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Old 10-19-2005, 02:48 AM  
tk13 tk13 is offline
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Merrill: Chiefs, Barber unsure what comes next

http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansas...s/12937193.htm

Chiefs, Barber unsure what comes next
Team must decide to activate him or keep him off roster

By ELIZABETH MERRILL
The Kansas City Star


At 7 a.m. Tuesday, Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil met with his defensive coordinator to figure out what to do with the ball boy.

Shawn Barber has been more than that in the last 11 months. When a player gets hurt as badly as Barber did last year, the coaches give him an option of hanging out at practice or rehabbing on his own. Barber was there every day, shagging balls, playing practice referee — and a rather biased one at that.

But now he’s nearly back from his torn-up knee, today’s the first day Vermeil can evaluate players on the physically-unable-to-perform list, and the Chiefs aren’t exactly sure what to do. And neither is Barber.

A lot has changed since he went down at midseason last year in Tampa Bay. Kendrell Bell was picked up in the offseason to fill his spot at right-side linebacker. Rookie Derrick Johnson has earned a job on the left side. About the only constant has been middle linebacker Kawika Mitchell, but even he’s changed. Last year Mitchell was considered a liability. Now he’s one of the most relied-upon players on the defense.

“I don’t think they need any help,” Barber said. “Everybody’s playing their role. I’m just going to come in and be another role player and fill in whenever my number’s called. I look forward to helping in any capacity, whether it’s first down, second down, third down, special teams, offense, coaching, whatever.

“I can do it all. I’m serious. That’s what I do.”

The Chiefs have three weeks to start the clock on evaluating Barber. When that begins, they have three weeks to decide whether to activate him. It’s obvious defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham could use Barber. The Chiefs have been experimenting with a 3-4 defense, an alignment that became tougher in week two when linebacker Keyaron Fox suffered a knee injury.

But Vermeil said the biggest issue isn’t playing time. He wonders whether Barber is ready after his second major knee surgery in five years.

“He was just starting to come on when he got hurt,” Vermeil said, “and that was the eighth game of the season. He was just starting to feel comfortable in the defense and play, and he can make plays because he can flash and run and he loves to play. He’s intense. But how long will it take him to get back to that status? I don’t know.

“Normally, it takes a full year for a guy coming off a major knee (injury) to be where he was. Normally it takes a full season of playing. I’ve only been around one guy in my career that went from a severe knee (injury) to the next year lining up and playing and you never knew he had it.”

Vermeil was referring to John Bunting, who coaches at North Carolina.

Even before Barber was hurt, his teammates considered him relentless. He battled wrist and thumb injuries in 2003 but finished with 141 tackles. His 105 solos that year were a personal best.

Barber said a season-ending knee injury in 2001 prepared him for how to handle this last year, and made him want to go to practice and training camp even though he couldn’t play.

Barber spent his days lifting weights to maintain his chiseled 6-foot-2, 240-pound not-an-ounce-of fat physique. In the afternoon, he’d watch practice, shagging balls or playing ref.

His calls, for some reason, often tilted toward the defense.

“I feel like a rookie again,” Barber said. “I still pretty much play the same way, wild out and out control.”

If Barber is deemed ready, it will create an interesting situation in the linebacker rotation. Bell, who sat out most of last year in Pittsburgh because of a groin injury, has gotten off to a somewhat slow start while he’s learning a new defense.

When asked Tuesday whether Bell is worrying about his injuries, Vermeil said part of the problem stems from not being involved in hot tempo drills during training camp.

“He’s getting there,” Vermeil said. “Boy, from time to time you can say, ‘Wow, there he is.’ But he’s still learning to become comfortable within the scheme and play.

“He made a couple of plays the other day, especially when he turns it loose and heads toward the quarterback. He’s a very explosive, powerful guy.”

Not too long ago, those adjectives were used for Barber. He’s remembered for his Monday night jolt of Rich Gannon in 2003, a hit that kept Gannon out for the rest of the year.

Not too bad for a ball boy.

“I want to try and contribute in as many ways possible,” Barber said. “The more you can do, the longer you stay around.”
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Old 10-19-2005, 02:56 AM   #2
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Hopefully he can come back and take over the role Fox was playing.
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Old 10-19-2005, 03:01 AM   #3
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Yeah, reading this article was the first time everything clicked and I thought "Ahhh... that's why they brought Gilbert Brown in... they really did think about switching to a 3-4." At least I think so. Move Bell to RILB, put Barber outside, Go Hicks-Brown/Dalton-Allen across the front, and blammo, you got yourself a 3-4.
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Old 10-19-2005, 03:11 AM   #4
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Hicks, Brown and Browning would be a fine 3-4 line. Allen could be used in the passing situations same as Hall. Seems like a pretty good idea at this point.
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Old 10-19-2005, 04:01 AM   #5
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does that mean we won't have to play 10 yards off the WR's then? B/c I'm tired of that the most!
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Old 10-19-2005, 05:44 AM   #6
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Wish we could get as insightful a report on the status of the Bustomatic Ryan Sims.
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Old 10-19-2005, 05:50 AM   #7
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Last I heard, Sims gets his cast off of his foot next week. Then they'll MRI it again to see what the status of the bones are at that point. Then they'll decide if he can return shortly or should go to IR.
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Old 10-19-2005, 06:19 AM   #8
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Typically the 3 down lineman in a 3-4 are heavier not lighter than the average weight of 4-3 schemes. So Gilbert and Siavii (and not yet) are big enough but not Jarod and not Hicks. (Could either player play standing up as outside LB?) You might get by with Gibert 2nd Siavii rotating NT, Dalton and Browning manning one of the DE positions with Hicks/Allen/Hall rotating the 3rd DE position to keep them fresh. It makes sense on 3rd and long or obvious passing situations when we are leading by a bunch. But against a running team like Pit or SD it is giving up too much mass. The two DE won't occupy enough lineman to let the LB make plays. I don't know if it is a solution. It may be what we have to do with injuries but I don't see it as a panacea.
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Old 10-19-2005, 07:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiptap
Typically the 3 down lineman in a 3-4 are heavier not lighter than the average weight of 4-3 schemes. So Gilbert and Siavii (and not yet) are big enough but not Jarod and not Hicks. (Could either player play standing up as outside LB?) You might get by with Gibert 2nd Siavii rotating NT, Dalton and Browning manning one of the DE positions with Hicks/Allen/Hall rotating the 3rd DE position to keep them fresh. It makes sense on 3rd and long or obvious passing situations when we are leading by a bunch. But against a running team like Pit or SD it is giving up too much mass. The two DE won't occupy enough lineman to let the LB make plays. I don't know if it is a solution. It may be what we have to do with injuries but I don't see it as a panacea.
After finally getting pressure on an opposing QB in the last game, now is not the time to change scheme, IMO. It puts our most talented players on the field (on paper), but I doubt it would make us any more effective. JMO.
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Old 10-19-2005, 07:18 AM   #10
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Personally, I see Barber going IR. It takes a long time to come back from a serious injury like he had, I just don't think he will be 100% and it will take him sometime to get football ready again.

As for the 3-4, we really need another big DT. Reports on Sims is encouraging, but he will need to get football ready again after being off 8 weeks. We are looking at week 14 here folks before being ready.

As for LB's, we are OK for now. Anybody see Scanlon doing well in the 3-4 on Sunday. They were sending him in and out often and he held his own very well. Plus his ST's play on Sunday was great, he had 3 tackles and 1 assist.
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Old 10-19-2005, 07:19 AM   #11
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We played the 3-4 several times on Sunday with Dalton in the middle folks..........
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Old 10-19-2005, 07:30 AM   #12
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If you read the ranking of teams on Fox Sports online (they now use http://www.footballoutsiders.com/ statistics of PLAYS not game performance) the comment for Kansas City is that the improved LB play has not translated to better coverage of RB passes out of the backfield. We are over 2yds (7.6 average) worse than average and 7.6 yds gets a first down and affects the 3rd down percentage stops. We should watch to see if this is corrected or if the LBs continue to have to help the secondary.
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Old 10-19-2005, 07:36 AM   #13
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Hicks might be okay in the 3-4, but not Allen - he's too small.
Hate to say it, but Browning is built perfect for a 3-4 DE.
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Old 10-19-2005, 07:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sedated
Hicks might be okay in the 3-4, but not Allen - he's too small.
Hate to say it, but Browning is built perfect for a 3-4 DE.
Many times Sunday we were in a 3-4, Browning, Dalton and Wilkerson was in there. Hicks was in several times as well for Wilkerson. Gun done a fair job of switching them around.
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Old 10-19-2005, 08:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sedated
Hicks might be okay in the 3-4, but not Allen - he's too small.
Hate to say it, but Browning is built perfect for a 3-4 DE.
Anytime you take your best DLineman off the field, it's not a good thing. If Gun was to perminently switch to a 3-4 D, he would have to find room to get Allen on the field. He is too good at rushing the QB to be on the sideline.
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