Grading the Kansas City Chiefs Defense Through Seven Games
By Chris Section: Campaign 2007
Posted on October 26th, 2007
I am more than pleased with this group of guys. Napoleon Harris and Donnie Edwards are two great off season acquisitions that should get the Chiefs brass a pat on the back. Every time Donnie Edwards makes a tackle, it brings a smile to my face. For a guy who was lambasted in San Diego for making the majority of his tackles down the field, Edwards has had his share of stops behind the line this year(Note: I don't know if this is statistically true but it seems true, doesn't it?). Derrick Johnson, during the first four games especially, played his *** off and it didn't go unnoticed. Until he disappeared the last couple of weeks, I thought DJ was playing the best out of any Chiefs defensive player. That is until Jared Allen came along.
The Kansas City Chiefs are tied for third overall in terms of sacks, with twenty one so far this season. Jared Allen has eight of those sacks in only five games. He is an early candidate for defensive player of the year. On the other end of the defensive line, Tamba Hali is having a relatively quiet year compared to his rookie debut. Hali has seventeen tackles and two sacks this year. Last season through seven games, Hali had twenty one tackles, 3.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. His 2007 stats aren't that far off of his 2006 numbers but anyone who's been watching the games this year realizes that Hal isn't playing with the same motor that he did last year. He has been injured (ribs and a foot injury I believe) so that more than likely is a big factor. Regardless, he's a good compliment to Jared Allen on the other end of the line.
Our defensive linemen have been a surprise to me. Alfonso Boone is proving to be a solid off season pick up. It may be just me but it seems like every time Boone's name is mentioned its been connected to a key play in the game. Jimmy Wilkerson and the rookie Tank Tyler are both doing an adequate job rotating in and out of the defensive line. Tank is developing much quicker than his partner in crime Turk McBride, who was originally thought to be the better of the two defensive linemen.
The pressure that the defensive line has brought this season has been integral in the Chiefs' four wins. The line's performances may have dropped in the second halves of games but that's only because opponents are doing anything they can during half time to adjust to the aggressiveness the Chiefs bring.
Patrick Surtain has been playing pretty solidly this year and the same can't really be said for Ty Law. While Law hasn't totally broken down, he seems slower than he did last year. His lack of speed is odd because Law specifically mentioned in the preseason about losing weight in the off season and feeling lighter on his feet.
Tyron Brackenridge, an undrafted rookie, has been a pleasant surprise. He's still quite green but the fact that he's a rookie and playing nickelback says that he has a lot of potential. If he's good enough for Gunther, he's good enough for me.
The Chiefs currently rank ninth in pass defense and have eight interceptions on the year, which is only two behind a number of league leading teams. Surtain and Law both have one pick a piece and Brackenridge had that glorious fumble recovery for a touchdown in the San Diego game.
Surtain will still be relevant next year but I'm not sure about Ty Law. He's 33 years old and if the first seven games of 2007 are any indication of where he is physically, he won't be back for another season.
Jarrad Page has been a bit sketchy at times but he seems to be able to make big plays at key times. Case in point, last week's circus interception catch to seal the game for the Chiefs. Bernard Pollard has bit hard on some fakes that gave up at least two touchdown passes if I recall correctly. He hasn't improved as much over last year as we would have liked but for a second year guy, Pollard is playing pretty well. I know I threw him in the honorable mention category of the top disappointments but I've softened a bit since yesterday. I would really love to see more big hits from Pollard, seeing how thats one of his signature skills.
Conversely to Pollard, Greg Wesley has come back around to become a fine player in 2007. More than likely angry about losing his starting gig (basically to injury last season), Wesley has shown a fire he didn't have last year.
I could care less if Benny Sapp is on this team. His blow up during the Bengal game soured me on him for the rest of the year.