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View Full Version : Where will our improvement come from on D?


Cormac
03-10-2005, 09:02 AM
Let's assume for a moment that we'll sign 1 other (significant) FA. Probably a CB. Where will our improvement come from on D? And how much improvement can we expect? I think we rely on one guy a whole lot this year, despite the addition of FA(s)....Gunther Cunningham. I think it took our players a lot longer than anticipated to become au fait with Gun's scheme after Robinson's read and react. Gun claimed his LBs weren't picking it up, and seemed to be very frustrated. Part of that may have been his lack of choice of asst coaches to teach his scheme. But, whatever the reason, the players weren't capable of catching on quickly.

Looking at our players position by position, as objectively as possible, here is what I see happening this year:
DE
Hicks - A locker-room leader with little on-field impact. Not likely to improve from last year.
Allen - Stunning surprise last season. Can he build on that? That's a huge question mark, but he seems to play with a lot of attitude and fire, so I think he'll work as hard as possible to ensure there won't be a let-down. Likely to play at least as well next year.
Wilkerson - Came out early in the draft. Currently paying the price. Now that he's more mature and will be in the 2nd year in Gun's scheme it's a make-or-break year for him. Depending on draft moves, he may not make the roster unless he impresses in TC. Unlikely to be an impact player, but I'm not counting him out just yet.
DT
Sims - I've given up hope of him ever playing like a #6 pick. He'll have his moments, but now all I want to see from him is a penchant to 'clog' the middle like the wide-body he is.
Dalton - Tailed off last year in the second half. That worries me. I hope his grit and determination isn't still an issue. A very good player on his day, capable of starting on most teams, IMO.
Siavii - Being labeled a bust waaaay to early by some on this board. Showed potential last season which is all we could expect based on everything we heard from the Chiefs FO. I expect he'll seriously challenge for a starting spot this year. Hopefully he's worked on his leverage in the offseason.
Browning - Was a non-factor at DT most of last season. I'd prefer to see him back-up/challenge Hicks at DE instead, where he seemed more effective. JMO.
LB
Bell - Great addition if healthy. Hopefully he'll bring attitude and tackling ability to the whole defense.
Fujita - I don't even want to think about the current state of our LB corps if he's not resigned. I still expect big things from him. Had a poor year last year picking up Gun's scheme and had a bad ankle sprain when he was just beginning to get comfortable with it. This is a guy I expect to be a lot better this year.
Mitchell - showed flashes last year. Can't depend on him as a starter now though. Hopefully he can continue to develop as a sub.
Beisel - Gritty and workmanlike. A quality back-up, but a questionable starter. Good ball awareness though. If you could combine his and Kawika's strengths you'd have 1 very good LB (who probably still couldn't tackle!).
Fox - Who the hell knows? Great measurables, but never threatened to see the field in a significant way last year. Can't imagine he'll have improved that much in 1 offseason.
Barber - I just don't expect him back near his best at any stage this year. Even if his knee comes good, he'll have missed too much training time. Probably end up on IR, IMO. It's a shame. He's a very good LB who lost his confidence and tackling skills at KC.
DB
Wesley - Always over-rated by fans, IMO. A solid (but not better than that) SS. Still counted as one of our better defensive players though, sadly.
Woods - I'm willing to give him 1 more year if we add a quality CB opposite Warfield. I don't agree that he has slowed all that much - he caught Lawrence Taylor (?) from behind in the open field last season showing as much speed as he ever had, IMO. I think (hope) that other problems in the secondary caused too much confusion and hesitation on his and Wesley's part. A 2nd good corner might solve that. Nearing the end of his career though.
Warfield - A good solid NFL CB. JMO. Played like a pro-bowler the first half of last season, then tailed off. If he could quit getting DUIs it would help!
The others - Sapp might be our next best corner as of right now. Yikes. I supported Bartee for as long as anybody, but I can't any longer. And Battle's best option might be as safety.
Harts/Pile - I don't think Harts is a legit starter. Pile is a longshot too.

In summary
The only players I think are likely to play better this year, than last are:
Siavii
Fujita
I think our safeties will play better if we add a good starting CB opposite Warfield, like Surtain.
The starters added are:
Bell
a CB

I don't consider this change enough to vault us into the top 10 on defense. Even allowing for defensive players added through the draft. Unless we are very lucky, we'll only get one part-season starter. Which brings me back to my earlier point. A lot of our hopes ride with Gunther. Our players need to start tackling in the worst way. I'll be interested to see how Bell does this season, because woeful tackling is an epidemic in KC. And I wonder what role our coaching staffs have had in that. Barber wasn't always that terrible a tackler, was he? The biggest stride our D can take this year would be improved tackling, IMO. I guess that will also depend on them understanding the scheme better and playing more on instinct than with one eye over their shoulder.

Comments, anyone?

Bob Dole
03-10-2005, 09:04 AM
Keep ****ing doubting Eric Crouch!

HC_Chief
03-10-2005, 09:07 AM
We have 1 good LB on our roster, 1 good DE (caveat: he was a rookie last year - won't know if it was a fluke or not until this year; see: Boerigter), 0 good DTs (1 serviceable one in Dalton), and 0 good CBs (1 serviceable in Warfield)

We need another LB- preferably a MLB, a bona fide pass-rushing DE, a consistently disruptive DT, and 2 CBs.

That's how to improve the D. Anything less and the D is still bad (25-30 range).

Lono
03-10-2005, 09:12 AM
Anyone noticed the Amos kid from Nebraska? Maybe a sleeper pick. 6'0 runs a 4.37 40 and has a 41 in vertical.

Gaz
03-10-2005, 09:18 AM
• DL:
The DL is set. Like it or not, the DL is set and Hicks is carved in stone.

• LB:
Bell caveat here] is a major upgrade at MLB. I wanted Hartwell because of the injury question, but a healthy Bell is a terrific fallback position.

Fujita is okay. Quick and fast. He looked lost last season. Hopefully, some coaching and a steady veteran at MLB will improve his play.

Caver/Barber/Beisel/Fox. At draft time, Fox sounded pretty good. I choose to believe that his injury hindered his growth and that he will seize the other OLB position by the neck. But I am not confident on that issue.

• SECONDARY:
We have tons of Safeties, both at the S position and the CB position. We do not need antoher.

We need a veteran CB. Personally, I like Dyson for the job. I would not give up draft picks for Surtain or money for Law at this time. Perhaps one of them will eventually be our best option, but not now. Our #1 draft pick should be CB. Personally, I like Rodgers.

xoxo~
Gaz
Expects a considerable amount of improvement.

ChiTown
03-10-2005, 09:19 AM
Keep ****ing doubting Eric Crouch!

Isn't he the guy that holds the ball on the tee when it get's too windy at Arrowhead?

DaWolf
03-10-2005, 09:20 AM
As much as DV gets ripped for it, he's basically right, the players have to play the scheme better and the coaches have to coach better. It really all comes down to one thing: fundamentals. We were a fundamentally bad defense last year, moreso than even the previous years. The players just have to start understanding their assignments and sticking to it. The coaches have to understand exactly what their players are capable of doing and go with that.

If we're going to be a "good" defense, someone like Julian Battle or Key Fox is going to have to step up and be a pleasant surprise, and somebody like Ryan Sims needs to start playing like they were paid to play. If that doesn't happen, the D is going to struggle again...

Cormac
03-10-2005, 09:36 AM
As much as DV gets ripped for it, he's basically right, the players have to play the scheme better and the coaches have to coach better. It really all comes down to one thing: fundamentals. We were a fundamentally bad defense last year, moreso than even the previous years. The players just have to start understanding their assignments and sticking to it. The coaches have to understand exactly what their players are capable of doing and go with that.

If we're going to be a "good" defense, someone like Julian Battle or Key Fox is going to have to step up and be a pleasant surprise, and somebody like Ryan Sims needs to start playing like they were paid to play. If that doesn't happen, the D is going to struggle again...

Well said.

I think we need to establish the fundamentals of the scheme (does Gun have the assts in place to do so?), do a bazillion tackling drills (even at the risk of injury), and put the FAs or draft picks in place to play certain positions better. Not only do we need to add a few FAs (Bell, Surtain?), but those players need to free up their team-mates to allow them to stick to their positions and responsibilities and quit trying to cover for each other.

Cormac
03-10-2005, 09:42 AM
• DL:
The DL is set. Like it or not, the DL is set and Hicks is carved in stone.

• LB:
Bell caveat here] is a major upgrade at MLB. I wanted Hartwell because of the injury question, but a healthy Bell is a terrific fallback position.

Fujita is okay. Quick and fast. He looked lost last season. Hopefully, some coaching and a steady veteran at MLB will improve his play.

Caver/Barber/Beisel/Fox. At draft time, Fox sounded pretty good. I choose to believe that his injury hindered his growth and that he will seize the other OLB position by the neck. But I am not confident on that issue.

• SECONDARY:
We have tons of Safeties, both at the S position and the CB position. We do not need antoher.

We need a veteran CB. Personally, I like Dyson for the job. I would not give up draft picks for Surtain or money for Law at this time. Perhaps one of them will eventually be our best option, but not now. Our #1 draft pick should be CB. Personally, I like Rodgers.

xoxo~
Gaz
Expects a considerable amount of improvement.


I agree that the DL is set, but I think we'll add a DE somewhere in the draft. I could see us forgoing a 1st round CB (like Rodgers) for a DE (like Pollack). I could live with that too.

I had forgotten about Key Fox's injury. What was it? Maybe that's a valid excuse for his invisibility last season......

We have tons of safeties. But are any of them starting quality? If we added a stud safety, I wouldn't mind. Anybody is expendable at this stage.

We do need a veteran CB, but not many options are left. I still think we'll do our best to trade for Surtain on or near draft day for a lower round pick (or a 2nd next year). Otherwise, I'd like Carlos Rodgers in the 1st, also. He's tough.

whoman69
03-10-2005, 09:43 AM
I would rank the safeties exactly opposite of what you had. When Wesley was on the field opposite Belser and the ghost of Woods, he was often out of position trying to cheat over to where he could cover the whole field. If we have someone solid at FS then Wesley will be back to the 6 INT hard hitter that he was two years ago and that he showed earlier in his career.

Rain Man
03-10-2005, 11:05 AM
I think that getting Bell will be a huge improvement, and I'm surprised and thrilled that we didn't stand pat at MLB. That's a position that is involved in running plays up the middle and to both sides, as well as all inside passing. We're going from having a gaping vacuum at that position to having a good player there. That's going to make a world of difference.

With regard to the original post, I agree with most of it. I'm a bigger fan of Wilkerson and Beisel than most people, though.

HC_Chief
03-10-2005, 11:13 AM
I think that getting Bell will be a huge improvement, and I'm surprised and thrilled that we didn't stand pat at MLB. That's a position that is involved in running plays up the middle and to both sides, as well as all inside passing. We're going from having a gaping vacuum at that position to having a good player there. That's going to make a world of difference.

With regard to the original post, I agree with most of it. I'm a bigger fan of Wilkerson and Beisel than most people, though.

But they've said he's not going to be playing MLB. That's what's been bugging me. And, considering the fact that they've also said they're no longer looking at LB, it means MITCHELL will be at MLB. :(

Gaz
03-10-2005, 11:26 AM
Q: Do you plan on him being your middle linebacker?
PETERSON: “I don’t think I ever said that. Maybe someone else did. I have been negotiating with (his agent) Todd France on a linebacker that can play more than one position. I think obviously that is one of the reasons we were attracted to Kendrell Bell. Where he lines up will be determined in competition in training camp. He has been playing in a “30” defense in his career in Pittsburgh.”
http://www.kcchiefs.com/news/2005/03/08/president_carl_peterson_on_the_signing_of_ufa_lb_kendrell_bell/

The only person I see fixing Bell at MLB is Rand:

http://www.kcchiefs.com/news/2005/03/10/rand_chiefs_crave_bells_pop_in_middle/

xoxo~
Gaz
Might have missed it.

HC_Chief
03-10-2005, 11:28 AM
Q: Do you plan on him being your middle linebacker?
PETERSON: “I don’t think I ever said that. Maybe someone else did. I have been negotiating with (his agent) Todd France on a linebacker that can play more than one position. I think obviously that is one of the reasons we were attracted to Kendrell Bell. Where he lines up will be determined in competition in training camp. He has been playing in a “30” defense in his career in Pittsburgh.”
http://www.kcchiefs.com/news/2005/03/08/president_carl_peterson_on_the_signing_of_ufa_lb_kendrell_bell/

The only person I see fixing Bell at MLB is Rand:

http://www.kcchiefs.com/news/2005/03/10/rand_chiefs_crave_bells_pop_in_middle/

xoxo~
Gaz
Might have missed it.


Exactly. Looks to me like, for the time being, we're stuck with Mitchell at MLB. That leaves Fujita and Bell to play OLB... one of which will need to switch to Will (in place of Barber)

Chiefnj
03-10-2005, 11:29 AM
How is the DL set after releasing last years early season starter? Don't they need a replacement for him?

Rain Man
03-10-2005, 11:29 AM
But they've said he's not going to be playing MLB. That's what's been bugging me. And, considering the fact that they've also said they're no longer looking at LB, it means MITCHELL will be at MLB. :(


What the - please tell me you're just messing with me. Please.

HC_Chief
03-10-2005, 11:31 AM
What the - please tell me you're just messing with me. Please.

Nope. Carl's own mouth in the press conference. Read Gaz's post here.

Sucks, I know. :(

Gaz
03-10-2005, 11:32 AM
Funny. That is now how I read it.

Looks to me like the Chiefs have not decided [waiting for more FA LBs?] and that Rand thinks that Bell will be MLB.

Does Rand have more credibility than Peterson? BTW, that is not sarcasm.

xoxo~
Gaz
Drawing a different conclusion.

Woodrow Call
03-10-2005, 11:33 AM
I would rank the safeties exactly opposite of what you had. When Wesley was on the field opposite Belser and the ghost of Woods, he was often out of position trying to cheat over to where he could cover the whole field. If we have someone solid at FS then Wesley will be back to the 6 INT hard hitter that he was two years ago and that he showed earlier in his career.

I agree. Wesley hasnt been the same since the year Woods got hurt. If they can upgrade Woods' position Wesley will play better.

Cormac
03-10-2005, 12:10 PM
I would rank the safeties exactly opposite of what you had. When Wesley was on the field opposite Belser and the ghost of Woods, he was often out of position trying to cheat over to where he could cover the whole field. If we have someone solid at FS then Wesley will be back to the 6 INT hard hitter that he was two years ago and that he showed earlier in his career.

I hope you're right. The way I look at it is, he still had 4 INTs last season, and 4 (of his 8 career) forced fumbles too. He makes big plays from time to time, but I don't think he's anything near the hard-hitter he is lauded for being by many fans. JMO, of course.

Having said that, he's still one of our best defensive players, so debating his worth is a bit misguided right now.

I'm not sure who's covering for whom in the Chiefs D backfield. We need to add at least one solid FA contributor, and I hope that if we only add one, it's to replace our 2nd starting CB.

Cormac
03-10-2005, 12:15 PM
But they've said he's not going to be playing MLB. That's what's been bugging me. And, considering the fact that they've also said they're no longer looking at LB, it means MITCHELL will be at MLB. :(

From what Gaz quotes, it's not certain where he's going to play. I am glad they got Bell because he can play anywhere. So I still have hope we'll sign Hartwell or somebody, and Bell will play outside.

Regardless of where he plays, if we don't sign/draft a stud LB, we are going to have a huge ? at one LB spot. IMO, there isn't much difference between a LB corps of:

Fujita and Bell with the pick of Beisel/Fox/Mitchell

and

Fujita, Mitchell, Bell.

I'd choose the corps that uses Bell's strengths to the fullest. Hopefully we'll bring somebody else in, and won't have to just "plug" a warm body in to make up the numbers.

I still have hopes that Mitchell, Beisel or Fox will prove a decent LB some day, but I don't want to have to rely on any one of them this upcoming season any more than the next guy.

chiefsfan1963
03-10-2005, 12:58 PM
I still think our O can carry a top 20 D to the next SB. At least they will be able to do it just one more season, before big upgrades most happen on O or our D becomes a top 10 D in forthcoming years.

Our O could have taken us to the last 3 SB's with a top 20 D!

What a waste.

Thanks Lamar. :cuss: