The Kansas City Chiefs' defense was late to the party, but on Friday night, it finally showed up.
Maybe it was because the Chiefs were playing at home for the first time all preseason. Maybe it was because the players finally bought in to what the coaching staff is telling them.
It could have been a combination of both. Whatever it was, it made Chief fans happy to see.
After going two preseason games without forcing a sack or turnover, the Chiefs' defenders got both against the Philadelphia Eagles in their third preseason game.
The Chiefs' defense turned up the heat on Eagles' quarterback Kevin Kolb by getting to the QB five times during the game. Linebackers Demorrio Williams and Andy Studebaker both had two sacks each and defensive lineman Dion Gales added a fifth.
The sacks were a welcome sign for a Chiefs' defense that had the fewest sacks in the season last year, and had failed to record one through two preseason games.
Studebaker has most likely played himself onto the field in a full-time capacity for the Chiefs this season. Linebacker Mike Vrabel is not the same player he was in New England and it would be best for defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel to get the young pass rusher on the field as often as possible.
Williams was the Chiefs' leading tackler last season, and the sight of him getting in on the pass rush from the inside linebacker position was also more than welcome for Chiefs fans.
The pass rush was the not the only thing the Chiefs' defense did well on Friday night, it continued stopping the run for the second-straight game. Last week the Chiefs' defense held the Bucs' rushing attack in check and this week the Eagles had a tough time moving the ball on the ground.
The Chiefs had one of the weakest run defenses in the NFL last season. If they are able to continue the improvement they have shown thus far in the preseason, it would be huge for the team's chances at contending for the division crown.
The young secondary has been up and down this preseason. Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr both have had some struggles at the corner position.
Flowers is not too much of a worry for Chiefs' fans. He is a very solid performer and should come around once the season starts, but Carr is another story.
If Carr is not able to hold down the field opposite Flowers, the Chiefs' pass defense could be in trouble this season.
Chiefs fans have every reason to be excited about the safety position as first-round selection Eric Berry continues to impress. He recorded six tackles Friday night and knocked down one pass.
Another rookie safety, Kendrick Lewis, came away with the Chiefs' first turnover of the season as he picked off a Kevin Kolb pass and returned it 26 yards to set up an eventual Kansas City touchdown.
Both of these guys look like they will be solid contributors in the Chiefs' secondary for years to come. They should be exciting to watch this season.
The Chiefs' first-team defense gave up only 10 points in three quarters against the Eagles. All the points came in the first quarter after the KC offense had turned the ball over on the game's first two possessions.
Overall, it was a great night for the Kansas City defense. It would be huge for the Chiefs if the team's weaker side of the ball could play this way during the regular season.
The Chiefs' young team still has a long way to go, but for the second-straight game optimism is running high in Kansas City and for good reason.
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