View Full Version : GRETZ: Seeking Big Defensive Plays

06-08-2007, 06:55 AM
GRETZ: Seeking Big Defensive Plays
Jun 08, 2007, 3:19:07 AM by Bob Gretz - FAQ

The walls of the defensive meeting room at Arrowhead Stadium say it all.

Gone are pictures of former players and motivational sayings.

In their place are simple words in giant block letters. Across the back wall it says “TURNOVERS.” On the east wall it reads “SACKS.” On the west wall it reads “FUMBLES & INTERCEPTIONS.”

Should there be any doubts about what the Chiefs are stressing defensively in the coming season, those giant signs make it very plain. This team wants more sacks, it wants more turnovers and it wants some defensive scores.

It desperately wants some defensive scores. Last year, the Chiefs defense did not score a point. No touchdowns, no safeties. The last time the defense did not score at least one touchdown in a season was 1988. The last time the defense did not score at least a safety was 1978.

Roll those numbers around a little bit. No touchdowns for the first time in the last 18 seasons and no score for the first time in 28 seasons. They were the only defense in the league last year without a score of some kind. The Chiefs last defensive score was 22 games ago.

“You know I can’t remember that ever happening to me in coaching,” said Chiefs defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham. ” I can’t believe how many situations that we had where we could have put it in the end zone. I think of Greg Wesley’s interception; all he had to do was cut to his right and walk in. Ty Law had a chance to score. There were so many situations where we had a chance to score.

“We got turnovers, but we need to score. That’s one of our priorities, that we are going to become a more dynamic team.”

Defensive scores pay off for the whole team. How much? Here are the game results when the Chiefs get a defensive score. It’s broken into decades:

Notice that total for the 1990s; the Chiefs were 30-3 when they scored on defense. In that decade, the Chiefs had an overall winning percentage of .638. So much of the team’s success under Marty Schottenheimer was based on the defense forcing turnovers and putting the ball into the end zone.

That continued in Cunningham’s first year as head coach in 1999, when the Chiefs had eight defensive TDs, four on interception returns and four on fumble returns.

But since then, the Chiefs have only 12 defensive touchdowns in the seven seasons of the 21st Century. They’ve not had a safety since the 1998 season.

What’s happened? It’s plain: a lack of talent, especially at linebacker and defensive line.

In the last seven years, only one Chiefs defensive lineman has scored a TD: DE Duane Clemons picked up a fumble and scored late in the 2002 season.

Only two linebackers had scores in this decade: Kawika Mitchell returned a fumble in 2004 and Donnie Edwards returned an interception in the 2000 season. Both came against Tennessee.

Touchdowns off turnovers frequently come from pass rush pressure and that’s something that’s been lacking in the last few seasons from the Chiefs defense, again another example of the lack of talent in the front seven.

So it’s no coincidence that the biggest changes in the Chiefs defense have come along the line and at linebacker. There’s more speed and talent on the line and the linebackers are athletic and playmakers. Edwards has shown that throughout his career; he’s been part of 37 takeaways with four touchdowns.

But the Chiefs defensive roster has only a half-dozen players who have seen an NFL end zone. Here’s the list of defenders who have scored touchdowns:

7-Ty Law
4-Donnie Edwards
3-Chad Williams
2-Pat Surtain
1-Ron Edwards, James Reed
Williams was just added to the roster on Wednesday, signed off the street after five years with Baltimore and San Francisco.

But this defensive roster now has players who have the physical skills to reach the end zone: Tamba Hali, Jared Allen, Derrick Johnson, Napoleon Harris, Jarrad Page and Bernard Pollard, who scored a touchdown after blocking a punt and recovering the ball in the end zone against Jacksonville last season.

Sacks and turnovers … it’s an equation that equals defensive touchdowns.

Kylo Ren
06-08-2007, 06:59 AM
Chad Williams? Who?

06-08-2007, 07:04 AM
Chad Williams? Who?


06-08-2007, 07:15 AM
If this defense had any sack at all
there would be no walls to put signs on