Law's Impact

After months of speculation and two off-season's worth of recruiting, the Chiefs have finally landed Ty Law. The 32 year-old, five-time Pro-Bowler will undoubtedly upgrade the Chiefs defense, but in typical Warpaint Illustrated fashion we'll break down the specifics.

Versatility:
The primary benefit of having Ty Law in the Chiefs defense is the versatility he brings to the secondary. Unlike the developing corners on the Chiefs roster, Law can excel in either man or zone coverage.

His presence will allow Gunther Cunningham to disguise calls, make zone coverage appear to be man-to-man coverage and vice versa. This makes things especially tough on quarterbacks in their pre-snap reads because they're never really sure if they can believe what they're seeing. As a result, the quarterback will tend to hold the ball a little bit longer than usual, or turn the ball over due to a bad read.

Even if Cunningham threw deception out the window and just ran a constant mixture of coverages, it would be enough to keep the offense guessing.

Scheme:
In a cover two defense, cornerbacks are asked to play a tougher, more physical style of game than what is typically required in a man-to-man defense. This is Law's forte. He's all about toughness, and he brings a safety's mentality to the cornerback position.

To be more descriptive, a cornerback's role in run support for the cover two is a critical component of the scheme's functionality. They must be able to "force" and protect the sidelines because the safeties are playing more of an inside technique from the hash marks. They'll often find themselves mixing it up with tight ends and linemen so they need to be able to flow and engage like a linebacker while hitting and tackling like a safety. So unlike man coverage corners, who usually vacate the line of scrimmage, a cover two corner is more akin to a linebacker, because they are required to string plays out horizontally and make tough tackles.

On passing downs, the cover two corner is asked to rough up wide receivers, and Law's 11 NFL seasons will aid him in that endeavor. Receivers have to be jammed, pushed, shoved and never allowed get a free release up the sideline. This is because the safeties are solely responsible for deep coverage and you don't want your safety trying to backpedal, turn his hips and run down the sideline with a Steve Smith or Santana Moss, taking off unmolested on a deep route.

If the Chiefs are trying to emulate the Tampa Two, Ty Law is playing the role of Ronde Barber, except he's probably a superior player.

The Nickel:
Throughout the entire off-season, cornerback Lenny Walls has looked phenomenal. In fact, it became clear early on that he was going to be a significant upgrade over the departed Eric Warfield. With the addition of Law, Walls' role has been altered. He'll be moved to third on the depth chart and will likely play nickel back. For the first time since 1997, the Chiefs have three high-caliber cornerbacks that can take the field against the best multiple-receiver sets the league has to offer.

Beyond strengthening the depth chart, Law's signing will also allow the Chiefs to use Lenny Walls and his 6'4" frame against some of the leagues' more feared tight ends. Instead of using a safety or linebacker, the Chiefs can now throw a coverage-capable giant into the mix when facing the likes of Antonio Gates, Todd Heap and Matt   Jones. The NFL is all about matchups, and this is a huge advantage for the Chiefs that shouldn't be overlooked, especially when you consider this scenario will arise in at least four of the Chiefs 16 games.

What Law Won't Do:
One thing that must be kept in mind about Law and his past success is that he had outstanding pass-rushers in front of him. In New England, Law played with a defensive front that forced even the best quarterbacks into errant throws and foolish mistakes. He'll soon find this is an area of concern in Kansas City.

Law will give the defensive linemen a little more time to reach the quarterback, but he won't give them all day. He'll provide some coverage sacks, but those are hard to find in a zone defense.

In order for Law to make his maximum impact in 2006, the defensive line has to show up. There are no more excuses for the front four. Everything around them has been fixed. They'll be under the microscope like never before, because success or failure now rests in their hands.

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