The story that wouldn’t go away last year — Derrick Johnson’s place on the depth chart — appeared again on the first practice of 2010 when Johnson lined up with the second team. The Chiefs linebacker said yesterday that he isn’t yet worried about who is playing where.
“We have two new coordinators and the coaches told us that the depth chart is not a priority for them right now,” Johnson said. “Sometimes I’m out there with the second and first; I’m out there with Corey (Mays) sometimes. It’s just kind of weird a little bit.”
“It’s early,” said Johnson. “ When we get to training camp, that’s when they separate the men from the boys and if you stay healthy in training camp, with my ability I think that I can do great things for this defense and yes, I can start.”
When a player is regulated to the bench for most of a game, it’s incredibly difficult for them to stand out during their short time on the field. For Johnson it was the exact opposite, as he seemed to come up with a big play every time he stepped between the lines. And it’s rare that a player will perform that way and not find their way to the starting lineup… and thus the discussion that was Derrick Johnson last season.
One week into practices and so far DJ is saying all of the right things. He thinks he can help the team as a starter, there’s no reason to read into where he is lined up now and things will take care of themselves. But if once again he proves himself on the field and still only works in the nickel package, there is no way Johnson will be so diplomatic and frankly I won’t blame him.