Three Questions: Kansas City Chiefs Defensive Line

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Nov 3, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Tyson Jackson (94) and defensive end Mike DeVito (70) tackle Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson (22) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Chiefs beat the Bills 23-13. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

We are rapidly approaching the start of Kansas City Chiefs training camp, which means it is time to start focusing hardcore on the 2014 season and less on the past. To get us started we’ll ask three important questions that surround each position group.

The first group up on the list is the defensive line. The Chiefs defensive line has not been the same since the Chiefs traded Jared Allen to the Minnesota Vikings in 2008. Since the the line has failed to generate much of any pass rush. This was in part due to scheme but also because the talent really hasn’t been there. The latter becomes very disturbing when one considered the Chiefs have taken three defensive linemen with top 11 picks in the draft since 2008.

Fortunately, there is a bit more reason to be optimistic about the line. While the Chiefs were not very active in free agency, they did find an interesting player in Vance Walker and have seen an advancement in practices from Mike Catapano. For the first time in a while there seems to be some fungible talent on the defensive line. Will that be enough for the Chiefs to build off of their 2013 success?

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • KCMikeG

    I have been supportive of seeing Hali moved to DE to get our three best pass rushers on the field at the same time. There was a rumor that he had shown up “overweight”. Maybe he adding some weight to play the DE is a plan by Reid & Sutton. This would also put Hali in a position where loosing a step would be as critical as it would be on the outside – potentially extending his productive playing years.

    • Chuck Burrell

      Moving Hali inside is certainly an intriguing option. If I had to guess, it may be one of our passing situational packages that we put in. I hope so. I’m also excited to see Catapano, walker and Bailey rush the passer. IMO the Seahawks were so successful collapsing the pocket in the Super Bowl due to them having a wide variety of DL with pass rushing skills rotating in so often. Almost gives me the chills

      • berttheclock

        Remember before the season began, they added Cliff Avril to the mix and look how that paid off in the SB. Avril took a pay cut from the Lions to join the Seahawks. He was originally added due to an injury to a DE on the other side, but, by SB time, he had recovered so they were loaded in that 4-3 scheme of theirs

        • Bdiddy

          Mistyped…

    • Melvin Howell

      Hali started his carrer as a DE and truthfully he wasn’t very good. They made him a linebacker and then he truly came into his own. If they put him back to DE he will fade back into mediocrity.

      • Bdiddy

        ^^^ What he said ^^^

      • KCMikeG

        Actually Hali has been a consistent performer as far as tackling no matter if he played DE or OLB. He had 8 sacks and 7.5 sacks his first two years at DE for us. Name a KC DE with that many sacks since. Hali became a great OLB after struggling in 2008. His success has been as a speed edge rusher and as he slows a little with age that will bring about the fade to mediocrity. IMO Moving him inside will extend his career. He played DT and DE in college, played well in his early years for us, has a motor that won’t quit, has developed his hand fighting to an art which limited his success initially at DE in the NFL and he has added some weight to bulk up for DE work which will extend his career. Houston and Ford will be the Lightening and I expect Hali to bring the Thunder!

  • Reggie Flenory

    Poe is fine its not a nose tackles job to rush the passer its icing on the cake if he does he nt is taking a lotta double teams so that the pass rushers can get to the qb

    • Ben Nielsen

      Agree that he’s fine. The question is whether or not he can take the next step to become an elite defensive tackle/nose guard. If he’s going to do that then he needs to be more productive in the pass rush production department.

      • Reggie Flenory

        He had 5 sacks as a true nose tackle who had more?

        • berttheclock

          The play I remember best was the one where he slipped off the center and shoved the guard out of play, then, roared straight up field into the QB.

        • PunjabiPete

          Agreed, I’m not sure you could ask any more out of Poe RE: production. No offense Ben but a lot of the people claiming Poe needs to up his game and get more production make me wonder if said people really know what a nose tackle is supposed to do. If Poe is getting 5 sacks a season, that to me means a lot of other somebodies aren’t doing their job. His job is to eat up blocks so the LBs can run through there and get the tackle/ sack. He’s done that the vast majority of the time, and made some great athletic plays (I’ll always remember him catching that TE on the run and taking him down)… If we could get the same production out of the rest of the line that we have out of Poe, we’re instantly a better team.

          • Reggie Flenory

            Exactly!!!! Hes already elite

    • area

      Poe was plain overworked in his “role” last season. He’s a phenomenal athlete, but he’s also a big boy who was asked to do too much.

  • sidibeke

    I would REALLY like to see someone step up to be able to spell Poe every now and then. I sincerely wonder how much exhaustion played in his pass rushing decline.

  • Andy

    I think Poe’s ‘decline’after week 5 was more about him being double teamed. We just didn’t have anyone else on the line that required extra blockers. Hopefully Walker can take some of the pressure of.

    • Reggie Flenory

      Hes a nose tackle so double teams arent un common the problem is no one else on the dline could generate a push your nt will never be a sack leader he is supposed to absorb blks so others can

  • area

    One of the legitimate knocks on Hali’s game is his pass coverage. Whereas it could be said that his coverage skills are improving, they are still not considered good, and a linebacker or box safety is needed to spy out his assignments more often than not. That said, he did register eleven sacks last year before the decline of the defense. Moving Hali inside is a mistake imo, he’s too light in the pants at 265 and he would lose his most effective assets, his handwork and engine.
    I’m rambling here, my gist is that I believe depth is the biggest problem facing the d-line this next season. Sutton’s gameplan is taxing on the players regardless of their conditioning. Hopefully with Catapano, Swagger, DeVito, (don’t overlook this guy), and Bailey all coming on strong, the line can survive 17 weeks.

  • PunjabiPete

    I think this all hinges on Dontarie Poe. Teams had to game plan for him, and if he’s taking up 2-3 people by himself, that means someone is unblocked somewhere.

  • Melvin Howell

    I think the line will be improved, but then again all we had was Poe and 2 guys who just took up blockers. Hopefully they will be able to put up a little bit of a pass rush so we won’t have to depend on Hali and Houston so much to get the pressure.

  • Nick the Kick

    I think when we use 4 down linemen, Dee Ford will play end as that is what he did in college and involves no learning curve for him. You put Ford, Walker, Poe, and Hali on the line with DJ and Houston the nickel linebackers in obvious pass situations.

  • gene

    pass rushing specialist??? how a
    ny more sacks did walker have than tj