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View Full Version : Jeff Chadiha w/SI: Gunther's Defense


KChiefs1
08-09-2005, 02:02 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/writers/jeffri_chadiha/08/09/chiefs.defense/index.html

There's a fierce intensity in the Kansas City Chiefs training camp that hasn't been seen in years. Defenders fly to the ball faster than ever. They smack ball carriers with more force than usual. They jump in the face of offensive players, just to let their teammates know they aren't playing second fiddle any longer. They do whatever it takes to catch the eye of defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham because they know jobs are on the line and he wants only the hungriest of competitors.

There can't be a happier man in Chiefs camp than Cunningham. When he stands at one edge of the practice field, his eyes hidden by yellow-tinted glasses and his Chiefs baseball cap pulled low on his forehead, he views a unit that finally has enough talent to play his style of defense. They have speed, quickness and instincts. Now all they need is that final touch that Cunningham knows how to provide -- the surly attitude that was the trademark of the Chiefs defenses he designed during the mid- to late 1990s.

Yes, it's early, but the Chiefs are looking like they could have a defense worth boasting about again. They have several key new faces -- most notably cornerback Patrick Surtain, strong safety Sammy Knight and linebackers Kendrell Bell and Derrick Johnson, the team's first-round pick in this year's draft -- but they also have an inspired Cunningham. Last season, in his first year back with the Chiefs, Kansas City fielded the second-worst defense in the league. This year, Cunningham says, "I feel real really good. I can call any scheme in practice and have confidence that they'll execute it. If you have a gun with six bullets, you shoot all of them. Last year, I had a gun with no bullets so now I feel totally different. It's exciting."

There's no question that a Cunningham defense armed with proven playmakers is a dangerous group for any offense to face. He possesses one of the game's sharpest defensive minds and his units were the heart of Kansas City's success for half a decade (Cunningham served as the Chiefs defensive coordinator from 1995-98 and as its head coach from 1999-2000). Those defenses excelled at everything Cunningham loves. They pounded quarterbacks. They took the ball away. They consistently beat teams down. During those five years Cunningham was involved with the team, the Chiefs averaged 33.5 turnovers a game.

But when Dick Vermeil took over the Chiefs in 2001, the emphasis went to offense. The Chiefs built an explosive team that could hang in any shoot-out imaginable. But let's be real -- this is a town that loves its defense first and now the Chiefs have a chance to return to their roots. Surtain is an exceptional cover corner. Knight has generated more turnovers (35 interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries) than any defender in the league during his eight-year career. Bell and Johnson bring much-needed speed to the linebacking corps and defensive end Carlos Hall should be a valuable situational pass rusher.

Cunningham is doing his part to motivate, too. It isn't enough that this influx of new talent has generated plenty of competition for jobs. Cunningham says he's "turned back the clock" on his coaching techniques and become a more aggressive, in-your-face teacher this season. The reason: He wants his defenders to be just as feisty on game days. "I've never seen Gunther this intense," says defensive end Eric Hicks, one of the few Chiefs who played under Cunningham during his previous tenure in Kansas City. "He'd yell and curse before to show he had a fiery personality but now he's directing that anger at individuals. He's been calling guys out during team meetings, which is something he never used to do. It's really making people nervous."

You can't blame Cunningham for ratcheting up the intensity. He's waited a full year for some legitimate personnel and he wants to make the most of it. He also doesn't subscribe to the popular theory that all the Chiefs need from their defense is above-average play to reach the Super Bowl. Cunningham wants his unit to excel. Why not shoot for the top when you finally have the people to get you there?

Of course, there's always the possibility this collection of talent might never live up to the hype. Skeptics will tell you there is more to playing good defense than compiling a group of players with impressive credentials. It's a fair argument, but it won't apply in this case. "We're trying to change the culture here," Cunningham says. "They got into a passive defense that believed that offense would win it all and the defense got soft. We want to be a hard-hitting defense. What I want is for people to know this defense is tough. If we can come out of this camp with that attitude, I believe we'll be all right."

Mr. Laz
08-09-2005, 02:03 PM
Old school D
Cunningham goes back to Chiefs' defensive roots

Posted: Tuesday August 9, 2005 1:44PM; Updated: Tuesday August 9, 2005 1:44PM

There's a fierce intensity in the Kansas City Chiefs training camp that hasn't been seen in years. Defenders fly to the ball faster than ever. They smack ball carriers with more force than usual. They jump in the face of offensive players, just to let their teammates know they aren't playing second fiddle any longer. They do whatever it takes to catch the eye of defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham because they know jobs are on the line and he wants only the hungriest of competitors.

There can't be a happier man in Chiefs camp than Cunningham. When he stands at one edge of the practice field, his eyes hidden by yellow-tinted glasses and his Chiefs baseball cap pulled low on his forehead, he views a unit that finally has enough talent to play his style of defense. They have speed, quickness and instincts. Now all they need is that final touch that Cunningham knows how to provide -- the surly attitude that was the trademark of the Chiefs defenses he designed during the mid- to late 1990s.

Yes, it's early, but the Chiefs are looking like they could have a defense worth boasting about again. They have several key new faces -- most notably cornerback Patrick Surtain, strong safety Sammy Knight and linebackers Kendrell Bell and Derrick Johnson, the team's first-round pick in this year's draft -- but they also have an inspired Cunningham. Last season, in his first year back with the Chiefs, Kansas City fielded the second-worst defense in the league. This year, Cunningham says, "I feel real really good. I can call any scheme in practice and have confidence that they'll execute it. If you have a gun with six bullets, you shoot all of them. Last year, I had a gun with no bullets so now I feel totally different. It's exciting."

There's no question that a Cunningham defense armed with proven playmakers is a dangerous group for any offense to face. He possesses one of the game's sharpest defensive minds and his units were the heart of Kansas City's success for half a decade (Cunningham served as the Chiefs defensive coordinator from 1995-98 and as its head coach from 1999-2000). Those defenses excelled at everything Cunningham loves. They pounded quarterbacks. They took the ball away. They consistently beat teams down. During those five years Cunningham was involved with the team, the Chiefs averaged 33.5 turnovers a game.

But when Dick Vermeil took over the Chiefs in 2001, the emphasis went to offense. The Chiefs built an explosive team that could hang in any shoot-out imaginable. But let's be real -- this is a town that loves its defense first and now the Chiefs have a chance to return to their roots. Surtain is an exceptional cover corner. Knight has generated more turnovers (35 interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries) than any defender in the league during his eight-year career. Bell and Johnson bring much-needed speed to the linebacking corps and defensive end Carlos Hall should be a valuable situational pass rusher.

Cunningham is doing his part to motivate, too. It isn't enough that this influx of new talent has generated plenty of competition for jobs. Cunningham says he's "turned back the clock" on his coaching techniques and become a more aggressive, in-your-face teacher this season. The reason: He wants his defenders to be just as feisty on game days. "I've never seen Gunther this intense," says defensive end Eric Hicks, one of the few Chiefs who played under Cunningham during his previous tenure in Kansas City. "He'd yell and curse before to show he had a fiery personality but now he's directing that anger at individuals. He's been calling guys out during team meetings, which is something he never used to do. It's really making people nervous."

You can't blame Cunningham for ratcheting up the intensity. He's waited a full year for some legitimate personnel and he wants to make the most of it. He also doesn't subscribe to the popular theory that all the Chiefs need from their defense is above-average play to reach the Super Bowl. Cunningham wants his unit to excel. Why not shoot for the top when you finally have the people to get you there?

Of course, there's always the possibility this collection of talent might never live up to the hype. Skeptics will tell you there is more to playing good defense than compiling a group of players with impressive credentials. It's a fair argument, but it won't apply in this case. "We're trying to change the culture here," Cunningham says. "They got into a passive defense that believed that offense would win it all and the defense got soft. We want to be a hard-hitting defense. What I want is for people to know this defense is tough. If we can come out of this camp with that attitude, I believe we'll be all right."

Saul Good
08-09-2005, 02:06 PM
I don't remember averaging 33.5 turnovers per game. Is that a record?

Kclee
08-09-2005, 02:07 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/writers/jeffri_chadiha/08/09/chiefs.defense/index.html

Those defenses excelled at everything Cunningham loves. They pounded quarterbacks. They took the ball away. They consistently beat teams down. During those five years Cunningham was involved with the team, the Chiefs averaged 33.5 turnovers a game.


Heh. I don't know how I missed that all those years. Amazing we lost any games.

ct
08-09-2005, 02:09 PM
I don't remember averaging 33.5 turnovers per game. Is that a record?

I saw that too, that's pretty impressive!!

KCTitus
08-09-2005, 02:09 PM
I don't remember averaging 33.5 turnovers per game. Is that a record?

LOL...

Rausch
08-09-2005, 02:09 PM
Der spectacles are back mother****er, the spectacles are back!... :)

Tribal Warfare
08-09-2005, 02:12 PM
If you have a gun with six bullets, you shoot all of them. Last year, I had a gun with no bullets so now I feel totally different. It's exciting."



I love this comment, because who it's coming from.

DTLB58
08-09-2005, 03:09 PM
I find it somewhat....suprising that the statement is being made that Gun didn't have any talent last year and this year he has bullets for his gun now when the talent that is being replaced is STILL on the team.

Maybe they won't be after the final cuts but it's like they are talking about guys who got cut and are outta here now when that's not the case at all. They may be second teamers now but they are still on the team :hmmm:

MOhillbilly
08-09-2005, 03:12 PM
i smell hype.

beer bacon
08-09-2005, 03:13 PM
I find it somewhat....suprising that the statement is being made that Gun didn't have any talent last year and this year he has bullets for his gun now when the talent that is being replaced is STILL on the team.

Maybe they won't be after the final cuts but it's like they are talking about guys who got cut and are outta here now when that's not the case at all. They may be second teamers now but they are still on the team :hmmm:

I am sure Gun would say that he had some talent last year, but it never came together. He would probably go on and say that his attitude was soft, his coaches hadn't grasped his system completely, and his players still had the wrong philosophy.

Radar Chief
08-09-2005, 03:28 PM
i smell hype.

Naw, seems on the up-n-up to me.

Chiefs averaged 33.5 turnovers a game.

whoman69
08-09-2005, 03:33 PM
Nice to know we're getting good reviews from other than homer Gretz.

Donger
08-09-2005, 03:35 PM
Woo hoo! My first ever football-related stiffy!

DTLB58
08-09-2005, 03:53 PM
I am sure Gun would say that he had some talent last year, but it never came together. He would probably go on and say that his attitude was soft, his coaches hadn't grasped his system completely, and his players still had the wrong philosophy.

No, Gun is the one that said it...

This year, Cunningham says, "I feel real really good. I can call any scheme in practice and have confidence that they'll execute it. If you have a gun with six bullets, you shoot all of them. Last year, I had a gun with no bullets so now I feel totally different. It's exciting."

Dave Lane
08-09-2005, 03:54 PM
This is an impressive stat

"the Chiefs averaged 33.5 turnovers a game."

I knew they were good but DAMN!

Dave

Braincase
08-09-2005, 04:41 PM
This is an impressive stat

"the Chiefs averaged 33.5 turnovers a game."

I knew they were good but DAMN!

Dave

Unfortunately, Grbac and Donnell Bennett were turning the ball over 29-30 times a game, so it all evened out.

Halfcan
08-09-2005, 04:57 PM
I like that DV is not telling gun to hold back either. Our offense was a little soft the first few games of 04. This year they are getting knocked around a lot more. It could create some injuries though-but having another laughing stock of a defense would be worse. Nice article-gotta love Gunther!!
Halfcan

chefsos
08-09-2005, 05:48 PM
If this defense plays at all like last year's, I'm afraid Gunther's gonna spontaneously combust.

penchief
08-09-2005, 05:54 PM
I like that DV is not telling gun to hold back either. Our offense was a little soft the first few games of 04. This year they are getting knocked around a lot more. It could create some injuries though-but having another laughing stock of a defense would be worse. Nice article-gotta love Gunther!!
Halfcan

Good point about our offense being soft early on. Maybe by encountering a more belligerent defense in training camp they'll be a little more aggressive themselves.

Seems like preseason should have taken care of that, though. Unless the starters just didn't get enough reps against aggressive defenses during the preseason.

el borracho
08-09-2005, 07:28 PM
"Gunther! What is best in life?"

Coach
08-10-2005, 09:12 AM
There can't be a happier man in Chiefs camp than Cunningham. When he stands at one edge of the practice field, his eyes hidden by yellow-tinted glasses and his Chiefs baseball cap pulled low on his forehead.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v39/SwedeCarlson/Chiefs/GuntherGlasses.jpg

Mr. Kotter
08-10-2005, 10:45 AM
Damn, I love Gunther.... :drool:

J Diddy
08-10-2005, 11:01 AM
Damn, I love Gunther.... :drool:

Yeah, he seemed to try to fit into that nice guy Vermeil mode last year from what I gathered.

I like the guy who has no problem getting up in someone's face.

Telling the fans "we beat your ass"

That is fun.

Rukdafaidas
08-10-2005, 11:04 AM
Der spectacles are back mother****er, the spectacles are back!... :)
Yeah, when I read that he had the yellow tinted glasses on, I let out a "woo hoo, he is back". ROFL
http://www.georgeblowfish.com/gunther.jpg