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AP Interview: Bob Gretz Dishes on Derrick Johnson

Welcome to Derrick Johnson week. I'm obsessed with understanding this issue as best as I can. The ability to leave such a talented player on the bench so much of last season was beyond me. So along with yesterday's post which attempted to ask the right questions regarding the Todd Haley and Derrick Johnson saga, today I turn to the wisdom of others. Introducing the ever-helpful Bob Gretz, who everyone here will know from his decades of covering the Chiefs as a beat writer for the Star and a radio reporter as well.

Now, you can catch Bob over at his website at It's a daily read for me as he not only gives insightful comments on the Chiefs, but notes from around the NFL as well. I recently asked his take on a number of things regarding Derrick Johnson's situation and he immediately responded with some great answers.

You can find Gretz's helpful opinions after the jump:

On holding on to DJ even though they refused to play him:
I sense within the off-limit halls on the second floor of Chiefs central that there's a realization that they may not have done the best job in the world last year of getting something out of Johnson. Part of coaching is taking what you have and maximizing the talent and production. Not every player is motivated in the same manner and it's the job of the coaching staff to find the buttons and push the right ones. That didn't get done with DJ. He's just an easy going guy, who doesn't show much emotion and sometimes has a focus problem. He handled himself well last year, better than many others would have under similar circumstances.

On giving DJ a first-round tender:

I think the Chiefs gave him with a first-round tender because they realize he's one of the few defensive players they have who can make something happen. Talent is not in abundance on that side of the ball. They need to take another stab at getting production out of him.

On DJ's chances of staying with the Chiefs next season:

I would expect that DJ will be with the Chiefs this season. No. 1, I don't think there would be much of a market for him with a first-round tender on him. He does not have the career that would justify giving up a first-round choice, unless some team at the very bottom of the draft was desperate. Generally, the fact they are drafting late means they seldom are that desperate for a fifth-year LB with mediocre numbers. Should a team offer a second-round pick in a negotiation with the Chiefs, I think they would jump on that type of offer simply because they would get a younger player.
I think the change in defensive coordinator and a year of working with him will make Johnson more of a factor in '10. Unless they can get a first or second round choice, I think it would be a mistake to trade him at this point, but let's be honest, anything could happen.

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