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tk13
12-19-2004, 01:10 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/10450072.htm

Just three defenders are solid starters

JASON WHITLOCK COMMENTARY


With it being so close to Christmas, I decided to write today's column with the positive spirit that fuels Dick Vermeil's coaching style.

The Kansas City Chiefs' defensive players need love, too. We've beat them up all season long. Carl Peterson neglected them last off-season. Vermeil ignores the defensive side of the football. You wonder why Kansas City's defense hasn't improved under Gunther Cunningham's leadership?

The Swiss Chiefs Defense is drowning in a sea of negativity and neglect. KC's defenders are like a boy born into poverty, a single mother and a crime-ravaged neighborhood. It's not easy to pull yourself up by your bootstrap when the odds are stacked against you, especially when all you hear is that you'll never make it.

So with that in mind and the hated Denver Broncos in town, I thought it would be the perfect time to focus on the positive aspects of KC's defense. No sarcasm. No humor. Seriously, I spent the last three days thinking about what's right and what's worth keeping from quite possibly the worst defensive unit in the history of the Chiefs.

Yes, my list is short. But little victories oftentimes turn into major triumphs. The building blocks for next year's defense can be found in the wreckage of this season's D. There are three blocks: Jared Allen, Lional Dalton and Eric Warfield.

Allen, Dalton and Warfield are three 2004 defenders who I would pencil in as 2005 starters. They are three defenders the Chiefs can win with next season. I'm not stating that no one else on KC's defensive roster can help the Chiefs next year. I'm saying that Allen, Dalton and Warfield are the only three guys I'd vouch for right now as starters.

They could form a critical foundation for 2005 defensive respectability. They play critical positions — end, tackle and corner. A solid defense must have pass-rush pressure from the edge (Allen), a disruptive force in the middle (Dalton) and a cover corner (Warfield).

OK, Allen, Dalton and Warfield aren't exactly Strahan, Sapp and Deion in their prime. Allen, Dalton and Warfield are little-known players who have excelled in a terrible defense. You have to start somewhere. Credit them for performing at a high level during a time when it would've been easy to mail it in.

Let's start with Allen. The fourth-round draft pick out of Idaho State truly could be the star who revitalizes Kansas City's defense. We all recognize that Allen is a legit pass-rusher. He's on pace for double-digit sacks. He's not picking up garbage sacks. He has a quick first step upfield and can get around the corner. Next season, after another off-season in an NFL weight room, he'll develop inside moves to complement his speed rush.

Just as important as his physical gifts is Allen's attitude. The Wild Thing has charisma. He's a natural, boisterous leader. He's the kind of football player who can make his teammates better by giving them confidence. Allen could be Kansas City's version of Ray Lewis. You don't want to set expectations too high for a player as young as Allen, but had Allen played at a major college, he likely would've been a high first-round pick and we would be expecting stardom. The only reason Allen didn't play at a major college is because he was involved in a high school prank that spun a bit out of control.

We laughed when the Chiefs signed Dalton as their “impact” defensive free agent. We thought he might not make the team. Instead, he's been the best defensive tackle the Chiefs have had since Dan Saleaumua. There's no reason to expect Dalton's play to slip next season. He's 29 and at the peak of his career. Dalton is quick off the ball and plays with good leverage, meaning he doesn't play too high or pop up out of his three-point stance.

Dalton also has a lot of personality. He could be a good influence on linemate Ryan Sims. Dalton and Sims should spend the off-season working out together.

Warfield's play has dipped the second half of the season, but he showed enough early in the season to quiet his many critics. Is Warfield a shutdown corner? No. He is, however, a corner you can win with if he's paired with a corner with equal skill.

Warfield has been more physical this season. He's better in run support. He's stayed away from stupid penalties. It can be argued that Warfield looks good because he's playing opposite some of the worst corners in the league. That theory isn't fair. Warfield has matured on the field.

The key to fixing the defense will be finding three players the equal of Warfield, Dalton and Allen. The Chiefs need a corner equal to Warfield, a disruptive force at middle linebacker equal to Dalton and another young potential star at any position the equal of Allen.

You get those pieces, add in Eric Hicks, Greg Wesley, Scott Fujita, Ryan Sims and Monty Beisel and you have a much-improved defense.

tk13
12-19-2004, 01:13 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/football/nfl/kansas_city_chiefs/10449908.htm

WHO SHOULD GET THE HOOK?

Defense might make you want to start over

By ADAM TEICHER The Kansas City Star


I n their innermost thoughts, far away from the inquisitive public, the Chiefs might be thinking just like you are when it comes to their defensive players.

Fire them all. Start over from scratch.

Clearly, the plan to bring everyone back and ask a miracle of new coordinator Gunther Cunningham was a failure. All that did was ruin another potentially promising season.

But the Chiefs would never admit to that, and here's why: Dumping everybody is not going to happen. In their world, one filled with salary caps and long-term contracts complicated by fat signing bonuses, dreams must be tempered with reason.

They are going to have to pick and choose the players who are keepers and those who are trash. They also must hope their decisions are wiser than those of last year, when they re-signed five key defensive players.

The backdrop is this cautionary note from president/general manager Carl Peterson, who indicated last week that there will be no massive personnel overhaul once this disappointing season is finished.

Change, Peterson said, will involve scheme more than players.

“We can't step away from our collective decision last year to re-sign those players,” Peterson said. “Those signings included signing and option bonuses. When you do that, then you've got to coach them and make them better. In re-signing them, we weren't just looking at this year. We were looking at a two-year window.

“When you make decisions in free agency, whether it's with your own players or other players, you can't just wash them out in the first year. It's too expensive, cap-wise and cash-wise. It's at least a two-year decision and sometimes three years, depending on what type of investment you make in the player.

“We have to coach them in a way that accentuates their pluses and doesn't accentuate their negatives. That's what coaching and personnel is all about, making the pieces fit.”

But the Chiefs also harbor no illusions that next year's defensive lineup will be identical to the one they use in today's game against Denver at Arrowhead Stadium. That thought could make more people cry than just coach Dick Vermeil.

No, there will be some changes. Here's how the Chiefs might — or at least should — go about it.

Defensive line

Thanks to a massive investment of recent draft picks and the nice free-agent addition of Lional Dalton, this is the Chiefs' deepest defensive position group. All the key players could return.

There isn't a line position where the Chiefs couldn't use an upgrade, but they have played far better up front this season than last. They don't get whipped physically nearly as frequently.

Peterson, at least, believes that the line is good enough for the Chiefs to win with it. Rookie Jared Allen, the team leader in sacks, has been a find and should continue to improve as he gets stronger.

John Browning and Eric Hicks are solid, if not spectacular, players. Dalton, from down to down, may be their best defensive player.

Ryan Sims clearly hasn't been worth the Chiefs' investment in him, the sixth pick in the 2002 draft. Many times, he hasn't been worth anything close to it.

“The guy on that defense that jumps out as disappointing is Sims,” said former Browns and Rams scout Russ Lande, who now runs an Internet scouting site at gmjr.com.

“I just don't see him impacting any games. He's probably not playing well enough to where you want him to be a starter.”

The Chiefs are still better off sticking with Sims. Their chance is slim of finding a tackle more potentially disruptive.

“He's clearly a good enough athlete, and you don't want to give up on him too quickly because, physically, it's all there,” Lande said.

Overall, it's probably best for the Chiefs to leave their line alone. More pressing problems lie beyond.

Linebackers

From poor tackling to questionable instincts, the Chiefs suffered dearly with their play from this group.

“I can't tell you right now whether that's because of a lack of skill or a change in scheme and philosophy,” Peterson said.

Either way, the Chiefs will need at least one new starter, possibly more, depending on how quickly Shawn Barber heals from last month's knee injury that ended his season. The Chiefs hope Barber will be ready for next season.

Barber hasn't been worth the massive investment the Chiefs made in him last year, but he's certainly worth salvaging.

“He's their only game-changer at linebacker,” Lande said. “He's their best defensive player when he's healthy.”

The Chiefs paid for Kawika Mitchell's slow rate of development at middle linebacker. Mitchell, last year's second-round draft pick, showed little instinct and an inability to shed blockers. He also missed too many tackles.

They can't afford to wait for Mitchell any longer.

The Chiefs are planning on Mike Maslowski's return next year after he missed a season and a half because of knee ailments. They missed Maslowski last year. Their defensive play went from acceptable to horrible after his injury.

But Cunningham's system puts a premium on speed and range. Maslowski has good instincts and is a hard hitter and sure tackler, but he has neither speed nor range. There is no guarantee he will succeed in Cunningham's system.

The other outside linebacker, Scott Fujita, hasn't made enough plays to keep his job if a better alternative comes along.

Secondary

The play of safeties Jerome Woods and Greg Wesley might be the most puzzling of any individuals. Woods was a Pro Bowler last season, and Wesley could have been.

Neither resembles a Pro Bowler this season. From blown coverages to a lack of range, it's been a lost year for both.

That doesn't necessarily mean the Chiefs should be in the market for new safeties. Each player was a star for Cunningham during his previous time with the Chiefs. Each is fully capable of bouncing back next season.

“They haven't played that way this year, but I've always liked Woods and Wesley,” Lande said. “I always thought you could win with them if you had the proper talent around them.”

Vermeil last week indicated that the Chiefs were asking cornerbacks Eric Warfield, Dexter McCleon and William Bartee to play a bump-and-run, press coverage style they can't play well.

Warfield was penalized too often this season for holding and illegal contact and is still inconsistent. But he's worth keeping. McCleon was better suited to Greg Robinson's system, which featured more zone coverage. Bartee should be out of chances by now.

Demonpenz
12-19-2004, 01:16 AM
i fear allen will start getting doubled or chiped everyplay, because hell you could leave some of our other players unblocked and they still wouldn't make a tackle

go bowe
12-19-2004, 01:16 AM
he thinks it will only take three players to fix this defense?

too much spiked eggnog...

Demonpenz
12-19-2004, 01:17 AM
i think fujita is serviceable at olb

Rausch
12-19-2004, 01:20 AM
Yes, my list is short. But little victories oftentimes turn into major triumphs. The building blocks for next year's defense can be found in the wreckage of this season's D. There are three blocks: Jared Allen, Lional Dalton and Eric Warfield.

Add Harts (the ONLY guy in our secondary who can tackle) and Barber (the most underrated guy on our defense) and John Browning ( who does everything he's asked, plays every D line position, and STILL friggen gets to the passer) and I'd agree.

Fujita and Hicks are by far the most overrated guys on this team, by leaps and bounds.

Rausch
12-19-2004, 01:21 AM
he thinks it will only take three players to fix this defense?

too much spiked eggnog...

Depends on who those 3 players are...

go bowe
12-19-2004, 01:26 AM
Add Harts (the ONLY guy in our secondary who can tackle) and Barber (the most underrated guy on our defense) and John Browning ( who does everything he's asked, plays every D line position, and STILL friggen gets to the passer) and I'd agree.

Fujita and Hicks are by far the most overrated guys on this team, by leaps and bounds.harts, barber and browning make six...

but can we add five starters to the defense in one offseason, given cap limitatons?

to say nothing of carl's lousy drafting...

or carl's problems signing quality fa's...

Rausch
12-19-2004, 01:28 AM
harts, barber and browning make six...

but can we add five starters to the defense in one offseason, given cap limitatons?


No.

5 would make us good.

We just need to be RESPECTABLE...

tk13
12-19-2004, 01:29 AM
harts, barber and browning make six...

but can we add five starters to the defense in one offseason, given cap limitatons?

to say nothing of carl's lousy drafting...

or carl's problems signing quality fa's...
Draft draft draft. Carl must draft well this time. He must. He needs to repeat 1996 when he got Woods, Tongue, Browning, Donnie Edwards, and Joe Horn.... :)

go bowe
12-19-2004, 01:31 AM
No.

5 would make us good.

We just need to be RESPECTABLE...respectable?

chiefs defense?

i should live so long... :( :( :(

Rausch
12-19-2004, 01:31 AM
Draft draft draft. Carl must draft well this time. He must.

Since Herm Edwards left we've had $#it for scouting.

Funny, how when you look up when he left our drafts went to poop...and the Jets are stacked with young talent.

go bowe
12-19-2004, 01:34 AM
Draft draft draft. Carl must draft well this time. He must. He needs to repeat 1996 when he got Woods, Tongue, Browning, Donnie Edwards, and Joe Horn.... :)mmmmmm... joe horn... :p :p :p

but you're right, it will take a killer draft like that...

then it will take a miracle for dv to let a bunch of rookies play... :cuss: :cuss: :cuss:

Logical
12-19-2004, 01:46 AM
:cuss::cuss: Friggen unacceptable of Teicher to lower the expectations and remove the pressure off the Chiefs front office. I liked Whitlocks article much better.

SBK
12-19-2004, 08:01 AM
Dare I say Whitlock has been dead on for quite awhile now. You all give him way to hard of a time anymore.

(thank you sir, may I have another)

RINGLEADER
12-19-2004, 09:01 AM
What the heck is with Adam Teicher? Hicks and Browning are solid players? Sims isn't starter material, but Teicher says the Chiefs are better to stick with him (and the same starting front four)?

I think the most depressing thing is hearing Carl Petersen say that we're locked into these scrubs for another year because of his genius GM skills. If we field these guys AGAIN next year I'll be the first to predict that we'll suck AGAIN and have a 30th ranked defense AGAIN.

I think we could get by with some of the defensive players we have but we need to upgrade others. We need Hicks gone and a new solid starter (not a rookie) on that end of the line. I think Warfield could manage at one side, but we need better talent on the other side. I think Wesley could manage at SS, but we definitely need a new FS. At LB we need to start from scratch because none of these guys is getting the job done.

whoman69
12-19-2004, 10:55 AM
I would call Browning, Harts and Beisel to be servicable backups. I would not pencil them into the starting lineups any time soon. We need for starters at least MLB, replacement for Barber, another corner, another safety and perhaps another end. Holliday obviously wont be back. Hicks has shown that he can play well at times, but more often that he showed he overachieved in the past and is living up to his undrafted status now.

ChiefsCountry
12-19-2004, 11:37 AM
Our defense here are the players that should start:
DE Allen
DT Sims
DT Dalton
LB Fujitia
LB Barber
CB Warfield
SS Wesley
FS Woods

We get a stud CB, a MLB, and a DE then we should be fine. Wilkerson, Stills, Browning, Junior, Caver, Besiel, Mitchell, Battle, Sapp, Pile, and Harts are good backups and ST's.

Deberg_1990
12-19-2004, 11:42 AM
Our defense here are the players that should start:
DE Allen
DT Sims
DT Dalton
LB Fujitia
LB Barber
CB Warfield
SS Wesley
FS Woods

We get a stud CB, a MLB, and a DE then we should be fine. Wilkerson, Stills, Browning, Junior, Caver, Besiel, Mitchell, Battle, Sapp, Pile, and Harts are good backups and ST's.

your kidding right?? You want Woods and Wesley back? What have they done to earn that right??