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Tribal Warfare
12-24-2010, 03:31 AM
Linebacker Johnson evolves into man in the middle for Chiefs (http://www.kansascity.com/2010/12/23/2540260/linebacker-johnson-evolves-into.html)

Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson didn’t have a sack in Sunday’s victory at St. Louis. Didn’t have an interception. Nor did he force a fumble or recover one.

But he was still the most dominant player in the game.

Johnson made a career-best 17 tackles and tied his career high by knocking down four passes as the Chiefs maintained their one-game lead in the AFC West with a 27-13 victory.

“He’s stacked a bunch of really good games together, but that game in particular was a true all-pro effort,” said Chiefs coach Todd Haley, in a rare moment of lavishing praise on an individual player.

“He has been the epitome of what we’re trying to do, just get a little better every day, and in his case, with such ability, he ends up being a real good player.”

Johnson’s effort won him AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors and highlighted a remarkable turnaround by someone who after four years as a starter, was consigned to passing downs and special teams last year under the new coaching staff.

Johnson, the Chiefs’ first-round pick in 2005, never sulked or lashed out publicly. Hampered by some nagging injuries, particularly to his hamstring in 2009, Johnson dedicated himself to an arduous offseason program so he would be ready to reclaim his starting position.

“It was the hardest I ever worked,” said Johnson, while preparing for Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans. “It’s a whole mind-set you have to get your body ready … It’s a long season, and once the season starts, it’s boom, boom, boom, you have to hit it hard, because during the season, you can’t do all that big stuff, running all those miles … doing all that lifting, so now, it’s mostly mental.

“I felt like I always have good offseasons, but for some season, being an older player, you know better, you do better.”

The results were immediate. Johnson, 28, won the starting right inside linebacker job in training camp and opened the season with 13 tackles in the win against San Diego and 11 more tackles in week two at Cleveland.

He returned a pass interception for a touchdown in the victory over Jacksonville, and in early November signed a five-year contract extension with about $15 million guaranteed.

“It’s been a blessing,” Johnson said. “Hard work does pay off. Faith in God pays off. A lot of people around me can get the credit as far as my teammates and my coaches. That’s why you can’t get caught up in the moment at times, like last year when things are not going your way, or things are inconvenient for you. You just have to close your eyes and keep working and things will work out for you.”

The Chiefs are using him in myriad ways. One of his pass deflections against St. Louis came on the blitz. Another came while dropping in pass coverage. He used his strength to contain Rams running back Steven Jackson to 67 yards rushing and a 3.5-yard average and speed to run down receivers.

Johnson’s only shortcoming has been an ability to hang on to potential interceptions throughout the season. He had one chance against the Rams when a pass went off his hands, and another ball he batted went high in the air, and safety Eric Berry nearly picked it off.

“This year has been tough catchingwise,” Johnson said. “Hopefully I’ll get one (against Tennessee). But the idea going into the game is you always try to make the plays you can make. Playing this linebacker position is all about passion and effort and getting to the ball.

“You make 16, 17 tackles in one game, and you’ve got to give the guys up front a little credit for helping (take) their big linemen out … it was one of those games, it started early getting tackles, and it was like, OK, keep going and keep going …”

The scary thing for opponents is what the future may hold for Johnson.

“Truthfully, he hasn’t reached his potential yet,” fellow linebacker Jovan Belcher said. “He’s playing great. He can play a lot better, and he knows it.”

philfree
12-24-2010, 08:57 AM
DJ is an example why Haley should be Coach Of The Year.


PhilFree:arrow:

Count Alex's Wins
12-24-2010, 09:06 AM
Imagine now if we get a real nose tackle.

PRO BOWL

Farzin
12-24-2010, 09:29 AM
Imagine now if we get a real nose tackle.

PRO BOWL

Hopefully soon. I remember the moment Dorsey was drafted, some thought it would help Derrick Johnson (and Donnie Edwards..) get better.

mesmith31
12-24-2010, 09:29 AM
Todd Haley coaches like he is trying to build a platoon. Break them down in basic training, eliminate the individuality, then when they are just about ready to break...build them back up and reinforce to them the importance of family and teamwork. It is beautiful to watch him take boys and make men out of them. This is straight out of that Parcels/Bobby Knight Naval Academy manual, and exactly what he did with Johnson and Bowe.

Halfcan
12-24-2010, 11:25 AM
Imagine now if we get a real nose tackle.

PRO BOWL

:thumb: Excellent point.

Man I really like D J-he has a great attitude. He has done a ton of charity work for the Boys and Girls clubs as well. Classy Guy!

Pablo
12-24-2010, 11:40 AM
Todd Haley coaches like he is trying to build a platoon. Break them down in basic training, eliminate the individuality, then when they are just about ready to break...build them back up and reinforce to them the importance of family and teamwork. It is beautiful to watch him take boys and make men out of them. This is straight out of that Parcels/Bobby Knight Naval Academy manual, and exactly what he did with Johnson and Bowe.It really is beautiful to watch. I had my doubts about his approach in the beginning, but this is the most complete team effort I ever remember watching as a Chiefs fan.

I love it.

doomy3
12-24-2010, 11:46 AM
DJ has had a hell of a season. Just think that if he could have held onto even half of the INTs that have hit him right in the hands. He would really be having a monster season.

But, he seems to just keep being in the right place.

Halfcan
12-24-2010, 01:38 PM
DJ should have a Monster game this week. Should get 2 sacks and a INT-plus 12 tackles.

philfree
12-24-2010, 01:44 PM
It's awsome but now we need to find a real thumper to go with him on the inside. To me Belcher is just a guy.


PhilFree:arrow:

Coach
12-24-2010, 03:12 PM
It's awsome but now we need to find a real thumper to go with him on the inside. To me Belcher is just a guy.


PhilFree:arrow:

I believe Belcher can still be a good thumper, considering this is his 2nd year, first year at seeing some significant playing time, from Maine. I'd give him another year, as well as finding a NT that can clog up two blockers.

RedThat
12-24-2010, 04:31 PM
Who do you think is better, this DJ or Keith Bulluck in his prime?

PhillyChiefFan
12-24-2010, 05:08 PM
DJ should have a Monster game this week. Should get 2 sacks and a INT-plus 12 tackles.

please please please...

:grovel:

Sweet Daddy Hate
12-25-2010, 02:16 AM
The new staff is turning "Herm Guys" in to monsters. Herm could mine the talent, but Haley knows what to do with it.

BossChief
12-25-2010, 04:39 AM
Imagine now if we get a real nose tackle.

PRO BOWLRemember all the DJ debates we had last year? I'm glad I was right.

Yup, I've pointed this out many times. This is gonna be a very special defense with a good NT...I also feel that once Studebaker or another guy takes over for gravel at lolb, this defense will become a force...we aren't that far from being a damn fine team. A handful of players total would put us with the elite teams in the league.

JOhn
12-25-2010, 04:50 AM
The new staff is turning "Herm Guys" in to monsters. Herm could mine the talent, but Haley knows what to do with it.

Not even sure it was Herm who was responsible for finding the talent. but by god Haley is doing a good job at it

Sweet Daddy Hate
12-25-2010, 05:02 AM
Not even sure it was Herm who was responsible for finding the talent. but by god Haley is doing a good job at it


Well, look at Carr. That was a "Herm birthday present" from Carl. Herm saw something in this kid from Division AAAAAAAAAAAA of all places and now proper discipline and coaching are making this kid turn the corner.

Hali.

DJ.

Charles.

I think one thing Herm understood about prospects was the vibe-factor. Sometimes it doesn't pan out. But when it does...:shrug:

Tribal Warfare
12-25-2010, 05:05 AM
Well, look at Carr. That was a "Herm birthday present" from Carl. Herm saw something in this kid from Division AAAAAAAAAAAA of all places and now proper discipline and coaching are making this kid turn the corner.

Hali.

DJ.

Charles.

I think one thing Herm understood about prospects was the vibe-factor. Sometimes it doesn't pan out. But when it does...:shrug:

Vermeil

Sweet Daddy Hate
12-25-2010, 05:07 AM
Vermeil

Yeah, I figured I'd at least fuck one up. Thanks. heh.:D

Bob Dole
12-25-2010, 06:45 AM
Bob Dole is pretty sure he read in last week's game thread that DJ hasn't done shit since signing his contract extension.

Cave Johnson
12-25-2010, 11:05 AM
So DJ wasn't a man before he "evolved" into one. What are your trying to say, Covitz?

Rausch
12-25-2010, 11:13 AM
So DJ wasn't a man before he "evolved" into one. What are your trying to say, Covitz?

He's saying that DJ played like a bidge, has underperformed, and otherwise unimpressed until lately...