KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs appeared to fix many of their Week 1 problems last week in Jacksonville, when All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones returned from his holdout, star tight end Travis Kelce was back on the field following a knee injury, and an offense that struggled against Detroit looked just a little bit better against the Jaguars.
Sure, they still had a bunch of penalties. Turnovers remained a problem. The offense was still trying to hit its stride.
Yet those issues seem like mere nuisances compared to what's going on in Chicago these days.
As the Bears prepare to visit the Chiefs on Sunday, they are without a defensive coordinator following Alan Williams' surprising and abrupt resignation and their offense is embroiled in controversy after quarterback Josh Fields blamed coaching for “robotic” play and then tried rather unsuccessfully to walk back his comments.
So how does Bears coach Matt Eberflus steer a rudderless team going forward?
“You focus on here and now,” he said. “What could we do right now during this time, with the meetings we had this morning, with the improvements we're going to make? That's all you can do. Be where your feet are, focusing on right now.”
Problem is their feet will be in Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, facing the defending Super Bowl champions. The Bears (0-2) are nearly two-TD underdogs, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, as they try to snap a 12-game losing streak dating to last season.
“We're going through a storm right now,” Field said after last week's loss to Tampa Bay. “It's frustrating not winning. But I think at the same time, like I said, just take it day by day and not really worry about the past. The past is the past.”
It's not as if the Chiefs (1-1) are humming along perfectly, especially on offense. They turned the ball over three times, committed 12 turnovers for 94 yards and a group of wide receivers that had eight drops in their opener against Detroit continued to put the ball on the ground during their 17-9 victory over the Jaguars last week.
“The frustration is probably more of me and about myself and how the offense has been doing,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “Everybody has been having that mentality that we just have to keep working and getting better. The defense has been playing so well. We want to take the pressure off them.”
William said Wednesday he was resigning to take care of his health and his family. Eberflus plans to call defensive plays for the Bears for the second week in a row, but that could take some of his time away from helping their struggling offense.
“I spend time with the offense on the game plan days,” said Eberflus, who was previously the Colts’ defensive coordinator. “I spend breakfast club with the quarterbacks. I meet with the coaches in the evening on the offensive side. And then I’m in the interim game plan also on Monday. ... Like I said, it’s 50-50. You’re splitting it 50-50 there, that’s what you do.”
PLAYING THE FIELDS
Fields, whose 70.7 passer rating is worst in the NFL, turned heads this week when he indicated coaches are feeding him too much information. Fields later said his statement was taken out of context and that he only points a finger at himself.
“I think there’s been times where I just try to be a perfectionist and nothing in this world is perfect,” said Fields, who was sacked six times last week and 10 times through two games. “So like I said, stop thinking more and just go out there and play.”
The Chiefs gave Jawaan Taylor a four-year, $80 million contract in the offseason to play right tackle, so it was jarring to see him benched briefly against Jacksonville. Taylor was penalized five times — two false starts, two holds and an illegal formation — one week after his questionable alignment and quick get-off against Detroit were called into question.
“Been working on it this week to clean it up. Needs to be fixed,” said Taylor, whose pass-block rates nevertheless graded out among the best in the league last week. “End of the day, I'm not here to hurt my team. I have to be better.”
The Bears put left tackle Braxton Jones on injured reserve with a neck injury, while safety Eddie Jackson has been dealing with a foot injury, wide receiver Darnell Mooney with a knee problem and defensive back Josh Blackwell with a sore hamstring.
The Chiefs are just as banged up: Nick Bolton has an ankle injury and fellow linebacker Willie Gay Jr. a sore quad, running back Isiah Pacheco is dealing with a sore hamstring, and wide receivers Kadarius Toney and Richie James missed time this week with a sore toe and balky knee. Chiefs coach Andy Reid said James' knee issue could keep him out a while.
The Chiefs offense is accustomed to bailing out their middle-of-the-road defense, but their roles have been reversed through the first two weeks of the season. Kansas City is 13th in total defense, despite playing two potent offenses in the Lions and Jaguars, and tied for third in the league in scoring defense.
“We're hungry,” Chiefs cornerback Trent McDuffie said, “and I know off of last year, and just off stats and everything that went on — yeah, we won the Super Bowl, but I know the defense felt like we could have done more.”
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