Dan Quinn’s Cowboys defense would be wise utilizing multiple looks in matchup against potent Chiefs

Over the last several weeks, the talk of the NFL has been the Kansas City Chiefs offense, and its relative struggles against two-high defenses. We took a different angle on what’s been going on in Kansas City last week, focusing instead on the issues Travis Kelce had been having separating from man coverage. 

Naturally, neither of those issues showed up all that much as the Chiefs got back on track against the Las Vegas Raiders on “Sunday Night Football.” The Raiders use two-high safety looks less often than almost any team in the NFL, and did not use them very often against the Chiefs. They also did not play much man coverage, utilizing it for only seven snaps. Vegas spent most of the night in Cover-3, allowing the Chiefs to operate at a much higher level. (Kelce went off for 8 catches and 119 yards on 10 targets, while Patrick Mahomes threw for 406 yards and five touchdowns — more scores than he had racked up in the previous four games combined.)

Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is a Pete Carroll acolyte, having been the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator from 2009 through 2012. He’s run that Carroll-style system in every subsequent stop, from Jacksonville to Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Bradley’s successor in Seattle was none other than Dan Quinn, which is notable because after a stint as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, Quinn is now the defensive coordinator for Kansas City’s next opponent: the Dallas Cowboys. 

So, the Chiefs should expect to again see a ton of Cover-3, and continue tearing it up, right? Well, maybe not. Quinn has shown much more ability and willingness than Bradley to adapt to the times. As more and more teams have designed their offenses to beat the single-high safety defenses the Seahawks used to dominate the league in the early 2010s, Quinn has actually begun to change things up a bit. 

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