From the FanPosts -Joel
If you had to describe our defense thus far, unfortunately it's not good. However, with the abundance of Mock Drafts popping up and people trying to look past this year already, I thought I'd reevaluate and update my post on the defensive grades I'd give the Chiefs. I'm going to try to keep the grades in perspective. Yes, we're struggling, but there are a few bright spots here and there I'll comment on while grading them.
In the interest of not assigning failing grades to everyone by comparing them to the Elvis Dumervil and Jared Allens of the world, these will be relative to the preseason grades I had given in the previous post.
Ron Edwards - Edwards took over the position and has started 5 of the 7 games thus far, totaling 11 tackles (10 solo), no sacks, fumbles forced, or PBU's. He's the heart of a 25th ranked rushing defense, and the FO was secure enough with him to let Tank Tyler go to the Panthers. There have been a small handful of times where he's got some pressure up the gut of the defense, but more often than not, he's getting stuffed. I've watched many times as both offensive guards have gotten to our linebackers on rushing plays. His job is to occupy a couple of blockers, and he's not getting that done on a consistent basis. When he does, he gets pancaked too often. However, he has picked up both men and Dorsey has cut through his 1-on-1. If he can do that more often, it'll make a huge difference. Grade: D
Glenn Dorsey - 25 tackles (17 solo) and a PBU thus far this season. By far the best guy we've got as a down lineman. Gets penetration several times a game, and has done fairly well to turn RB's back into the pile behind the line of scrimmage. Also tracking back to catch players when the LB's miss, covering our defense's proverbial butt on several occasions. Not consistent enough picking up the extra man on safety blitzes, our rushers are getting a hand put on them, slowing them down. Has helped Tamba make this transition easier. I really think he's grasped the position, now just needs to refine the techniques. Grade: B
Tyson Jackson - 5 tackles (3 solo) and a PBU aren't numbers that are lighting the world on fire. He really has found himself "lost in the wash" of rushing plays in his direction. He's not necessarily getting steamrolled, but he's also not really getting after his man. Typically has the tackle or guard, but rarely both, which tends to stymie Vrabel's advancement. Last week was better from him on all fronts. Hopefully that improvment continues. Grade: C-
Wallace Gilberry - 12 tackles (11 solo) and 2 sacks made for a surprise...especially for the DE position. He has benefitted from planned stunts where Tamba rolls inside and he swaps the outside...a testament to some speed? Usually in on 3rd and longs with Dorsey in a 2 down lineman set. Not really much for the typical DE responsibilities, but a nice wrench for Clancy to throw into the equation. Grade B-
Mike Vrabel - 28 tackles (25 solo), 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and 3 PBU's. Mike has done very, very well at keeping the RB inside of him on rushes his direction. He's made several tackles through his blocker, and really has played the run well. Pass defense has been less than stellar, and he's usually responsible for the short flat...something that most teams have run to Tamba's side this year. Not a sack machine, but not expected to be with how often he drops back into coverage. Often mentoring Jackson as to the gaps he needs to hit on the field, after the play. Oh yeah, and he's got a TD catch. So far, so good. Grade: B+
DeMorrio Williams - 44 tackles (37 solo), 2 PBU's. DeMorrio took DJ's spot midway through the pre-season and surprisingly hasn't given it back. Pass coverage has been okay, especially as of late with the TE corps we've faced. Not hitting the hole, or choosing the right angle as well as I'd like. Tends to get caught by free-roaming guards, but has been overpowered several times by a fullback. Does not tackle well enough at the point of attack, getting most tackles well beyond the line of scrimmage. Not quite handling the rush as well as I'd like, but not entirely his fault with that side of the line in front of him. Grade: C
Corey Mays - 36 tackles (25 solo), 1 PBU. Not quite living up to the preseason hype he created. Does hit the hole well, and strong. However, when he gets to the hole a little late, tries to arm tackle and gets shed often. Somewhat of a liability in pass coverage. Postered LT on the goal line last week with an awesome stop. He seems to be spectacular or mediocre without much in between. Grade: C
Derrick Johnson - 10 tackles (10 solo), 1 INT, 1 sack, 1 PBU. Fell out of favor early, but starting to see a little more playing time on passing downs. Ineffective on special teams thus far. Huge pick against the Ravens and a nice sack against Oakland. Seems to make plays when he's on the field, but can't crack the starting lineup. Haven't seen much at all in his ability to stop the run, which might be keeping him off the field. Grade: C
Jovan Belcher - 16 tackles (15 solo). "He's a Cinderella boy. Tears in his eyes..." Not staggering stats, but seeing more and more time on the field as of late. Seems to be running the defense in Mays' absence. Plays smart football, takes away passing lanes well. Still needs some work on getting to the hole quicker, but tends to pick the right angle most of the time. Has a chance to be a serious contributor if he can get to the RB quicker with some power. Grade: C
Tamba Hali - 23 tackles (16 solo), 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 PBU, 1 safety. I know I said it before, but I'll say it again: I was wrong about Tamba. Little to no delay in the transition to OLB. Handling pass rush just as well or better than last year, but still not getting by the LT fast enough. Coverage is improving (see: SD's 2nd TD where Tamba took away Gates), but not being asked to do it as much. Not sealing the edge well enough on running plays. Quicker RB's have turned the corner on him too readily. Not reading screens well enough on his side. Has shown some good quickness getting to the other side of the line. He and Dorsey have teamed well together and look like they're blossoming into a positive for this season. Grade: B
We've got holes. Edwards isn't getting it done consistently enough, and therefore, neither are our linebackers. We don't get enough pressure, and our blitzes are too slow. We seem to do pretty well against the run, then give up a 50 yard play to ruin all the work...need to concentrate more on consistently filling the holes and keeping the gap assignments. The positives are there with this front 7. We can see the spots that we're doing okay in, and as the season goes along, it's got to get better (schedule alone will help that). I hope when I revisit this at the end of the year that Jackson's become more consistent, DJ gets some more opportunities, Tamba's got a bunch more sacks, Dorsey's getting through on a regular basis, and Edwards holds his own better.