Any team that starts 3-0 is going to have plenty of accolades to dish out. In Kansas City, most of those for the 13th ranked defense have been directed towards defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. Mike Vrabel told the Boston Herald that the Chiefs success has been a group effort.
“I have a lot of familiarity with Romeo and what he’s done in the past and what he brings to a team,” Vrabel said. “But what we have overall is a great coaching staff. Romeo is the defensive coordinator, but we have great coaches on both sides of the ball that have played this game at a high level, that are coaching at a high level.”
Vrabel cited linebackers coach Gary Gibbs and secondary coach Emmitt Thomas, both of whom have been coordinators previously.
“Now to have those guys with us to help Romeo, that’s nothing but a positive,” Vrabel said.
Offensively, there’s Cassel, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and a talented fleet of running backs in Thomas Jones, Jamaal Charles and rookie Dexter McCluster. Last week against San Francisco, it all came together.
“We have good veterans, we have good young rookies, we’ve got guys that not only are young and energetic, but can also play the game,” Vrabel said. “They’ve proven they’re going to help us. We have veteran guys who have been through the grind, who have been through long seasons, long playoff runs. So it’s a good combination of both.”
The Chiefs only added Shaun Smith and two rookie safeties in Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis to last season’s struggling defense, making Crennel the obvious choice for most valuable addition. I’m not about to take anything away from him — nor is Vrabel — but it is important to also look at the progress that returning players Derrick Johnson and Glenn Dorsey have made this season. Crennel deserves some credit for bringing out the best in the defense along with the rest of his staff.
After potential hiccups in Indianapolis and Houston against the high powered offenses of the Colts and Texans, the Chiefs defense has a chance to put up their best performances of the season against the Jaguars, Bills and Raiders.
Holding their own on the road the next two weeks and then cleaning up for three weeks after that could easily vault the Kansas City defense into the top 5 in the league. That’s a place they could stay with their less-than-stellar schedule.