During the post-practice media session today, Chiefs head coach Todd Haley was asked if there was a particular position that has pleasantly surprised him. With the addition of first round pick Eric Berry, it’s not a shock that he picked the secondary. But it wasn’t Berry that Haley singled out as the player in the defensive backfield that has been the most impressive.
“Brandon Carr, to me, is a guy who has come in with his head down working hard. He came in a little ahead of when the actual weight program began and he was here ahead of time and has really worked hard,” Haley said.
“It looks like it has translated out to the field. He is gaining confidence and he is a big, fast corner. He is a player that I am keeping my eye on and I am hoping that this progress continues.”
To Haley, this season is usually the most pivotal for small school prospects like Carr, who attended D-II Grand Valley State.
“As you see these young guys come from smaller schools, the third year is the big year. That is when you see a significant jump and that is what I tell all of these guys. The third year is a critical year for everybody but for some of these small school guys sometimes you see a little bit bigger jump because it is all starting to sink in, they know the way everything kind of goes and they have been able to benefit from being in a big time weight room and being in a weight program.
“That is no disrespect to any of the schools out there; it is just the way it is. You are starting to see some of those benefits he has had for two years now show up. Coaches have come in and worked real hard with him and he is making a step.”
When we talked about the Chiefs secondary over the last couple of years, the conversation has always started with Brandon Flowers. Now that Berry is in the fold, that’s two marquee names that take the spotlight away from Carr who has been fantastic while starting every game since joining Kansas City as a fifth round pick in 2008.
That’s not to say he has been ignored. It’s hard to ignore any late round pick that steps right into the starting lineup and refuses to leave, no matter what school they came from.
But at the same time it’s fair to say that he hasn’t received nearly the accolades that he deserves, mostly due to the overall struggles by the Chiefs defense. It’s safe to say that if Carr takes the sort of step this season that Haley is talking about, we could be talking about the Chiefs needing to lock up two solid young corners to long-term deals.
Considering how poorly the Kansas City defense has fared the past couple of years, that’s not a bad problem to have.