There will be plenty of story lines to follow while Todd Haley is putting his players through two-a-days and the fine folks at SB Nation Kansas City have narrowed the list down to five. It should come as a surprise to no one that Derrick Johnson’s future is on that list.
Will DJ win the starting inside linebacker job? Will he be a part of the Chiefs in 2011 and beyond?
These are key questions. DJ is working on a one-year contract and has said he’s looking forward to his next contract. He obviously wants to maximize his next contract, so playing this year is critical for him.
There have been questions of his practice habits so a solid month of training camp would go a long way to securing a starting role for him in 2010.
Yesterday I talked about Wallace Gilberry being a key holdover on the front seven that has not been given a ton of attention, but will be looking to produce during his contract year. DJ is on the other side of that spectrum. Johnson is also in his contract year, but he will never have to worry about attention. All eyes will be on the veteran linebacker from the jump and for a good reason.
As important as Eric Berry’s transition to the speed of the NFL and Tyson Jackson taking the second-year step forward both are, the Chiefs defense will be in real trouble if DJ isn’t a starting inside linebacker when the Chargers come to town Week 1.