With Husain Abdullah gone, Eric Berry could be the key to the Chiefs nickel defense.
One of the pressing questions left for the Chiefs to answer this offseason is how they will replace the role now vacated by Husain Abdullah after his retirement. Over the past several seasons, Abdullah gave the Chiefs a defensive advantage by allowing them to further develop a hybrid safety/nickel linebacker position that the team could rely on. In his absence, that role is now in question. And the Chiefs need to come up with an answer quick.
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When looking at the roster now, none of the current options to fill in for Abdullah appear to have the requisite combination of talent and fit for the role. The player in question would have to be good in coverage, while also strong against the run, and be reliable enough to be on the field. With the potential exception of rookie Eric Murray, there isn’t anyone who meets the criteria. Stevie Brown doesn’t have the talent to be relied upon as often as the Chiefs use their third safety.
Neither Marcus Cooper nor Jamell Flemming is strong enough against the run. That means the Chiefs need to get a little creative with their solution…and in my opinion, that creative solution should be Eric Berry.
“He was also PFF’s second-ranked safety both overall and in coverage in 2013″ ~ Brad Gagnon, Bleacher Report
Understand one thing before we proceed…this is not taking Berry out of his starting role. He would still be the starting safety next to Ron Parker in the base defense. However, in Nickel packages (when we previously used Husain Abdullah) Eric Berry would slide down next to Derrick Johnson to be that hybrid linebacker/safety. To cover the deep responsibility now left open, the Chiefs can refer to any of their other options who would be much better suited in that role than they would playing closer to the line of scrimmage.
Next: Why it all fits