The Kansas City Chiefs are looking to improve their play at linebacker in their 3-4 defense. Karlos Dansby is one of the best unrestricted free agent linebackers available and comes from a 3-4 defense. A match might not be that easy with Dansby showing interest in teams — New York Giants, Washington Redskins — that run a 4-3. ESPN’s KC Joyner wonders if Dansby will be able to adjust to being a 4-3 MLB after serving as a 3-4 ILB in Arizona.
Dansby’s history shows that he should be able to handle a switch to a 4-3 MLB from a run defense perspective fairly easily. The big issue is if he will be able to handle the additional coverage responsibilities. The metrics I have on him in this area are mixed.
For example, his 2008 metrics show Dansby allowing 16 completions in 20 passes thrown his way, but fourteen of the attempts and 11 of the completions were on short passes (1-10 yards downfield). That means he wasn’t tested deep very often.
Whether that is because he played in a 3-4 scheme or because he possesses good deep coverage skills is up in the air but the short pass numbers would suggest he will be tested on long passes early on in a 4-3 environment.
This will be an interesting story to watch, even though Dansby has yet to — as far as I can tell — identify the Chiefs as a team he would want to play for. Todd Haley got to see Dansby every day in practice while he was in Arizona and already knows if his work ethic would fit in with what he and Scott Pioli are trying to do.
If he does fit, will Clark Hunt allow Pioli to write a check big enough to out bid the Giants who are looking to replace the recently cut Antonio Pierce? Obviously if Washington gets involved the Chiefs could be out of the running early, but if it stays at a reasonable level he would be a huge upgrade inside.
There aren’t a lot of fans that clamor for guys with low sack numbers and Dansby is coming off the worst season of his career in terms of sacks with only 1. Remember, he has had as many as 8 in a season (2006 in only 14 games) and he played a position that does not produce a lot of sacks. He has played every game the past two seasons, averaging 114 tacklers per season.