One On One: Lenny Walls

The Chiefs have a big hole in the secondary at right cornerback. With the departure of former starter Eric Warfield, the Chiefs don't have a player currently slotted to play opposite Patrick Surtain. They do have several players that will compete for that spot, one of which is free-agent acquisition Lenny Walls.

With new head coach Herman Edwards in place, the Chiefs will probably play more Cover Two than in years past. At 6'4," 195 pounds, Walls fits well into the scheme. He plays well in space and can cover opposing receivers.

"I think I'm a complete corner," said Walls. "I'm the first to say that I need to improve my tackling, but as far as the guy you want to play man-to-man, play Cover Two or any coverage, and to match up with any guy, particularly the bigger wide receivers like (Randy) Moss or T.O., I think I'm the guy you would want on your team. I've got the size and the speed to match up with the elite receivers. We've got a lot of younger guys, we've got Pat Surtain, who I've been watching since I was younger. I think we're not that far away."

A lot of doubters think that Walls' size is a hindrance. You'd expect a taller cornerback to be much stiffer and to play much more upright than shorter corners. That's not the case according to Walls. He strives to be a technician, and years of experience have helped him make the fundamentals of coverage second nature.

"I've been playing corner since I was in high school," Walls said. "So it's second nature to me now, as far as covering people."

Walls recognizes that there are still aspects of his game that he needs to focus on. He wants to improve his tackling. The only touchdown the Chiefs scored at Denver last season came when Walls missed a tackle on Samie Parker.

"You have to make sure your core and hips are alright," Walls explained. "That's one thing about being a tall corner. I've got real fluid hips like a short guy. I think a focus of my game as a tall guy, is working more on my tackling. See, I'm a cover guy. Sometimes, maybe breaking down in the open field and making that tackle, you have to make sure your leverage is clean. I've been working my ass off this off-season to make sure my base is real strong, you know, my hips and core area. That helps a lot being a tall guy, playing low all the time."

The other area where Walls wants to improve is his health. He played in just 14 games over the last two seasons due to injury.

"My main thing the last couple of years has been my injuries," said Walls. "I got nicked up a few times, so I've been working extra hard, learning how to take care of my body and learning what parts of my body may be weak and might break down during the year. I've been working on those areas to make sure and try to prevent those injuries."

Last season, Walls watched from the opposing sidelines as the Chiefs split the season series with the Broncos. He got to see the Chiefs' defense up close from the other side. His main criticism was a lack of consistency.

"They've got the players, but I don't know if the consistency has been there," he said. "I don't know if it was chemistry, but the consistency wasn't there. I know they were pretty good in the secondary, getting turnovers and things of that nature. You can't say anything bad about any of them. My main goal now is to come in and help the secondary, to bring a different package to the game and to help the defense be one of the best."

After playing with the Broncos for four years, Walls is now a Chief. Lacing up his cleats against his former team twice a season is a prospect that has him excited.

"Kansas City and Denver, they're two of the top teams in the league, and it's usually between those two as far as who's going to win the division," Walls said. "I'm excited for a lot of different reasons. My former defensive backs coach is going to be coaching me, David Gibbs, who coached at Denver. Coach Herm is a secondary guy, so I'm really excited to work with the staff here. This is a team that's always in the hunt to win a Super Bowl, and that's what I'm trying to do. That's going to be real exciting, to play against a Denver team and all those guys I played with for four years, and to play against them twice a year. That's an adrenaline rush just thinking about it."

Another perk for Walls will be playing for Edwards, with no disrespect to his former coach Mike Shanahan.

"I met Coach Edwards when I first came on my visit," said Walls. "He's a real dude. That's what I love about him. It seems like I can relate to him not only as a coach, but as a man. I think that's important, to be able to relate to your coach not only from a football perspective, but as far as how to be a better man in life."

Walls added that personal relationships are one area where Edwards and Shanahan differ.

"I would think that I'd have a better off the field relationship with Herm," said Walls. "Mike Shanahan is one of the best coaches in the league, but as far being that guy that you can talk to about anything in life, I haven't been around Herm that long, but he's a guy that I would feel comfortable with. They're two great coaches, anyway. Both have been winners in the playoffs, but Herm hasn't gotten that Super Bowl win yet, and I'm here to help him get it."

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