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tk13
10-16-2004, 01:24 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/football/nfl/kansas_city_chiefs/9931768.htm

A stretch for the truth

Next three games will determine if Kansas City defense is indeed improved

By ADAM TEICHER The Kansas City Star


The Chiefs have reason to believe they're making some previously elusive defensive gains after a couple of relatively strong games.

They know better than to pat themselves on the back and receive congratulations for a job well done. Unique challenges await the Chiefs in the next three weeks.

It starts Sunday in Jacksonville, where the Jaguars have the combination of strong-armed quarterback Byron Leftwich, ageless wide receiver Jimmy Smith and halfback Fred Taylor, who had more than 1,500 yards last season but is waiting on his first 100-plus-yard game this year.

Michael Vick leads the Falcons into Arrowhead Stadium followed by Peyton Manning and the Colts, who were never forced to punt by the Chiefs in last year's playoff game.

This is the stretch that will establish the identity of the Chiefs' defense, for better or for worse.

“We're starting to catch on,” defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said. “The defensive line is really starting to feel it and understand the scheme. I'm really pleased with how Shawn Barber is coming along. Eric Warfield has been really consistent. When he focuses and stays in the game mentally, he can do anything he wants. The safeties have stepped up, particularly in the last game. They're starting to tackle like they used to.

“I never thought we weren't capable of turning the corner. It was just a matter of time.”

The Chiefs are refusing to publicly peek down the road in fear of giving the appearance they are looking past the Jaguars. But if the recent defensive improvement is for real, it will show in the next three games.

The Chiefs started making some gains two games ago against Houston. They limited the Texans to under 3 yards per rush.

That game was played at Arrowhead Stadium, where even last season the Chiefs were frequently respectable on defense.

The Chiefs went on the road last week and stifled the Ravens, but Baltimore, with young quarterback Kyle Boller and a struggling passing game, is as one-dimensional as any team in the league.

The Jaguars, particularly in Jacksonville, provide a much stronger test.

“This is a different kind of test,” Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said. “This is a different kind of offense. But I expect us to play well.”

To Vermeil, the recent defensive improvement goes beyond numbers. He said he can turn on video of the last two games and see a difference regardless of the statistics.

“I see cohesion,” Vermeil said. “I see 11 people working as a unit better. I've seen that in practice when we work on third downs. I see coverages being executed with good discipline and with good intensity and understanding. It's almost to the point where it's no longer a new defense. It's the Chiefs' defense.

“I saw it coming prior to that in spurts. It's coming one series and the next series, and all of a sudden there's a breakdown. I saw it more in the Houston game and of course in the game against the Ravens. There was a lot more discipline within the scheme, people not only aligning right but using techniques and tempo and with freedom to play and not thinking about how to play.”

Safety Jerome Woods used similar terms in describing the defensive changes.

“We're past the thinking stage,” he said. “We're just reacting now. We're trusting one another. Guys are just going out there and playing football. We thought we'd play this way going into the Denver game. It didn't happen. We thought we would play that way against Carolina. It didn't happen. But it's coming together now.”

Improved run defense attracted most of the attention the last two weeks, but the Chiefs also played better against the pass. They have seven sacks, marking the increase in pressure.

One reason is the play of Warfield, who is finally delivering on the patience the Chiefs used in developing him and on the big contract he was given two years ago.

“Eric Warfield has been special,” Vermeil said. “I've never seen Eric Warfield as good as he is right now. Ever. He's really fitting into the scheme.

“He's been here every snap that I've been here. I've seen him grow; I've seen him make mistakes. I've seen him make big plays. I've seen him be inconsistent. I've seen him break down fundamentally. I've seen him break down in concentration.

“But I keep seeing less and less and less of that and more and more of real fine corner play.”

Redcoats58
10-16-2004, 01:35 AM
The Chiefs went on the road last week and stifled the Ravens, but Baltimore, with young quarterback Kyle Boller and a struggling passing game, is as one-dimensional as any team in the league.
This is my only problem with that Ravens game. the Chiefs Defense even last year didn't seem to have any problem with one dimensional teams. Hopefully the D is really turning the corner.

whoman69
10-16-2004, 08:09 AM
If we are to believe that the Career day defense is in place then Taylor will get 150 yards and the Jags score 20 points.

Mr. Laz
10-16-2004, 10:45 AM
another "brilliant" article by teicher

Deberg_1990
10-16-2004, 11:32 AM
The upcoming Indy game will be the big test to see how far our D has come in the past year or so......If we cant get any pressure on Manning it will be all over with. Last year he barely got his uniform scaped by us. If you can get in Mannings face early and often, he folds like a cheap piece of paper. If you cant get any pressure he will eat you alive.

Calcountry
10-16-2004, 12:59 PM
The upcoming Indy game will be the big test to see how far our D has come in the past year or so......If we cant get any pressure on Manning it will be all over with. Last year he barely got his uniform scaped by us. If you can get in Mannings face early and often, he folds like a cheap piece of paper. If you cant get any pressure he will eat you alive.
I would like to see us get in his face even if he eats us alive, whats the difference.

Blitz early and often, take late hits, blows to the head, face masks, spears, anything. :p

unlurking
10-16-2004, 01:00 PM
ROFL

Deberg_1990
10-16-2004, 01:13 PM
I would like to see us get in his face even if he eats us alive, whats the difference.

Blitz early and often, take late hits, blows to the head, face masks, spears, anything. :p


I agree...even if we give up a few big plays or penalties its worth it . You have to make a statement and send him a message. Like what the Pats did against him in the playoff game last year....they just wore him down physically and later on mentally...