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Fire Me Boy!
08-02-2006, 09:38 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/football/nfl/kansas_city_chiefs/15175701.htm

Improvement has already been seen as the team tries to create more pressure on the passing game.

By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star

RIVER FALLS, Wis. - | The grand plans the Chiefs have for improving their defense don’t necessarily hinge on the arrival of Herm Edwards, the play of Ty Law or the development of rookies Tamba Hali and Bernard Pollard.

Those guys may have no impact at all if the Chiefs can’t find a way to generate more of a pass rush than they did last season, when only four teams had fewer than their 29 sacks.

The Chiefs like to point to last season’s improvement in their rushing defense. They climbed to seventh in the league by allowing fewer than 100 yards per game.

They can make no such claim about their pass defense, which was 30th. The additions of a new head coach and some key playing components might help them make similar improvement, but not like a consistent pass rush.

Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, after a few days of training camp practice, was cautiously optimistic.

“All through the (offseason practices), I’ve seen the pass rush improve,” he said. “It’s showing up in camp now that we have the pads on.”

Everything starts with end Jared Allen, who led the Chiefs in sacks in each of the last two seasons. He had 11 last season and will probably need at least as many this year if the Chiefs are to make that improvement.

“He’s really improved fundamentally,” Cunningham said. “It took him two years, but he’s a better technical pass rusher. Prior to this, he did it all with heart and attitude. He would just fight you until he got there. That’s a heck of a thing for a guy who’s had 20 sacks in two years.”

Allen is as relentless a pass rusher as anyone the Chiefs have.

“Sacks are still going to come off effort,” Allen said. “Offensive linemen get paid as well. Very rarely are you just going to break someone down and get a clean sack. But I understand better how to position myself to give me a better shot at a sack. I’m learning how to set offensive linemen up better.”

The Chiefs made Hali their starting left end at the start of training camp, but he will also play in their pass defense and might line up in a variety of different places. He had 11 sacks at Penn State last season.

“His first couple of years at college he actually played (defensive tackle),” Edwards said. “So there’s a way when we go to the 3-4 that we can let him rush inside. There are some things we can do. I’m not going to sit here and give my game plan away to 31 teams but we can use him a lot of different ways.

“He’s going to play a lot of football.”

The Chiefs thought they were getting a boost to their pass rush last year when they traded with Tennessee for end Carlos Hall. Hall had eight sacks playing for Cunningham as a rookie with the Titans in 2002 but hasn’t come close to that total since.

He certainly didn’t last season when he had only one. Hall was injured early in camp, didn’t return until shortly before the season and, after playing through an assortment of regular-season injuries, never was able to make much of an impact.

But Hall has made it to this point in camp without a setback and could become a pass rush factor.

“Camp is where it all went bad for me last year,” Hall said. “I never felt right the whole season. This year has been different. I feel good. I’m hungry. I just have to go and get it.”

The pass rush suffered last year mainly because the tackles failed to get adequate push up the middle. The four players who started at tackle last season — Lional Dalton, Ryan Sims, John Browning and Jimmy Wilkerson — combined for just three sacks.

The Chiefs added free agents Ron Edwards and James Reed, but much of the responsibility falls to the starters, Sims and Dalton.

“We’ve got to get better push from the inside,” Cunningham said. “Ryan Sims and Lional Dalton are big, strong guys, but they have to improve their pass rush.”

Hali could also help the Chiefs as a tackle, though the Chiefs have yet to unveil that at camp.

“We’ve talked about a lot of things with him,” Cunningham said. “On some of my mad scientist nights, I’ve come up with some schemes where we can bring him from places where maybe they don’t know where he’s coming from.

“He’s a rookie. If you put too much on him, he may not play effectively.”

Cunningham’s favorite tactic is, of course, the blitz. Ten of last season’s sacks came from linebackers or defensive backs. He said during the offseason that linebacker Kendrell Bell would be more involved as a pass rusher.

Cunningham would prefer not to have the Chiefs blitz as much as last season, when he had little choice. But he didn’t promise that and had a mischievous grin as he talked about it.

“I’ll never say that,” he said. “Our coverage element has been good. Herm always calls me the blitz coach. He told me the ways those guys have been covering, I’ll probably call a blitz every other play.

“You need to keep teams off-balance.”

DaKCMan AP
08-02-2006, 10:14 AM
“His first couple of years at college he actually played (defensive tackle),” Edwards said. “So there’s a way when we go to the 3-4 that we can let him rush inside. There are some things we can do. I’m not going to sit here and give my game plan away to 31 teams but we can use him a lot of different ways.



Interesting. :hmmm:

milkman
08-02-2006, 10:33 AM
Interesting. :hmmm:

I don't know.

A 275-280 pound nose tackle in a 3-4 doesn't sound all to bright to me.

It sounds like a typical Gunterful plan to me.

htismaqe
08-02-2006, 10:45 AM
I'm not at all excited about moving Hali inside. Larry Johnson Sr. has been saying ever since we drafted him that moving him inside would be a bad, bad idea...

el borracho
08-02-2006, 10:57 AM
We are basically fooked if Sims doesn't stay healthy and get productive. Dalton, Browning and Wilkerson probably won't ever give much more than they have.

Coogs
08-02-2006, 10:58 AM
“We’ve talked about a lot of things with him,” Cunningham said. “On some of my mad scientist nights, I’ve come up with some schemes where we can bring him from places where maybe they don’t know where he’s coming from.

“He’s a rookie. If you put too much on him, he may not play effectively.”

Cunningham’s favorite tactic is, of course, the blitz. Ten of last season’s sacks came from linebackers or defensive backs. He said during the offseason that linebacker Kendrell Bell would be more involved as a pass rusher.

Cunningham would prefer not to have the Chiefs blitz as much as last season, when he had little choice. But he didn’t promise that and had a mischievous grin as he talked about it.

“I’ll never say that,” he said. “Our coverage element has been good. Herm always calls me the blitz coach. He told me the ways those guys have been covering, I’ll probably call a blitz every other play.

“You need to keep teams off-balance.”

Gun just scares me as a DC. I had been feeling good about what I have been reading from camp. Nothing from the defense was from Gun. All from players talking about Herm inspiring them, or bits from Krumrine, but nothing from Gun. And I suppose it is inevitable that we had to read something from Gun, but this guy flat scares me!

I'm pretty sure it was the Bears last season who ran the cover two with only three different blitzes. Line up.... here we are.... try and stop our defense. Simple stuff. Gun and his "mad scientist" stuff is going to ****-up what is shaping up to be a pretty good football team.

His (Guns) blitzes are so predictible. And if he calls one every other play.... that's not keeping a team off balance at all.

morphius
08-02-2006, 10:59 AM
Of course one has to remember, we were also running a 3-4 with DT, it is just that he was up on the line. Do a quick motion and suddenly Bell or Johnson is on the line. Could also just be to mix things up and add speed to the middle on occasion, with a linup Allen (some DT) Hali and Hall to try to get after the QB quickly. Don't know (or think) that it would work, and it wouldn't be done often, but its something to try I suppose.

B_Ambuehl
08-02-2006, 01:22 PM
Doubtful if them mean moving him to tackle they're talking about DE in a 3-4. Like this package:
Edwards at NT, Hali at DE, Sims at the other DE. Allen at one OLB (rushing the quarterback), Mitchell, DJ, Bell (rushing the quarterback).

That's a helluva 5 man pass rush.