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Old 08-16-2011, 10:36 PM  
Tribal Warfare Tribal Warfare is offline
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Teicher: Chiefs trying to have a more physical presence

Chiefs trying to have a more physical presence
By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star

S T. JOSEPH | The Chiefs were running the ball in a goal-line situation during a recent practice when fullback Le’Ron McClain, blocking for Jamaal Charles, slipped through the line and drilled a linebacker to keep him from the runner’s path.

“That’s the goal,” McClain explained later. “That’s what I’m trying to do every time. Throw that first blow. That tells the guy I’m coming back every play, every play, every play. By the fourth quarter, he’ll be ducking and dodging and not wanting to take me on.

“If we get that mentality from our 11 guys, we’ll do fine.”

The Chiefs often lacked that approach last season. They couldn’t accurately be called a finesse team, not when they led the league in rushing.

But when things got rough and physical, the Chiefs didn’t always fight back. In their final two games, including the playoff loss to Baltimore, the Chiefs were overwhelmed by bigger, stronger opponents.

So it’s no coincidence the Chiefs signed three free agents, all physical players, away from the Ravens and promoted guard Jon Asamoah, who often plays with a nasty edge, to the starting lineup.

It’s all aimed at helping the Chiefs win more of these football versions of a street fight.

“Our mind-set going into that game was just to be dominant,” said McClain, one of those additions from Baltimore. “That was our thing. That’s what I’m trying to bring over here, that physical mentality every play, pass plays or running plays.”

One sign the Chiefs lacked physical strength, at least on offense, was their inability to convert in short-yardage situations. The Chiefs ran the ball 14 times on third and 1 last season and converted just six times, the second worst percentage in the league.

The Chiefs also didn’t always stand up on defense to powerful opponents. New quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn, who last year worked for Baltimore, recalled what concerned the Ravens last year as they prepared to face Kansas City’s defense.

“We had to be concerned about some of their great athletes, concerned with Tamba (Hali), with (Eric) Berry, with (Tyson) Jackson,” Zorn said.

That’s code for: The Ravens didn’t fear the Chiefs beating them up.

“Were we a little more physical? I don’t know,” Zorn continued, still taking the diplomatic approach. “We probably had a bigger team. We might have had some bigger defensive linemen.”

Zorn was part of the staff that coached McClain and the other Baltimore additions, offensive tackle Jared Gaither and nose tackle Kelly Gregg.

“They’ll all help us with that physical presence,” Zorn said.

The 260-pound McClain should help the Chiefs increase their third-and-short conversion percentage, either as a blocker or the occasional ball carrier.

“He is a violent player,” Zorn said. “He understands what a fullback is. He knows he’s got to be hardcore, hard-nosed.”

The Chiefs are counting on Gregg, the only new acquisition in the defensive starting lineup, to instill his brand of toughness on that side of the ball.

“It’s still a process as far as us developing the mind-set and the attitude as far as being physical and being aggressive,” defensive line coach Anthony Pleasant said. “We keep emphasizing that being physical and being tough up front is the only way we can play this game. I’m hammering it to them all the time. I think they’re beginning to see the picture of what I want them to do.”

Back on offense, the Chiefs lacked a true blocking fullback last season. They at times turned to 300-pound defensive lineman Shaun Smith to lead the way in goal-line and short-yardage situations, often unsuccessfully.

The Chiefs were small at center with Casey Wiegmann and right guard with Ryan Lilja. Both are again starters, but they now have Asamoah in the middle of their line as well.

“He fits in well with what we’re trying to do on offense, which is run the ball,” Gregg said. “He’s a big guy and he’s going to lean on people.”

At 305 pounds, Asamoah isn’t oversized. But he plays with an edge and an attitude the Chiefs wanted in their lineup every down.

Before the start of training camp, they released Brian Waters to make room for Asamoah.

“That’s what kind of player I feel like I am more than anything,” Asamoah said. “I’m physical and I’ll get after people. I don’t do a lot of dancing around. It’s all about contact.”
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Old 08-16-2011, 10:49 PM   #2
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Quote:
“We had to be concerned about some of their great athletes, concerned with Tamba (Hali), with (Eric) Berry, with (Tyson) Jackson,” Zorn said.
Whoa there
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Old 08-16-2011, 10:51 PM   #3
Count Zarth Count Zarth is online now
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Wow, this approach would give Gunther and Marty massive boners.
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Old 08-16-2011, 10:53 PM   #4
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I hadn't even considered the hiring-Zorn-to-learn-why-we-got-our-ass-kicked approach.

I GUARANTEE YOU Haley and/or Pioli did.

GENIUS!
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:00 PM   #5
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Im loving our new overlords! Pioli and Haley!
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:04 PM   #6
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This article just confirms once more that Tyson Jackson gives offensive coordinators fits. It must be absolute HELL. Preparing for such an athlete.
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:04 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Gif Horse View Post
I hadn't even considered the hiring-Zorn-to-learn-why-we-got-our-ass-kicked approach.

I GUARANTEE YOU Haley and/or Pioli did.

GENIUS!
EVEN WHEN HE IS SITTING ON HIS HANDS HE IS MAKING MOVES!!!
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:06 PM   #8
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Interesting. I actually enjoyed this article. Having a physical approach to the game will complete our evolution as a dominant running team capable of controlling the clock and keeping the chains moving.

Good job, Teicher.
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:19 PM   #9
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The 260-pound McClain should help the Chiefs increase their third-and-short conversion percentage, either as a blocker or the occasional ball carrier.

“He is a violent player,” Zorn said. “He understands what a fullback is. He knows he’s got to be hardcore, hard-nosed.”
This gives me a boner!
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Old 08-17-2011, 12:14 AM   #10
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:40 PM   #11
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I wonder who Zorn's favorite QB prospect on this team is?
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