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?