As the Kansas City Chiefs transition their defense from 4-3 to 3-4, their only current holdover starting at linebacker is Derrick Johnson. Even though the former first round pick has never played in the 3-4, the Kansas City Star’s Kent Babb reports Johnson is taking to the role well.
Johnson said it fits his skills and allows him to improvise, a kind of freedom he pleaded with former coordinator Gunther Cunningham for but rarely was granted. Johnson said he’s confident that 2009 will finally be the season he lives up to expectations the Chiefs had when they drafted him in the first round in 2005.
“It’s setting me up personally to have a breakout season. I’m all-in with it.”
He said it helps that Zach Thomas is in his 14th year and has plenty of experience in the 3-4. Haley said Johnson has been following Thomas around, learning from the veteran about conditioning and approach as it relates to all the change that has been circling the past five months. Haley said it’s clear that Thomas and Johnson have established chemistry, and that’s good for a group in transition. And it doesn’t hurt Johnson that his new mentor Thomas said Monday that, of all the players having to adjust to new surroundings, Johnson stands to benefit most.
“This is going to be his best scheme. It’s definitely weakside linebacker-friendly. It can exploit the talent that he has. Everybody knows how talented and fast he is. If he gets this down where he’s not thinking, just rolling around and just having fun and he knows what to do, he’ll be a great player in this scheme.”
We were just talking yesterday about the potential for Johnson in this new defense. It sounds like Zach Thomas is just as excited to see the former first round pick succeed as most fans are. If Tamba Hali can just be adequate his first season at OLB, the Chiefs just might have a respectable defense next season. Wouldn’t that be a trip?
The Kansas City Chiefs have finalized their player personnel and football operations staffs.
Longtime NFL executive Joel Collier has been hired as assistant general manager to Scott Pioli. The Chiefs also hired manager of football operations Chris Caminiti, and area scouts Dom Green and Ryan Kessenich.
Collier enters his 19th NFL season, previously spending three years as an assistant coach with the New England Patriots. He also spent 11 seasons coaching with Miami (1994-04). Collier was on the same staff as Pioli at Syracuse in 1988-89.
Green spent the previous three seasons scouting for Tampa Bay, while Kessenich was at Northwestern the last three years.
Pioli sure took his time filling out the positions around him, especially considering how well he knows Collier from their days at Syracuse and New England. Welcome aboard, boys.
Like the Chiefs and the other original AFL franchises, the San Diego Chargers will be celebrating their 50th anniversary this season. The Chargers have an entire weekend planned to celebrate their franchise and have scheduled it to coincide with their matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs week 12.
The 50 All-Time Greatest Chargers will be introduced during the Chargers’ 50th Anniversary Weekend, a three-day extravaganza set to take place Nov. 27-29 and culminating when the Chargers play the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 29. The weekend, presented by Coors Light, will begin with a giant Anniversary Celebration Party on Friday, Nov. 27. The team will also host a private party for the players on Saturday, Nov. 28 before introducing the 50 Greatest Chargers at the game the next day.
So it would appear that during the week 12 game we will have to deal with non-stop interviews with former Chargers. Not to mention shot after shot of Dan Fouts sitting in a sky box. Good times.