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Tribal Warfare
06-06-2010, 01:53 AM
With newly drafted players on the field, the Chiefs have shifted into high gear (http://www.kansascity.com/2010/06/05/1995786/with-newly-drafted-players-on.html)
By KENT BABB
The Kansas City Star

Dexter McCluster held the mangled shoe and discussed it as if exploding footwear were nothing new.

McCluster, a Chiefs rookie, had run a post route in an offseason practice. He cut toward the middle of the field, caught a pass from Matt Cassel and sprinted to the end zone. Not only couldn’t the defenders keep up, but McCluster’s shoe couldn’t either.

“Got to get some new ones,” he said, holding the disfigured shoe while standing in front of his locker. “I guess I’m doing something right.”

Astonishing speed may be something McCluster is used to, but it’s something the Chiefs have been desperate for in recent years. The Chiefs were one of the NFL’s slowest teams the last few seasons, and there were disappointing highlights to prove it.

LenDale White, a 235-pound Titans running back, outran the Chiefs’ defensive backs in a 2008 game. A season later, their secondary hadn’t improved. In 2009, the Chiefs’ offensive line was so used to slow-developing, quick-ending plays that the late-season emergence of speedy running back Jamaal Charles required an adjustment just for the linemen to keep up.

“That’s something we got used to,” left guard Brian Waters said. “As a blocker, you have to move a little bit quicker, get to the edge a little bit faster.

“That was our learning curve.”

The Chiefs’ top three draft picks this year were made with speed in mind. The team chose safety Eric Berry in the first round ahead of several offensive-line prospects, and the team selected McCluster and cornerback Javier Arenas in the second round. The Chiefs passed on other needs — linemen, linebackers and traditional wide receivers — in favor of the element that might have most stunted their growth the last two seasons, when they won six times in 32 games.

“We became a faster football team,” general manager Scott Pioli said after the draft’s second day, and he looked like a man who had completed an essential part of a grand plan.

If part of the draft’s appeal is its drama, the scene at Chiefs headquarters on April 22 was devoid of it. About an hour before the Chiefs were scheduled to select a player at No. 5 overall, Pioli shook hands with visitors at a draft party at the team’s indoor practice facility. He wore a suit and a smile, the outfit of a decision-maker with the hard work behind him.

It became clear after the Chiefs selected Berry, a Tennessee Volunteers safety, that picking him was dramatic only for those outside the team’s draft room.

Coach Todd Haley had decided that Berry was the Chiefs’ man the first time he’d met him, more than a month before the draft.

By the time Field Yates, now Haley’s assistant, picked up Berry at Kansas City International Airport on the player’s first visit, the decision had been made: If Berry was available at No. 5, the Chiefs wanted him.

“We needed difference-makers,” Haley said last week.

And the Chiefs needed complements for those difference-makers. There’s little point in bringing in speedy athletes if the players surrounding them cannot handle new responsibilities. Waters said he suspected the Chiefs’ offseason signings of free-agent linemen Ryan Lilja and Casey Wiegmann were for the players’ quickness out of their stances.

“We’ve definitely got the guys that can adjust to it,” Waters said.

Haley acknowledged that speed alone cannot make the Chiefs a playoff team. They also need intelligence, commitment and football skills to be considered a team on the rise.

Berry said it was easy to become dazzled by fast players, but he was more proud of his football intellect than his physical gifts. That’s because he thinks that his mind and approach can improve the output of his body — and not the other way around.

At age 12 Berry began studying his own game film and looking for ways to improve. In his freshman season at Creekside High in Georgia, after being caught from behind and tackled on the 1-yard line at the end of an interception return, he joined his school’s track team and learned what makes a player not only fast, but also quick.

“That’s never going to happen again,” Berry said.

If letdowns drive Berry, he experienced another one in that offseason practice when McCluster broke his shoe. It was Berry and another rookie safety, Kendrick Lewis, who were closest to McCluster but couldn’t catch him as he ran toward the end zone.

“Eric Berry came and joked to me, ‘Hey, you heard that dog behind you, right?’ ” McCluster said afterward. “I had to kick into extra gear.”

Which was precisely what the Chiefs had in mind when they brought in those players. One can be the fastest — “On the field,” McCluster said, “I’m as fast as the fastest man out there” — but the rest will push themselves to close the gap. That’s the idea, anyway.

“I just see guys flying around a little bit more,” Haley said. “We have some of these young guys who can clearly run, and they are showing up.

“We have started to make progress in that area, and that was definitely something we knew we had to do.”

Dawson to receive Bloch award

Former Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson will receive the Richard A. Bloch Cancer Survivorship Award at 1 p.m. today as part of the 25th Annual Kansas City Celebration of Life Rally at the Bloch Cancer Surviors Park at 48th Street and Roanoke Parkway.

Dawson, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, is a 19-year prostate cancer survivor. Coinciding with National Cancer Survivors Day, the award is being bestowed at the oldest and most inclusive cancer survivorship celebration in the United States.

CoMoChief
06-06-2010, 03:42 AM
Our defense won't amount to shit unless we can get to the QB.

Pioli Zombie
06-06-2010, 06:52 AM
No. They all suck. Mecca and Hamas say so.

Saccopoo
06-06-2010, 09:36 AM
Great. We wasted a top five pick on a guy who can't even catch a third down slot receiver.

Saccopoo
06-06-2010, 11:47 AM
Our defense won't amount to shit unless we can get to the QB.

You know, in all honesty, I'm not too worried about that this season. I don't think that the Chiefs are going to set any NFL sack records, but if several factors come into play, the Chiefs defense should be considerably improved over last season:

1. Nose Tackle
- Shaun Smith, while he'll never be considered elite, gives the Chiefs something that they did not have last season - a legitimate 3-4 NT. Having someone there to hold and perhaps actually to push the point of attack will be a huge boon for this defense.

2. Defensive Ends
- Dorsey and Jackson were both basically playing a new position for the first time in their career, and asking two young guys to start against and hold their spot against starting NFL tackles and guards is a huge request. It's perhaps the steepest learning curve that any Chiefs defensive played had to climb in switching to the 3-4 scheme for the '09 season. Just based on their experience alone at DE last year, they should be light years better by opening day in '10.

3. Middle Linebacker
- If Johnson and Belcher can continue where they left off by game 16 of the '09 season, the Chiefs are going to be okay in the middle. Belcher showed a lot of good things and IMO was the most improved and effective player on the defensive side of the ball by week 17, especially when you consider that he was an UDFA rookie from Maine. While, we've all been waiting for Johnson to play to his potential, he's going to be playing for the rest of his career in '10. I think he steps it up.

4. Safety/Nickleback
- There was little in the way of speed and skill at either of these positions last season, but with the draft infusion of Berry, Arenas and Lewis and the repositioning of Washington, the Chiefs suddenly got a lot better at these positions - positions that were responsible for big play after big play in '09. As well, both Arenas and Berry are effective blitzers from the secondary, especially Arenas. I think you'll see Crennel using some interesting blitz packages to take advantage of these two players passrushing skills.

CaliforniaChief
06-06-2010, 12:31 PM
I love Berry's attitude and work ethic. That kid is going to be something special.

BarrySPAMAID
06-06-2010, 02:46 PM
Great. We wasted a top five pick on a guy who can't even catch a third down slot receiver.

I really don't think of McCluster as just a "third down slot receiver", and quite frankly I don't think the Chiefs do either. He has a ton of ability, and he can catch just about anything.

Furthermore, Eric Berry is a rookie, and were talking about PRACTICE. Practice. ..

okiedokieokoye
06-06-2010, 03:14 PM
I really don't think of McCluster as just a "third down slot receiver", and quite frankly I don't think the Chiefs do either. He has a ton of ability, and he can catch just about anything.

Furthermore, Eric Berry is a rookie, and were talking about PRACTICE. Practice. ..

Yeah..pretty sure he was making a joke....Why so serious?

BossChief
06-06-2010, 03:50 PM
You know, in all honesty, I'm not too worried about that this season. I don't think that the Chiefs are going to set any NFL sack records, but if several factors come into play, the Chiefs defense should be considerably improved over last season:

1. Nose Tackle
- Shaun Smith, while he'll never be considered elite, gives the Chiefs something that they did not have last season - a legitimate 3-4 NT. Having someone there to hold and perhaps actually to push the point of attack will be a huge boon for this defense.

2. Defensive Ends
- Dorsey and Jackson were both basically playing a new position for the first time in their career, and asking two young guys to start against and hold their spot against starting NFL tackles and guards is a huge request. It's perhaps the steepest learning curve that any Chiefs defensive played had to climb in switching to the 3-4 scheme for the '09 season. Just based on their experience alone at DE last year, they should be light years better by opening day in '10.

3. Middle Linebacker
- If Johnson and Belcher can continue where they left off by game 16 of the '09 season, the Chiefs are going to be okay in the middle. Belcher showed a lot of good things and IMO was the most improved and effective player on the defensive side of the ball by week 17, especially when you consider that he was an UDFA rookie from Maine. While, we've all been waiting for Johnson to play to his potential, he's going to be playing for the rest of his career in '10. I think he steps it up.

4. Safety/Nickleback
- There was little in the way of speed and skill at either of these positions last season, but with the draft infusion of Berry, Arenas and Lewis and the repositioning of Washington, the Chiefs suddenly got a lot better at these positions - positions that were responsible for big play after big play in '09. As well, both Arenas and Berry are effective blitzers from the secondary, especially Arenas. I think you'll see Crennel using some interesting blitz packages to take advantage of these two players passrushing skills.
Its been awhile since Ive said this about one of your posts...I agree.

Good post sac

T-post Tom
06-06-2010, 03:59 PM
You know, in all honesty, I'm not too worried about that this season. I don't think that the Chiefs are going to set any NFL sack records, but if several factors come into play, the Chiefs defense should be considerably improved over last season:

1. Nose Tackle
- Shaun Smith, while he'll never be considered elite, gives the Chiefs something that they did not have last season - a legitimate 3-4 NT. Having someone there to hold and perhaps actually to push the point of attack will be a huge boon for this defense.

2. Defensive Ends
- Dorsey and Jackson were both basically playing a new position for the first time in their career, and asking two young guys to start against and hold their spot against starting NFL tackles and guards is a huge request. It's perhaps the steepest learning curve that any Chiefs defensive played had to climb in switching to the 3-4 scheme for the '09 season. Just based on their experience alone at DE last year, they should be light years better by opening day in '10.

3. Middle Linebacker
- If Johnson and Belcher can continue where they left off by game 16 of the '09 season, the Chiefs are going to be okay in the middle. Belcher showed a lot of good things and IMO was the most improved and effective player on the defensive side of the ball by week 17, especially when you consider that he was an UDFA rookie from Maine. While, we've all been waiting for Johnson to play to his potential, he's going to be playing for the rest of his career in '10. I think he steps it up.

4. Safety/Nickleback
- There was little in the way of speed and skill at either of these positions last season, but with the draft infusion of Berry, Arenas and Lewis and the repositioning of Washington, the Chiefs suddenly got a lot better at these positions - positions that were responsible for big play after big play in '09. As well, both Arenas and Berry are effective blitzers from the secondary, especially Arenas. I think you'll see Crennel using some interesting blitz packages to take advantage of these two players passrushing skills.

Good post. I'm not sold on Belcher or Johnson in the middle, but I'm willing to wait and see what they can do under Crennel after a year in the 3-4. I hope your optimism proves true.

milkman
06-06-2010, 04:02 PM
Its been awhile since Ive said this about one of your posts...I agree.

Good post sac

Except the whole Shaun Smith is a legitimate NT bit.

I'd be surprised to see him push Ron Edwards, much less the point of attack.

OnTheWarpath58
06-06-2010, 04:04 PM
Except the whole Shaun Smith is a legitimate NT bit.

I'd be surprised to see him push Ron Edwards, much less the point of attack.

It will be a monumental achievement if Smith can stay out of trouble, much less threaten Edwards' job.

ClevelandBronco
06-06-2010, 04:05 PM
That was a pretty crafty move, drafting new players. That should give them an advantage over the teams that didn't do that.

OnTheWarpath58
06-06-2010, 04:12 PM
That was a pretty crafty move, drafting new players. That should give them an advantage over the teams that didn't do that.

LMAO

BossChief
06-06-2010, 04:19 PM
Except the whole Shaun Smith is a legitimate NT bit.

I'd be surprised to see him push Ron Edwards, much less the point of attack.

I think its splitting hairs. He may not be any better that just a passable NT, but I do feel he is better than Ron (if he can stay out of trouble) and just having two passable NTs means one doesnt get totally winded by the middle of the third quarter and should keep both somewhat fresh. That alone should help.

milkman
06-06-2010, 04:19 PM
That was a pretty crafty move, drafting new players. That should give them an advantage over the teams that didn't do that.

It's just the kind of thing we expected when Clark Hunt hired the executive of the millineum.

KC_Riot
06-06-2010, 04:20 PM
thats not shit milkman

KC_Riot
06-06-2010, 04:20 PM
do you deliver milk

KC_Riot
06-06-2010, 04:21 PM
haha get it?

KC_Riot
06-06-2010, 04:21 PM
that was pretty funny

KC_Riot
06-06-2010, 04:21 PM
lol

KC_Riot
06-06-2010, 04:22 PM
giggles

KC_Riot
06-06-2010, 04:22 PM
lmao

KC_Riot
06-06-2010, 04:22 PM
funny shit

KC_Riot
06-06-2010, 04:22 PM
da milkman

KC_Riot
06-06-2010, 04:23 PM
:)

BossChief
06-06-2010, 04:25 PM
dont smoke crack

KC_Riot
06-06-2010, 04:27 PM
losing my sight, losing my mind, wish somebody would tell me i'm fine

ClevelandBronco
06-06-2010, 04:29 PM
losing my sight, losing my mind, wish somebody would tell me i'm fine

You're fine. You'll probably be history by sundown, but you're fine.

Pablo
06-06-2010, 04:39 PM
losing my sight, losing my mind, wish somebody would tell me i'm fine

Fuck yea man. I love Hinder.

Sweet Daddy Hate
06-06-2010, 06:40 PM
Is it Draft Day yet?!?!?! :D Is it?! Is it?!