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View Full Version : Clark Judge: Chiefs give Cunningham the goods; now he has to deliver...


DaWolf
05-17-2005, 07:12 AM
Apologies in advance if this is a repost...

Chiefs give Cunningham the goods; now he has to deliver (http://cbs.sportsline.com/nfl/story/8478315)
May 16, 2005
By Clark Judge
CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer

As spring passes into summer, the heat in Kansas City is not on its defense. It's on its defensive coordinator.

"We have to make this work," said Gunther Cunningham.

The Chiefs assistant spoke the same words a year ago, only then there was a difference: He was operating with the same tired bodies that sank the club in 2003 and drove Greg Robinson out of the NFL.

Now, Kansas City has done what Cunningham asked and what common sense demanded. It went out and signed free-agent linebacker Kendrell Bell and safety Sammy Knight; traded for cornerback Patrick Surtain and defensive end Carlos Hall; and spent its first draft pick on linebacker Derrick Johnson.

"Now," said Cunningham, "there could be as many as six or seven new starters. But they still have to earn their stripes. And we have to coach them up."

That's never been a problem for the tireless Cunningham, who spent most of the past two decades squeezing all that he could out of his players. But then along came the 2004 season, when Cunningham returned to Kansas City and the Chiefs defense returned to the nasty habits that sabotaged the club the year before when it self-destructed down the stretch.

It wasn't supposed to happen this way. Cunningham, so effective as a coordinator the Chiefs named him to succeed Marty Schottenheimer as head coach in 1999, would correct things with a wave of his hand -- somehow gaining results from the same players who failed Robinson the year before.

But it never happened. The Chiefs not only didn't improve; they stepped backward, plummeting to 31st in total defense and dead last in pass defense -- surrendering 72 pass plays of 20 or more yards and 21 of 40 or more.

Yeah, I know, they lost linebackers Shawn Barber and Mike Maslowski, defensive end Vonnie Holliday and their starting safeties, but injuries happen to everyone. You're expected to overcome them. Only Kansas City didn't, and now the onus for the coming season isn't on the defense; it's on Cunningham, and he knows it.

In fact, he welcomes it.

"Last year was the toughest year I had in the league," he said. "I came here with one thing in mind, and that was that we have to give the offense a chance. After one year I saw what we needed to do, and (head coach) Dick Vermeil and (president) Carl Peterson and the front office went out and did it. They got the kind of players I'm used to."

The two key moves were adding Bell, the league's defensive rookie of the year in 2001, and making the trade for Surtain. If he can stay healthy, Bell improves a linebacking corps that lost Barber and Maslowski a year ago and desperately needed an upgrade.

Surtain, a two-time Pro Bowl player, is the steady cornerback the Chiefs missed the past two seasons. He's proven. He's 28. And he allows the club to move Eric Warfield to right cornerback and William Bartee to safety. Sure, the Chiefs were interested in a free agent like Ken Lucas or Samari Rolle, but they landed Surtain instead, sacrificing a second-round draft pick to make the trade.

In the end, I'm not sure that might not be the best move of all.

What I am sure of is with the Surtain deal, as well as the others, the Chiefs pushed Cunningham directly into the line of fire. You no longer can argue the club did nothing for its defensive coordinator. It did everything it could for the guy, with Peterson approaching Cunningham in January to discuss a wish list of defensive names.

Bell was on it. So was Knight. So was Hall. Even Surtain, then under contract with Miami, was on it.

"If we get them," Peterson asked, "will you be happy?"

Cunningham nodded. And that was before the club acquired Johnson, the best linebacker in the draft and one of its most decorated defenders.

"I couldn't expect them to do more than this," said Cunningham. "I can't tell you enough how indebted I am to them for what they did."

He doesn't have to. He simply has to demonstrate it. Because if the Kansas City Chiefs are to return to the top of the AFC West, it's not Trent Green or Priest Holmes or Tony Gonzalez who must push his game up a notch. It's Gunther Cunningham and his defensive unit, and what's new?

"This is the NFL, and I know what people want," said Cunningham. "They want results. The offense has been great, but if you talk to the real fans of Kansas City, they want to see us play defense, and that's what drives me more than anything -- those fans.

"I know what they're all about. I see them around town and pass them on the sidewalks and they tell me, 'Gun, we know you'll get it done.' If you want to talk about pressure, that's where I get it from. I get it from them. I don't know what I've done to earn their respect, but, more than anything, I want to pay them back."

Wait a couple of months. Then he'll have his chance.

http://images.sportsline.com/u/photos/football/nfl/img8478475.jpg
Gunther Cunningham, in his second stint in Kansas City, knows what people expect -- results. (Getty Images)

http://images.sportsline.com/u/photos/football/nfl/img8478380.jpg
Cunningham will have several new starters. (Getty Images)


http://images.sportsline.com/u/photos/football/nfl/img8478446.jpg
Patrick Surtain is an elite cornerback. (Getty Images)

http://images.sportsline.com/u/photos/football/nfl/img8478455.jpg
Kendrell Bell was top defensive rookie in '01. (Getty Images)

http://images.sportsline.com/u/photos/football/nfl/img8478461.jpg
Safety Sammy Knight had 98 tackles in '04. (Getty Images)

http://images.sportsline.com/u/photos/football/nfl/img8478462.jpg
Carlos Hall bolsters the defensive line. (Getty Images)

http://images.sportsline.com/u/photos/football/nfl/img8478463.jpg
K.C. drafted Derrick Johnson in Round 1. (Getty Images)

whoman69
05-17-2005, 07:31 AM
I have alot more faith that Gun can get it done that what I would have had in grob . Actually I had faith in grob too, faith that he would again apply one of the worst defenses in the league.

Fried Meat Ball!
05-17-2005, 07:39 AM
And he allows the club to move Eric Warfield to right cornerback and William Bartee to safety.
This may be the best thing I've heard this offseason... :thumb:

DaWolf
05-17-2005, 07:42 AM
This may be the best thing I've heard this offseason... :thumb:

Of course it's about 4 years too late, but good news nontheless...

Coogs
05-17-2005, 07:44 AM
Of course it's about 4 years too late, but good news nontheless...

CB's - Surtain and Warfield
S's - Knight and Bartee

Now we are talking.

Fried Meat Ball!
05-17-2005, 08:02 AM
What would happen to the planet if Bartee ended up playing safety better than Wesley AND Woods?

ROFL

Earthling
05-17-2005, 08:05 AM
Am I right in thinking that Gun was denied picking his coaching assistants last year?? If so I truley hope that has changed.

Otter
05-17-2005, 08:14 AM
CB's - Surtain and Warfield
S's - Knight and Bartee

Now we are talking.

Is it easier for your neck muscles to turn properly and your hips to swivle at saftey? He should be moved to waterboy.

He looks like Forest Gump out there: "run home Forest"!!!

DaWolf
05-17-2005, 08:19 AM
Am I right in thinking that Gun was denied picking his coaching assistants last year?? If so I truley hope that has changed.

That's the speculation around here. Not sure how true it is because Gun seemingly has gotten anything he wanted from management and the HC so it would be out of character. He may have just decided that keeping the coaches would be in his best interest. One coach did leave, Joe Vitt, because he and Gunther didn't get along. So they hired Fred Pagac to take his place...

ct
05-17-2005, 08:57 AM
While I love the idea of moving Bartee to safety, this article is the 1st time I've seen it other than on the planet. I've seen nothing from the Chiefs this is even a consideration.

ArrowheadHawk
05-17-2005, 08:58 AM
While I love the idea of moving Bartee to safety, this article is the 1st time I've seen it other than on the planet. I've seen nothing from the Chiefs this is even a consideration.it probably isn't.. Bartee will cover for warfield during his suspension

old_geezer
05-17-2005, 09:40 AM
it probably isn't.. Bartee will cover for warfield during his suspension


I'm assuming that's just a poor choice of words. Bartee couldn't cover a corpse.

Coogs
05-17-2005, 09:43 AM
I'm assuming that's just a poor choice of words. Bartee couldn't cover a corpse.

I actually think Bartee would do fine at safety. He would be facing the play instead of having his back turned most of the time.

Warrior5
05-17-2005, 10:37 AM
"This is the NFL, and I know what people want," said Cunningham. "They want results. The offense has been great, but if you talk to the real fans of Kansas City, they want to see us play defense, and that's what drives me more than anything -- those fans."

Gun knows who the real fans are...if you disagree, take it up with him or pound sand!

D homers unite.

HC_Chief
05-17-2005, 10:47 AM
It wasn't supposed to happen this way. Cunningham, so effective as a coordinator the Chiefs named him to succeed Marty Schottenheimer as head coach in 1999, would correct things with a wave of his hand -- somehow gaining results from the same players who failed Robinson the year before.

I'm still royally pissed at CP, DV, and everyone else in the organization who actually bought into this f*cking STUPID line of thought. :grr:

BigChiefFan
05-17-2005, 10:52 AM
I'm so looking forward to this upcoming season. Gunther finally got some headhunters to apply some damage and I can't wait to see these guys take the field. The D should be MUCHED IMPROVED.

TRR
05-17-2005, 10:56 AM
Bartee will have a hard time making the team as a CB or Safety. At Safety, we have a ton of players between Sammy Knight, Greg Wesley, Jerome Woods, Shaunard Harts, Willie Pile, Scott Connot, Eric Crouch, Chazz Moore, and Eddie Canonico.

At CB, KC has Patrick Surtain, Eric Warfield, Dexter McCleon, Julian Battle, Benny Sapp, Alphonso Hodge, Gabriel Helms, and Justin Perkins.

I really see Bartee being cut after June 1st unless he really makes a smooth transition.

Mr. Laz
05-17-2005, 10:59 AM
While I love the idea of moving Bartee to safety, this article is the 1st time I've seen it other than on the planet. I've seen nothing from the Chiefs this is even a consideration.

AirForceChief
05-17-2005, 11:05 AM
Gun knows who the real fans are...if you disagree, take it up with him or pound sand!

D homers unite.

Of course by "real fans" you mean the D homer season ticket holders, right?

xoxo,

The King

KChiefs1
05-17-2005, 11:08 AM
If the Chiefs had went out last year & gotten all of the defense they possibly could....who would they have gotten & would they have been as good as this group that they've assembled this offseason? :hmmm:

I believe Bell & Surtain have Pro Bowl talent. DJ, eventhough a rookie should have a major impact this year. Knight is simply a ball-hawk. Hall, when motivated, can be a monster. :drool:

Who would've the Chiefs picked up last year to equal the talents of this group? :)

Mr. Laz
05-17-2005, 11:22 AM
Who would've the Chiefs picked up last year to equal the talents of this group? :)
so this excuses not trying upgrade last year?!?




just another loser excuse :shake:

Mike in SW-MO
05-17-2005, 11:31 AM
I believe Bell & Surtain have Pro Bowl talent. DJ, eventhough a rookie should have a major impact this year. Knight is simply a ball-hawk. Hall, when motivated, can be a monster. :drool:

Who would've the Chiefs picked up last year to equal the talents of this group? :)

The point is not who is better than this group. The point is, who was available that is better than Bartee, McCleon, Woods/Wesley, 2 injured linebackers, Fujita, Sims, Mitchell, Hicks, etc. If we upgraded some of the positions last year, then we would be ugrading those upgrades this year.

The projected good moves this year don't excuse the decisions that were made last year.

go bowe
05-17-2005, 12:08 PM
this is the first time i've seen anybody say that surtain will play left cb...

i thought i'd read where gun planned on using him at rcb (although gun's reference to a floating depth chart suggests that anything's possible)...

go bowe
05-17-2005, 12:09 PM
i'm still excited at the prospect of bell and allen on the same side rushing the passer...

pick your poision if you're a left tackle... :D :D :D

Mr. Laz
05-17-2005, 01:02 PM
i'm still excited at the prospect of bell and allen on the same side rushing the passer...

pick your poision if you're a left tackle... :D :D :D
it has been a good offseason :thumb:

Count Zarth
05-17-2005, 01:05 PM
i'm still excited at the prospect of bell and allen on the same side rushing the passer...

pick your poision if you're a left tackle... :D :D :D

Wouldn't it be great if the increase pressure from the right side made offenses rotate their protection away from the left side? Meaning more chances for Eric Hicks!

Wallcrawler
05-17-2005, 03:13 PM
I was under the impression that Surtain would simply lock down the opposition's best wide reciever, leaving Warfield with the number 2 guy.

I dont see how playing a fixed position at left or right would do a whole lot of good. The number one guy would simply be moved to the opposite side of the formation, and play against Warfield all day.


As for Bartee, he was drafted as a safety coming out of college. He was forced into the cornerback position, much like Jerome Woods was. Woods performed horribly at corner as well, but he was allowed to move back to safety relatively quickly.

Bartee has been stuck in the CB position for far too long, and should have been allowed to move back to his more comfortable position when it became clear that he was not cut out to play cornerback.

By now though, it could be too late for Bartee. As mentioned, the Chiefs have about 10 safeties on the roster as it is, and after this long at CB, he would have to start all over playing the safety position at the NFL level.

tommykat
05-17-2005, 05:26 PM
"I couldn't expect them to do more than this," said Cunningham. "I can't tell you enough how indebted I am to them for what they did."


Go Carl.........idiot! He finally got a FAULKING clue? :doh!:

whoman69
05-17-2005, 05:40 PM
I was under the impression that Surtain would simply lock down the opposition's best wide reciever, leaving Warfield with the number 2 guy.

Bartee has been stuck in the CB position for far too long, and should have been allowed to move back to his more comfortable position when it became clear that he was not cut out to play cornerback.

By now though, it could be too late for Bartee. As mentioned, the Chiefs have about 10 safeties on the roster as it is, and after this long at CB, he would have to start all over playing the safety position at the NFL level.
There really isn't such an animal as a shut down corner. These days corners try to contain long enough to allow their pass rush to get to the QB or to try to force the offense to making a throw to someone not yet open. I think they say left side or right side just for player comfort. They get used to playing a certain way on a certain side.
We have always had 10 safeties or more going into camp. Most are being considered only as STs or for fodder. I had never even heard of some of those guys. I certainly don't expect Eric Crouch to make the change, but one never knows.

Logical
05-17-2005, 06:23 PM
There really isn't such an animal as a shut down corner. These days corners try to contain long enough to allow their pass rush to get to the QB or to try to force the offense to making a throw to someone not yet open. I think they say left side or right side just for player comfort. They get used to playing a certain way on a certain side.
We have always had 10 safeties or more going into camp. Most are being considered only as STs or for fodder. I had never even heard of some of those guys. I certainly don't expect Eric Crouch to make the change, but one never knows.

While somewhat true, I think that more than that is the 3 and 4 receiver sets with hot reads is making it impossible to have all the receivers covered short of tremendous pressure on the QB. Probably your top corners are for the most part shutting down their receivers most of the time, but someone is coming open somewhere. I think this is especially true for the proflific throwing offenses like Indy runs.

One thing I do not understand it this whole left and right CB concept. Put your best CB on their best WR whatever side of the field they are on.

whoman69
05-17-2005, 08:40 PM
Corners are like many other athletes in that they like to play from on side or the other. They see the field consistently the same and have to make the same moves to cover. In the competitive field of the NFL, comfort is a small difference between a very good player and an average to poor player.

Simplex3
05-17-2005, 10:34 PM
What would happen to the planet if Bartee ended up playing safety better than Wesley AND Woods?

ROFL
Everyone would be saying "We told you f**kers that safteys don't project into NFL CB's!"

DaWolf
01-21-2009, 02:52 PM
Oh well...

KCChiefsMan
01-21-2009, 04:22 PM
I know, he had Carlos Hall man! come on

Pablo
01-21-2009, 05:57 PM
Man...we sure gave him the goods alright...Bell and Hall...

HO-LY SHIT those dudes were beasts.