Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson — expected to excel in the Chiefs new defense — has been relegated to backup status recently, but he wants nothing to do with that role.
Johnson said he has suffered from various injuries throughout the preseason but those issues weren’t the only reason he was demoted to backup inside linebacker.
“I want to be out there, but right now, I’m just working my way up. I’ll work myself up to where I need to be.”
Johnson said coaches had not explained why he was demoted, and he added that he hadn’t asked.
“Nothing was said like that, I’m not too worried about it.”
Johnson said months ago that he felt comfortable in the team’s 3-4 defensive front and that the defense allowed him to do things he wasn’t able to do under former coordinator Gunther Cunningham. Johnson has underachieved at times in his four NFL seasons, and he said Wednesday that he was uncertain whether Haley was sending a message by shuffling Johnson out of the starting lineup.
“I’m not discouraged or anything.”
Going into training camp I figured that without Johnson playing well, the Chiefs would struggle adjusting to their new defensive scheme. From what we’ve seen in the preseason that doesn’t seem to be the case, with the defense more than holding it’s own with DJ running on the second team.
Demorrio Williams stats have looked good, but he has also been flattened more than a few times. If we see the Chiefs get gashed up the middle over these few couple of weeks, hopefully Johnson will get a chance to get back into the starting lineup and prove his worth.
If you plan on putting money on the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend — legally, of course — then you will be part of the minority.
Las Vegas Hilton sports book director Jay Kornegay said Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland and St. Louis will be unpopular underdogs.
The Chiefs are 13-point underdogs at Baltimore, the Rams are 8 1/2-point underdogs at Seattle and the Raiders are 9 1/2-point home dogs to San Diego.
“As a book operator, we’re going to have a hard time finding people who want to bet the Browns, Rams, Raiders and Chiefs,” Kornegay said. “I can tell you the general public won’t bet those teams.”
I’m the last person to advocate betting on the Chiefs, at least until we know just how good they will be this season. But even playing on the road, 13 points is a lot to get. It makes sense — coming off a 2-14 season — that the general public won’t be lining up to take the Chiefs, but I feel a lot better about Kansas City on the road than I do the Raiders at home with the Chargers.
All the injury talk around Kansas City is about Matt Cassel’s knee, but the Ravens are watching a leg injury to one of their main offensive weapons as well.
Among the few injury concerns the Ravens are dealing with, the most positive sign involved Mark Clayton, who said he intends to play in Sunday’s season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The wide receiver, who did not play in the preseason because of a strained left hamstring suffered Aug. 2, said the hamstring feels strong.
“I’m excited, and I’m ready to go,” said Clayton, who reassumed his starter’s job alongside Derrick Masonduring the media-viewed portion of practice Wednesday. “I’ve been practicing at a high level and taking a lot of reps on it. I’ve been going full speed because if I’m going to go out, I needed to mimic everything that I would be doing in the games. I’ve been able to do that well.”
Clayton’s return would bring some stability to a corps that has just four wide-outs in Mason, Kelley Washington, Demetrius Williams and Clayton.
A healthy Clayton could have a huge impact on Sunday’s game. The Chiefs defense will have to put so much energy into stopping the Ravens ground attack that the Kansas City cornerbacks will have to play one-on-one most the game. There’s a huge different between someone like Washington and the proven veteran Clayton.