PDA

View Full Version : Gretz's latest take on the D...


AirForceChief
06-22-2005, 10:12 AM
GRETZ: Off-Season Look: Defense
Jun 22, 2005, 8:16:32 AM by Bob Gretz



It can be seen in his eyes, on his face, and in the way he walked to practice each day. Gunther Cunningham is tired, very tired. He’s not quite exhausted, but he’s in the same zip code.



It has been six months of intense work for the Chiefs defensive coordinator. It has tested his abilities as a coach, teacher, administrator, talent evaluator, psychologist and coordinator. No stone was left unturned on how the team approaches defense. That’s what happens when you are trying to change a culture.

As the off-season program comes to an end this week with a few more days of work with the rookies and first-year players, Cunningham can see clearly ahead of him a few weeks on the rocky coast of Maine. And behind him, he can see a world of hard work by a lot of people that has improved the Chiefs defense.

“I looked at this as going through stages,” Cunningham said. “The first stage was the personnel stage, when we went out and found some players to plug into what we are doing here. That went very well. We found some talented guys.

“The second stage was the off-season work, to see how the new guys and the returning players got after what we wanted, not only on the field, but in the classroom. It was also a time to see how the staff got after things. That’s gone well.

“Now, I can’t wait until the third stage. That will come when we put the pads on and get to work in camp.”

Evaluating a defense after 15 practices (12 in OTA, three in mini-camp) where pads were not worn and hitting was not allowed is folly. Even in this day of high-tech football, stopping the other guy is still largely about being physical, hitting him in the face, play-after-play. Nobody knows that more than Cunningham.

Yet there’s no ignoring this fact: there’s a different face on the Chiefs defense right now. It’s a nastier face. It’s a quicker, faster and more athletic face. Progress has been made in changing the culture back to what Cunningham helped maintain in the 1990s, when the Chiefs were one of the most stifling and best “big play” defenses in the league. Takeaways are being stressed, as is putting pressure on the quarterback. Players and coaches are paying attention.

There’s a lot of road that must yet be traveled, and how the Chiefs defense handles a few of the detours along the way will ultimately reveal their strengths and weaknesses.

“Given our circumstances, I think we’ve done what’s possible to date,” said Cunningham. “We must continue that type of approach once we get to camp. We’ve had a lot of guys make a lot of progress. That can’t stop now.”

Checking out the Chiefs defensive roster position by position, here’s where Cunningham has seen improvement.

DEFENSIVE LINE: This is a big season for Ryan Sims. He must establish himself in the middle of the Chiefs defense as the sixth player taken in the draft. To date, he’s been mediocre. “We’ve worked very hard with Ryan, very hard on his footwork,” said Cunningham. “He has to get better.”

One player on the line who has gotten better is last year’s top choice Junior Siavii. “He came back and picked up where he left off at the end of last season,” said Cunningham. “He’s coming, if he keeps working, I’m not sure who will be the starter at left tackle, but he’ll be a factor.”

Last year’s rookie sensation DE Jared Allen began the off-season in Cunningham’s doghouse. “It’s tough sometimes for you guys to understand that what they did last year isn’t going to be good enough this year,” Cunningham said. “We had a few heart to heart talks and he’s come to understand that. He’s really gotten better over the last half of the OTAs.”

Part of the personnel infusion in the off-season was DE Carlos Hall, acquired in a trade from Tennessee.

“I saw him pass rushing during the mini-camp against Willie Roaf and I liked what I saw,” said Cunningham. “He’s still learning how to rush the passer. I think we have something there.”

LINEBACKER: “I’ve gone from thinking I didn’t have any linebackers who could play, to the group we have now in one year,” said Cunningham. “We’ve made a lot of progress.”

So far, the biggest name addition from the off-season, Kendrell Bell has slowly worked his way into the intricacies of the defense. “He’s going to be fine,” said Cunningham. “He’s so intense, sometimes he scares me. He’s going to be a major, major factor in what we do.”

No. 1 draft choice Derrick Johnson has been very visible and shown he can be a playmaker in this defense. “You’d have to be a blind man not to see what’s happening out there with him,” said Cunningham.

Maybe the two most improved players on the team in this off-season have been Kawika Mitchell and Keyaron Fox. These two young linebackers continually have turned up in the middle of plays.

“Through the first half of the OTAs, Keyaron Fox was the best player on the field,” said Cunningham. “It’s been a long off-season with Kawika. We had a lot of talks. I called him at his home. I’m sure there were times when he wanted to kill me.

“But it’s paid off on the field.”

DEFENSIVE BACK: By his own admission, CB Patrick Surtain is not yet comfortable with the Chiefs defense. “I love what Gunther wants to do, it’s in your face defense and that’s what every guy wants to play,” Surtain said. “I’m still trying to learn it all, make the right decisions out there. I’ll get there.”

Cunningham has no doubts. “It’s like he told the crowd during the open practice at Arrowhead,” the defensive coordinator said. “It’s not what’s on paper right now; it’s what’s on the field on September 11th against the New York Jets.

“He’ll be fine.”

But the Chiefs are not fine at cornerback. Eric Warfield is headed for a suspension to start the season, which could be as few as two games, or as many as four games. At a critical point of the season, they are going to be short-handed. Right now, with Julian Battle lost to an Achilles’ tendon injury, it figures that Dexter McCleon will be the starter opposite Surtain. And McCleon, recovering from off-season surgery, has been unable to practice throughout the practice sessions.

“Everyone else is going to have to help carry some of the water,” said Cunningham.

Don’t be surprised if the Chiefs add a veteran face on the corner before the start of training camp. They’ll look at a number of players over the next few weeks. The pickings are slim and former Patriots CB Ty Law is likely going to be too expensive if he’s recovered from his foot injury.

During the spring practices, the defense would always begin with a skull session, where the defense would walkthrough their reactions to different offensive formations. Cunningham would quiz various players about how the defense should handle individual situations. Some players would know, some would guess, others would freeze under Cunningham’s glare.

One player always knew the right answer: S Sammy Knight.

“If I was a player, I would want to be Sammy Knight,” said Cunningham. “He’s tough, he’s smart, he’s prepared and he’ll hit you.”

His presence has also made Greg Wesley a better player. After a sub-par 2004, Wesley has taken up the challenge that came with the signing of Knight. There’s no doubt he’ll be in the starting lineup. “I told him the other day, ‘Welcome back Greg’,” Cunningham said. “He’s really back to the guy I remember when we drafted him.”

For the next few weeks, Cunningham will enjoy some time with his family, maybe sleep in a few days and just try to gear down. Two parts of the work are done. More is ahead.

The work is never done when you are trying to change a culture.

The opinions offered in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the Kansas City Chiefs.

kc rush
06-22-2005, 10:20 AM
“If I was a player, I would want to be Sammy Knight,” said Cunningham. “He’s tough, he’s smart, he’s prepared and he’ll hit you.”

His presence has also made Greg Wesley a better player. After a sub-par 2004, Wesley has taken up the challenge that came with the signing of Knight. There’s no doubt he’ll be in the starting lineup. “I told him the other day, ‘Welcome back Greg’,” Cunningham said. “He’s really back to the guy I remember when we drafted him.”


Nice to know Knight is ready to kill.

Woods is toast.

Rain Man
06-22-2005, 10:27 AM
Come onnnnnnnn, start the season already!

Andoverer
06-22-2005, 10:27 AM
Don’t be surprised if the Chiefs add a veteran face on the corner before the start of training camp. They’ll look at a number of players over the next few weeks. The pickings are slim and former Patriots CB Ty Law is likely going to be too expensive if he’s recovered from his foot injury.





If Ty Law is the answer to making the defense Superbowl quality, then I think you find some way to get him here.

wolfpack0735
06-22-2005, 10:29 AM
Sims has been in this league long enough to at least make a small dent in other teams offensive lines. it seems all he has made a dent in is cap space and all you can eat for $7.99 at denny`s. let jr start.

Chief Henry
06-22-2005, 10:37 AM
Until the pads are put on and the shit starts hitting the fan in blocking and tackling. I will take all defensive talk with a grain of salt....Show me some Bone crushing QuarterBack thumping action.

cmh6476
06-22-2005, 10:39 AM
Sims has been in this league long enough to at least make a small dent in other teams offensive lines. it seems all he has made a dent in is cap space and all you can eat for $7.99 at denny`s. let jr start.
i thought browning and dalton would be our starters :shrug:

Wile_E_Coyote
06-22-2005, 10:39 AM
take a nice long rest & scheme Gunther...rest & scheme

mikey23545
06-22-2005, 10:48 AM
Why can't I just fall asleep and wake up on Opening Day?...

milkman
06-22-2005, 10:55 AM
Until the pads are put on and the shit starts hitting the fan in blocking and tackling. I will take all defensive talk with a grain of salt....Show me some Bone crushing QuarterBack thumping action.

And pounding RBs into the turf.
And making WRs get deer in the headlights looks on their face when they go over the middle.

Otter
06-22-2005, 11:14 AM
So far, the biggest name addition from the off-season, Kendrell Bell has slowly worked his way into the intricacies of the defense. “He’s going to be fine,” said Cunningham. “He’s so intense, sometimes he scares me. He’s going to be a major, major factor in what we do.”

Can't wait to see him play in Red & Gold. :rockon:

htismaqe
06-22-2005, 11:18 AM
i thought browning and dalton would be our starters :shrug:

This was discussed in another thread. I think people are confused when the coaches say Browning is "our best defensive linemen".

What I'm pretty sure they mean is that he's the most versatile and can play any position, not that he's the best TACKLE on the team.

RedThat
06-22-2005, 11:21 AM
This was discussed in another thread. I think people are confused when the coaches say Browning is "our best defensive linemen".

What I'm pretty sure they mean is that he's the most versatile and can play any position, not that he's the best TACKLE on the team.

Eh? Sometimes I believe he is. Not that Browning gives probowl play every week, but, whenever the Chiefs use him, he tries harder than some of the other guys out there, and gives pretty decent play out of that position. If you we're to ask me, I'd start him over Sims and Siavii anyday of the week.

milkman
06-22-2005, 11:24 AM
Eh? Sometimes I believe he is. Not that Browning gives probowl play every week, but, whenever the Chiefs use him, he tries harder than some of the other guys out there, and gives pretty decent play out of that position. If you we're to ask me, I'd start him over Sims and Siavii anyday of the week.

I want talent on the D-Line to go along with the effort.

We already have a no talent/great effort guy starting.
We don't need another.

chiefz
06-22-2005, 11:26 AM
Man, how intense do you have to be to "scare" Gunther...

C-Mac
06-22-2005, 11:36 AM
Man, how intense do you have to be to "scare" Gunther...

No kidding :shake:

RedThat
06-22-2005, 11:37 AM
I want talent on the D-Line to go along with the effort.

We already have a no talent/great effort guy starting.
We don't need another.

Well good luck finding one of those this year because it ain't happening. This is what we got with the D-line. We are not signing anybody there because we don't have the money. Not only the fact that we don't have the money, but, I'm sure the coaches feel strong about the DT postion as opposed to the CB position where we are a bit thin. Now that we are thin at CB, we are probably going to use the last of our dollars and cents on a NB anyway. so what I'm saying is, we might as well stick to our guns and go with what we've got. And Browning is the best guy so far, imo. He and Dalton have showed the most stuff out there. And work the hardest. And tell me what wrong with a guy who has no talent and great effort? Isn't that better than having a guy who was projected to be a probowl DT with all the talent in the world, yet fails to deliver, and we're lucky to see a half-assed effort from him most of the time? I'm sure you know who I'm refering to here. Care to respond?

milkman
06-22-2005, 11:46 AM
Well good luck finding one of those this year because it ain't happening. This is what we got with the D-line. We are not signing anybody there because we don't have the money. Not only the fact that we don't have the money, but, I'm sure the coaches feel strong about the DT postion as opposed to the CB position where we are a bit thin. Now that we are thin at CB, we are probably going to use the last of our dollars and cents on a NB anyway. so what I'm saying is, we might as well stick to our guns and go with what we've got. And Browning is the best guy so far, imo. He and Dalton have showed the most stuff out there. And work the hardest. And tell me what wrong with a guy who has no talent and great effort? Isn't that better than having a guy who was projected to be a probowl DT with all the talent in the world, yet fails to deliver, and we're lucky to see a half-assed effort from him most of the time? I'm sure you know who I'm refering to here. Care to respond?

First, let me say that I like Browning.
I would love to see him replace Hicks as the starting LDE, because I think he's more talented than Hicks, gives as much, if not more, effort, and would be far more productive.

But I don't like Browning in the middle of the D-Line, because, for all of his effort, he is simply overmatched in there.

I'd love to see Sims start to live up to his draft position, but I'm not holding my breath.
That being said, in spite of his lack of effort, he's not as easily pushed around as JB.

The guy I am holding out hope for, however, is Siavii.
He, IMO, is the best chance, right now, at getting some real production in the middle alongside Dalton.

DJay23
06-22-2005, 11:47 AM
“(Carlos Hall)’s still learning how to rush the passer. I think we have something there.”

Huh? Didn't we get him to rush the passer? Why is it that he still has to learn how?

RedThat
06-22-2005, 11:51 AM
First, let me say that I like Browning.
I would love to see him replace Hicks as the starting LDE, because I think he's more talented than Hicks, gives as much, if not more, effort, and would be far more productive.

But I don't like Browning in the middle of the D-Line, because, for all of his effort, he is simply overmatched in there.

I'd love to see Sims start to live up to his draft position, but I'm not holding my breath.
That being said, in spite of his lack of effort, he's not as easily pushed around as JB.

The guy I am holding out hope for, however, is Siavii.
He, IMO, is the best chance, right now, at getting some real production in the middle alongside Dalton.

i like Siavii's size. He is the unknown quantity here. We didn't see enough of him last year because he was dinged up most of the time. I think he is strong enough to play that position no doubt, and has the ability to draw enough double teams. At times, last year, I saw 50/50 effort from him. Although he barely played, so, it is hard to make a judgement on him right now. I'd like to see him in there more though. Like Gunther said, our LDT position is a ??? right now. could we see some competition there?

milkman
06-22-2005, 11:56 AM
i like Siavii's size. He is the unknown quantity here. We didn't see enough of him last year because he was dinged up most of the time. I think he is strong enough to play that position no doubt, and has the ability to draw enough double teams. At times, last year, I saw 50/50 effort from him. Although he barely played, so, it is hard to make a judgement on him right now. I'd like to see him in there more though. Like Gunther said, our LDT position is a ??? right now. could we see some competition there?

I suppose that we could hope that Siavii emerges as a legitimate threat to replace Sims, which lights a fire under Sims' ass, and brings out the best in both of them.

But again, breath, holding it, you know.

keg in kc
06-22-2005, 12:01 PM
I'm interested in seeing what kind of positive impact having 2-3 good linebackers and 3-4 good defensive backs will have on the d-line. I've been and will always be a proponent of strong line play to help everyone in the back 7, but that idea does go both ways to an extent. I think that, for instance, while it's key for your line to keep blockers off your LBs, that it's also important for your LBs to be good enough that defenses have to account for them, too. For a long time we've had mediocre/slow mike maSLOWski/scott fujita/marvcus patton/lew bush type guys back there with a speedy donnie edwards/shawn barber thrown in. Big change now, if all stay healthy, because pretty much everyone on the field and a threat to start right now (Bell, Fox, Johnson, Mitchell) can really move.

Should be fun to watch.

RedThat
06-22-2005, 12:03 PM
I suppose that we could hope that Siavii emerges as a legitimate threat to replace Sims, which lights a fire under Sims' ass, and brings out the best in both of them.

But again, breath, holding it, you know.

Yeah I know...lol I wish the Chiefs signed a guy like Keith Traylor instead of Freddie Mitchell. I liked our WR position a lot more, even without the Mitchell signing, than our DT position. We shoulda gone DT instead of WR. Oh well. Carl has done a good job this off-season so can't have it perfect I guess. That would be too good to be true.

keg in kc
06-22-2005, 12:05 PM
I don't think we should have gone DT. You can't keep adding to the same position offseason after offseason without hurting other spots on the roster. Eventually you reach a point where you have to sink or swim with what you have, and the DT position has hit that point.

milkman
06-22-2005, 12:06 PM
Yeah I know...lol I wish the Chiefs signed a guy like Keith Traylor instead of Freddie Mitchell. I liked our WR position a lot more, even without the Mitchell signing, than our DT position. We shoulda gone DT instead of WR. Oh well. Carl has done a good job this off-season so can't have it perfect I guess. That would be too good to be true.

I think Carl felt that he has invested some high draft picks on the position, and is hoping/expecting that an infusion of talent and leadership on the defense will get these guys motivated.

htismaqe
06-22-2005, 12:07 PM
I don't think we should have gone DT. You can't keep adding to the same position offseason after offseason without hurting other spots on the roster. Eventually you reach a point where you have to sink or swim with what you have, and the DT position has hit that point.

Yep. We have to get something out of Siavii and/or Sims this year. We've skimped in other areas for far too long trying to fix the line.

RedThat
06-22-2005, 12:10 PM
I think Carl felt that he has invested some high draft picks on the position, and is hoping/expecting that an infusion of talent and leadership on the defense will get these guys motivated.

yeah I could see that. Your probably right. they did invest a lot of time and draft picks at the DT position, hopefully the other guys around them will get them motivated.

htismaqe
06-22-2005, 12:10 PM
I think Carl felt that he has invested some high draft picks on the position, and is hoping/expecting that an infusion of talent and leadership on the defense will get these guys motivated.

I don't think it's unreasonable to hope/expect it.

For Sims, it's quite simple. His attitude sucks. That's VERY easy to fix. Guys like Surtain and Knight could make all the difference in the world for him.

RedThat
06-22-2005, 12:13 PM
Yep. We have to get something out of Siavii and/or Sims this year. We've skimped in other areas for far too long trying to fix the line.

I don't feel confident in Ryan Sims at all. Too inconsistent. And when he plays at his best, he's mediocre. Siavii is still unknown, imo. He is our only hope, imo. I think Sims is a bust. It shouldn't take a DT 3 years to prove he's worthy of a 6th overall selection.

the Talking Can
06-22-2005, 12:16 PM
DEFENSIVE LINE: This is a big season for Ryan Sims. He must establish himself in the middle of the Chiefs defense as the sixth player taken in the draft. To date, he’s been mediocre. “We’ve worked very hard with Ryan, very hard on his footwork,” said Cunningham. “He has to get better.”


LINEBACKER: “I’ve gone from thinking I didn’t have any linebackers who could play, to the group we have now in one year,” said Cunningham. “We’ve made a lot of progress.”


**** Sims, I wish we could cut his worthless ass. He's a bust of epic proportions.

As for his comment on the LBs, how does that make Fujita, Mitchell, and Barber feel... ROFL

milkman
06-22-2005, 12:17 PM
I don't think it's unreasonable to hope/expect it.

For Sims, it's quite simple. His attitude sucks. That's VERY easy to fix. Guys like Surtain and Knight could make all the difference in the world for him.

I absolutely think that Carl did the right thing.
I'm not sure how much these guys will affect Sims attitude, but I think Carl had to try/hope for them to have a positive impact.

I'm thinking/hoping that they will have a positive impact on Junior.

keg in kc
06-22-2005, 12:17 PM
I don't feel confident in Ryan Sims at all. Confidence in Ryan Sims isn't a luxury we have. The guy is playing on a contract that gave him $10 million in bonus money. We've really got no choice but to play him. He's too expensive not to.

htismaqe
06-22-2005, 12:22 PM
I don't feel confident in Ryan Sims at all. Too inconsistent. And when he plays at his best, he's mediocre. Siavii is still unknown, imo. He is our only hope, imo. I think Sims is a bust. It shouldn't take a DT 3 years to prove he's worthy of a 6th overall selection.

We've never seen Ryan Sims' best, unless you've watched film of his senior season at UNC.

htismaqe
06-22-2005, 12:23 PM
**** Sims, I wish we could cut his worthless ass. He's a bust of epic proportions.

As for his comment on the LBs, how does that make Fujita, Mitchell, and Barber feel... ROFL

Well you might as well get over it. Getting rid of him would wreck our cap.

htismaqe
06-22-2005, 12:23 PM
Confidence in Ryan Sims isn't a luxury we have. The guy is playing on a contract that gave him $10 million in bonus money. We've really got no choice but to play him. He's too expensive not to.

Exactly.

the Talking Can
06-22-2005, 12:24 PM
We've never seen Ryan Sims' best, unless you've watched film of his senior season at UNC.

why do you assume he has a "best"? ROFL


he's the DT version of Freddie Mitchell....

RedThat
06-22-2005, 12:26 PM
We've never seen Ryan Sims' best, unless you've watched film of his senior season at UNC.

i watched him play in the senior bowl, that's it. he was totally disruptive in the middle, and looked like the game MVP, I must say he was blowing up plays, and looked like a sure top 5 pick. whatever happened to that Ryan Sims? I don't know

the Talking Can
06-22-2005, 12:28 PM
i watched him play in the senior bowl, that's it. he was totally disruptive in the middle, and looked like the game MVP, I must say he was blowing up plays, and looked like a sure top 5 pick. whatever happened to that Ryan Sims? I don't know

Scientology?

htismaqe
06-22-2005, 12:32 PM
why do you assume he has a "best"? ROFL


he's the DT version of Freddie Mitchell....

Did you watch him play in college?

the Talking Can
06-22-2005, 12:35 PM
Did you watch him play in college?

lighten up....I've already made up my mind about Sims being a worthless piece of shit, I don't give 2 craps what he or Gino Torretta did in college...

hopefully he'll make me eat crow, until then I'll refer to him a joke....

ptlyon
06-22-2005, 12:36 PM
i watched him play in the senior bowl, that's it. he was totally disruptive in the middle, and looked like the game MVP, I must say he was blowing up plays, and looked like a sure top 5 pick. whatever happened to that Ryan Sims? I don't know

I wish he would get off his lazy @$$ and do that in the NFL

AirForceChief
06-22-2005, 01:43 PM
i watched him play in the senior bowl, that's it. he was totally disruptive in the middle, and looked like the game MVP, I must say he was blowing up plays, and looked like a sure top 5 pick. whatever happened to that Ryan Sims? I don't know

He cashed his signing bonus and ate it :shake:

htismaqe
06-22-2005, 01:45 PM
He cashed his signing bonus and ate it :shake:

Yep.

htismaqe
06-22-2005, 02:00 PM
Just think, we signed a "Jelly" and turned him into a decent DT.

We drafted a decent DT and turned him into a "Jelly".

go bowe
06-22-2005, 02:03 PM
We've never seen Ryan Sims' best, unless you've watched film of his senior season at UNC.i've always suspected that sims has a much better player inside of him waiting to get out...

maybe being in the second season with gun's system and having bell and fox (and allen) putting pressure on the ol, he'll suddenly turn into that number 6 pick we all hope for...

keg in kc
06-22-2005, 02:04 PM
i've always suspected that sims has a much better player inside of him waiting to get out...I can see where you'd be confused, but that really is just his gut.

go bowe
06-22-2005, 02:05 PM
Just think, we signed a "Jelly" and turned him into a decent DT.

We drafted a decent DT and turned him into a "Jelly".i could say it's the unmentionable one's scheme that has retarted sims' development, but then jelly has played in the same systems as sims...

go bowe
06-22-2005, 02:07 PM
I can see where you'd be confused, but that really is just his gut.ROFL ROFL ROFL

jolly good joke, eh what? :toast: :toast: :toast:

Pants
06-22-2005, 02:08 PM
For Sims, it's quite simple. His attitude sucks.

I have a hard time believing that 100 percent when I see him diving for interceptions.

whoman69
06-22-2005, 02:22 PM
The problem with Browning has never been effort, its the question of how long he could give max effort before his body broke down. He's better off spelling other players

htismaqe
06-22-2005, 02:33 PM
I can see where you'd be confused, but that really is just his gut.

ROFL

cmh6476
06-22-2005, 05:07 PM
This was discussed in another thread. I think people are confused when the coaches say Browning is "our best defensive linemen".

What I'm pretty sure they mean is that he's the most versatile and can play any position, not that he's the best TACKLE on the team.
fine.

But if he's the best, shouldnt he be starting? :shrug:

philfree
06-22-2005, 05:12 PM
I have a hard time believing that 100 percent when I see him diving for interceptions.


He has panned out like we wanted but he did win a small piece of my heart when he laid out to try and catch that ball. I thought "oh no" when he was still in the air cause I knew he would be injured. Guys his size shouldn't be trying to fly.

PhilFree:arrow:

milkman
06-22-2005, 05:18 PM
fine.

But if he's the best, shouldnt he be starting? :shrug:

No, because best, as in most versatile isn't the same as best, as in most productive.

Keg said it best in another thread.

I hope to christ browning isn't starting. He's alright as part of a rotation, as a situational player or as an emergency fill in, but he can get pushed around like he's a rag doll when he starts.