The Kansas City Chiefs will open The New Arrowhead tonight when they welcome the Eagles to town for the third preseason game. KCChiefs.com’s Josh Looney takes a look at the five most important things to look for, including the Chiefs new Nickel defense.
Though rookie CB Javier Arenas looks to have his grasp on the Chiefs nickel back duties, the personnel that surrounds him has changed over the course of the first two preseason games. We’ve seen a grouping similar to that of 2009 with ILBs Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher joining OLBs Tamba Hali and Mike Vrabel to form the linebacking corps. But what about that “funky nickel” that the Chiefs brought to Tampa?
Against the Bucs, Vrabel moved inside to play next to Johnson, while Andy Studebacker joined Hali walked up on the edge. Studebacker and Hali paired with two defensive linemen in Wallace Gilberry and Glenn Dorsey to form the front four of the Chiefs nickel look. This is a package that we saw in practice dating back as far as spring OTAs, but it came to life in Florida.
With head coach Todd Haley placing an emphasis on players falling into regular season roles tonight, which nickel package with the Chiefs defense show?
I think they’ll once again role out the “funky nickel” — as Looney likes to call it — and we should all get used to it. For all the talk about the defense has to do this and that better, this unit getting the job done will stop most of the questions regarding Romeo Crennel’s unit. It’s a pretty simple philosophy: stop the other guys on third down and good things will happen for your team.
There is a ton of potential on the field with this package, especially when you consider that up front Dorsey, Gilberry, Belcher and Studebaker should all be improving with every game. Add in Vrabel’s veteran presence along with Derrick Johnson trying to prove he is an elite linebacker and all of a sudden there are all the makings of an impressive group.