I just got done talking some Kansas City Chiefs with Danny Clinkscale, who was filling in for Kevin Kietzmann, on 810 WHB's Between The Lines and there was an interesting point of debate regarding the Chiefs defense.
Danny asked where the Chiefs defense needs to go from here. Do they need to maintain the status quo? Do they need to add pieces to become elite?
I suggested that the Chiefs defense needs to be competent -- basically middle of the pack or a little better. I said this because the Chiefs offense -- on paper at least -- looks to be very good next season. We know they have the No. 1 rushing attack so I think by that alone they'll be competitive in most games, assuming the defense doesn't melt down. Like last year, they will need a few things to go their way.
Danny said he thinks the Chiefs really need to become one of the elite defenses in the NFL, specifically mentioning the front seven when talking about necessary improvements. It's hard to argue with that point considering what we've seen the top defensive teams do in the NFL over the last decade.
The thing is...I don't think the Chiefs are that far off from what Danny's talking about, assuming a few things go their way.
I see a few positions in the front seven that cause me some concern and I'm going to be put on my rose-colored glasses to evaluate them offering the best outcome as I see it.
Pass rusher opposite LB Tamba Hali? Justin Houston sure looked sharp last Friday night against the Baltimore Ravens. He's just a rookie but you saw a few flashes that makes you think he can do it. And don't sleep on LB Cameron Sheffield either. We (or I) have a tendency to forget about him because he went on IR so early last year but he's showed some burst.
Overly optimistic prediction: Houston and Sheffield turn out to be the real deal rushing the passer and do it early in their career. The Chiefs need pass rush help on that side now -- not a few years down the line.
Nose tackle? NT Kelly Gregg is there for 2011 season and after that the Chiefs have a couple of young guys waiting in the wings. I'm not sure if both NT Jerrell Powe and NT Anthony Toribio make the roster but one of them will and that one may be expected to fill the hole at nose tackle when Gregg leaves.
Overly optimistic prediction: Powe emerges as the future nose tackle.
Overly optimistic prediction: Jackson takes a Dorsey-like leap in 2011.
Inside linebacker? LB Derrick Johnson is playing very well so I don't have any worries with him. It's LB Jovan Belcher's side that has me wondering. I thought bringing in LB Brandon Siler made a ton of sense because -- not to sound too much like Todd Haley here -- but it increases the competition and potentially raises the play of one or both of those guys.
Overly optimistic prediction: Someone else is brought in to compete with Belcher and the best man wins.
My question to you is which one of these overly optimistic predictions are actually realistic. Which ones do you think will actually happen? Because I think the Chiefs have the pieces in place to become the type of defense Danny is talking about, if things go their way.