There are positives and negatives to everything. A lot of negatives have been thrown down about the signing of NT Kelly Gregg.
So, let’s bring some balance to the universe.
Kelly Gregg is 34 years old. Many think that Gregg’s skills are diminished. Last year he started 16 games for one of the best defenses in the NFL. Gregg started 14 games in 2009 the year after successful micro-fracture surgery. He had 63 tackles and 3 sacks that year and 38 tackles and no sacks last year. However, last year he was splitting time with rookie Terrance Cody and teaching him the trade.
None of that is evidence that Gregg’s skills have eroded. He just has had less snaps. Which is a plus for the Chiefs.
Kelly Gregg is one of those guys who know how to play the position so, age is is less of an issue for him.
Some have complained that Gregg had no sacks last year. First of all, nose tackles are not schemed to “sack” the QB. Pressure, yes, but, the sacking is usually done by the OLBs and the DEs in a 3-4. Secondly, Gregg was often replaced on third downs by Cody diminishing his opportunities to even get a sack on passing downs. Green Bay’s B.J. Raji had the highest number of sacks last season, 6.5, and that is a giant number for a 3-4 NT.
That’s another great thing about Gregg: he has played his whole career as a 3-4 NT.
Kelly Gregg also shares an important common background with Ray Lewis. Both have training in wrestling. Gregg was the winner of 3 straight Oklahoma state heavyweight titles. Lewis won the Florida state title at 189 pounds in 1993.
In his article called, “Ray Lewis and Kelly Gregg Use Wrestling Background to Succeed in the NFL” Jeremy Elliott quotes Ray Lewis as saying,
"“Wrestling is still one of the reasons why I swivel my hips; it’s been everything for me. The principles that you learn in wrestling, none of that changes. It carries over, and if you stick to those things, the low man always wins.” ~Ray Lewis"
He also quotes Kelly Gregg as saying,
"“There are a lot of good wrestlers that come through here. Honestly, I don’t think I would still be playing now if it wasn’t for my wrestling background.” ~Kelly Gregg"
So, there’s a good reason for Kelly Gregg’s success. He plays with tremendous leverage. Hopefully he can impart some of his knowledge and wisdom to Jerrell Powe as he has to Terrance Cody.
Speaking of Ray Lewis. Was he the chicken or the egg. Did Kelly Gregg have anything to do with his ten year accent as the best MLB in the current era? You can bet Belcher and DJ are happy, happy campers right now!
Many others are disappointed that the Chiefs didn’t sign Aubrayo Franklin. This signing should not signal the end to Scott Pioli continuing to improve the team each and every day. If the acquisition of Franklin doesn’t happen then there must be a good reason for that. We may never find that reason out but, Pioli has been more right than wrong in the past 30 months.
Going from 4-12 to 10-6 should garner a little faith right?
In an article called “The Buddy System Works For The Ravens” Trevor Pryce is quoted as saying,
"“We have some freaks of nature, but Kelly is a freak of nature too, now,” said Pryce, who led the team with 13 sacks. “Kelly is strong in ways that people don’t understand. He’s weightlifter strong, but he says he doesn’t lift weights anymore. It’s a natural thing he was born with. He has that leverage [from being smaller than most opponents] and he tries to take advantage of it.”"
He also said, “The way football works is kind of like everything else; the middle has to hold everything else up. It’s almost like the human body, your core is the most important thing. And Kelly is our core.”
Trevor spoke about his days playing for the Denver Broncos,
"“In Denver, anytime we watched film of the Ravens, our D-line coach would go crazy,” Pryce said. “He would praise Kelly and say, ‘Aaghh, that’s the best player in the NFL!’ He’d say it all the time. He loved him. Our D-line coach was one of those old hard-nosed guys, and he’d say all the time that Kelly is the best defensive lineman in the NFL.”"
Kelly Gregg may be 34 now but, you can bet he’s still got gas in the tank.
Some say Kelly Gregg is a step down, or laterally, from Ron Edwards. That’s non-sense. Gregg has been considered one of the better true nose tackles in the league for years now.
If you consider the nose tackle the heart of a 3-4 defense then we just signed the heart of a defense that allowed 93.9 yards per game last season (splitting time with Cody). Fifth in the league. Before that, in 2009, the Ravens allowed 93.2 (mainly Gregg).
Some have said we should have kept Ron Edwards. Pioli inherited Ron Edwards. Whether or not the Chiefs let Edwards and Shaun Smith “slip” away is not important now. There’s nothing that can be done about that. Except… sign a good NT. The Chiefs have done that and I’m sure they signed “their kind of guy.” Also, I was more concerned about losing Shaun Smith. He was much better than projected and became an energetic leader on the field and we know he was Crennel’s guy from Cleveland.
An advantage to this signing is the La’Ron McClain connection. If you’re wanting the Chiefs to sign La’Ron McClain the percentages probably just increased. Especially if you’re aware of how Scott Pioli likes to bring players in, in pairs.
The important thing to remember here is… the Chiefs signed one heck of a NT and he’s the kind of player where everyone around him is better when he’s on the field. He’s also a good locker roomie.
Another positive from this signing is that it shows players are wanting to come to, and play for, the Kansas City Chiefs. We are becoming a destination that players now consider attractive.
All winter long Chiefs’ fans have been clamoring for the NT position to be addressed. So, Pioli addresses it but, many are still unhappy. Kelly Gregg is a veteran and is obviously not meant to be the future. The Chiefs probably don’t have that “future” player on their roster yet. However, I’d love to see the Chiefs go to battle with Gregg, Dorsey and Powe manning the middle.
Could be epic.
I know what you’re thinking… epic fail.
Just don’t go there.
Rex Ryan once said of Gregg, “He can whip a lot of people with his body control and his leverage. He has built-in leverage with his height and he plays with his knees bent and everything is in a power path, and he can bench 550 pounds. He may not look big, but he is big. He’s a great player, a super technician.”
The Raven were trying to resign Gregg.
If Ray-Ray still wants him… why don’t you?