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Old 09-06-2010, 11:27 PM  
Tribal Warfare Tribal Warfare is offline
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Teicher: Johnson gets start at linebacker for Chiefs

Johnson gets start at linebacker for Chiefs
By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star

Derrick Johnson’s career in Kansas City hasn’t yet been what he or the Chiefs hoped. But the inside linebacker and former first-round draft pick, buoyed by the news he will start Monday night’s season opener against San Diego at Arrowhead Stadium, is convinced that’s about to change.

“I think good things will still happen for me with the Chiefs,” Johnson said. “It’s (the last year of his contract) but I have a bright future here. The NFL is about seizing the moment. It’s about what you do right now. I’m ready for it.”

In what appeared to be an intense competition for the starting job on the weak side, Johnson beat out Demorrio Williams, who wasn’t happy about the news.

“They said Derrick is going to start out the first game,” he said. “I’m just going to come to work every day and do my job.”

Williams led the Chiefs in sacks in the preseason with three. Asked if he played well enough in the preseason to win the job, Williams said, “I don’t have to answer that question. You already know the answer to that question. What do you think?”

The Chiefs also appear to have selected Jovan Belcher over Corey Mays at the other inside linebacker position and Casey Wiegmann over Rudy Niswanger to be the starting center. Johnson, Belcher and Wiegmann were all working with the starters in the handful of plays the media was allowed to watch on Monday, the first day of practice in preparation for the San Diego game.

The Chiefs issued no depth chart. Coach Todd Haley wouldn’t address the starting lineup, saying only that the Chiefs were “a lot closer” to making the decisions about starters.

“I’ll go into it a lot more as we go forward,” Haley said.

“What I think is very critical for our team to understand is that I’d like to get it out of our heads, the coaches’ and players’ heads, about ‘first team’ and ‘second team.’ We’re going to need everybody. On each and every Sunday or Monday, whenever we’re playing, we’re going to need everybody to have some sort of impact.”

In light of his preseason sack total, Williams may be emerging as a pass-rush option for the Chiefs. Without mentioning Williams specifically, Haley said some players may have specialized roles that take them out of consideration as every-down players.

“I’m not worried about … depth on game days,” Haley said. “I’m worried about trying to have the best possible group out there each and every Sunday. That all of a sudden changes the landscape from the standpoint that guys that are playing more regular plays on offense or defense are going to have to have roles other places. If that means somebody behind them takes some of their snaps in order for them to do something else that they may do better than anybody else, that’s what we have to do. That’s what I’m as a head coach working really hard at. I want to make sure that’s the direction we’re going.”

Williams said he could be effective as an every-down player and stay fresh for pass-rushing situations.

“I’m a football player,” Williams said. “I want to be out there all the time. That’s why you train, why you work out, why you take care of your body, so you can play every play.”

Johnson has had mixed results since joining the Chiefs as their first-round pick in 2005. Former coach Herm Edwards was so frustrated in his final season in 2008 with Johnson that he moved him from outside linebacker to the middle in an effort to get better play.

Last year, Haley’s first, Johnson played mostly on passing downs, starting just three games. Haley talks frequently about getting consistent efforts from players, but Johnson’s have wildly fluctuated. Johnson was spectacular at times, never more so than in the season’s final game in Denver when he intercepted two passes and returned them both for touchdowns.

Johnson said his play in training camp and the preseason was more consistent than it’s ever been.

“I’ve been there every day,” Johnson said. “I’ve been consistent with my play. I haven’t been that way all the time before mainly because I haven’t been healthy. That’s my reason. I’ve been healthy now. I’m better than I’ve ever been, way ahead. No nicks, no dings. I’ve been taking care of my body. I’ve had none of those injuries where I’ve had to compensate and something else breaks down.”

Belcher, who joined the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent last year, said the coaches hadn’t told him he would start against the Chargers. Mays started 13 games for the Chiefs last season, his first in Kansas City.

Wiegmann was a seven-year starter for the Chiefs before leaving as a free agent in 2008. He played for the Broncos for two seasons before returning in the offseason.

Niswanger replaced Wiegmann as the starting center and they shared the position during training camp and preseason.

“You’ll have to ask the coaches that,” Wiegmann said about starting in the season opener. “I do what they tell me to do. I let the coaches make the decisions.”
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Old 09-06-2010, 11:33 PM   #2
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Right on time, Adam.

As usual.
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Old 09-06-2010, 11:36 PM   #3
Buehler445 Buehler445 is offline
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I like the idea of no first and second string. I've thought that's the way it should be.

I'm against preconcieved ideas dictating gameplans. If you can beat a defensive allignment with a pass, pass the ****ing ball, who gives a shit if you're a run first team or whatever. The way I think coaching should work is identify what will work in the situation. Don't bitch out and do the same thing over and over and try to "force your will". Do what it takes to beat the guy across from you.

/rant

I fully recognize that Haley will likely not do this and is just utilizing "coach speak". But still...
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Old 09-07-2010, 12:03 AM   #4
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I hate this rotational 2 down LBer split time shit, it kills the momentum for these guys. And the guys subbing in are cold and expected to just fire it up in one (important) play? Come on.

Does Ray Lewis, David Harris, Nick Barnett, Karlos Dansby, etc ever come out of games every 2 downs? I can't think of another 3-4 team that does this to their LBers for nickel packages/pass rush situations versus run stop situations. Usually those ILB are 3-down players.

I think Demorrio Williams hits the nail on his head when discussing a full time linebacker roll. He maybe shitty, but only coming in for half the plays just doesn't cut it. I wish this team could just make up its mind on which guys to play and actually play them/stick with them.
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Old 09-07-2010, 01:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcaj22 View Post
I hate this rotational 2 down LBer split time shit, it kills the momentum for these guys. And the guys subbing in are cold and expected to just fire it up in one (important) play? Come on.

Does Ray Lewis, David Harris, Nick Barnett, Karlos Dansby, etc ever come out of games every 2 downs? I can't think of another 3-4 team that does this to their LBers for nickel packages/pass rush situations versus run stop situations. Usually those ILB are 3-down players.

I think Demorrio Williams hits the nail on his head when discussing a full time linebacker roll. He maybe shitty, but only coming in for half the plays just doesn't cut it. I wish this team could just make up its mind on which guys to play and actually play them/stick with them.
They did exactly that with Williams and Mays last year and they showed little to no improvement.

Now its the next guys turn in line to show what he can do.

I think the staff has made a decision that DJ has done enough to have earned his "run play/1st/2nd downs" and that him playing the nickle role last year effectively added to that means he will be given a chance at being a 3 down backer for us this year.

I just think Williams is mad because that guy isn't him.
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Old 09-07-2010, 03:07 AM   #6
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totally agree with u
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Old 09-07-2010, 03:09 AM   #7
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Interesting that we're going into the year with two inside linebackers under 240 pounds.

Most 3-4 teams have at least one in the 250+ range.
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Old 09-07-2010, 04:56 AM   #8
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I'm glad Weis and Crennel came in and pulled Haleys head out of his ass.
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Old 09-07-2010, 05:08 AM   #9
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"I haven’t been that way all the time before mainly because I haven’t been healthy. That’s my reason. I’ve been healthy now. I’m better than I’ve ever been, way ahead. No nicks, no dings. I’ve been taking care of my body. I’ve had none of those injuries where I’ve had to compensate and something else breaks down.”

This is what discourages me. He finally wins his job back, at least for now, and he makes health an excuse for his poor play the last 5 freaking years.

Good Lord just shut up and play.
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Old 09-07-2010, 05:32 AM   #10
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Williams had a disappointing campaign in 2009, for sure. DJ didn't have a "stellar" year, but he made some really big plays when he was in. And those games were for real, not pre-season. Add to that the fact that this year Crennel is here, and I'm basically trusting that these guys know what they are doing. If DJ is the starter, it's because he's shown them something that Williams hasn't.

But it's not like Williams won't get some playing time, in fact I'm sure he'll get a bunch.
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Old 09-07-2010, 05:37 AM   #11
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I don't think it really matters who the starters are.

I think the Chiefs are going to rotate some of their starters with the guys on the depth charts. don't be surprised to see D Wiliams or Stude in there on some downs. I see some of these guys playing 2 downs.
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Old 09-07-2010, 05:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedThat View Post
I don't think it really matters who the starters are.

I think the Chiefs are going to rotate some of their starters with the guys on the depth charts. don't be surprised to see D Wiliams or Stude in there on some downs. I see some of these guys playing 2 downs.
Well look at you.


You're just a fountain of obvious shit this morning.
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Old 09-07-2010, 06:02 AM   #13
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Well look at you.


You're just a fountain of obvious shit this morning.
Why look at you, did someone piss in your cereal this morning?
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Old 09-07-2010, 06:07 AM   #14
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Why look at you, did someone piss in your cereal this morning?
I'm all sunshine and roses this morning.

Can't ya tell?
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Old 09-07-2010, 06:48 AM   #15
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I like the idea of no first and second string. I've thought that's the way it should be.

I'm against preconcieved ideas dictating gameplans. If you can beat a defensive allignment with a pass, pass the ****ing ball, who gives a shit if you're a run first team or whatever. The way I think coaching should work is identify what will work in the situation. Don't bitch out and do the same thing over and over and try to "force your will". Do what it takes to beat the guy across from you.

/rant

I fully recognize that Haley will likely not do this and is just utilizing "coach speak". But still...
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I disagree. I think Haley WILL do this.... THIS is what has made the Pats so successful. Guys do their jobs... and contribute where they can.

With Pioli, Romeo, and Weis.... the Patriot way will become the Chiefs way.
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