So does that make Berry a tweener?
The honest would be yes. However, he's shown throughout his career he can play both with some efficiency. The problem with that statement uncovers Berry's shortcomings. He has always been an inconsistent NFL defender.
Case in point, Berry often disappears within a game. In 2014, that has to change if he's going to finally become the playmaker this defense needs him to be game in and game out.
When Defensive Coordinator, Bob Sutton, came aboard a year ago he was adamant on playing Berry at the line of scrimmage. But he struggled covering tight ends and when he returned to the deep part of the secondary, he bit too often on long routes and was torched.
"This is my second year in the defense so obviously there are things that I've learned and thoughts that I take into consideration as far as certain coverages and things like that that I'm more aware of. So it's less thinking about what the call is on our end because that's coming automatic, it's more so what the offense is going to do," Berry said.
This year though things are going to be different for Berry who won't have fellow safety, Kendrick Lewis, calling the plays for the group. The Chiefs had no interest in retaining his services in the off-season so that meant Berry would become the signal caller in the secondary.
"It's everybody's role. Everybody's taking ownership, everybody is trying to put in. Nobody is just leaning on anybody or expecting somebody else to make a play, everybody is trying to get there and make a play themselves. The more people we have holding themselves accountable the better the team will be as a whole," he said.
Certainly accountability was a key factor in the demise of the Chiefs defense a year ago. As the losses continued to mount in the second half of the season, the excuses become commonplace and it was obvious the unit was void of real leadership.
That can't happen in 2014 and Berry has to be one of those players that never accepts defeat on any given snap. But he's not alone the same can be said for all of his defensive mates. Still Berry has to become the leader on defense in 2014. That means setting the tone from the first snap to the last.
"Just talking to coach, he wants me to be the guy to make sure that I know what's going on, make sure that I'm stepping up and being a leader and holding myself and my teammates accountable. And that's vice versa throughout my teammates as well. So the biggest thing is just being alert and being aware at all time," Berry said.
If Berry believes those words in June and acts upon them in September, the Chiefs decision to keep him under contract in 2014 and 2015 should pay huge dividends for this franchise.
Still Berry has to evolve into a better all around crunch time safety. He must acknowledge the mistakes of the past, learn from them and put himself in a position to better execute the situations on the field he's failed to master throughout his career.
"There's always something you can be better at. I think back there it's more natural just because it's almost like backyard football where you're just reading the quarterback and reading where the ball breaks out and getting to it. But for the most part, you've got to be back there, you've got to have high energy and you've got to run to the ball at all times," Berry stated.
Time will tell if he can back those words up.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Is Eric Berry at a crossroads in Kansas City?
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