PDA

View Full Version : Rick Dean- All eyes on Derrick Johnson


C-Mac
08-10-2005, 08:37 AM
http://www.810whb.com/scripts/archives/getStory.asp?article=10637
All eyes on Derrick Johnson
Rick Dean, Topeka Capital Journal

RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- The interception was a beauty.

It was a downfield throw, 25 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, and rookie quarterback James Kilian put the ball on the money. The receiver, the slot guy in the three-wide set, was open for a second, maybe two. But the Chiefs defender broke quickly as the wideout made his cut to the sideline, caught up to the ball and got the pick.

It was the kind of play the Chiefs hope to see their defensive backs make a lot this season.

Only this didn't involve a defensive back.

It was linebacker Derrick Johnson, Kansas City's first-round draft choice and the talk of camp.

On Tuesday morning, Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil did most of the talking about the player who could be the most exciting linebacker drafted by Kansas City since the late Derrick Thomas became the cornerstone of the Chiefs renaissance in 1989.

"When you can move like he can move there are no limitations to what he can do," Vermeil said of Johnson. "He can catch up to the football as it travels. I don't know if he can run faster than the football's flying, but he can get there.

"I don't know how long it's going to take him but he's going to be one of the premier defensive players in this league," Vermeil added. "I think he'll be a candidate this year for the rookie defensive player of the year."

Such high expectations, though possibly daunting to some rookies, are nothing less than what Johnson expects of himself.

"I put a lot of positive pressure on myself to run with anyone on the field," said the speedy 242-pound Texas product who won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the outstanding defender in college football last year.

"I'm glad I've got coaches who believe I can get the job done," Johnson added when told of Vermeil's rookie of the year prediction. "I never want to count my chickens before they're hatched. But if I'm a player who produces in my first year, yeah, I'd like to be rookie of the year.

"I got a lot of accolades last year. Hopefully I can keep it going in the NFL."

After missing the first four days of the Chiefs camp while his first pro contract was being settled, Johnson has moved quickly into the No. 1 left linebacker position -- which usually plays over the opposing tight end -- and brought to the linebacking corps the kind of speed not seen in Kansas City since Donnie Edwards last played in Arrowhead in 2001.

Faulted by NFL scouts last year for its lack of linebacking speed, the Chiefs have addressed that concern appreciably with the drafting of Johnson and the free agent acquisition of right backer Kendrell Bell.

"We've never had three at a time that can move collectively like they can move," Vermeil said of the linebacking corps that includes Kawika Mitchell in the middle.

"Now, we really haven't seen Kendrell Bell," he added. "We hope he can move like we thought when we brought him here, but we haven't turned him loose yet (in full-speed contact and blitzing situations). We're not confidence, and he's not confident yet, that he can really go."

With the two new players bracketing Mitchell, the Chiefs hope their returning middle backer won't feel the need to make plays all over the field -- an over-eagerness that sometimes caused him to be vulnerable to cutbacks runs last year.

The addition of Johnson also gives Kansas City hope for better coverage of running backs, tight ends and inside receivers -- something incumbent left linebacker Scott Fujita struggled to do a year ago.

"It's always a positive if a linebacker can drop back and cover a slot receiver," Johnson said of his Tuesday interception. "I just ran down the seam with him and stayed with him.

"I think coaches have seen what they can expect from me," he added. "I think they know I can get the job done."

Nightfyre
08-10-2005, 09:01 AM
Hell, put him at CB for the first four games. We have more quality at OLB than at CB anyway.

Bootlegged
08-10-2005, 09:04 AM
OLB- Shawn Barber (when healthy)
MLB- Derrick Johnson
OLB- Kendrell Bell

:drool:

Chiefnj
08-10-2005, 09:05 AM
"Now, we really haven't seen Kendrell Bell," he added. "We hope he can move like we thought when we brought him here, but we haven't turned him loose yet (in full-speed contact and blitzing situations). We're not confidence, and he's not confident yet, that he can really go."

WTF??

tomahawk kid
08-10-2005, 09:34 AM
"Now, we really haven't seen Kendrell Bell," he added. "We hope he can move like we thought when we brought him here, but we haven't turned him loose yet (in full-speed contact and blitzing situations). We're not confidence, and he's not confident yet, that he can really go."

WTF??

F#ck. That sounds pretty friggin bad right there.

Rain Man
08-10-2005, 09:36 AM
When my cats see a bird or something else that really excites them, they make this little "eh-eh-eh-eh" noise. I'm making that noise right now.


The Bell comment is worrisome.

jidar1
08-10-2005, 10:19 AM
OLB- Shawn Barber (when healthy)
MLB- Derrick Johnson
OLB- Kendrell Bell

:drool:

You must not have been paying attention.

MLB is Mitchell
OLB will be Bell and Johnson.. provided Bell is healthy.

htismaqe
08-10-2005, 11:01 AM
You must not have been paying attention.

MLB is Mitchell
OLB will be Bell and Johnson.. provided Bell is healthy.

Vermeil said in an interview that Johnson may play MLB some...

J Diddy
08-10-2005, 11:24 AM
Vermeil said in an interview that Johnson may play MLB some...


This is kind of odd, I mean he is only a rookie.

RedThat
08-10-2005, 11:31 AM
Relax guys. Bell will be ok. The Chiefs are just being cautious with Bell. He got dinged earlier remember? They don't want to rush him or cause any aggravation to his past injuries. I see the logic in what there doing, and it's smart.

RedNFeisty
08-10-2005, 11:35 AM
This is kind of odd, I mean he is only a rookie.

Hell, the way the D played last season, a high school player would be an upgrade. I welcome the rookie to take over and kick ass.

J Diddy
08-10-2005, 11:37 AM
Hell, the way the D played last season, a high school player would be an upgrade. I welcome the rookie to take over and kick ass.

Not that I don't but playing 2 positions is kind of a lofty goal.

RedThat
08-10-2005, 11:39 AM
This is kind of odd, I mean he is only a rookie.

Well from all the linebackers we have, I think DJ is the best coverage LBer. I wouldnt be surprised if the Chiefs used him in the middle on certain passing situations. Take dime packages for example. He'll probably don the middle in the Dime defense, since we'll need 6 DB's, and the best coverage LBer on the field. Anyway, my point is, he'll don the middle in obvious passing situations like against 4, or 5 WR sets.

BigChiefFan
08-10-2005, 11:39 AM
Vermeil said in an interview that Johnson may play MLB some...
I've thought DJ would make a great MLBer from day one. He's a leader and can go sideline to sideline. he's also a physical player. If Mitchell flounders, I can see DJ being the MLBer and getting Fox on the field.

J Diddy
08-10-2005, 11:40 AM
Well from all the linebackers we have, I think DJ is the best coverage LBer. I wouldnt be surprised if the Chiefs used him in the middle on certain passing situations. Take dime packages for example. He'll probably don the middle in the Dime defense, since we'll need 6 DB's, and the best coverage LBer on the field. Anyway, my point is, he'll don the middle in obvious passing situations like against 4, or 5 WR sets.

Passing situations, yes. If he lines up at MLB in the 4-3 I am throwing this brick at the tv.

J Diddy
08-10-2005, 11:41 AM
I've thought DJ would make a great MLBer from day one. He's a leader and can go sideline to sideline. he's also a physical player. If Mitchell flounders, I can see DJ being the MLBer and getting Fox on the field.

I didn't even think about that, I retract my brick comment from my previous post.

They need to figure out where he's gonna be and leave him though.

RedThat
08-10-2005, 11:44 AM
Passing situations, yes. If he lines up at MLB in the 4-3 I am throwing this brick at the tv.

ROFL

I doubt he'll line up as MLB in the 4-3. No worries, Mitchell is the guy.

RedThat
08-10-2005, 11:48 AM
I've thought DJ would make a great MLBer from day one. He's a leader and can go sideline to sideline. he's also a physical player. If Mitchell flounders, I can see DJ being the MLBer and getting Fox on the field.

Its probably best suited to leave him on the outside. Just to utilize, take advantage of his speed, and coverage skills. He doesn't have the physicality to be a MLB, leave him on the outside where he can work best. The Chiefs are doing the right thing.