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ExtremeChief
03-10-2005, 03:14 AM
source (http://www.kcchiefs.com/news/2005/03/10/rand_chiefs_crave_bells_pop_in_middle/)

RAND: Chiefs Crave Bell's Pop in Middle
Mar 10, 2005, 3:49:45 AM by Jonathan Rand


Their free-agent signing of linebacker Kendrell Bell made me try to recall how long it’s been since the Chiefs had a Pro Bowl linebacker whose name wasn’t Derrick Thomas. Considering that the Chiefs have had some pretty stubborn defenses, I didn’t think I’d have to reach back too far.

It’s been farther back than you might think. You have to go back to Dino Hackett, an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, in the 1988 season. And the Chiefs haven’t had a Pro Bowl middle linebacker since Willie Lanier, a Hall of Famer, in 1975.

Bell is also a potential all-star for the Chiefs if he can recapture his Pro Bowl form of 2001,bell in2 his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played inside for the Steelers and for the Chiefs appears a natural fit in the middle.

Middle linebacker hasn’t been an especially high-profile spot for the Chiefs in recent years, though Donnie Edwards was solid there for two years before moving outside in 1999. Middle linebacker, in fact, no longer is an especially high-profile spot in the NFL. It once was pro football’s most glamorous defensive position.

The old-fashioned bulldog in the middle who crushed ball carriers is just a two-down player in today’s pass-happy NFL. The renewed popularity of the 3-4 defense has turned such stars as Pittsburgh’s James Farrior and Baltimore’s Ray Lewis into inside linebackers and they’re not quite as recognizable as they would be in the middle.

Bell played along side Farrior at Pittsburgh and could be the horse in the middle of the Chiefs’ 4-3. He’s a 6-1, 257-pounder who, when healthy, is explosive off the ball and a terrific tackler.

Bell can do a lot more than hit. In his last healthy season, 2003, he totaled 108 tackles, five sacks and a forced fumble. He also defensed three passes and returned an interception 42 yards. You can see why the Chiefs might be tempted to put him outside, where he’d have a clearer path to the quarterback and more pass coverage opportunities.

Still, the Chiefs need him most in the middle. Their past few seasons have been marred by shoddy tackling and a parade of running backs tearing through the heart of the Chiefs’ defense. Bell could help that defense get back to basics.

The Chiefs have been sorely missing a middle linebacker who can rock running backs, give the defense a toughness and identity and elevate the players around him.

“You want the defense to take on the personality of its leader, and that should be the middle linebacker,” said Hall of Fame middle linebacker Mike Singletary. “He’s the signal caller and he takes the heart and soul of the defense and pins it on himself.

“Every (middle) linebacker has to know: I’m not playing at this level just for me; I’m playing at this level for everybody. If I do my job first, it creates something special. It creates the spirit and confidence of the defense.”

Bell’s lone negative involves injuries that limited him to three games last season. If he’s durable, the Chiefs will have a standout player in his prime. Bell, 26, has become an unrestricted free agent for the first time, which makes him far more appealing than an over-30 star who’s perhaps on the decline and hoping for his last big contract.

Bell makes the Chiefs’ defense better but still not good enough. They finished last season with glaring defensive weaknesses everywhere except on the line.

Now their front seven should be no worse than respectable. If the Chiefs can upgrade their secondary, especially at right cornerback, they would not have any one defensive area that an opposing offense could hammer.

Granted, that’s not the same as boasting a top 10 defense. Yet signing Bell at least gets the Chiefs headed in the right direction. It isn’t mere coincidence that their defense has been easy pickings since they had a linebacker or two with whom nobody wanted to mess.

keg in kc
03-10-2005, 03:17 AM
I've been reading a lot of stuff on him, from the time he was drafted up to now, and the more I read, the more I like it. He's apparently explosive as hell with his initial burst, and can really lay people out. I can't wait to see him just obliterate somebody. When was the last time a Chiefs LB did that? Barber laying out Gannon a couple years ago?

Pants
03-10-2005, 03:20 AM
Barber laying out Gannon a couple years ago?

Dude, that was so sweet. GOD!

DenverChief
03-10-2005, 03:24 AM
Barber laying out Gannon a couple years ago?
That was a wicked hit :)

ExtremeChief
03-10-2005, 04:52 AM
While I realize that the defense has a long way to go, I can't help but be excited about the Bell signing. He's a monster that likes to hit...something this defense has been lacking for some time.

the Talking Can
03-10-2005, 05:46 AM
Bell will not be arm tackling anyone.

This board will crash the first time he lays someone out. Gunther will weep. Kawika will scratch his head and ask why Kendrell just hit the running back instead of the blocker.

HemiEd
03-10-2005, 06:14 AM
Bell will not be arm tackling anyone.

This board will crash the first time he lays someone out. Gunther will weep. Kawika will scratch his head and ask why Kendrell just hit the running back instead of the blocker.


ROFL ROFL

MeaTy The Pimp
03-10-2005, 06:49 AM
This board will crash the first time he lays someone out. Gunther will weep. Kawika will scratch his head and ask why Kendrell just hit the running back instead of the blocker.

Thats rep.. :D

jynni
03-10-2005, 07:15 AM
Barber laying out Gannon a couple years ago?

Wasn't that the hit that pretty much took Gannon out for the majority of the season?

Chief Henry
03-10-2005, 07:24 AM
If Bell stays healthy and plays, he will be a bonafide
major upgrade from what we had. We just need
to keep the pressure on the front office to keep the defensive upgrades happening. We NEED MORE
HELP. Bell can't waive a magic wand all by himself.

whoman69
03-10-2005, 07:39 AM
I believe Fuji can lay those type hits as well, but he never seems to hit anyone solidly. It cost him a couple sacks last year when he couldn't bring a QB down immediately. Tackling drills.

Iowanian
03-10-2005, 07:49 AM
If there aren't tackling drills at TC, I'm personally driving up to training camp and giving vermiel a Bobby Bouche "you wrong Col Sanders".

Coach
03-10-2005, 07:51 AM
If there aren't tackling drills at TC, I'm personally driving up to training camp and giving vermiel a Bobby Bouche "you wrong Col Sanders".

Well, you might want to plan on doing that. I can't remember when he said that, but wasn't there an article or an interview where he didn't believe in tackling drills because of injury?