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dirk digler
08-01-2005, 07:47 AM
Sorry if this a re-post.

GRETZ: Mitchell in the Middle
Aug 01, 2005, 8:24:30 AM by Bob Gretz - FAQ


RIVER FALLS, WI – Those Chiefs fans who like to dial up the sports yakkers and fill up internet message boards with their opinions aren’t going to like this news coming out of the north woods.

Kawika Mitchell is the Chief starting middle linebacker. A favorite whipping boy for the red and gold fans, Mitchell is running with the first team and running hard.

“I’ll just have to change their opinions,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell has gone a long way in changing in the opinion of the man who counts the most: defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham. Mitchell showed improvement at the end of last season. But when the off-season started, Cunningham wasn’t sure Mitchell was the guy who could play the middle in his defense. It wasn’t as much a question of talent, as it was whether he had the demeanor to be the defensive leader.

Cunningham questioned Mitchell’s toughness. He showed him tape of missed tackles, or plays where he reached for ball carriers instead of throwing his body into the play. There were not the collisions that are so necessary to playing the middle linebacker position.

“I think there reached a point where he was ready to kill me,” Cunningham said.

That was the point. While Cunningham wasn’t trying to pull some head game routine on his middle linebacker (”Everything I said was true,” Gunther said) he also wanted to see Mitchell’s reaction. Would he pout? Would he try to prove him wrong? Mitchell picked the second option.

“I didn’t like what I heard,” said Mitchell. “I had to find a way to prove to him that I could be the type of player who can not only play this defense, but run it on the field.”

Cunningham wonders about that less and less these days. When asked if there was any doubt Mitchell was his starting middle linebacker, Gunther said “none.” But he added: “We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but Kawika has done what we’ve asked and he’s getting better and better.”

Right now, there’s nobody even close to pushing him for the starting job. NFL Europe Defensive Most Valuable Player Rich Scanlon has looked good in the early going, but he’s working with the third-team defense and generally running up against the third-team offense. Rookie draft choice Boomer Grigsby has struggled with the second-team defense, especially against the run. Too often, he’s getting blocked and taken out of plays, while he’s looking for the football, rather than filling his assigned gap.

But Mitchell isn’t cruising into the position. He earned the middle linebacker spot with his off-season work. The improvement has continued here in River Falls. He’s getting to the ball, he’s making plays and he’s directing the defense. Not only that, but he never leaves the field; when the Chiefs go to their sub defenses, he’s on the field for all of them, whether it’s nickel with an extra defensive back, or their four-linebacker set.

In effect, he’s doing all the things Cunningham wants his middle linebacker to do on the field. He’s even talking loud enough that his voice can be heard on the sidelines.

“I’m not a real vocal guy,” Mitchell said. “So I’ve had to change that. But it’s been easier every day because I feel more comfortable every day. I feel comfortable in my understanding of the defense and in my understanding of what Gunther wants to get done on the field.”

Comfortable enough that he’s taken charge in the huddle and even asked his defensive coordinator to remove himself from the group. “He threw me out,” Cunningham laughed.

What caught Cunningham’s eye even more were back-to-back plays in a practice this past weekend. Center Casey Wiegmann snapped the ball and came out to block Mitchell. “Kawika took his head off,” Cunningham said. “Casey said something to him about it and on the next play Kawika went right after him again.

“That’s what we are looking for from our guy in the middle.”

Last year, Mitchell struggled with picking up Cunningham’s scheme, largely because it was so different from what he’d played under during his rookie season under Greg Robinson. In an oversimplified explanation, Cunningham wants his linebackers to read and move forward, while Robinson was more interested in his linebackers reading and then going side to side.

Mitchell was not sure of himself and that led to his biggest problem: his tackling. Mitchell missed some ball carriers early in the season that hurt the Chiefs.

“It wasn’t until the end of the season that I really felt like I knew what I was doing,” said Mitchell. “I think late in the year my play improved and that was due entirely to me having a better understanding of what Gunther wanted and how it all fits together. That’s no longer a problem, so tackling should no longer be a problem.”

Mitchell was just the poster boy for an overall team problem with tackling that Cunningham is working on in every single practice. Under Robinson, the defensive player were told to tag off on the ball carrier, meaning get to the ball and then touch the player on the hips.

Gunther is on his guys to wrap up the ball carrier. Even though there is no real tackling in training camp, he wants his players to stop the momentum of the guy with the ball.

“One of Kawika’s problems is he reaches,” said Cunningham. “It’s something that all the guys that were here before do. It’s part of what I mean when I say we are trying to change the culture here, change the way they think about playing defense. We don’t reach, we hit.”

Kawika Mitchell has gotten that message, loud and clear.

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

Infidel Goat
08-01-2005, 07:50 AM
The opinions offered in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the Kansas City Chiefs.

I couldn't help giggling when I read that last bit.

Anyway, I hope it's true, but I remember too many stories about how great William Bartee looked to feel comfortable.

--Infidel Goat

Fried Meat Ball!
08-01-2005, 07:51 AM
I'm excited... :thumb:

Bwana
08-01-2005, 07:52 AM
Very good read.

MOhillbilly
08-01-2005, 07:56 AM
“One of Kawika’s problems is he reaches,” said Cunningham. “It’s something that all the guys that were here before do. It’s part of what I mean when I say we are trying to change the culture here, change the way they think about playing defense. We don’t reach, we hit.”


gotta love this.

ROYC75
08-01-2005, 07:57 AM
“One of Kawika’s problems is he reaches,” said Cunningham. “It’s something that all the guys that were here before do. It’s part of what I mean when I say we are trying to change the culture here, change the way they think about playing defense. We don’t reach, we hit.”

Nice to see we will attack instead of react and retract..........

chagrin
08-01-2005, 08:00 AM
I cannot wait until this defense hits the field this year!!!!

HemiEd
08-01-2005, 08:00 AM
Best report I have read out of the camp so far. :drool:

TEX
08-01-2005, 08:01 AM
I couldn't help giggling when I read that last bit.

Anyway, I hope it's true, but I remember too many stories about how great William Bartee looked to feel comfortable.

--Infidel Goat

Took the words right out of my mouth. Seems that whenever a _efensive player is counted on to have a big year, all the good press he receives in training camp turns out to be total :BS:

Iowanian
08-01-2005, 08:04 AM
I hope he does have an attitude this year. I hope he becomes an on-field killer of men with the ball.

I think Fans were justified to say he sucked last season, and he'll have to PROOVE it before this fan will believe he doesn't.

This fan, looks forward to being wrong.

It never was about size, strength or speed with Mitchell.....it was all attitude and confidence. ALOT of players with awesome physical talent, fail in the NFL because of attitude.

Dave Lane
08-01-2005, 08:04 AM
As much as i think Gretz is a total tool he is right on this one Mitchell looked great at training camp.

Dave

ZootedGranny
08-01-2005, 08:07 AM
"I got tha innanet goin nuts"
http://www.kcchiefs.com/media/players/kawika_mitchell.jpg

Iowanian
08-01-2005, 08:08 AM
I don't think Mitchell should be wearing that Amish Beard, without the straw hat, either.

Lzen
08-01-2005, 08:10 AM
I couldn't help giggling when I read that last bit.

Anyway, I hope it's true, but I remember too many stories about how great William Bartee looked to feel comfortable.

--Infidel Goat

True. But KM was playing pretty well by the end of last season, IMO. I've been saying all along that I believe he will continue to play well and improve. I truly believe he'll be a force the middle of that defense. And make several people eat crow. :)

MOhillbilly
08-01-2005, 08:11 AM
"I got tha innanet goin nuts"
http://www.kcchiefs.com/media/players/kawika_mitchell.jpg


http://www.joerusso.com/images/snapshot4.jpg

morphius
08-01-2005, 08:16 AM
As much as i think Gretz is a total tool he is right on this one Mitchell looked great at training camp.

Dave
That's good to hear as well!

The guy mostly killed me last year with his running straight int the blocker instead of taking the gap.

I would like to hear that Boomer was doing better and putting some more pressure on him, but I'm glad to hear about the sit down with Gun all the same.

MOhillbilly
08-01-2005, 08:21 AM
That's good to hear as well!

The guy mostly killed me last year with his running straight int the blocker instead of taking the gap.

I would like to hear that Boomer was doing better and putting some more pressure on him, but I'm glad to hear about the sit down with Gun all the same.

sometimes you gotta let a dog get bit, then let him sit back and think about it.

dirk digler
08-01-2005, 08:22 AM
FYI For Royc.

Right now, there’s nobody even close to pushing him for the starting job. NFL Europe Defensive Most Valuable Player Rich Scanlon has looked good in the early going, but he’s working with the third-team defense and generally running up against the third-team offense.

ROYC75
08-01-2005, 08:37 AM
FYI For Royc.


I'm not the least bit concerned, IMHO, Rich will be # 2 before the end of camp.

dirk digler
08-01-2005, 08:39 AM
I'm not the least bit concerned, IMHO, Rich will be # 2 before the end of camp.

It will be an interesting competition between Boomer and Scanlon.

htismaqe
08-01-2005, 08:47 AM
I just pray to God Gunther was right about the "it takes 2 years" deal.

If Mitchell busts out this year and just becomes a solid player, we could have one of the better LB corps in the AFC.

ROYC75
08-01-2005, 09:01 AM
I just pray to God Gunther was right about the "it takes 2 years" deal.

If Mitchell busts out this year and just becomes a solid player, we could have one of the better LB corps in the AFC.

The light was coming on late last year, Gun has been working all off season with him, he should excell this year.

Chief Henry
08-01-2005, 09:13 AM
Those Chiefs fans who like to dial up the sports yakkers and fill up internet message boards with their opinions aren’t going to like this news coming out of the north woods.

Kawika Mitchell is the Chief starting middle linebacker. A favorite whipping boy for the red and gold fans



Why does Gretz have to open an article with something so fricken
sarcastic about us Chiefs fans. When he prints this crap I think he's
talking down to us fans. Many of us listen to sports radio. I have it
on WHB's website right now. I'm thirsting for any morsel of Chiefs news
and this POS basically calls us IDIOTS for pauing attention to
sports talk radio and our opinions.

In this quote I posted Gretz basically calls us idiots for our opinions
on Mitchell, but later in the article Cunningham reafirms that our opoinions about Mitchell were right all along.

SO SCREW YOU BOB GRETZ.

But I am glad that Mitchell is playing better. He needed to play better.
He sucked last year.

tiptap
08-01-2005, 09:17 AM
It will be an interesting competition between Boomer and Scanlon.

I am concerned about Scanlon. I think he is the no 2 MLB but having played all Summer in the Euro league, I think he may wear out over the 16/4 season of the NFL. It may be a smart thing to put him at 3rd string so his reps are down and he still gets use to the defense.

KCTitus
08-01-2005, 09:19 AM
In this quote I posted Gretz basically calls us idiots for our opinions on Mitchell, but later in the article Cunningham reafirms that our opoinions about Mitchell were right all along.

I guess you're easily offended...I missed the part where he calls you an idiot, rather, he points out, accurately, that most who post here dont like Mitchell and right now he's running with the first team...

keg in kc
08-01-2005, 09:21 AM
I could've done without that sentence myself, but it doesn't really upset me either. There are a lot of idiots calling-in to (or hosting) talk shows and posting on the net. That's a fact. I just wish he wouldn't lump us all together. There are a few not-so-dumb people on air or online, and more than a few people (both idiots and not) that want the light to click on for Mitchell. With his athletic prowess, having him patrolling the middle with Johnson and Bell outside...

Drool.

But that doesn't really matter as much as the rest of the article. It does make one pause however, when you consider the kind of things we were hearing about Willie "stiffneck" Bartee a couple years back.

Anyway, can't wait for the first game.

KCTitus
08-01-2005, 09:30 AM
Agreed, Keg. I think Mitchell summed it all up in one sentence: "I'll just have to change their opinions".

Well, if he's going to do it, that's all the better for the club.

Rukdafaidas
08-01-2005, 09:33 AM
There are a lot of idiots calling-in to (or hosting) talk shows and posting on the net. That's a fact. I just wish he wouldn't lump us all together.
Yeah Titus, quit lumping us all together when writing your articles.

KCTitus
08-01-2005, 09:35 AM
Yeah Titus, quite lumping us all together when writing your articles.

LOL...ok.

ROYC75
08-01-2005, 09:36 AM
I am concerned about Scanlon. I think he is the no 2 MLB but having played all Summer in the Euro league, I think he may wear out over the 16/4 season of the NFL. It may be a smart thing to put him at 3rd string so his reps are down and he still gets use to the defense.


I mentioned this on a different BB.......... kinda the way I see it. Boomer is struggling with his assignments and 3rd string does get as many reps as the 2nd and 1st string does.

FWIW, It's Mitchells job to lose, he has had extra training with Gun. He should excell this year, I hope he does, he's ahead of our other 2 options at this stag of the game / camp .

I have said all along the fight at MLB is the # 2 backup position.

Coogs
08-01-2005, 10:00 AM
Not only that, but he never leaves the field; when the Chiefs go to their sub defenses, he’s on the field for all of them, whether it’s nickel with an extra defensive back, or their four-linebacker set.

Interesting. If Mitchell winds up staying in with an extra DB, and with Bell and DJ on the outside, I wonder if a D-lineman will come out and we go 3-3-5?

Rukdafaidas
08-01-2005, 10:18 AM
Interesting. If Mitchell winds up staying in with an extra DB, and with Bell and DJ on the outside, I wonder if a D-lineman will come out and we go 3-3-5?
I was wondering the same thing. I like it.

Dave Lane
08-01-2005, 10:58 AM
I did call Gretz a tool at River Falls. It was like LOOK its "Bob I'm a tool Gretz" Hows it going Bob?

Dave

Chief Henry
08-01-2005, 11:09 AM
I guess you're easily offended...I missed the part where he calls you an idiot, rather, he points out, accurately, that most who post here dont like Mitchell and right now he's running with the first team...


I'm not easily offended. I just think Bob Gretz uses this type of language
in his articles FAR too often.

htismaqe
08-01-2005, 11:35 AM
I'm not easily offended. I just think Bob Gretz uses this type of language
in his articles FAR too often.

It's no different than the other side. Everybody must fit into one of 2 groups -- idiots who listen to 810 and complete homers who kiss Carl's ass. There's nothing in between.

Mr. Laz
08-01-2005, 11:36 AM
Sorry if this a re-post.

GRETZ: Mitchell in the Middle
Aug 01, 2005, 8:24:30 AM by Bob Gretz - FAQRIVER FALLS, WI – Those Chiefs fans who like to dial up the sports yakkers and fill up internet message boards with their opinions aren’t going to like this news coming out of the north woods

you can tell that asshat gretz is on the chiefs payroll(so to speak)


slam the media ... slam the fans... especially slam the internet community.



f#ck you gretz ... twice





hope mitchell is figuring out

KCTitus
08-01-2005, 11:41 AM
I'm not easily offended. I just think Bob Gretz uses this type of language in his articles FAR too often.

Your inferrence is not his language.

ENDelt260
08-01-2005, 11:42 AM
The whole lot of ya is classless and deranged.

philfree
08-01-2005, 11:55 AM
Gretz didn't call me an idiot but I been backing Mitchell all offseason. I'm sure he read my posts and knows who I am though since he definately has singled out the rest of you Kawika bashers. ROFL

PhilFree:arrow:

KCTitus
08-01-2005, 11:59 AM
Gretz didn't call me an idiot but I been backing Mitchell all offseason. I'm sure he read my posts and knows who I am though since he definately has singled out the rest of you Kawika bashers. ROFL

PhilFree:arrow:

LOL...

Logical
08-01-2005, 12:03 PM
It's no different than the other side. Everybody must fit into one of 2 groups -- idiots who listen to 810 and complete homers who kiss Carl's ass. There's nothing in between.Yipee I cannot possibly be accused of doing either so I don't fit in.

htismaqe
08-01-2005, 12:13 PM
Yipee I cannot possibly be accused of doing either so I don't fit in.

A great many people don't fit in. Don't tell them that.

KCTitus
08-01-2005, 12:17 PM
Yipee I cannot possibly be accused of doing either so I don't fit in.

Yeah...me either.

milkman
08-01-2005, 08:51 PM
Those Chiefs fans who like to dial up the sports yakkers and fill up internet message boards with their opinions aren’t going to like this news coming out of the north woods.

Kawika Mitchell is the Chief starting middle linebacker. A favorite whipping boy for the red and gold fans

I don't really care if Gretz is, or isn't, calling any of us idiots, because he's biggest dumbass ever.

I mean, why won't we like the news?
Does he think we want to see Kawika fail?

I want Kawika to succeed.
I want him to become the baddest mofo in the middle since Willie.

If he does, then we'll have one badass LB corps.

I'm pretty sure almost everyone else feels the same way.

I'm happy that he's looks so good in camp.
But I'm not going to get excited until I see it with my own 2 eyes.

craneref
08-01-2005, 09:18 PM
I really don't care how or why, I just want Mitchell to become the potential that everyone said he had coming out of college. I want him to prove it on every ball carrier the CHIEFS face this year. I want the opposing Offense to look over and not want to get hit by any of our LB's, I want to see that fear agian like teams used to have when the came to Arrowhead. So Kawika, PLEASE prove to us that you belong, GO CHIEFS

Ninjaman
08-01-2005, 09:21 PM
I don't believe the part where he slams Robinson on tackling. You don't teach guys how to tackle at this level. It's the drafting. I've seen Guns guys hit but mistackle too.

Logical
08-01-2005, 09:24 PM
I don't really care if Gretz is, or isn't, calling any of us idiots, because he's biggest dumbass ever.

I mean, why won't we like the news?
Does he think we want to see Kawika fail?

I want Kawika to succeed.
I want him to become the baddest mofo in the middle since Willie.

If he does, then we'll have one badass LB corps.

I'm pretty sure almost everyone else feels the same way.

I'm happy that he's looks so good in camp.
But I'm not going to get excited until I see it with my own 2 eyes.Yes I would be shocked but I would definitely be delighted.

stevieray
08-01-2005, 09:29 PM
I don't believe the part where he slams Robinson on tackling. You don't teach guys how to tackle at this level. It's the drafting. I've seen Guns guys hit but mistackle too.


I think hitting has been more prevelant than tackling in recent years.

milkman
08-01-2005, 09:33 PM
I don't believe the part where he slams Robinson on tackling. You don't teach guys how to tackle at this level. It's the drafting. I've seen Guns guys hit but mistackle too.

I don't know.
The fact that these guys don't wrap, that they do try to make a lot of arm tackle, and as stevieray pointed out, do a lot of hitting rather than tackling, would lend credence to Gun's claim about Spinner.

Logical
08-01-2005, 09:35 PM
I don't believe the part where he slams Robinson on tackling. You don't teach guys how to tackle at this level. It's the drafting. I've seen Guns guys hit but mistackle too.I find it kind of hard to fathom that someone is defending Robinson or cares that Gun is criticizing him.

Judge Smails
08-01-2005, 09:55 PM
Why does Gretz have to open an article with something so fricken
sarcastic about us Chiefs fans. When he prints this crap I think he's
talking down to us fans. Many of us listen to sports radio. I have it
on WHB's website right now. I'm thirsting for any morsel of Chiefs news
and this POS basically calls us IDIOTS for pauing attention to
sports talk radio and our opinions.

In this quote I posted Gretz basically calls us idiots for our opinions
on Mitchell, but later in the article Cunningham reafirms that our opoinions about Mitchell were right all along.

SO SCREW YOU BOB GRETZ.

But I am glad that Mitchell is playing better. He needed to play better.
He sucked last year.

I was gonna say somehting about this as well. Wha the hell did he and "Rufus" ever write about before there where message boards? This is like the third (at least) column that has been influenced by the likes.

Get your own damn material, Bob.

Ninjaman
08-01-2005, 10:02 PM
No . I am attacking scapegoating of a shitty D and blaming it on D coordinators.

Guess Vlady didn't get what happened last season.

You need players. You shouldn't need to teach guys how to tackle on this level.

keg in kc
08-01-2005, 10:06 PM
Believe what you want. I believe Robinson totally f*cked up every defensive player we had, which was the main reason we had to bring so many new vets in. I think we'll find out this season that we had people here capable of playing, but the....culture, the attitude was killed by that moron.

Of course, I've been saying that for like three years now.

Rausch
08-01-2005, 11:32 PM
Believe what you want. I believe Robinson totally f*cked up every defensive player we had, which was the main reason we had to bring so many new vets in. I think we'll find out this season that we had people here capable of playing, but the....culture, the attitude was killed by that moron.

Of course, I've been saying that for like three years now.

Exactly.

I hope GROB is impaled by a bunch of violent homosexual Nazis armed with tridents...

StcChief
08-02-2005, 05:30 AM
Good news. Mitchell has figured out what to do.

The Scanlon/Boomer battle should be interesting.

NFLE may be wearing on Scanlon's play now.

I'm still pulling for Boomer, I like his style, and fire.

jspchief
08-02-2005, 05:44 AM
I hope Mithcell does prove a lot of us wrong this year. I've always felt he had the physical tools, but just lacked the mental part.

Personally, I think it's a bit scary that Gun is having to try and teach Mitchell how to be a killer. I think that's something that should come naturally to a MLB, or any LB for that matter. I question whether he will truly be able to get that tiger to change his stripes. Hopefully, Mitchell's softness is just a by-product of him not being comfortable with the system, and when he finally gets a good grasp he can turn into a rabid raped ape out on the field.

ptlyon
08-02-2005, 06:51 AM
Yipee I cannot possibly be accused of doing either so I don't fit in.

You'll never fit in! You're all a bunch of misfits!!!