The Kansas City Chiefs haven’t had much success in the defensive secondary this season.
The unit is averaging a 61.9 coverage grade by PFF through six games, which speaks to the struggles they’ve had defending pass-catchers downfield. The Chiefs’ top two defensive backs heading into the season — Tyrann Mathieu and L’Jarius Sneed — have only mustered up 70.9 and 51.5 coverage grades, respectively, this season. Kansas City’s other starting cornerback opposite of Sneed, Charvarius Ward, is sporting the worst coverage grade among those on the team graded by PFF with a 42.9. Overall, the secondary has forced just six turnovers through six games, which came via three interceptions and three forced fumbles.
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While all looks pretty grim for the secondary, there is one player that has been playing exceptionally well for the defending AFC champions. That player is cornerback, Rashad Fenton. Fenton has the highest coverage grade on the entire team at 82.4, which is also third-best among all cornerbacks in the NFL this season and fifth-best among all defensive backs.
Fenton has seemingly taken note of his own play thus far, which is why he sounded off on Twitter prior to the team’s Week 7 game against the Tennessee Titans in regards to his desire to be a starter.
Fenton Sounds off
On Friday, October 22, Fenton took to Twitter to express his feelings towards being a starter in the NFL, and what will happen to opposing wide receivers when that day comes.
“I cant wait until im a full time starter in this league, i swear these Wr’s gone feel the wrath of 1000 suns,” Fenton wrote.
Fellow teammate and defender, Chris Jones, commented on Fenton’s tweet, showing his support for the third-year cornerback.
“It will happen lil brudda,” Jones wrote.
Fenton Deserves Starter Role With Chiefs
Based on the play of his fellow defensive backs on the Chiefs compared to his own, there’s no reason Fenton shouldn’t be a starter for Kansas City. If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that he has momentum in his favor.
Here are Fenton’s overall PFF grades from each game he’s played in this season, starting from the earliest game, which was Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens: 57.5, 70.3, 77.1, 81.7. In every category PFF graded for Fenton — run defense, tackling, and coverage — Fenton has improved in each week he’s played in. That’s a sign of a player getting comfortable in a system as the season progresses.
In Week 6 against the Washington Football Team, Fenton made seven tackles and broke up one pass. He also allowed six completions on nine targets in his direction for 37 yards and allowed just a 74.8 passer rating, per PFF.
“I thought Rashad did a great job,” defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said of Fenton’s Week 6 performance during his press conference on Thursday, October 21. “He played aggressive, he made some key plays for us. One that won’t even stick out was a third-and-8, and he stopped a completed slant for four yards. They went for a field goal and missed it then. It was a key play; he did a nice job, he really competed out there.”
Though Ward is listed as questionable on the team’s injury report for Sunday’s outing against the Titans due to a quad injury, he is expected to play, according to head coach Andy Reid. But regardless of his health status, Ward’s play this season merits him losing reps to Fenton, who is on pace to be one of the best graded defensive backs in the NFL this season based on PFF’s standards.
If Kansas City wants to improve on defense, they need to give their best players more opportunities. Right now, one of their best players is Rashad Fenton. So starting him needs to happen as soon as possible.
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