We are through our first weekend of training camp, which means we are that much closer to the preseason opener on August 7. Get excited.
(Note: Comments from AA are in italics.)
Q: Have you started working on the possibility of having Justin Houston, Tamba Hali and Dee Ford on the field at the same time?
SUTTON: “Well right now obviously we are just putting in our base defense – both base and subs – so we haven’t gotten to any of the big personnel grouping like you talked about. But I am sure at some point we are going to have all those guys out there. From the past, one of the things that we do is we try to – anytime you have a skill, a unique skill, whether it is cover, rush, whatever, we are going to try and find a way to use that and whether we have to create a little personnel group to do that or whatever, we are going to attempt to do that. I am sure down the road we are going to try and figure out a way to get all those guys on the field. They are all good players. Obviously it would give us the ability to rotate which is really valuable because it gives us a chance to re-gas up a little bit and get ready to go. And I really think it will be a positive thing for us.”
Q: What are your thoughts so far on the secondary?
SUTTON: “Well it is so early and we haven’t even gotten through all of our installs. But I have been pleased. We haven’t had many mistakes. At this time of year, the big thing you are really trying to develop is your technique. This is so important for us to do this right now, and we are really kind of drilling down on the technique: hand placement, footwork, all those things. And those things still need a lot of work and that is what camp is for. So we have to take advantage of these reps we get. We get a lot of reps out here the way Andy (Reid) has it set up so it is really a valuable tool for us.”
Q: How valuable is it to have Derrick Johnson as he really appears to be setting the tone out there?
SUTTON: “Well, DJ is one very good football player, outstanding football player. He has a unique skill set. He has great range and great speed for a linebacker which allows us to do a lot of things. Any time you have speed, a lot of times the things that go unnoticed are the plays you prevent. Sometimes a five-yard gain stays a five because you have the speed to be over there and secure a tackle. Sometimes a 10-yard gain that stays a 10, besides the ability to make plays. He is obviously a big part of our defense. In the time I have been here, he has improved all the time, which has kind of been his trademark since he has been in the league. I think he will continue to do it; he works hard, he prepares well, comes back in great condition. That’s all a plus for him as a player and a plus for us as a defense.”
Q: How much are you looking at Nico Johnson as a possible first-team player with Joe Mays being sidelined?
SUTTON: “Well I think one of the things we are trying to do here: one, we are trying to develop competition. Competition is a great plus for us and the competition at the inside and outside linebacker position is very good the way it is stacking up right now. As you saw today we are going to roll guys through there, get everyone a look in there. We have talked to everybody about it. If you are running out there with the first group, you better be pushing because there is somebody right behind you. And if you get that, that is a great thing for our defense, for our team. Nico came back in really good shape as you see so it will be interesting to see. He is a young guy so hopefully he can continue to improve and make an impact in there.”
Q: So will coming back in shape a little lighter help Nice Johnson in coverage?
SUTTON: “Yeah that helps you in everything I think. It helps in your endurance, it helps in your range, it allows you to play at the same speed maybe for quarters one through four instead of just quarter one is this speed and quarter four is a different speed. So I think this is the lightest he has been in quite a while. He has done a really good job and again, hats off to him for recognizing, ‘hey this is the way maybe I can help me.’
AA: Nico Johnson panning out as a quality player – if not depth – would be huge for the Chiefs defense. I’m anxious to watch him play.
Q: Would he have been able to run and cover Jamaal Charles last year the way he did in practice yesterday?
SUTTON: “Well I think there is two things. One, obviously he is lighter, but he is also a more experience guy. He knows how to use the sideline. All of those things add up, so I am not sure about that but I was really happy with what he did.”
Q: What have you seen from your rookies: Phillip Gaines and Dee Ford?
SUTTON: “Both guys are going to be very good football players. Both have a good skillset. Obviously Dee has done a good job here. Obviously we talk about his pass rush, but the thing he has done out here for the last couple of days that I thought has been really impressive: he’s been a guy that has set the edge in the running game. That is the key part if you are going to play on all downs. So he does that and he has a very good first step. He is going to learn how to be a rusher in this league. He has the innate abilities and traits that allow him to do it and I think he is going to be good. Phillip has really good speed. He is going to be a lot of technique developing, no different than the other corners. But he is showing some signs out there and I think he is going to add to that backend competition that we were just speaking about for the linebackers.”
Q: Is Phillip Gaines big enough to work from the slot?
SUTTON: “Oh yeah, he is big enough. You want all your players to be as strong as they can. Obviously out there when you are playing a corner or the slots or even in a different position, you’ve got to have great feet, you’ve got to have great quickness there, and you’ve got to have strength. You don’t have to be a big person, but you’ve got to have strength because if you’ve got strength, especially the way we play, you get your hands on the receivers, slow them down and that. The one thing he has, he does have excellent speed so he does have that ability to make up if he gets behind and make plays like that. We are just trying to train him and work him out as a slot guy as well.”
Q: What does Sean Smith have to get out there with the 1’s?
SUTTON: “Well I just think it was the same thing we were talking about. This is a competitive unit and I think he’s just got to keep competing. He is not far away. He has obviously played a lot of football, played very well for us. We just thought coming out of the spring, the way it shook down that the other guys were a little in front. So we went that way as we started camp. He is in the hunt and he has just got to keep working. And I am going to keep saying this for these guys, especially out there: when you line up as close as I am to this microphone, you don’t have a lot of time to make adjustments so you’ve got to be able to play great technique. So those guys have got to drill down and you’ve got to become consistent in that technique then. So those are all the things, and that be for Sean, Phillip Gaines, (Sean) Parker, I don’t care who it is. All those guys are in the same boat. They’ve got to keep working technique, technique, technique.”
Q: What stands out about the development of Malcolm Bronson?
SUTTON: “Well, this is the first time – OTA’s and now – is the first time he has really played for us obviously. He was essentially a redshirt guy last year, for medical reasons he didn’t play. So we are just working him in. He is just getting his chance to play. So he is going to be a work in progress so he has done a good job learning the defense when he wasn’t playing and now it has got to be the ability to make all of those decisions and adjustments on the move when out there. It is just a lot of reps is what Malcolm is going to need.”