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Chiefs Inside Slant from Yahoo Sports:
So intent were the Kansas City Chiefs to get rid of disappointing wide receiver Jon Baldwin they traded him away and took another disappointment in return.On Monday, the Chiefs dealt their first-round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft to San Francisco for the 49ers first-round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, wide receiver A.J. Jenkins.
The deal came just a few days after the teams met in a preseason game, but there wasn't anything that happened out of the ordinary in that San Francisco 15-13 victory. Baldwin did not have a catch, but did drop two passes and Jenkins did not have a catch, while failing to break up a short pass that was intercepted by Kansas City cornerback Sean Smith.
"A.J. is a talented individual with a skill-set that we feel can add value to our team," said Chiefs general manager John Dorsey. "Jon Baldwin is a hardworking player and a professional. We wish him nothing but the best moving forward."
Baldwin qualifies now as the biggest draft-day disappointment of former general manager Scott Pioli's four seasons in charge of the team's personnel. Selected at No. 26 after his college career at the University of Pittsburgh, Baldwin had problems almost from his first day in the building. There were maturity and personality issues, all of which he had displayed during his time playing for Pitt.
Pioli thought the Chiefs could change that personality, but within his first weeks of training camp, he suffered a thumb injury when he got into a locker-room fight with veteran running back Thomas Jones. The fight was started by Baldwin's complaints about teammates and the work the Chiefs were doing in camp. When he got into an argument with running back Jamaal Charles it was Jones that finished the situation.
It was all part of a pattern of immaturity for Baldwin. He put in the work time and was in good physical shape, especially in the most recent offseason and the start of the 2013 training camp. His physical gifts are many, especially considering his 6-4, 230-pound size. In practices and limited game snaps he could make the impossible catch, going up with his long arms and big hands and snagging passes that should have been in the front row of the bleachers.
But Baldwin's play had no consistency; he would come back after a remarkable catch and drop a pass right in his chest. He also had the bad habit of jumping for every pass thrown to him, and that severely limited his ability to get yards after the catch. The Aliquippa, PA native caught 41 passes for 579 yards and two touchdown receptions in 26 games over two seasons. Just 154 of those yards were after the catch, or an average of less than four yards per catch. In two seasons, he was targeted by Chiefs quarterbacks 97 times, but caught just 42 percent of throws.
The Chiefs hand was tipped by head coach Andy Reid who said after the loss to San Francisco of Baldwin and his drops: "We gave him the opportunity this week and you have to catch the football. That's how it works, and he knows that and I know that. When we give you an opportunity, you have to make sure you take advantage of the opportunity. He needs to keep playing, and (when) given the opportunity, he needs to take advantage of it."
That opportunity will now happen with the 49ers.
--Bob Sutton has been around the game of football for a long time. He first coached in 1972 when he was part of Bo Schembechler's staff at the University of Michigan. Since that introduction, he's not been out of a coaching job, spending 28 seasons in the college ranks including a nine-year stint as head coach Army.
This is his 14th season in the NFL, but his first away from the New York Jets where he began work in 2000. That's 42 seasons as a coach, so he's picked up a lot of ideas, methods and schemes from many of the coaches he worked for and with. That melting pot of knowledge is showing itself right now with the Chiefs' defense.
As the coordinator of head coach Andy Reid's defense, Sutton continues to use the preseason schedule and practices as the incubation period for an entirely different mindset on defense than the Chiefs were used to in recent seasons.
With Romeo Crennel as defensive coordinator and then head coach, the Chiefs played a defensive style that would best be described as bend-but-don't-break. On the football field, there are two kinds of defenses - those that catch the force of the opponent, and those that strike first on the opponent.
This season, the Chiefs want to strike first and they want to strike with force.
"We love the scheme," said cornerback Brandon Flowers. "We are attacking the quarterback, putting pressure on the quarterback and getting him off the spot. As a defensive back, that helps us out a lot. The ball might be held one or two seconds longer, which gives us time to recover.
"That's really what the defense has been about, attacking the quarterback."
Over the last five years, the Chiefs' defense has not done a successful job of attacking the quarterback. In 80 regular-season games (2008-12), they've totaled 127 sacks or one every 20.9 passing plays. The lack of consistent pressure on the passer has made it difficult on the secondary, where they have 69 interceptions in those 80 games; last year they had only seven interceptions.
"We've put a lot of hours in at the film room," said Flowers. "Even when we leave the film room we are always talking about how we are going to play coverages. The chemistry builds every day."
Right now, Sutton's defense has had the Chiefs' players doing a lot of thinking, and that's not always good in a game where things happen as fast as they do in the NFL.
"It's challenging - the whole scheme is different than what we had," Flowers said. "That's why were in meetings all day. That's why we were in the dorm talking about in our rooms; that's why we are working so hard at getting our chemistry down so we don't have any excuses in the regular season."
Sutton's method behind dumping the whole defensive playbook on the squad is understandable.
"With the new rules set up, during the course of the season there's a lot less contact," Sutton said. "It's this time of the year where you have to build your technique base and you have to build all of the things that will carry you through the season. That's been our emphasis - technique, technique, technique. It's about breaking to the ball, making sure we can secure the tackle, the basics."
The first-team defense has gotten that done in the preseason. Over two games, opponents have scored three touchdowns, all vs. the second and third defenses. They are allowing an average of 349 offensive yards per game, but that's not resulting in touchdowns.
And the scheme is still in the learning stages as they have just two interceptions and four sacks in 76 passing plays.
But Flowers says that part of the game is coming together.
"We're definitely getting our hands on some balls," Flowers said. "We have to try to come down with every single ball we get our hands on. That's the mentality back there. I can't wait to see what's going to happen next."