Follow the Leader

After spending the last two seasons with the Miami Dolphins, veteran safety Sammy Knight is no stranger to a winning defense. During his stint in Miami, Knight was part of one of the leagues best defenses that produced 80 sacks and 30 interceptions under his watch.

Through the first week of training camp the Chiefs couldn't have asked for more from their new strong safety. On several occasions Knight has made some outstanding reads that either put him in position to force a turnover or make a tackle at the line of scrimmage. Knights abilities weren't nearly as apparent during OTA's but now that the Chiefs are practicing in full pads the same skills that made him an integral part of the Miami defense have been on display more frequently.

According to Knight, making big plays is simply part of his role as a team leader. "I try to lead by example and if leading is helping people out when they need help then that is fine."

Knight is however unwilling to assume the title as THE leader of the defense. "We are all leaders out there" said Knight. "We want 53 leaders on this team and it's everybody pushing each other, if we can get to that then we will be successful." As a member of the Dolphins, Knight was part of a defense with great team chemistry. Players like Zach Thomas, Sam Madison, Patrick Surtain and Jason Taylor put their collective egos aside to forge of the stingiest units in the league. Fortunately for the Chiefs, Knight has a clear understanding of how this was accomplished. "The main thing about chemistry is getting to know one another on the field" said Knight. "I have to know what that linebacker is thinking, the linebacker has to know what I am thinking, the corner has to know what we are thinking, we have to all be one chain. That is where we want to be on defense, a big whipping chain that is just whipping them. If we are one chain and linked together nobody can break that." Knight also understands just how difficult it can be to attain the on the field chemistry he is talking about. "I think chemistry is always hard to have, especially now days with so many injuries and so much change. You have to get chemistry and get it quickly because it is those teams that come together and continue to come together throughout the season that ends up successful."

He also thought that this was one of the major contributors to the defenses poor showing in 2004 and he hopes that the team can avoid those roadblocks in the upcoming season. "Unfortunately for this team last year they had a lot of injuries and injuries bring in new people and that hurts your chemistry a little. Hopefully this year we can stay healthy and continue to grow as a team," Knight said.

The one thing Knight never really had the opportunity to enjoy in Miami was a powerful offense to compliment their stellar defense. The idea of having a high powered offense on the other side of the ball is something that Knight finds rather appealing. "If we can stop the run and get up on some teams they will have to throw the ball, and if they throw the ball we'll take care of it" said Knight. "I think we are in a great situation just because defensively, if you are a secondary guy, I love it because I know a team is going to have to pass. If they pass that means more interceptions and I don't know any defensive back alive who doesn't like interceptions."

Knight is indeed excited about the possible situations created by the Chiefs offense but he is not one of those who subscribes to the theory that the defense only needs to be middle of the road because the offense is so good. "When I hear that it makes me sick to my stomach. These guys are out here busting their tails all day and we expect to be the top defense in the league that is what we shoot for," said Knight. "We set our expectations to the highest level and we want to be the best. We may not be the best in the beginning but when the end of December comes around we want to be the best."

Judging from the recent play by the defense during training camp, Knights goals for himself and his teammates might become a reality.

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