View Full Version : Teicher: Battle slides down the depth chart

11-27-2004, 02:26 AM

Chiefs will hide Battle after he blows his cover

By ADAM TEICHER The Kansas City Star

Cornerback Julian Battle may eventually become a starter for the Chiefs, but he's headed the wrong way on the depth chart for now.

After four games as the third cornerback, Battle will yield that spot to veteran Dexter McCleon for Sunday's game against San Diego at Arrowhead Stadium. A couple of plays from last week's game against New England illuminate the reason.

The Patriots tested Battle twice with the same deep pattern on one drive. He was beaten both times, though he closed fast enough to break up the first pass.

Undeterred, the Patriots went back at Battle two plays later and he allowed David Patten to get a 46-yard catch.

In a season where much has gone wrong, few things are as frustrating to the Chiefs as Battle's slow progress in development. When training camp began, the Chiefs hoped he would win a starting spot, but he's still a player they can't trust.

“You've got to be on pretty much every play, no breakdowns,” Battle said.

“It's easy to get exposed out there. That's why it's hard for young guys to step in there and be good. There's no room for error.”

Battle makes a good point. Few young cornerbacks, no matter how talented, play without struggling. The Chiefs had to wait until this season, his seventh in the NFL, for Eric Warfield to become a reliable player.

The Chargers drafted cornerbacks Sammy Davis No. 1 and Drayton Florence No. 2 last year. Davis is starting but not playing well and Florence lost his job as the nickel back early in the season.

“They're asked to cover the very, very finest speed athletes in football,” San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer said. “That guy knows where he's going. All the good quarterbacks … the ball is thrown before the guy ever comes out of his break and you're expected to cover that distance of separation before the ball gets there. That's hard to do.

“There is a time that it takes to develop, if indeed you are going to develop.

"Other than maybe quarterback, from a competitive standpoint, it's probably as tough a position as there is to play.”

In the long term, the Chiefs haven't yet given up on Battle, last year's third-round pick.

Dick Vermeil is nothing if not patient.

“He's a very, very talented guy,” Vermeil said. “With corners, as with Eric Warfield, as with William Bartee, you've got to be very patient because you'll break them before you make them if you (aren't patient). The trouble is, when they make a mistake, the expense is great.”

In the short term, Battle is no better than the fourth cornerback and might lose even that job to Benny Sapp, a rookie free agent. The Chiefs, struggling on defense even without Battle, can't afford the expense of playing him.

They will go instead with McCleon, who is having a maddening season of his own. After playing well last season and having a strong training camp, McCleon allowed a number of big plays early in the season.

Jacksonville repeatedly went after McCleon in one October game with considerable success and the next week the Chiefs replaced him as a starter with Bartee.

He missed three games with a hamstring injury before returning in a limited role last week.

“I don't even know yet,” McCleon said when asked what his season's been like. “The season's not over. I'll assess that at the end of the season.”

For now, at least, McCleon is a more fundamental player than Battle, who tried to jam Patten off the line on the second of the two plays but failed.

“He had me beat on both of those plays,” Battle said.

“On the first one, I was a little more fresh, had a little more energy. I was able to catch up to him. On the second one, he just got me. I was trying to jam him off the line and he's a little guy and I had a little problem with that. He just beat me. Those little guys are quick and tough to jam. The big guys, you can kill them.”

The Chiefs, in the meantime, hope Battle will learn from his mistakes.

But indications are few that he is. Even Vermeil isn't certain.

“I think so,” he said tentatively. “The second play, he fundamentally broke down and let the guy have a clean release.

"Those receivers are too gifted to do that with.”

11-27-2004, 02:28 AM
it wouldn't be so bad if he learned from his mistakes, but the ****er has been doing the same thing from what i saw from him in camp

11-27-2004, 02:30 AM
Hmm... well shit, why not just give him a shot over safety? He couldn't do any worse than Woods was doing, let alone, Wesley.

11-27-2004, 02:31 AM
i am for bartee moving over

11-27-2004, 02:32 AM
I want Bartee to stay on the CB for the rest of the season to see how he do. Enough of Bartee moving to the nickel back. I rather take my chances on Bartee on the CB spot than someone else.

Hammock Parties
11-27-2004, 02:37 AM
This is f*cking retarded!

The only way Battle is going to learn is if he IS OUT THERE PLAYING.

LET HIM PLAY. :banghead:

11-27-2004, 03:07 AM
This is f*cking retarded!

The only way Battle is going to learn is if he IS OUT THERE PLAYING.

LET HIM PLAY. :banghead:

Agreed......whats the point of him NOT playing??? get his butt out there to learn...we are NOT going anywhere this year....Damn you Vermeil!!!!

11-27-2004, 07:49 AM
Put "Burnt" on the field. What do we have to lose? If anything, he'll help us move up in draft position to God Willing DRAFT A CORNERBACK!!!

Besides, its gonna be cold and snowy tomorrow, and the warmth he'll generate in Arrowhead from being repeatedly torched....

My Bad. Sorry.

11-27-2004, 10:35 AM

Another fine DV draft pick.

All we heard about was his athleticism and ability to play safety and corner. Then again all DV said was that he could play the positions. Not that he could play them well. :p