Marshall Faulk (@marshallfaulk) September 16, 2014
The answer here is Derrick Johnson. He is the most tenured Chief and the best example of how to treat your career. He wasn't always a star in the NFL -- he worked for it and got better each day. That's why he is the best leader..
That's what I would have written if Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson hadn't suffered a season-ending injury. The same goes for Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles, who is out with a high ankle sprain, and Chiefs S Eric Berry, who his also missing in action with a sprained ankle. This means the Chiefs are looking for more leaders right now.
The real answer here has to be Alex Smith. He is your quarterback and your highest paid player. Whether players knowingly follow him or not, he's in a leadership position. He has to be a leader. If your quarterback is one of your best players, he's usually one of your leaders. That's usually the way it works out.
Players talk about Smith being calm on the field, which is something you need from someone in a leadership position in tense situations. I'll always remember that story about Joe Montana in the Super Bowl. The 49ers are getting ready for a game winning drive and Montana's in the huddle and looks in the stands and says, "Isn't that John Candy?" That's what I think of when talking about quarterbacks who are cool, calm and collected.
Really, though, you need your best players to be your leaders. The best players get the most attention and usually make the most money so it makes sense that others look up to them the most.
Here are a few more thoughts when we talk about leaders in Kansas City:
- C Rodney Hudson is the leader of the offensive line with so many young players around him. He's been a rock for a couple years now.
- WR Dwayne Bowe talks about being a leader for the receivers since he's been there for so long. He's done it and gotten paid so you hope he's a good example for the younger players.
- Veteran TE Anthony Fasano is an obvious leader at tight end. Travis Kelce talks about him as a leader.
- There is no obvious leader in the secondary with Berry out -- maybe CB Sean Smith? This is only his second season in Kansas City. S Husain Abdullah is a guy who could be providing that role.
- DE Mike DeVito would have been my choice as the leader along the defensive line before his injury. NT Dontari Poe, who plays a ton of snaps, has to become that leader even if it's in a quiet way.