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June 20, 2005

Derrick Johnson « Kansas City Chiefs »

I can't tell you how much things like this excite me:

From SI's Peter King:

I visited Chiefs camp last Wednesday, and one player stood out above the rest: Derrick Johnson. He's the rookie linebacker from Texas taken by Kansas City in the first round in April, and he's fast. Really fast. I got a chance to watch him on the practice field, unpadded, as offense played defense in a non-contact, play-installation drill. If he's this good when they put the pads on -- which, of course, nobody knows yet, and it's silly to pretend one workout can portend greatness -- the Chiefs might finally have the really good linebacker they've been lacking since the death of Derrick Thomas.

And from Warpaint Illustrated:

But one player has stood out more than any other.

At the top of the list is the aforementioned Derrick Johnson. Without a doubt, he has the opportunity to be one of the games very best outside linebackers. High praise for a rookie who’s never stepped foot on the field but he’s already the teams best cover linebacker. He’s the only one in OTA’s that has been able to stop tight end Kris Wilson. He has such instinctive skills that he’s already ahead of every other linebacker on the roster including Bell.

Do you realize how one disruptive player can make everyone else better? If opposing teams have to game plan for Derrick Johnson, it limits their playbook. Limited playbooks make for predictable game-plans, and Gunther can tear that up. If you have to account for Derrick Johnson, it effectively removes one more offensive player (holding a TE/RB back to block) from your possible weapons. That frees up Jared Allen, or Eric Hicks, or Scott Fujita to make some big plays.

His speed should help prevent big gains by TEs down the middle. It should stop counter/cutback plays from going 30-40 yards. It should put the fear into Denver and their 'naked bootleg' plays.

No matter what he does in training camp, no one is going to game plan to stop Derrick Johnson until he proves they have to. From what we've been hearing, if DJ is as good as early indications seem, then he might be able to win the first 2-3 games for us single-handedly. Then when teams adjust, the supporting cast has been upgraded enough to win bunches of games the rest of the year.

If I were a gambling man (and I'm not), I'd put money down right now on him being the 2005 Rookie of the Year.

I'm a homer, yes. I want to look at how things could work out well for the Chiefs, rather than obsessing on how they might go wrong. But this is shaping up to be a Season for the Ages. I've been excited about what the offense could do in the past few years; I've been excited about what the defense could do back in the early 90s. I've never been this excited about the possibility about both sides of the ball being dominating.

Posted by Nathan at 02:58 PM | Comments (4)
» SportsBlog links with: Derrick Johnson

DJ is going to be a stud, no doubt. Hey, did you get to listen to the Chiefs special on KCFX tonight? It got me pumped, listening to Gun talk about Bell. He said Bell scares him. Bell told Gun to "just teach me the scheme and I'll go out and kill someone."

I'll try to find the file so you can hear it. Clark Hunt, Gunther, and Denny Thume were on.

I found it very interesting, but mainly Carks' stance of finding a new home (across state lines but not out of the KC metro area) for the new stadium if the rennovation proposal does not pass. Have any thoughts on that Nathan? I'm a native Kansan and I know for a fact that the state of Kansas would love to have the Chiefs in their back yard. They could build it out by Kansas Speedway. If Jackson County and the state of Missouri continue to dodge this, Clark will relocate the Chiefs, and the Royals will follow.

Whats strange to me is, Jackson county is obligated, under the provisions of the current lease, to maintain an adequate facility. Arrowhead is falling apart. The plumbing and electrical is shot, not to mention the bathrooms and consession areas.
The Hunts will not be satisfied with a quick fix either. A "Lambo Field" type rennovation is the only remedy in the eyes of the Hunts, and rightfully so. Kansas City and it's football fans deserve better than what Jackson county is trying to pull.

This is the most loyal fan base in all of sports. I've been a fan for 36 years, and I just turned 36.
Can I ask you a question? How is a guy like yourself way down in Hawaii a Chiefs fan? I know a diehard from Mauii so it should'nt be too suprising to me.

Anyway, later. (Justin)

Posted by: Warpaint at June 20, 2005 10:11 PM

Well, I'm in the military, so my current location can't really be considered my home.

I was born near K.C., and moved away when I was 8...but when I got into football in my teens, that was when the Royals were in their heyday, losing one World Series in '81 and winning one in '85. Since we didn't get any consistent coverage of any team, anyway, I transferred my baseball loyalty right over to the Chiefs. That was their time of Good Defense, Lousy Offense, anyway.

I nearly switched to the Oilers when I lived near Houston for a while...but that was when Marty was hired and they drafted DT and things started getting exciting. I got disgusted with the Monday Night Meltdown, disappointed with all the disappointments, and nearly gave up being a fan... but Stoyo's 55-yd game-winning FG over the Broncos (if I remember correctly) dragged me back in. Then the chat forum (and arguing over Elvis Grbac) brought me in deeper. Ivan Carter's training camp diaries a few years back increased my fandom, and then getting to start writing my opinions for Sportsblog just made my fandom deeper.

It's kind of crazy. I like doing analysis, and so in a way, it's good practice for me to take my understanding of football, combine it with reading about what other people observe, judging what is credible, what is wishful thinking, and what is circular reporting and trying to make sense out of it all.
That's why it's doubly gratifying to hear you guys say you like my analysis. I'm sure I could do 10 times better if I could be in KC and watch the guys practicing.
I'm going to try and record all the games this year, so I can watch each one 3-4 times and do deeper analysis every Thursday or Friday, but I don't always follow through on intentions like that, due to time constraints.

Posted by: Nathan at June 20, 2005 10:47 PM

I'm not in KC anymore. Have taken my game to Washington and the Post but still follow the Chiefs. Love what they have done on D but man, those corners still scare me especially in light of the fact that the Chiefs still don't have a scary pass rushing DE ala DT or Neil Smith. Better get through those first four games until Warfield is back. Should be an interesting season. And yes, I do miss River Falls.

Posted by: Ivan Carter at July 27, 2005 10:15 PM

Ivan Carter read my blog! Ivan Carter read my blog! ...if you only knew how that made my day!

I'll address your points in my next entry.

Posted by: Nathan at July 27, 2005 11:18 PM
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