KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs said Tuesday that it fired Bob Sutton as defensive coordinator. Head Coach Andy Reid issued this statement:
“Bob is a good football coach and a great person. He played an integral role in the success of our team over the last six seasons. I’ve said before that change can be a good thing, for both parties, and I believe that is the case here for the Chiefs and Bob. This was not an easy decision, but one I feel is in the best interest of the Kansas City Chiefs moving forward.”
The Chiefs ended their season in the AFC Championship with a 37-31 loss to the New England Patriots. Sutton oversaw a unit that finished next-to-last in the league in yards allowed and last in passing yards allowed, they were also 24th in points against this season.
Sutton arrived in Kansas City in January of 2013 after spending 13 years as an assistant coach for the New York Jets. He held various roles on the defensive staff, including a stint as Jets defensive coordinator between 2006 and 2008. He also served as Army's head coach for most of the 1990's.
While the Chiefs went to the playoffs in five of six seasons that Sutton ran the defense, his units and his play calling have been the source of frustration for many fans, especially over the past two seasons.
His defenses were adept at forcing turnovers, ranking among the best five in the NFL on three occasions and leading the league in 2016. However, they were also the epitome of "bend but don't break", giving up tons of yards, but keeping points off of the scoreboard, until the past two seasons.
Between 2013 and 2016, his defenses were 5th, 2nd, 3rd and 7th in points allowed. Things took a turn for the worse in 2017, where they ranked 28th of 32 teams in yards allowed, and 15th in points allowed. Despite sporting a record-setting offense in 2018, the defense was 31st in yards allowed, and 24th in points allowed.
This season the defense was abysmal on the road, but could hold its own at Arrowhead Stadium, where they gave a solid effort in a 31-13 win against Indianapolis in the AFC Divisional Round. Seven of those points against came via special teams on a blocked punt.
But in the AFC Championship Game, Tom Brady and the Patriots moved up and down the field with little resistance from the Chiefs defense, amassing 524 yards while holding onto the ball for 44 minutes en route to 37 points. The Chiefs failed to get pressure on Brady throughout the game, and allowed the Patriots to convert 13 of 19 third downs, including three staggering 3rd and 10's on their overtime drive that ended with the game-winning touchdown.
The Chiefs haven't signaled public interest in anyone as Sutton's replacement yet, but ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that sources say former head coach and current ESPN analyst Rex Ryan may be a possibility:
Here’s a name to watch for the now vacant Chiefs’ DC job, per sources: former Jets and Bills’ HC and current ESPN analyst Rex Ryan, who has been approached about other DC openings in recent seasons.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 22, 2019
FOX4 will have more analysis and reaction to this decision during evening newscasts and on fox4kc.com