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slc chief
11-20-2008, 09:02 PM
Linebacker Derrick Johnson returns to the Chiefs lineup


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By ADAM TEICHERThe Kansas City Star
November 19, 2008 - 10:15 p.m.
Their never-ending search for linebackers will bring the Chiefs back to Derrick Johnson, who appears healthy enough to play in Sunday’s game against Buffalo at Arrowhead Stadium.

Johnson has some things to prove on a personal level in a season marked so far by one standout game and a lot of mediocrity otherwise.
“I want to play to a level where I can actually (help) win a game, play like I did against Denver,” said Johnson, who missed the last two games because of a sore hamstring. “I want to get to that level consistently and not go back and forth. Hopefully this Sunday, I’ll be healthy enough and get back to that. I’m the type of player that can make plays to win football games.”
Between injuries and ineffective play, the Chiefs have frequently shuffled their linebackers. They practiced with Johnson and Demorrio Williams on the outside and Rocky Boiman in the middle on Wednesday.
That’s how they will probably line up against the Bills. Donnie Edwards and Pat Thomas are injured and unlikely to play.
Kawika Mitchell, a former Chief, will return to Arrowhead on Sunday with the Bills. The sight of Mitchell, one of Buffalo’s best defensive players, has to sting the linebacker-starved Chiefs.
They should be used to the pain. They saw another former Chiefs linebacker, Scott Fujita, return with the Saints last week, and he made several big plays in the New Orleans victory.
The Chiefs don’t want to see Johnson eventually move on and, as with Mitchell and Fujita, become a better player elsewhere than he’s been in Kansas City. They will soon be faced with a critical decision on Johnson, who has the 2009 season left on his contract.
Johnson may move to middle linebacker later this season. The Chiefs hope such a move would accomplish two things: help them shore up a critical position and help them get more from Johnson, potentially one of their best defensive players.
Coach Herm Edwards won’t talk about the possibility, but Johnson said he would willingly move if asked.
“I’ve played there some second-string in practice, but never in a game,” Johnson said. “If I was put in a situation to do it, I’d be ready. I don’t know if I’d be fired up about it because I like where I am right now, but I’d do it, no questions asked, and I’d be pretty good at it.”
The Chiefs could have re-signed Mitchell, but the parties couldn’t agree on a contract and he became a free agent. Mitchell signed a one-year contract with the Giants, helped them win a Super Bowl, and this year signed a more lucrative deal with Buffalo.
The Chiefs contend Mitchell’s asking price was too high, a claim that seems based in fact given that Mitchell had to settle for the one-year offer from the Giants. Still, even at an inflated price, Mitchell has to look good to the Chiefs now.
“The discussions were on,” Mitchell said Wednesday. “The commitment wasn’t there. They made a decision. I made a decision. Obviously, mine worked out better.”
Edwards said, “We think he’s a good player. It was just a matter of both parties (not) getting together and feeling comfortable on the contract. It didn’t work out.
“You’d like to keep all of your good players. That’s not reality. That doesn’t happen. You’re going to lose some for a lot of different reasons. When that happens, you’ve got to adjust.”
The problem for the Chiefs is that they haven’t adjusted well. Kendrell Bell and Napoleon Harris were disastrous free-agent signings. Donnie Edwards has played well when healthy, but that’s rarely been the case this season. Demorrio Williams hasn’t been a consistent starter despite getting the opportunity.
While they’ve made rotten decisions at some positions, their choices at linebacker may be worst of all.
“When they drafted me, I thought they made a good choice,” Mitchell said. “They did a good job as far as that. They’re in a rebuilding stage, and obviously I wasn’t a part of it. I can’t figure out what’s been happening since I’ve been gone.
“Some teams do it differently. The team I’m with now, the Buffalo Bills, they feel like if they have a promising young player, they like to take care of him early (before his contract is up), which I think works out best for both sides.”
So Mitchell isn’t surprised to see the Chiefs last in the NFL in defense.
“When you get rid of a bunch of players, a bunch of leaders, a bunch of your productive players and rebuild, it’s going to be hard to have success right away,” he said.
The Chiefs have much invested in seeing that Johnson doesn’t turn out like Mitchell and Fujita. It’s not lost on Johnson what’s happened with two of his former linebacking teammates.
“It’s unfortunate that those guys left here and have had a couple of good years,” he said. “That goes on all the time in the league. Some guys fit in a certain defense better than in another defense. They weren’t bad here. But I guess you could say they were better after they left the Chiefs.”

slc chief
11-20-2008, 09:03 PM
now if we can get flowers back it would be a little better

jap1
11-20-2008, 10:43 PM
now if we can get flowers back it would be a little better

According to the official injury report, both DJ and Flowers are listed as participating fully in practice.

Bad news is that Mark Bradley did not practice. He is listed as having a calf injury. I didnt realize he was even hurt.