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Old 05-07-2009, 12:01 AM  
Tribal Warfare Tribal Warfare is offline
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Teicher: Hali hoping for a fresh start

Hali hoping for a fresh start
By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star

The thought first occurred to Tamba Hali last year as he suffered through the worst season of his NFL career.

Maybe he’d be better off if he were allowed to drop some weight and move away from defensive end, where he was having trouble staying in one piece and fulfilling what the Chiefs saw in Hali when they made him their first-round draft pick in 2006.

So it’s in that light that Hali is looking at the Chiefs’ hiring of coach Todd Haley and their planned transition to a 3-4 defense as a good thing. The Chiefs are looking at Hali as an outside linebacker, though he could play some at end when they move to the 4-3.

“They’re trying me at different spots, but I’ve got to think (linebacker) is probably where they’ll want me,” Hali said. “Haley’s telling me both defensive end and linebacker, so I’m moving between both of them now.

“I can rush the passer and play the run while I’m playing linebacker. That’s basically what I did at Penn State, so I’m excited about that.”

It might be the last chance for Hali to resurrect his career, at least in Kansas City. The Chiefs once pinned huge expectations to Hali, the first player they drafted after naming Herm Edwards as their coach three years ago.

The new administration of Haley and general manager Scott Pioli has no such allegiance to Hali. They drafted defensive linemen Tyson Jackson and Alex Magee with their two top draft picks and added veteran linebackers Mike Vrabel and Zach Thomas.

Hali will have to earn his way, though the Chiefs will for now look for spots where he can help.

“He’s another guy that has some really good ability, and those defensive linemen, linebackers, whatever role he’s going to play, those guys don’t grow on trees,” Haley said. “He’s a guy who can make plays, and I’m for guys that can make plays.”

The Chiefs had a defined role for Hali when he was drafted. He was going to be the end opposite Jared Allen.

Hali did that well enough his first two seasons, totaling 15 1/2 sacks. But they asked him to replace Allen as the featured pass rusher as the right end last season after trading Allen to Minnesota.

Hali suffered there, and the Chiefs eventually moved him back to his original spot at left end during the season. His three sacks led the Chiefs, but they were the lowest total of his career. Hali also was bothered by injuries that didn’t prevent him from playing but did hamper his efforts to be the player the Chiefs expected.

He also could play at a weight more natural than the 275 pounds that he played at last season.

“I don’t really need to be 275 pounds. I don’t even need to be 260. Maybe I can be 250 like (Pittsburgh’s) James Harrison or (San Diego’s) Shawne "roidman" Merriman,” Hali said, referring to top pass-rushing 3-4 linebackers. “I’m more comfortable at that weight anyway. I was 275 only because that’s what (former defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham) wanted.

“Right now, we’re looking for speed.”

Even at a lighter weight, pass coverage will be an issue for Hali and the Chiefs. They didn’t ask him to do much of that under Edwards other than the occasional zone blitz.

“Tamba will be OK,” Edwards said. “He had dropped (in coverage) before. Gun ran some zone coverage where Tamba had to drop.”

Haley said: “We’ve got to see him do that. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him (in coverage) other than some zone drops and things like that. That’s what this next couple of months is for, trying to figure out where these guys fit.”

Even Hali acknowledged he will have to improve in that area.

“That’s something I’ll have to work on. I’m not going to lie to you,” he said. “Covering receivers has not been my specialty.

“But I’m looking forward to trying it because I’m just being a football player. I’m glad about this because I just like to play the game. I don’t just want to be good at one thing. I want to be able to do everything.”
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Old 05-07-2009, 12:02 AM   #2
L.A. Chieffan L.A. Chieffan is online now
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Old 05-07-2009, 12:06 AM   #3
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How many fresh starts does he need in one day?
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Old 05-07-2009, 12:08 AM   #4
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Sweet. So he already F***ed up his last fresh start?
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Old 05-07-2009, 12:09 AM   #5
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Old 05-07-2009, 01:34 AM   #6
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Old 05-07-2009, 08:01 AM   #7
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“I don’t really need to be 275 pounds. I don’t even need to be 260. Maybe I can be 250 like (Pittsburgh’s) James Harrison or (San Diego’s) Shawne "roidman" Merriman,” Hali said, referring to top pass-rushing 3-4 linebackers. “I’m more comfortable at that weight anyway. I was 275 only because that’s what (former defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham) wanted.

y'all catch that?

hopefully that helps his quickness. definitely better than playing olb at 275
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Old 05-07-2009, 08:33 AM   #8
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How many fresh starts does he need in one day?
Exactly.

Reminds me the Ryan Sims story.
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Old 05-07-2009, 08:34 AM   #9
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Ive got it! Hali can play the old DT Falcon position!!!
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Old 05-07-2009, 08:48 AM   #10
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Old 05-07-2009, 09:29 AM   #11
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please don't compare him to Sims. He's had 18.5 sacks in 3 years. Has he been an all star? of course not, but he's a decent to pretty good player. He's not trash or a bust and he's not an all star. He's somewhere in between.
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Old 05-07-2009, 09:58 AM   #12
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please don't compare him to Sims. He's had 18.5 sacks in 3 years. Has he been an all star? of course not, but he's a decent to pretty good player. He's not trash or a bust and he's not an all star. He's somewhere in between.
His rookie year he was top 5 in the league in forced fumbles. That shouldn't be overlooked.
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Old 05-07-2009, 10:40 AM   #13
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His rookie year he was top 5 in the league in forced fumbles. That shouldn't be overlooked.
Everyone has already written him off. This is probably his last chance.
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Old 05-07-2009, 10:58 AM   #14
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:21 PM   #15
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