Chiefs coaches address rookie OLB Dee Ford’s Week 5 gaffe

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The only way people missed Chiefs rookie outside linebacker Dee Ford’s mistake against the San Francisco 49ers was if they’ve been in a cave since Sunday.

The video replays, GIFs and Vines of the play have made the rounds, including this Vine with more than 3 million loops:

“He didn’t read the play right,” defensive coordinator Bob Sutton explained Tuesday. “It came out, he kind of felt pass, it was kind of a soft run fake look to him, and then I think he just kind of morphed into his pass responsibility there. Obviously it was a bad read on his part and he needed to come up and be part of the force there.”

As shown in the Vine, Ford appeared to turn away from 49ers running back Frank Gore on the edge. And in doing so, Ford temporarily ran into a pursuing inside linebacker James-Michael Johnson.

For his part, Ford took to Twitter on Monday to acknowledge his blunder.

July 26, 2014; St. Joseph, MO; Chiefs rookie LB Dee Ford (55) participated in training camp drills. Credit: Matt Derrick,
July 26, 2014; St. Joseph, MO; Chiefs rookie LB Dee Ford (55) participated in training camp drills. Credit: Matt Derrick,

Still, the Chiefs didn’t draft Ford with the 23rd overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft primarily for his run-stopping ability.

The Chiefs converted Ford from college defensive end to outside linebacker.

And he is still learning to play the run and drop into pass coverage, areas of weakness when compared to the area Ford excels.

“Dee’s strength right now is rushing the quarterback,” linebackers coach Gary Gibbs said Tuesday. “He’s helped us through the first five games as a pass rusher and he’ll see more playing time in that role as we go forward.”

The Chiefs aren’t in a big rush with Ford, and rightfully so considering he is currently behind Pro Bowl outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston on the depth chart.

Ultimately, there’s time this season for Ford to develop into an every-down player.

“As far as playing first and second down,” Gibbs said, “he’s in the learning process, he’s making headway, he’s doing a good job working hard, but we certainly understand where his strength lies.”

Sutton agreed.

“I think he’ll be fine when it’s over with,” Sutton said. “We need him to keep going right now. This season, we’ve got a lot, a lot of football left. And we don’t have to wait for the following year for him to develop.”