Last year the defense was the lone bright spot all year. Filled with stars all over the field, such as Eric Berry and Tamba Hali, the Kansas City Chiefs defense is very young and promising. Four of the six pro bowlers that the 2-14 Chiefs had last season were on the defensive side of the ball, including 3/4′s of the Chiefs starting linebacking corp wearing the AFC Red and White which were Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, and Justin Houston, then with Eric Berry rounding out the Chiefs defensive players that made the AFC team.
In the 2013 season, look for the Chiefs to build upon the good defense they had last year. With the acquisitions of Husain Abdullah, Dunta Robinson, Sean Smith, and Mike Devito and the drafting of Nico Johnson and Sanders Commings, they have looked to improve on paper, but we’ll have to wait and see how they end up playing together on the field.
Starting with the defensive line, the Chiefs are looking to get better at stopping the run with Mike Devito replacing former 1st round draft pick Glenn Dorsey(released and signed with the 49ers). Along with the signing of Devito, the Chiefs are expecting an improvement from both other starters on the line, 2nd year defensive tackle Dontari Poe and another former 1st round pick Tyson Jackson. This offseason Jackson restructured his contract to help the team out a little bit. The backups at the defensive end position will be Allen Bailey and newly acquired Austen Lane. Both should see some time being rotated on and off the field with Jackson and/or Devito need a breather. Coming out of mini camp and OTAs, we heard nothing but praise from the defensive coaches and how good Dontari Poe and Jerrell Powe have looked. If these two live up to the hype that has been created for them, look for the Chiefs to have a top 10, maybe 5, defense.
The linebackers are the strongest link on the defense with three of them being in the Pro Bowl, as mentioned above. With veterans, Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson leading the defense look for the Chiefs D to be stronger than it has been for a long time. Hali has made himself known as one of the best pass rushers in the league from the outside linebacker position racking up 62.5 sacks in his seven years in the NFL. On the other side of the defense is third year player Justin Houston. Last year was Houston’s first year starting all 16 games and he did not disappoint accumulating 10 sacks on the season and making the Chiefs one of the most feared pass rushing defenses in the NFL. Rookie Mike Catapano and former Packer Frank Zombo will be on the roster to add some depth to the OLB position.
At the inside linebacker positions, you will see Derrick Johnson, but who else will you see. As of now, it looks like the rookie out of Alabama Nico Johnson will be starting along side the 8 year veteran out of Texas. The past two years have undoubtedly been the best of his career as he as made over 100 tackles and 2 sacks in each season. He has finally started peaking and it’ll be fun to see if DJ can keep us his Pro Bowl caliber play. With Derrick Johnson to take some of the pressure off him, Nico Johnson will be able to relax a bit as he doesn’t have to be the big playmaker of the defense. Going into training camp though, the Alabama product will be battling Akeem Jordan for the second starting inside linebacker spot. Just one of many position battles heading into training camp this year.
Moving on to the secondary, the Chiefs have tried very hard to improve this part of the defense during the offseason. When Brandon Carr left the team last offseason to go to Dallas, there was a hole all year on the defense. They did not have a guy capable of starting at the other corner position next to Brandon Flowers so the Chiefs have brought in four new defensive backs and got rid of one in Javier Arenas in a trade for fullback Anthony Sherman of the Arizona Cardinals. With the newly signed defensive backs, this will be a position to watch during training camp and the preseason. The obvious starters at this point are Brandon Flowers and Eric Berry, but who will fill the other spots. Right now the best bet to start opposite of Flowers is former Dolphin Sean Smith. Smith is a great pickup and will benefit Flowers very well in 2013. The nickelback right now is a big question. Rookie Sanders Commings’ name has been brought up by many people that think he will replace Arenas in this spot, but then that will move veteran free agent pickup Dunta Robinson down to fourth on the depth chart which isn’t a bad thing, because depth is always needed at a position like cornerback.
At the safety positions, there is a little question heading into 2013 and that is who will take the free safety spot. Husain Abdullah and Kendrick Lewis will be battling it out throughout training camp and the preseason, but I ultimately think that Abdullah will get the nod on opening day. After a very good rookie year, Lewis has been bit by the injury bug on a couple of occasions and has struggled some in the playing time he has received. However, Abdullah is coming off of a year without football for religious reasons so if he shows some signs of rust, look for Lewis to take his starting spot back. The starter at strong safety is two-time Pro Bowler Eric Berry who is expected to have the same success he has had in both 2010 and 2012(tore his ACL in 2011). His backup will be Quintin Demps and no offence to him, but I hope that Demps sees very little time on the field in 2013 since I want a healthy Berry out there all season.
If the 2013 season goes anything like I think it will for this Chiefs defense, I expect them to be recognized as a top ten, maybe top five, defense in the NFL. I have such high hopes for them I selected them in my fantasy football league. I hope they don’t let me down.
That’s it for now. Due to the Chiefs training camp about to start I will be trying to post daily news and recaps over the next couple weeks. Thanks for reading and remember to click the button right below this.