|09-28-2005, 08:01 AM||#1|
Draft Defense Early&Often
Join Date: Oct 2004
"Chiefs rebuild a winner"
Masterpiece taking shape in K.C.
SoCals link: http://profootballweekly.com/PFW/NFL...olds082605.htm
Chiefs turn back the clock to rebuild a winner
By Jeff Reynolds (email@example.com)
Sept. 26, 2005
President Carl Peterson had an idea what was wrong with the Chiefs in 2004.
Who didn’t? RB Priest Holmes lasted only eight games and the defense was nearly useless, giving up 377.3 yards and 27.2 points per game. Peterson knew he’d have to spend to get what he wanted — speed and experience.
What Peterson wanted was the type of personnel he handed Gunther Cunningham in 1995, Cunningham’s first year as coordinator. That season, the Chiefs went 13-3, held opponents to 3.3 yards per carry, had 47 sacks and gave up a total of 241 points. Kansas City gave up 233 total points in just the first half in ’04.
Peterson paraded through the facility an all-star cast of unrestricted free agents. Jeremiah Trotter, Samari Rolle and Edgerton Hartwell came first. Dwight Smith and Ty Law came through next.
But Peterson, who did offer a contract to Trotter before the linebacker chose to return to Philadelphia and exchanged numbers with Rolle, recognized he had other suitable options. They happened not to have competing bidders attached to their hips: The Eagles were in constant contact with Trotter, and Baltimore was in hot pursuit of Rolle from the moment he was officially released in Tennessee.
Given Kansas City’s most glaring weaknesses, Peterson narrowed his options.
Kendrell Bell was the most athletic linebacker available. Injuries — Bell had a muscle tear in his groin that required complicated surgery to repair the damage — had limited Bell to a complementary role in Pittsburgh. The Steelers were wary of counting on him. Bell, a second-round pick out of Georgia in 2001, had nine sacks in his first 16 games, then had nine in his next 28 games, parts of which he missed because of injury. The Steelers finally decided that they would set him free last year, when Bell played in three games. Peterson signed Bell on the cheap, at a relatively discounted rate compared to Hartwell’s and a deal similar to Trotter’s.
Peterson would craft a team-friendly contract for S Sammy Knight before hitting two home runs on Draft Day — first acquiring Pro Bowl CB Patrick Surtain from Miami for a second-round draft choice, then drafting LB Derrick Johnson from Texas with the team’s top pick. Johnson was the most athletic traditional linebacker — DeMarcus Ware and Shawne Merriman had better test numbers in some areas but are 3-4 linebackers — in the draft class. The only knock on Johnson was that he didn’t always buck up to blockers with the aggression scouts expect from a 6-3, 245-pound ’backer. Nobody is knocking Johnson now. And Surtain is the best cover cornerback the Chiefs have had since Dale Carter and James Hasty in ’95.
Back in ’95, when Peterson and Cunningham were counting on Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith to get to the quarterback and Carter and Hasty to knock passes down, the Chiefs drafted DBs Jerome Woods and Reggie Tongue, DE John Browning, LB Donnie Edwards and, for good measure, WR Joe Horn.
The Chiefs have again hit, it would seem, in the draft. Johnson is off to a great start. Last year’s second fourth-round pick, Jared Allen, has played well at defensive end.
And the offense is rewinding 10 years as well. Ten years ago, Marcus Allen (207-890-5) and Greg Hill (155-667-1) split the load at running back and carried the offense. Allen, who never gained 1,000 yards in a season with the Chiefs, was the lead rusher. Hill and Kimble Anders, a solid blocker, were helping hands and change-of-pace runners. They were aided by what many felt was the best interior O-line in the game — OG Dave Szott, C Tim Grunhard and ORG Will Shields. OLT John Alt, 33 at the time, was losing something off his fastball but remained a very good pass blocker.
The Chiefs’ front wall of blockers remains a strength, especially inside, but Willie Roaf’s best days are behind him at left tackle. Kansas City butters its bread with RBs Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson. The tandem combined for 25 rushing touchdowns (316 carries, 1,473 yards) and three TD catches (41-465) in 2004 and made life easier for offensive coordinator Al Saunders.
Ironically, it was Saunders who felt Larry Johnson didn’t fit the Chiefs’ offense. Peterson overruled him when Johnson fell from the middle of the first round — Kansas City initially held the 16th overall pick — to No. 27. Because Peterson was good friends with Joe Paterno, he respected what Johnson had attained in setting a single-season rushing record in the Big Ten, and was personally responsible for running Johnson’s workout at Penn State. At a private workout for the Chiefs prior to the draft, Peterson said last week that Johnson ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash. With Holmes returning from hip surgery, it was a pick he had to make. Holmes has finished two of the last three seasons on injured reserve. Peterson knows the value of keeping Holmes fresh and readying his likely replacement in the process.
If the parts Peterson acquired continue to fit together for head coach Dick Vermeil as well as they did through two games — Vermeil is 0-for-Denver entering Monday’s game — the Chiefs have enough talent to make a drive to Detroit and Super Bowl XL.
|09-28-2005, 09:24 AM||#3|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Sep 2004
I am sure that the Chefs have enough talent to drive to the SB. The problem is that they do not have the talent to PLAY in the SB.
|09-28-2005, 09:26 AM||#4|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Jefferson City, Missouri
Examples: Redskins, Cowboys, Raiders (pick a year, any year), Rams, etc...
|09-28-2005, 10:02 AM||#5|
Join Date: Sep 2002
Too bad it always ends in the first round of the playoffs or even sooner like week 9. Besides with the price of gas these days they might just opt to leave the team in KC for the superbowl.
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