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Derrick Johnson says he's not the Chiefs run defense savior, and he's probably right

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

I came across this interesting quote from Derrick Johnson on Friday (quotes passed out by the Kansas City Chiefs). DJ was asked about having to stand on the sidelines while the team struggled, specifically against the run.

"I'm not the savior that's going to save everything from what went on last year with the running game, but am I going to help? A lot."

Yeah, he will help. But maybe not as much as you'd think. Earlier this week, our defensive guru Craig Stout spent a few minutes on DJ and DeVito's return and the effect on the run defense. I'll let him do the rest of the work here since I generally have no idea what I'm talking about (shh, don't tell anyone).

"Derrick Johnson is an all-world inside linebacker against the run," Craig wrote in his training camp primer for the Chiefs defense. "He's so awesome he's got a nickname for when he shoots the gap and makes the stop behind the line of scrimmage. Mike DeVito is a mountain of a man who simply does not get moved off the spot. So why won't their addition improve the run defense all that much? The sub-package defense.

"Look back at the 2013 Chiefs team. They had the same coaching staff, had Poe, DeVito, DJ, Houston, and Tamba in the front seven. They boasted a healthy Eric Berry, another run-stuffer in Tyson Jackson up front, and Akeem Jordan (who I rated higher than the guys currently at the SILB position). That team allowed 4.5 yards per rush, good for 26th in the league. 26th! By comparison, last year's terrible run defense allowed 4.7 yards per rush, good for 30th. That's not good.

"However, against the base defense in 2013, teams only averaged 2.89 yards per rush. Those are fantastic numbers, and further proves just how weak the sub package is against the run. Since Sutton prefers to utilize a three-safety, three-corner sub-package, the run defense becomes very weak. At this point, based on the personnel Sutton has at his disposal, there's no reason why there should be a formational shift. Therefore, I wouldn't expect the run defense to improve all that much."

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