Chiefs’ Derrick Johnson Talks Alex Smith, Nico Johnson, Defense

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs are in their second week of OTAs and team leader Derrick Johnson is already beginning to see the benefits that QB Alex Smith will bring to the 2013 team.

Smith, for whom the Chiefs traded before the 2013 NFL Draft, is quickly making his mark on his teammates, a fact not lost on Johnson.

“He’s a smart quarterback,” said Johnson. “He’s a quarterback that gets in and out of the huddle really easily. His communication skills are great. Defensively, if we show him a certain coverage, he’s going to know exactly what it is. On that part of it, we have to do a lot of disguising. We have to be straight on with our defenses and we’ve got to execute it. If not, Alex will pick us apart.”

Smarts appear to be one of the primary reasons Andy Reid and John Dorsey went after Smith. Though the former first-round pick is not without physical talents, his ability to read defenses figures to be a big asset in Reid’s offensive system.

On defense, Johnson will have a new starting ILB playing next to him in the base 3-4 set. At this point, however, the position is still up for grabs. Draft pick Nick Johnson could get the gig, if he can overtake veteran addition Akeem Jordan. Johnson says the battle for the sport is already heating up.

“Nico Johnson is a guy that’s competing for a starting job,” said Johnson. “He and Akeem [Jordan] have been going at it for now. Right now, he probably can’t move up the depth chart right now because we don’t have any pads on – that’s where you really show what people can do. Nico’s a young guy that’s a big guy and looks like a hitter and I can’t wait to get in pads and see all the young guys run around and hit.”

If the Chiefs hope to succeed this season, they’ll need to rely heavily on their young and talented defense. Johnson says new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton is bringing an attacking-style defense to KC that is challenging the players in these early days of OTAs.

“It’s an aggressive, attack-style defense,” said Johnson. “I love it. Doing a lot of different things as far as blitzing, covering different receivers, covering tight ends at times. It’s a new scheme, everybody has their thinking caps on right now during camp and OTAs. But I think it’s going good for us right now.

What do you think, Addicts? Will Smith make a big difference? Will Nico overtake Jordan? And finally, are you excited to see a different style of KC Chiefs defense?

Topics: Kansas City Chiefs

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  • Shawn Duce

    I’m pumped to see them roll out this attacking 3-4!!! The “bend but don’t break” system drove me nuts sometimes and IMO it didnt play to the strengths of our young talent (I.e Poe,Berry,ect.) and with a WEAK offensive system it exposed our D to way to many snaps on a regular basis

    • KCMikeG

      Amen! The game that made me the most sick was the NE game in 2011. RAC had the guys in total attack mode and Brady was getting his butt handed to him. Brady was 4/11 with 3 sacks, an intentional grounding and a fumble. We were ahead 3-0 until 4:18 was left in the half even with Palko throwing two INT’s! Then Brady burns us once (like that wasn’t going to happen at some point no matter what you do) and then RAC completely pulled back to playing the bend don’t break approach. Brady carved us up and he just kept coming back with the same terrible plan. I have been dreaming of an attacking defense lie the days of DT!

  • Stacy D. Smith

    Alex Smith is definitely a sharp guy. I love that he’s got his teammates believing in him already. It’s those intangibles. Some of these players have never seen this up close. The Chiefs have a true leader now who they feel they can win with. That makes such a huge difference in the game above the shoulder pads.

    I’ve already gone on the record about Nico Johnson. I think he’s going to win that job outright. Training camp is going to be a battleground for a handful of positions.

  • chiefdeorty

    It is so good to have a defense that attacks I can’t remember the last we had one. I know when Derrick Thomas played we would attack but then when we had a lead at the end of the game we would play Marty ball, same thing! It is going to different I hope the injury bug don’t strike us this year. As for Alex these players have only seen a QB that brings confidence on the opposing side lines. I hope the players catch on quickly on both sides of the ball and I think Nico will win the job out right also.

  • BWrangler

    I think Smith will be our next Trent Green. Not a spectacular, elite quarterback, but a good game manager that will use the weapons he has to put points on the board. We don’t need a Manning or Elway, another Green would be just fine with me.

    I’m really interested to see how Catapano does in camp. I’ve liked everything I’ve read about him. Nico Johnson can easily win the ILB spot if he fulfills his athletic potential. I’m getting pumped up for some football!

    • shayaan

      green had a top 5 passer rating and passed for 4000+ yards for several consecutive seasons. smith has much better help on both sides of the ball, so if he’s anywhere near that good, the chiefs will be in great shape.

      • William Campbell

        Green was a good qb who never had a defense.. it’s hard to win games when you can’t force a punt

    • 7yahweh7

      Not Elite? So completing 70% is not elite? Rating of over 104 is not elite? Top 10 in total QBR is not elite? Going 13-3 with the NFL’s pass drop leading WR’s and a coaching staff that puts you in offensive hand cuffs is not elite?

      What does it take to be elite then? 9000 yds passing, 90 TD’s and 90% completions?

      Looking at the numbers, and considering the crap that Alex had to throw to for his last 2 years at SF, plus a massively over rated pass blocking line, I can’t think of a single QB that could have put up better numbers on that team.

      • BWrangler

        Trent, is that you? Where are you pulling these numbers from? Green finished a season one time with a PR over 100, that was in 2000 with the Rams, you know, “The Greatest Show on Turf”. He was a career 86 PR, good (maybe even great) but not elite.

        70% completion rate? Try 60% career. Three years consecutive 4000+ yards. Those were magical seasons as a Chief, but I’m sure more pedestrian QBs have come close to that.

        I’m not bagging on Trent Green. I loved him as a Chief, and thought he was a good (maybe even great) quarterback. But let me pose this lineup to you and you tell me who the odd man out is….

        John Elway, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Trent Green, Steve Young, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning.

  • Bobby

    Smitty will be a top 10 QB by the end of the regular season, his second year will be even better once he knows the playbook like the back of his hand he will put his own Manningesque tweaks and subtleties into the play calling and Reid and Co. will watch in awe. You heard it here first!

    • Suzi Conger

      Good take Bobby. I had been a SF9er since the 60′s, and the Drastic Singletary Dark Days; I’ve followed AS and am now a KCC Cal-Gal :-) Here’s some little known facts re/ AS you might appreciate; AS received his Bachelor Degree from Utah in only 2 years ( Smart?? WOW!!) He led the UTE’s to a FIESTA BOWL MEGA WIN 35-7 against Pitt , A college First for a Non-BCS team to earn a BCS berth. Here’s the really great part; AS accomplished this excellence under Urban Meyer implementing the ‘pistol/spread’ strategy..He’s already proficient with variations of the system. AReid the crafty smart fox already knew this fact as he’s followed AS since college, and AR is good friends w’ UMeyer… I luv it! Watch the FIESTA BOWL UTE/PITT FILM…Ton o fun watchin AS Rock..

      A couple writers have likened AS placed in a ‘straight-jacket’ in SF; his talents suppressed somewhat and not utilizing his talents. Harb knew that Alex’s college record with the ‘pistol/spread’ was fab and accomplishments superior to CK7. SF’s loss, our gain :-)

      At season end ’12., NFL rated/ranked AS #3 QB; Just think what he can do when he’s allowed to Fly!!

      ‘Smitty’… I like that Bobby :-) GO CHIEFS!!

      • willwilcox

        Suzi, it is great to have you as a fan of the Chiefs and welcome aboard. May we share a lot of wonderful moments. Will you be going to Arrowhead this year? Ask about all of the hot spots in KC. It is my hometown, but like you, I am in California. I always get home for at least one game per year. Keep postin’.

    • Billie Cabral

      I hope your right, let’s just hope D-Bowe stays healthy or else we maybe in trouble. Baldwin needs to show he is a first round pick!!!

  • mnelson52

    Yes, yes and yes

  • Jim Harper

    Well they drafted Nico with that in mind, but Jordan was a Reid deciple, so Johnson will really have to show alot to get that job by opening day. Alex Smith is already a huge difference maker and having a positive impact on the entire team. Both the offense and the defense look to be exciting this year. Nothing gets Arrowhead cranked up quite like a couple of sacks. Go Chiefs!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/megan.schied Megan Schied

    I love the drafting of Davis, Kelce,and Fisher. We had a huge free agent frenzy. I also really like the Tyler Bray trial (Its worth a shot). Its hard to sit here and not get excited….really excited! All these Denver fans are writing us off and giving us a slim shot to be 7-9. I tell u what Denver, I give u a slim shot of winning at Arrowhead for several years. I give u a great shot of joining the mile high club! Get donkey Fukd a mile high.

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