Eric Berry Is The Chiefs’ Worst Defender

In a season already filled with pain and embarrassment, the Kansas City Chiefs have yet another harsh reality to face.

Former first round pick Eric Berry is their absolute, worst defender.

The truth hurts.

According to Pro Football Focus, of all KC defenders who have played at least 25% of the team’s snaps, Berry has consistently been the worse Chiefs defender.

Don’t feel bad enough?

He’s the worst player on the team.

Still not ready to throw yourself off a cliff?

He’s the third worst safety, free or strong, in the NFL.

Through four games, PFF grades Berry at -7.2. Only LaRon Landry of the Jets (-8.2) and Michael Griffin of the Titans (-10.4) have been worse.

Berry has been bad in all phases of the game. His coverage grade is a -4.2. His run D is a -2.4. In the penalty department, thanks to last weekend’s debacle, he’s a -1.6.

In coverage, Berry has allowed one TD. He has been targeted 17 times, allowing 14 receptions for 150 yards and one TD. He has allowed 124 yards after the catch and QB’s throwing at him enjoy a QB rating of 123.0.

He has missed five tackles.

Now before we get into why Berry may be performing poorly, let’s cut him some slack. He has never been good in coverage. He struggled early as a rookie and improved slightly as the year went on. Then he tore his ACL and missed an entire season of football.

Still, Berry is doing poorly in the other areas he is supposed to be good at, like run support.

EB has a number of things working against him. He is still very, very young. He has only 21 professional games under his belt, but 17 of those game in 2010, which seems like an eternity ago.*

*I am not counting the few snaps he played in 2011.

Berry missing the 2011 season was, I think, a huge blow to his career. In my opinion, we are witnessing Berry going through a second rookie season. Only the Chiefs aren’t treating him like they did when he was a rookie. They are treating him like he is one of the best safeties in the NFL.

Berry isn’t right. He likely isn’t 100% physically and mentally it sure looks like he has a lot of rust to shake off.

There is no telling how long it will take Berry to get his groove back. There is a chance he could begin coming on strong as the year goes on but don’t rule out the possibility that his struggles could continue all season long. Berry plays a tough position and the Chiefs are asking more of him than he seems capable of right now.

One of the many reasons folks were projecting the KC defense to be so good this season was the return of Eric Berry. Unfortunately, to this point, Berry has been more of a liability than a help. Add to that the fact that Kendrick Lewis, another rising young star in the KC secondary, has yet to take a snap yet this season and you have a recipe for disaster.

The KC defense is struggling because other than on the corners, they have no consistent cover DBs. Berry is awful. Travis Daniels and Abe Elam are no picnics either. Javier Arenas is average at best (and an inconsistent average at that).

Eric Berry is talented enough and smart enough that he will likely get back to where he was in 2010. Eventually.

But until he does, the KC defense is likely to continue struggling.

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Tags: Eric Berry Kansas City Chiefs

  • micah stephenson

    Yea I knew it wasnt ALL just Matt Cassel. The whole teams is Sucking right now!

    • tm1946

      You can only yell WTF so many times then you decide to start drinking.

    • Chiefswatch

      LOL that’s how you try to sneak your Cassel support under the rug? Nobody ever said it was all on Matt Cassel (a point you have ever failed to concede) but guess what Micah? Cassel is the shittiest of the shit on this team.

      • micah stephenson

        I am done supporting Cassel. He is garbage. Wen u say “nobody said it was all on M.Cassel” u are wrong. ALOT of fanS see NOTHING wrong wit this team except Cassel. Some think by simply inserting any other QB the problems will b solved. Yea Cassel sucks But so does alot of team right now.

  • ArrowFan

    Are his run support grades so low because he is missing his assignments or because he is just missing a tackle?

    • Dave Toan

      Anecdotally, I feel he’s making tackles when he meets ball carriers – he’s just out of position.

  • drtold

    Berry did look bad in that game against the Falcons, and again this past Sunday vs. the Chargers, but he has never been able to cover Gates. I’m glad they left him on an island against Gates, as I think that is the quickest way his play will get to where he wants it to be. As for his overall performance, even in his rookie year, I didn’t see the greatness that was being bestowed upon him. He seemed to be in the right place at the right time in a few games, but I didn’t think I was watching the second coming of Ronny Lot or anyone like him.

    • scastagnoli

      EB is going to take time to get back to 100%. Hopefully, he’s fully back by the last quarter of the season. People have very short memories. He had a very good rookie year, and when it counted against the Ravens in the playoffs, he looked like a great player who made some wow plays. In the past, players were not the same even during the first full year back after ACL surgery.

      Chiefs fans need to be more concerned about this clueless franchise not seemingly realizing that you can’t play with the big boys with a QB who is a true #2. It’s amazing how long the Chiefs have gone with inferior play from the most important position in the game. We can continue to accumulate good talent, but the team must have a talented passer to move deep into the playoffs.

  • Doc

    OK, I’ll take a different slant on this. Granted Berry has a year of rust to shake off, but from what I saw the last few games is that they are using Berry to do things outside of his normal role. One game, I kept asking, is berry a safety or a pass rusher? Another game I was asking, is Berry a safety or a LB? Now I watch and they are trying him out as a corner. Sorry, I blame this defensive coaching and game planning. Romeo cannot wear both hats. he is lost by trying to do so. In response top D being bad this year, I will guess it is because the ofeense cannot put the ball into the endzone. Too many early exits and the D is back on the field. I do not know what the problem is on the defense because it is basically the same players back this year from last year – but they are not performing. Bring back McGraw, at least he gave it his all (even though he was slow). Bring back Shabby – at least he ran around and amused us and we had someone to blame. This year, we seem to be blaming every player because we can’t identify the one problem that will correct this. Berry has his faults and I am optimistic he can be what we hope he will be. Get the coaching situation under control (take off the two hats RAC) and this problem may self corect itself. RAC, focus on what you do best and get the defense back!

    • Patrick Allen

      I don’t think the defenses problems have anything to do with the offense. The KC D has allowed the opposing team to march down for a TD on their first drive in every game. These guys are playing bad football.

      • Chiefswatch

        they have stepped up in each of the last two games despite starting poorly. The offense however has sputtered throughout both games, unable to score TDs when needed and turning the ball over way too much. I am comfortable with our D as it is, it really just needs to start faster. I am not at all comfortable with our Offense passing or running.

        • Bizoza

          The defense has been just as atrocious as the offense. Both sides need to pick it up or this team is going to be 2-14. The offense had one half of real actual football this season, and thats about what we have gotten from the defense.

    • Lyle Graversen

      I agree Aaron,

      Berry is best playing more of a “center field” safety role (similar to what they do with K. Lewis) where he can roam the field and be a ball hawk ala Ed Reed. That’s what he did in college and even most of his 2010 highlights are from plays where he was back in space. The chiefs have basically used him as a nickle LB and man cover DB all season and are wasting his big play abilities.

      • tm1946

        Aren’t coaches supposed to place players in a position to succeed? We did it in HS, college, and, I thought, the pros. Not in KC, Chiefs management and coaches know what is best. Part of the problem, just not sure who is at fault.

      • Jim Harper

        Right again Lyle. That is the first thing I noticed that they seemed to be playing him at LB. I truly thought that in the 2nd half of the Saints game that the defense had come together. I mean they shut down Drew Brees for crying out loud. Then SD comes to town and they had regressed back. Confusing as well as frustrating.

      • Danny W

        I think Crennel is misusing Berry horribly I have to agree.

  • Doc

    Anoter thoguht I had on Berry is that he is part of the ACL trio. It appears that we have three levels of return betweent he three. Charles finally broke through his mental issues of the ACL. So we can call him fully recovered. Moeaki appears to be slightly tentative running his routes and he has whiffed on a few blocks. It will say he is two-thirds recovered. Berry appears slow and somewhat tentative when tackling receivers (he apperas to be high and his up with his body). I will say he is one-third recovered. ACL tears are difficult to recover from and it is amazing that they are even playing at the level they are. Unfortunately, we have too many problems that we can’t identify one or two that are the reason behind the blown out losses. Bring heart back to this team and it will improve. Unfortunately, it appears management does not want that out-spoken player/coach to light the fire in this team. That might mean they have lost control and their frail egos will be bruised if not crushed. Remember the quote, ‘Finding the right 53.” Gee… you have been looking for four years now. I’ll settle for just one to kick and yell and scream.

    • Jim Harper

      I don’t think the ACL triplets are in different stages of recovery. Just different stages of mental toughness. And as for an outspoken coach, well we have had them before. The trouble is the last two have been extreme ends of it. Haley was off the charts harsh and Romeo is a little too soft.

  • kcchris727

    I noticed his play is not really up to snuff. I was wondering if he is not 100% since the injury or if its in his head now and he’s holding back

  • chiefridgy

    Totally off subject…..I live in Texas and the only thing that truly soothes this Kansas City Chiefs heart after a loss……..The cowboys losing…oh sweet nectar of life…thank you baby Jesus!

    • Jim Harper

      Amen to that brother!

  • jimfromkcj

    The real problem, as I see it is that the fans in KC and the players themselves have a serious problem in evaluating players. In other words they would rather believe the hype coming out of Arrowhead and some of the media pundints who will not say anything that might endanger their access. We actually have only two players I would call elite and both of them have baggage. Jamal Charles has always had fumble problems and derrick Johnson has always been inconsistent. These two guys are the only players on the roster who are approaching elite. Hali is not very good in coverage and Houston is a rookie and has not shown that he can be a consistent threat to sack the QB. So when you place these facts into consideration, you can understand why the Chief’s are not playing like you think they should. They just don’t have as much talent as you think they have. Most are just average at best.

  • Danny W

    It’s like watching the twilight zone when you’re watching the Chiefs this year on defense. Were is that squad that was improving? I think Crennel is overmatched on every single level. Pioli didn’t give him the right corners either and he let maybe our best one get away for the sake of pinching pennies. Jalil Brown, is a bust, Jaq Reeves hasn’t played in two years, and Javier Arenas is looking like a bust too. Time for Pioli and Crennel to go unless we magically start winning now.

  • Roger Mihalko

    We had the two pairings that made the defense good, flowers and carr and berry and lewis. We lost carr because of money, and lewis to injury(think he came back too soon personally from shoulder). I think berry is missing lewis not being there, and that is hurting a lot. I think he feels he has to carry a heavier load because the other saftey’s arnt really starters. You add his ACL recovery and thats a lot for a young player. He seems like a great kid, and has all the talent in the world. Lets give it some more time, get lewis back, and see where they go. Route and FLowers seem to be getting better, and I think they will.