Joshua: One of the connections between these teams is Titans defensive end Ropati Pitoitua. Last week, Pitoitua had two sacks. Impressive feat for someone who, heading into that game, had three sacks since 2009. How did Chiefs fans feel about Pitoitua and losing him during free agency?
Sep 29, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans defensive end Ropati Pitoitua (92) puts pressure on New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) during the second half at LP Field. The Titans beat the Jets 38-13. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
Ben: From 2008-2012 the Chiefs defensive line produced 40 sacks total. For perspective, Jared Allen had 43 sacks by himself in the four years he played in Kansas City. Last season, Kansas City’s defensive line had only five sacks and Pitoitua had two of them. He was the only lineman on the team that showed any flashes of being able to get to the quarterback. So while there wasn’t exactly rioting in the streets when Pitoitua was allowed to walk, there was some anxiety about letting 40% of the defensive line’s sacks walk away without any kind of a clear replacement waiting in the wings.
Bob Sutton came in as the new defensive coordinator and installed a more aggressive scheme, which has helped with getting more pressure on the quarterback. KC defensive linemen already have 5.5 sacks on the season as a result, so losing Pitoitua has not hurt us yet to this point. However, it doesn’t mean there are not some in Kansas City who wished he was still around as a backup.