuries have been an issue for a while now. According to Matt Verderame of the Chiefs blog Arrowhead Pride, fifth-round draft pick Sanders Commings could compete for the starting job, along with Robinson and Husain Abdullah.
Still, the outlook appears better in the defensive backfield for the Chiefs. Of course, as Arrowhead Pride's Joel Thorman points out, looks can be deceiving. After all, many were optimistic about last year's unit when Routt was on board.
I'm a Chiefs fan so excuse me if I don't always operate with reason and logic. With that said, these arguments I hear about the Chiefs improved secondary sound awfully similar to the arguments we heard last year when Routt signed. Sure, it looks good on paper but then, boom, it's Week 10 Routt is cut and Javier Arenas is starting. Consider me a little gun shy when it comes to the cornerback position.
Questions remain, but for now, Flowers and Co. are very optimistic about their unit for 2014.