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Old 03-18-2005, 05:11 AM  
Bootlegged Bootlegged is offline
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3/18 Blob Gretz- Improvement from within

GRETZ: The Forgotten
Mar 18, 2005, 5:32:58 AM by Bob Gretz



All the attention, all the words, all the discussion surrounding the Chiefs since the end of the 2004 season has been about the teamís defense.



Rightfully so. The difference between the Chiefs making the playoffs and the Chiefs sitting at home with their 7-9 record was the defense. Thereís no doubt about that, no argument, no discussion needed.

And, as the weeks have flown off the calendar since the final game in San Diego, all the focus has been on free agency. Soon, the attention will turn to the NFL Draft, which is just five weeks from Saturday.

Forgotten, overlooked and just plain ignored in all this discussion is the one area that will make the biggest difference in the Chiefs defense in the 2005 season. It will not be free agents signed, or players drafted.

It will be improvement from within. It will come from players already on the roster lifting their game to another level.

Letís face it: the Chiefs have too many holes on their defense to fill them all through free agency, which is a giant crapshoot anyway. Only less so is the draft, which is unlikely to provide much help this season.

No, if the defense is going to make strides to lift itself from the bottom of the league to even mediocrity, itís going to need players already wearing the red and gold to make the biggest difference. In almost every case, these players are younger guys, given the fact that veterans have pretty much established their level of ability and production. Who might these players be? Letís talk about a few of them.

Although the defensive line was the most solid position group in the unit last season, there is a lot of room for improvement and that must come from three young men: Ryan Sims, Junior Siavii and Jimmy Wilkerson.

Last year, Jared Allen showed great promise in his rookie season and the Chiefs need him to continue to improve. But for the defense to be better, they need Sims, Siavii and Wilkerson to take some giant steps.

By the definition of both Carl Peterson and Dick Vermeil, Sims has yet to live up to the status as the sixth pick in the NFL Draft. A player taken at that level challenges for a trip to the Pro Bowl. Players taken that high can at times dominate the line of scrimmage and shut down an opponentís ability to run the middle of the defense. So far Sims has shown none of that. This is the year he proves his worth, or proves the Chiefs over-evaluated his potential.

What would help Sims is if Siavii takes the experiences of his rookie season, comes back in the off-season program and works his tail off and takes a giant step towards being the dominant player the Chiefs think he can become.

Wilkerson enters his third NFL season at just 24 years old. Remember, he was drafted after his junior season at Oklahoma. At times, this young man has shown flashes of being a solid contributor. At other times, he disappears. Thatís not unusual for a young man getting his feet wet. However, those days are over. The Chiefs need Wilkerson to become a major player at end, a guy they can count on to be a regular part of the rotation with Allen and Hicks.

At linebacker, the Chiefs used a third-round choice last year on Keyaron Fox. Thatís an indication they believe he can become a starter and contributor; thatís what first day players taken in the NFL Draft are supposed to do. Right now, the Chiefs can only talk about Foxís potential, because last season he got the fewest snaps of anybody on the defensive roster. He was on the active roster for all 16 games and made the game-day roster 12 times, getting defensive action just once: against Denver at Arrowhead. Heís the only defensive player active for that much time that wasnít credited with a single tackle, although he had nine on special teams.

The Chiefs have made their desire to upgrade their linebacker play obvious; thatís why Kendrell Bell was signed. If given the opportunity, Fox can help if he pushes his game to the next level.

In the secondary, the focus has to be on Benny Sapp. By the end of last season, the rookie free agent had passed both Julian Battle and William Bartee as the extra DB that Gunther Cunningham trusted most. To go from Northern Iowa, to being a contributor on any defense in the NFL is a huge jump. To go from a surprising rookie season to a contributing position on a defense in the top half of the league is an even bigger jump.

But thatís what Sapp must do this season. Two other one-time rookie free agents on the defense Ė Eric Hicks and Lional Dalton Ė played in just five games combined during their first years in the league. Sapp played in 15. In their second seasons, both Hicks and Dalton played in all 16 games and Hicks started 16 games at defensive end for the Chiefs. The Chiefs need the same kind of improvement from Sapp.

Kendrell Bell will help. So will Sammy Knight and whatever veteran cornerback the Chiefs decide to acquire (Ty Law, Patrick Surtain or someone else.) But for the effort thatís needed to lift this defense, there must be improvement from within.

The opinions offered in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the Kansas City Chiefs.
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Old 03-18-2005, 05:22 AM   #2
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What a dumb fugging HOMER

Soon he will say we dont need FA we have the players we need already, what a dumbass
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Old 03-18-2005, 05:25 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chan93lx50
What a dumb fugging HOMER

Soon he will say we dont need FA we have the players we need already, what a dumbass
I don't think that was his point at all. He said we can't get ALL of our improvement from free agency. Some of the young guys just need to step up to the plate.
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Old 03-18-2005, 05:25 AM   #4
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Very good article and a lot of truth to it in my opinion.
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Old 03-18-2005, 05:30 AM   #5
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He's right...if the defense is REALLY going to improve, it' going to be with the improvement of guys like Sims, Fujita, Wesley, Warfield, Sapp and others.

However, even I can admit it's not bloody likely.
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Old 03-18-2005, 05:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HemiEd
Very good article and a lot of truth to it in my opinion.
Yeah, but it was like "duh, ya think?"
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Old 03-18-2005, 05:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SideWinder
Yeah, but it was like "duh, ya think?"

Yep, this time of year these writers have to do that to find something to write about. It would be nice to see some of these guys step up. I have read on here that Sims has actually been working out in the off season? I think it is his contract year.
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Old 03-18-2005, 07:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lattimer
It will be improvement from within. It will come from players already on the roster lifting their game to another level.
We're DOOOOMMMEEEDDD!!!

I actually do think that every time I hear something about improvement from within our roster. How sad, I have completely lost faith in our abillity to draft or groom players.
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Old 03-18-2005, 07:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HemiEd
Yep, this time of year these writers have to do that to find something to write about. It would be nice to see some of these guys step up. I have read on here that Sims has actually been working out in the off season? I think it is his contract year.
Yeah, someone here (Phobia?) said they heard Sims was staying in town this offseason to workout, instead of heading to Atlanta.

If it's his contract year, at least we could possibly get one good season out of him.
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Old 03-18-2005, 07:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rufusmaqe
Yeah, someone here (Phobia?) said they heard Sims was staying in town this offseason to workout, instead of heading to Atlanta.

If it's his contract year, at least we could possibly get one good season out of him.

Considering he held out and got injured he really has not had an inordinate amount of snaps, he should show a lot of improvement IMO.
The guy certainly has the stature to be a force, he is huge.
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Old 03-18-2005, 07:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HemiEd
Very good article and a lot of truth to it in my opinion.
Yup.
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Old 03-18-2005, 07:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HemiEd
Considering he held out and got injured he really has not had an inordinate amount of snaps, he should show a lot of improvement IMO.
The guy certainly has the stature to be a force, he is huge.
Gun said that some players don't get it until their 3rd year, and with his injury as a rookie, this is effectively his 3rd year.

But Jimmy Wilkerson is the guy that I really hope finally steps it up and becomes the player that the Chiefs envisioned.
We need somebody that can really give the Cfinally push Eric Hicks to the bench, in spite of the Chiefs love affair with him.
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Old 03-18-2005, 07:24 AM   #13
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Can someone tell me why Keyron Fox is not in Europe this year?
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Old 03-18-2005, 07:32 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SideWinder
Gun said that some players don't get it until their 3rd year, and with his injury as a rookie, this is effectively his 3rd year.

But Jimmy Wilkerson is the guy that I really hope finally steps it up and becomes the player that the Chiefs envisioned.
We need somebody that can really give the Cfinally push Eric Hicks to the bench, in spite of the Chiefs love affair with him.

My view of Hicks is that he is more like Maz than Simms. Hicks has the work ethic and desire but not the tools. It would be nice to see someone, anyone, with better tools force him out of the lineup IMO.
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Old 03-18-2005, 07:34 AM   #15
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that article literaly made my skin crawl.
WTF is that guy thinking........PUKE!
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