Our top two were hard to chose between. Interestingly enough, they both deal with the same topic. Both our top two think the Chiefs MUST do something about the defense. As our 1st runner-up, reader EHUD writes, it all starts with heart. Congratulations to Ehud on a fine article.
Thirtieth in yards allowed. That’s how our defense performed. We were best against the pass, ranked 22nd. We were 31st against the run. To say our defense is not good is an understatement. What is the reason for this? Our defense has no heart.
No, I’m not talking about that kind of heart. C’mon, Tamba Hali is out there so you know it has heart. I’m talking about the strength of our defensive center. I’m specifically speaking of nose tackle, inside linebacker, and safety.
In the 3-4 defense, possibly no position is more important than nose tackle. The Space-Eater. The Monster-in-the Middle. It is this position, in conjunction with the defensive ends, which allow the linebackers to make the plays. Without one of these, well, you saw the Chiefs last year. Look at Free Agency this year. No nose tackles worth anything hit the market because teams know how valuable they are. So we need to get one in the draft. We might even grab two.
Then we have the inside linebacker position. Derrick Johnson looked good when he was out there. I hope to see more of him this season. I at least want to put him out there as a starter for the whole season to see how does. As for the other ILB, we need help. Fortunately for us, the crop of ILBs isn’t too bad this year.
Don’t forget safety. Last year we were treated with some truly dismal safety play. One of the reasons was the injury to Jarrad Page. The other was Mike Brown. At first, as a Chicago Bears fan, I was glad to see the Chiefs get Mike Brown. Then I saw him play. I’m still waiting for the Mike Brown I remember to show up. Luckily there is a good-looking safety draft class this year. So good, in fact, we may get 2. It’s possible we might even walk away with the best one in the draft.
When I say heart, I also mean leader. Name the Chiefs leader on the defensive side of the ball. I can’t either. All the good defenses have a player who is the recognized leader. He is the guy who sets the tone. He is the man they look to when they need to make that stop on 4th down or on the goal line. The Chiefs need that player. Whether he plays ILB or Safety it matters not. What they need is a leader.
We are lucky to have 8 picks in a defensively deep draft class. We need to spend the majority of those picks on the defense. Spend those picks on the middle. Make teams run plays to the outside where the defense has the choice of making a tackle or shoving them out of bounds. Make the center of the Chiefs defense a place to be feared. Make running backs that enter it stop cold. Punish wide receivers that run routes across the middle. Intercept the passes of quarterbacks who dare to throw into it. Once you have the heart, that’ll get fans’ blood pumping.