Aug 24, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Mike Catapano (53) on the field before playing the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Catapano: "People have no idea what’s gonna come"

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One of the things Kansas City absolutely had to improve in the offseason was the depth of the pass rush. After an injury to Justin Houston and a fall-off from Tamba Hali, the Chiefs pass rush simply didn’t exist. This was especially true of the Chiefs loss to the Colts in the playoffs when Bob Sutton could not find anyone to generate a second pass rush wave.

Part of the Chiefs problem was solved in the first round of the draft when they selected Dee Ford with the 23rd overall pick. But one player isn’t going to be enough in order to develop the secondary pass rush the Chiefs so desperately need. This is where Mike Catapano comes in.

Rumors of Catapano’s strength and weight gain over the offseason were proven true when he showed up to OTA’s at a bulked up 291 pounds. He was 271 pounds when he initially came to the Chiefs last May. The added 20 pounds has been down without sacrificing his quickness and speed. This has caught some people’s attention, including teammate Mike DeVito. Here’s what he told Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star.

“It’s unbelievable that jump he’s made from last year to this year,” said veteran defensive end Mike DeVito. “Usually, you see a guy put on 10-15 pounds and slow down a bit. It’s not the case (here). He’s more explosive and faster than ever. Mike’s going to be a dangerous weapon, and I’m glad we have him on our side.”

Obviously adding some weight and coming into OTA’s in great shape would suggest Catapano has a desire to be a better player, but, as Paylor expresses in his article through a few quotes, there appears to be a huge passion driving Catapano.

Chuck Smith, who has been Catapano’s trainer:

“There’s never been a player I can remember that has ever put in the effort and trained like Mike Catapano,” Smith said. “I have a 100-percent belief that Mike is going to be an absolute huge fan favorite out there with effort he gives and the way he plays.”

Catapano:

“So I have a goal (for this season), and it’s definitely a high goal. People say ‘Oh, you made the team, you played substantially last year,’ and I just roll my eyes at that stuff. People have no idea what’s gonna come. I’m excited.”

Well okay then.

The Chiefs pass rush, in theory, should be deeper this season with the additions of Vance Walker and Ford. One guy on the edge to spell Hali or Houston and another guy on the inside to take advantage of the one-on-one matchups created due to Dontari Poe’s presence. But if the Chiefs could add Catapano to the mix then things get really interesting.

If the Chiefs can go from Hali and Houston or bust to Hali and Houston, Walker and Poe and Ford, Catapano and Allan Baily, then the defense just got significantly better. Hopefully this theory comes true.

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  • Andy

    Like what I’m reading. What I like to read about a chief’s player bio, I want to see the words ‘lunch pale’ and ‘motor’. Looks like we got that type of player here.

    • berttheclock

      Yeah, I don’t care what color that happens to be for the pail as long as it fits the hands of a working blue collar guy.

      • mnelson52

        The colors I’m interested in are the black and blue on opposing QBs…lol

  • Suzi Conger

    In reality, the Defense, and a healthy jhouston ‘died’ post game 7; very little pressure, with very few collapsed pockets, sacks were executed against opposing QB’s. Many claim that sutton is the problem, as the pass rush declined before injuries. I’ve recently checked out suttons’ FB ‘resume’; Yikes,,,not impressive

    • berttheclock

      However, what is impressive is the fact he did not play football at his college, Eastern Michigan, but, the legendary head coach of coaches, Bo Schembechler of Michigan, offered him a two year stint as a Graduate Assistant. He had to learn much from Bo, who trained Harbaugh ever so well. But, he did have a 10-2 record one year at West Point as their HC and he received great training under the Ryan brothers.

      • Calchiefsfan

        Suzi’s right, Sutton’s coaching history is less than impressive. He was the Jets DC for 3 years then Ryan demoted him to linebackers coach. His stint as the Jets DC was not very successful. I too am hoping he learned a thing or two from Ryan.

        • KCMikeG

          What you say is true but I read that it was what Sutton put in place the defense which launched the improvement of the Jet’s D that so many just handed full credit to Rex Ryan. They were phenominal in 2008 and 2009. I would even venture to say those years were from what he built because look what happened as the defense became more Ryan & less Sutton – declining performance in 2010- last year. I believe his “demotion” was less about his performance and more about the fact that Ryan’s DC Ego wouldn’t fit in the stadium. He coached the NYJ for 13 years and survived FOUR different HC’s so he must have been doing something right. He got more out of our defense the first 9 weeks than we had seen out of them in years. Our lack of quality/developed player depth sunk our dreams.

          • Calchiefsfan

            Well that makes sense Mike and I certainly hope you’re right. With guys like Catapano, Bailey, Cooper and Abdullah all improving then add in Commings, Walker and Ford, Sutton definitely has more talent to work with. Can’t wait for the preseason!

          • sidibeke

            My concern with Sutton is that I feel that adjustments could have been made that were not, but that is easy for me to say from my couch.

          • Suzi Conger

            Good points Mike. However, our pass rush/Defense started failing post game 7; with a healthy jhouston…extremely few pressures, sacks, collapsed pockets game 8-15 ( the ‘seconds Defense’ actually allowed rivers/boltz fewer points at SD than our ‘firsts D’ allowed at Arrowhead. Alex put up more offensive point than cdaniel Geez, maybe we should have Alex-led first offense execute with the 2nds D, lol just kidding)

          • KCMikeG

            Remember Houston suffered a concussion in game #6. Houston’s impact on Hali’s performance is obvious. Then both got hurt week #12 at home against the dolts – which directly effected the points allowed as the dolts only had 7 before the injuries and ended up with 41. After the impressive start things changed for the worst with the injuries and our opponents adjusting to our scheme ala PM & Phyllis both getting the ball out instantly. Drafting Ford, bulking up Catapano and Hali and trading Walker for Jackson were all moves to address this shortcoming. I too was impressed with our 2nd stingers vs dolts and think it speaks to the depth Dorsey has provided Reid to develop.

          • Suzi Conger

            Appreciate your valuable insight Mike. I have to say, that I never bought into ‘getting the ball out quickly’ as a reason for our D’s failure. Other team’s Defenses got to them; sacks, pressures/collapsed pockets (most notably, the SuperBowl, lol ) Some of the games post 7, all the first D’s were healthy and on the field and still had trouble pressuring the opposing QB. True that injuries plagued Chiefs; look what Alex had to work with vs colts; 44PTS WITHOUT jcharles, Avery (post the 79 yd TD pass), KDavis 2nd half…pretty amazing QB.

            I do sure like the sound of our new D additions :-) Should help consistency and restore pressure/sacks again

    • Ben Nielsen

      Agree the death of the pass rush equaled the death of the defense. However, I do have some faith in Sutton. He did quite a bit with a bunch of players that didn’t fit the system the Chiefs were running.

      • KCMikeG

        I have my eye on Sutton too and am interested in seeing if it was him or just that he knew how awful we were in the defensive backfield especially at FS when we didn’t get pressure. All the adjusting in the world won’t help if the players can’t perform.
        I’m really liking the way this group is shaping up. My son & I watched Catapano closely at camp last year. He showed great promise and with the weight w/o loss of speed he could very well be in the mix. Keep an eye on Josh Martin too – he’s another one DE/OLB who caught our eye last year. Liked Ridge Wilson too but doesn’t look like he is going to make it this year.

      • Suzi Conger

        Good point Ben; I’m hoping sutton does better this season. As stated, the pass rush was failing before jhouston’s injury

  • berttheclock

    I have written this before, but, the one play by Catapano which displayed his promise was the one against Joeckle and the Jags. He lined up just in front of Houston and had LJ doing the Meringue in trying to figure out which one to block. Both of them landed atop Mr Gabbert in a Preyer Type meeting.

  • Johnny

    Unless he’s another Chris Long, forget about it.

  • Dave

    Man if we just fix this defense we will be dramatically better. The press in particular never wants to acknowledge we were averaging over 30 points a game in what seemed the last half of the season. Once Alex caught on we were a offensive team with a terrible defense. Even in the playoff game, without Jamaal we put up a stellar offensive effort the majority of the game. It was the defense that let us down time and time again. I am worried as hell about the secondary but I do trust Reid and Dorsey. If this defense is great this league better watch the f out.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    I really like the cut of this kid’s jib. Hopefully he can have a much bigger impact in year two. We need the defensive to give us more pressure in 2014.

  • Daniel Mayfield

    That’s great. Hopefully he can put his effort off the field into his work on the field. If so, we’ve got a great player!

  • jimbob jo

    +we would not need much help up front if our dbacks could cover. breeze and manning can pass in less than 3 seconds no rush can reach them but look at what happened to Denver when their wide outs were covered by sea hawks ds manning fell apart not from the rush but his fear of being hit because he had no where to go with the pass

  • mnelson52

    I like what I’m reading, especially, knowing just one more stop in the 2nd half of the Colts game would have given us a playoff win. It would also have helped if the offense could have stayed on the field longer the 2nd half. 44 points, but very little points in 2nd half. One more 1st down for us, or one less for them and we win. We were that close. If all that is being talked about still looks the same when the pads are on against quality offenses, we should be in playoffs.

  • Jim Harper

    I am excited about the entire season and how it is shaping up. I don’t feel like we have to “settle” for second place to Denver. Pass rush is exactly how you throw Manning off his game and not with having great defensive backs. Without a pass rush Manning will find and hit his receivers. Game On, Catapano! At first I was very disappointed with our draft, but the plan is coming together.