We have been talking a lot about Matt Cassel as of late and I expect that to continue over the course of the season.
One guy we haven’t really been talking too much about over the last two weeks, is Chiefs first round draft pick Eric Berry. There has been so much to talk about, what with the team starting off 2-0 and the emergence of guys like Tony Moeaki, Dexter McCluster, Javier Arenas and so forth that Berry has gotten lost in the shuffle.
So how has Berry done thus far?
The Chiefs have given up 4 touchdowns thus far to opposing offenses and you can arguably blame Berry for 3 of those touchdowns.
In Week 1 against San Diego, Berry blew his coverage on Antonio Gates in the red zone, allowing the All-Pro TE to cut inside and reel in a perfectly delivered pass from Philip Rivers. Later in the same game, Berry got a little to aggressive coming up to cover Gates and allowed Legedu Naanee to slip behind the defense for a long touchdown reception.
In Sunday’s game against the Browns, Berry again got a little too aggressive, biting on a play fake (as did Kendrick Lewis) thus providing no help for CB Brandon Carr. The result was another long touchdown pass, this time courtesy of Seneca Wallace to Joshua Cribbs.
That being said, Berry is playing pretty darn well. Find out why after the jump.
Eric Berry has made some rookie mistakes. As thrilled as we all are to have Eric Berry we have to accept that Sunday won’t be the last time he screws up to the tune of 7 points for the opposition. Part of starting rookies, especially at a position as critical as safety, is living with their mistakes and both Berry and Lewis, as well as Moeaki, McCluster and Arenas, will have their fair share.
The big positive so far with Berry is that when he hasn’t made mistakes, he has been significantly effective.
Berry has totaled 13 tackles in 2 games for the Chiefs. Against the Browns, he had 7 tackles, including 2 for a loss as well as QB hit.
Berry has unique instincts and a nose for the ball. He has helped the Chiefs running game tremendously by flying to the ball carrier. Next time you are watching a team run against the Chiefs, watch for Berry. He usually zooms into the frame, a red blur, and the result is usually that the run is over.
Berry plays a difficult position and his mistakes are going to be magnified because he is the last line of defense. However, don’t underestimate the impact he is already having on the much improved Chiefs defense. His mistakes have all been things that can be corrected with experience and coaching. Teams are going to be targeting Berry and Lewis over the next few weeks in an effort to take advantage of the rookies and beat the Chiefs deep.
As the season goes on, however, Berry will likely make a few teams very sorry they tested him.