After a workman like rookie season in 2012 and a Pro Bowl season in 2013, it would appear the decision to draft Poe was a good one for the Kansas City Chiefs. Last year Poe started the season with a bang by notching sacks and creating havoc at the point of attack.
From the season opener at Jacksonville, Poe became a steady enforcer for much of the year. His advanced play allowed KC’s sack artists, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, to come off the edge and gain an impressive amount of sacks in the Chiefs 9-0 start.
In the latter stages of the season, Poe’s play dropped off a bit. Now that isn’t a knock against KC’s top defensive lineman. The reason that happened was simple – the Chiefs didn’t have anyone that could spell Poe from time to time.
This off-season the Chiefs signed veteran defensive linemen, Vance Walker and Kyle Love, to back-up Poe. It was clear as the dead of winter hit; the young defensive tackle just couldn’t maintain the relentless force he was earlier in the year.
But if you were to ask Poe about that very thing, he’d deny the length of the season had anything to do with his drop off in productivity.
Still his jump in play from his rookie season to his sophomore season was very impressive. It all started when he came to camp last year with a new diet and mindset that he was going to become a full time starter.
Even with the changes he made a year ago Poe was already a workout warrior that possessed an internal motor that never stops. When he got his body, mind and diet on the same page, the results were fantastic for the overall prospects of KC’s defense.
This year Poe has to continue to evolve his game to become a premier defender. That means his numbers in tackles and sacks have to increase.
It might be unrealistic for Poe to approach double-digit sacks but he has the talent to do just that. I know that’s not his primary job (sacking QB’s) but where KC’s defense failed last year was when Houston and Hali were inured or unproductive. For his part, Poe could not pick up the slack.
If Kansas City is going to wash away the failures of their late season collapse last winter, Poe has to get his massive frame in the offensive backfield – especially in crunch time. Even if doesn’t get the sacks he can blow up running plays by sheer force. I guess what I’m really saying in regards to Poe, I’d like to see him become a more complete defensive tackle.
That might not be fair but with the addition of rookie Linebacker, Dee Ford, the Chiefs now posses three solid pass rushers on the outside. That should allow Poe to shoot the gaps and join the party in the backfield.
If the Chiefs are truly committed to their 3-4 defensive scheme, they will never become a top ten unit unless they do a better job forcing turnovers and collapsing the pocket.
Long term Poe has the talent to become a long time defensive presence for the Chiefs. That’s why his third year in the NFL is so important to his overall development. If he can play at a high level in all 16 games, perhaps KC’s defense can find the consistency they lacked a season ago.
On the defensive line, Poe has to be the man who makes it all happen.
Next Up: A.J. Jenkins
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Can Dontari Poe make it back to the Pro Bowl this season?
For all the news, notes and quotes on the Chiefs, visit WarpaintIllustrated.com