View Full Version : Dean: Surtain, Knight won't settle for average defense...

08-04-2005, 04:30 AM
Kind of a rehash but what you gonna do?

Published Thursday, August 4, 2005

Surtain, Knight won't settle for average defense (http://www.cjonline.com/stories/080405/chi_defense.shtml)
By Rick Dean
The Capital-Journal

RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- Somebody made the mistake the other day of suggesting to new Chiefs safety Sammy Knight that many fans would be content if Kansas City could field a mere middle-of-the-pack defense in 2005.

To most people familiar with the sorry Chiefs defense -- the NFL's worst unit in pass defense last year, and second-to-worst in total defense -- such a one-year improvement is a dream.

To Sammy Knight, however, the idea of playing on a merely mediocre defense is an insult.

"When I hear that it makes me sick to my stomach, it makes me want to throw up," Knight countered.

"These guys are out here busting their (butts) expecting to be the top defense in the league," Knight added. "That's what we shoot for. Just like our offense is expected to be the top offense in the league, we expect to be the top defense. Anything less is uncivilized."

Well, rhetoric flows easily in NFL summer camps.

Especially among new players unfamiliar with a team's recent history -- in this case, Kansas City's inability to field a middle-of-the-pack defense since 1999, the last year of Derrick Thomas' career when the Chiefs ranked 14th in total defense. Since Thomas' death, the Chiefs have seen a steady decline in the rankings -- 18, 23, 32, 29 and 31, the last four during Dick Vermeil's tenure.

Knight, of course, had nothing to do with that decline.

Neither did Patrick Surtain, his teammate for the past two seasons in Miami. Surtain, in fact, has played on Dolphin defenses that ranked among the NFL's top three twice and never finished out of the top 10 during his seven seasons there.

Don't suggest to Surtain, either, that the Chiefs should aspire to be a 16-to-20 finisher among NFL defenses.

"We don't want to settle for being mediocre," Surtain said. "I've played on some great defenses, and if you accept (being average), you're going to play like that. You've got to want to be the best in your profession, and when guys take that attitude, the sky is the limit."

Reaching for the sky, though, may be asking too much for a Chiefs defense that can barely see ground level.

Still, the addition of proven defensive stalwarts such as Knight and Surtain means the Chiefs have taken the first step -- changing the mindset -- necessary for the retrenching of their moribund defense.

Both are proven pass defenders. Knight, KC's new strong safety, has 35 interceptions over his previous eights seasons -- six with New Orleans, two with Miami. Only Minnesota safety Darren Sharper has more in that time.

Surtain is a two-time Pro Bowl cornerback and has posted the league's third-highest interception total since 2000. He has 25 of his 29 career picks in the past five seasons. He spent seven years playing for a Miami secondary whose interception total is second only to New England among AFC teams.

If Surtain and Knight want to talk about reaching for the stars, their new teammates should consider listening.

"For the last couple years this team has been known for great offenses. But Kansas City has a tradition of great defenses, and we want to get back to that level," said Surtain, who received an initial signing bonus of $6 million upon agreeing to a new seven-year contract that allowed Kansas City to complete a trade with the Dolphins.

"These guys went through a lot last year, and they've all got the attitude that they want to get better. Now we have to think about being the best. If you feel you're one of the top guys in the league at your position, you've got to go against the best. And in this division, we know we'll see some of the best.

"They brought us in to do a specific job, which is to lead this defense, and that will be a challenge," Surtain added of the role he and Knight readily accept. "But with the guys they brought in (through free agency) and the guys they drafted, I think we're on our way to changing the whole attitude of our defense."

If Knight has his way, that attitude change will entail a basement-to-penthouse turnaround.

"If people put limitations on you, you will be limited," he said. "That's why we set our expectations at the highest level. We want to be the best."


Red Dawg
08-04-2005, 07:13 AM
What he said!

08-04-2005, 09:00 AM
Love the attitude. :thumb: