Chiefs LB Demorrio Williams was the starter at inside linebacker last year to the surprise of a few folks (including LB Derrick Johnson). I've previously scrutinized Williams' role at the position because -- on a defense that was desperate for playmakers -- Williams accumulated zero interceptions, forced fumbled, or sacks.
Derrick Johnson, on the other hand, had three interceptions, one forced fumble and one sack in a fraction of the playing time. That's the root of most of these questions regarding DJ's lack of playing time.
According to Williams, part of the reason for those low numbers was a knee injury last offseason. If you'll recall, Williams didn't even start practicing until nearly two weeks into camp.
"It was a frustrating year because I got hurt before the season," Williams said, according to the Kansas City Star. "I did everything I could to be out there with my teammates and try to make the plays that I could. This year I plan on staying healthy and doing a lot more to contribute to the team."
He also said the knee injury limited him and wouldn't allow him to be as effective as he had wanted. Now, Williams could have told the media (anonymously or not) at some point throughout the year that he was hurt and that would have explained the lack of "playmaker numbers" but he didn't talk to the media last year. Somehow, I think that's a quality the Chiefs like in him.
But back to the injury. If he had an injury that limited his effectiveness then shouldn't the Chiefs have put him on the injury report? They didn't. Williams doesn't show up on any of the Chiefs weekly injury reports throughout the season. Surely the Chiefs wouldn't fudge the injury report so it's possible Williams not only kept his injury from the media but the team as well.
Williams said towards the end of the season that he was beginning to feel more comfortable in the 3-4 defense and Todd Haley gave him a vote of confidence of sorts midway through last season so he has something that the Chiefs want.
Whether a healthy Demorrio Williams can stave off DJ for one more season is yet to be determined.