Just what defense will the Kansas City Chiefs run this season? While there has been plenty of speculation, Bob Gretz goes right to the man making the final decisions, Todd Haley, and found out.
While those outside the team may be hung up on whether it will play a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense, Haley is more concerned with using the talents on his roster to field a stout and dominating defense that will give the Chiefs a chance to win.
“You have to utilize the players that you have. If you have some creativity and imagination with these guys you can find some things these guys do pretty well.”
There’s no question the Chiefs are moving toward a base defense that will be dominated by the 3-4 scheme. But that’s unlikely to happen in the first year under defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. They will be mixing and matching all sorts of defensive concepts, based on the roster and what opponents may be doing on offense. Haley, for one, thinks too much has been made of whether the team runs a 4-3 or 3-4 this season.
“In today’s game, with more and more teams spreading out on offense, half the time you are in the nickel package any way. There are so many variations and things that are going on to be labeled one thing.”
But eventually, Haley says the Chiefs will be a team that runs the 3-4 defense exclusively.
“I just think that’s good business. We have a general manager in Scott Pioli that’s done a better job than anybody finding players to play that type of defense. It’s a defense that I’m familiar with from a couple of my stops. I just think it is good business when your No. 1 talent evaluator knows how to find those bodies. If it’s a balanced 3-4, it presents more problems for both the run and the pass. There’s more the defense can do and that makes it tougher to figure out what they are going to do and how to counter their plan. The 3-4 gives you a little more flexibility and versatility.”
As far as I’m concerned, this season will serve as a tryout for the Herm Edwards holdovers to see if they can play in the 3-4. If guys like Turk McBride, Glenn Dorsey and Derrick Johnson adapt to the new scheme, the Chiefs will go exclusively to the 3-4 sooner rather than later. If the transition doesn’t go smoothly, then we’ll see more of the 4-3 this season and a ton of movement during next year’s free agency period to fill the void.
Yesterday, the Kansas City Chiefs agreed to terms with former Bears safety Mike Brown. Brown could become the main backup to Jarrad Page and Bernard Pollard or could push them for their starting spot. The Kansas City Star’s Adam Teicher caught up with Page to get his reaction to the Brown signing.
“I’m not worried about anything. I’m looking forward to learning some things from him. It’s really nothing different. I won’t change the way I approach things. There’s competition every day. I really don’t think there will be anything different.”
Both Page and Pollard were handed a starting job by former coach Herm Edwards. Due to a lack of depth, neither was forced to play well in order to keep that spot. If Page is bothered by the competition, it’s hard to tell.
“I don’t let things like this affect me and the way I prepare. I have a drive inside me already. I don’t change things I’m doing because there’s someone else there. That’s what a professional does. Regardless of whether he’s here or not, I want to be the best. I want to go to the Pro Bowl and be one of the top guys at my position.”
The Chiefs also have Jon McGraw and DaJuan Morgan at safety. McGraw is a standout on special teams. The addition of Brown could be a sign the Chiefs are disappointed in Morgan, who was drafted in the third round last year.
Todd Haley and Scott Pioli have been cleaning house when it comes to the 2008 draft class, but even a healthy Brown shouldn’t make Morgan expendable. The Chiefs can use as much depth as possible on defense right now and I trust Morgan a whole lot more than Ricky Price.
Today is the final day of “Irrelevant Week” for Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop since he has to leave for the rookie symposium in Miami tomorrow. Last night he was on the receiving end of a roasting during the Lowsman Banquet being held in his honor.
Succop knew what to expect as one person after another took the stage — many that the kicker didn’t know — to roast the final player selected in April’s draft.
“They said if you can make it through this, you can definitely make it through training camp. I think I can handle this.”
One of the former players speaking last night was former Chief Christian Okoye. Unlike the rest of the former players in attendance, Okoye offered advice to Succop on how to survive in Kansas City.
“Kansas City has good barbecue. Go and get barbecue because the players and coaches would love you for it.”
After tonight the “All Ryan Succop, All The Time” news feed should end. I haven’t seen a kicker covered this much post-draft since the Raiders took Sebastian Janikowski in the first round back in 2000. Clearly I’d much rather talk about roasts and BBQ advice than bar fights and deportation, but no matter the reason it’s just odd to see this much on a rookie kicker.