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Coach
12-05-2005, 07:17 PM
I haven't seen this posted. If a repost, my apologies.

Defense is in good hands with Mitchell

By ELIZABETH MERRILL

The Kansas City Star

Every day, Kawika Mitchell does ball drills at practice. He says he’s dropped at least four interceptions this year.

“It bothers me,” said Mitchell, the Chiefs’ middle linebacker.

Consider Sunday some temporary relief for Mitchell. He did something very few defensive players have done this year — he picked off a pass from Jake Plummer. At the start of the third quarter, he stepped in front of Rod Smith and intercepted Plummer’s pass up the middle.

It was Mitchell’s first interception of the season and Plummer’s sixth pick.

Mitchell has had his share of fits with Plummer and the bootleg over the years, but the man who went from whipping boy to coaches’ pet looked forward to Sunday’s challenge. He said he had a positive attitude. He said he wanted to dominate.

“I always look to make that big play,” Mitchell said. “I expect to make that big play. When I don’t, it’s a letdown.”

Mitchell finished with a team-high eight tackles Sunday, and the defense held Denver’s prolific offense to six points in the second half.

Defensive end Jared Allen said Mitchell’s biggest play may have come with 2:55 to play, when Plummer hit Kyle Johnson for a short pass on third and 3 at the Denver 45. Mitchell stopped Johnson after a 2-yard gain. It set up the final defensive stand, when Mike Anderson was stuffed on fourth and 1.

“We have more talent, and it’s well-coached, and they’re more mature than they have been in the past,” coach Dick Vermeil said. “Some of those guys who made mistakes in the past don’t make them anymore. Like Kawika Mitchell gets that interception. Everybody was madder than hell at Kawika Mitchell for being a middle linebacker when the running backs made all those long runs against us.

“Now he’s not a young kid anymore. He’s an experienced middle linebacker.”

After getting an earful from the coaches in his first two seasons, Mitchell appreciates the praise. But he still wishes he had those four other interceptions.

“I don’t really deserve credit until the season’s over,” Mitchell said. “Because I want to make sure the team does a good job, goes to the playoffs and wins a lot of games so we can go to the Super Bowl.

“I appreciate the credit, but I’ve got a lot of good people around me to make it easy.”

Coach
12-05-2005, 07:18 PM
2004 Stats from NFL.com
15 Games
72 Total Taclkes
58 Tackles
14 Assists
1 Sack
3 Passes Defended

2005 Stats from NFL.com
12 Games
74 Total Tackles
61 Tackles
13 Assists
2 Sacks
7 Passes Defended

Remember that Kawika’s problems was the fact he reaches instead of going for the kill? Remember that Kawika wasn't vocal, and seemed confused and lost, and doesn't appear to have the leadership skills as a MLB? Remember that Mitchell was the favorate whipping boy for the Chiefs fans, because he was a "too nice guy"? Those days are long gone.

From the KC Star in September 9

Cunningham and Mitchell engaged in a face-to-face shouting match one day at practice in Wisconsin. Expletives were flying in both directions.

To Cunningham, hearing such talk from the mild-mannered Mitchell was sweet music.

“I walked away from that, and everybody saw me smile,” Cunningham said. “That’s when I knew he arrived.

Oh he arrived all right. He arrived with a big nasty streak that we have been sorely lacking for several years now. He arrived with a leadership standpoint that we have been missing since Maz went down.

Case in point.

Jake Plummer hit Kyle Johnson for a short pass on third and 3 at the Denver 45. Mitchell stopped Johnson after a 2-yard gain to force the 4th and 1 play. When Plummer threw it to Johnson, I was thinking "Oh s**t!" But lo and behold, Mitchell came out of nowhere and just blasted Johnson to force that 4th and 1. I was like "Wow, that was a real MLB play with power and speed." In the past, Mitchell would had missed that or tried to reach him instead of going for the kill.

I just wanted to give Mitchell his props, and what he had to go through.

Kawika, you rock dude!

Count Zarth
12-05-2005, 07:25 PM
Kawika's becoming a very good MLB against the pass, too.

Reaper16
12-05-2005, 07:27 PM
If he hadn't made the improvements he made, we might not be talking about the playoffs right now. I'm no longer worried about the MLB position for us; go Ka-Vee-Ka!

Gaz
12-06-2005, 05:41 AM
I am very impressed with Mitchell’s improvement. MLB is no longer a Major Concern.

He took a lot of abuse when he was thrown into the fire. Gunther told everyone that it takes time to make a MLB. Mitchell has certainly grown into the role.

xoxo~
Gaz
Happy for the young man.

SCChief
12-06-2005, 05:58 AM
I still remember Kawika covering Randy Moss on a deep pass in the first Chokeland game, and knocking the pass down at the goal line.

I am very impressed with how the kid has grown, and I think he will be one of the great ones in the years to come.

jidar
12-06-2005, 06:37 AM
I still remember Kawika covering Randy Moss on a deep pass in the first Chokeland game, and knocking the pass down at the goal line.

I am very impressed with how the kid has grown, and I think he will be one of the great ones in the years to come.


Yep. Everytime I think of Mitchells improvement I think of that play. It wasn't even like it was a really quick slant, it was actually out there a bit. Me and my buddy were sitting on my couch when that play happened and I turned to him and said "Did Kawika Mitchell just cover Randy Moss down the middle? Did you ever expect to see that?" The coverage was great, the play was great, it really showed what we could expect from the guy.