Cliff Notes: Sacking, Ranking QBs

This week Pat Clifton talks about Brett Favre and takes on Pro Football Weekly and The Sporting News on the issue of KC's pass rush and quarterbacks.

The Chiefs weren't good in many areas last season, but one category in which they excelled was sacks per pass play. Their defense ranked third in the league in that stat, trailing only Super Bowl participants New England and the Giants.

Finishing that high again isn't likely, however, after the team traded away 2007 NFL sack leader Jared Allen, whose departure leaves K.C. with a gaping hole in its pass rush. The Chiefs added a huge force in DT Glenn Dorsey, but he alone can only do so much damage. DRE Tamba Hali has proven very capable of getting to the QB and should anchor one side of the line, but the other side is seriously lacking a sack specialist, with Alfonso Boone slated to start there after having moved from tackle.

The way we hear it, though, Kansas City really likes what it has seen in seventh-round pick Brian Johnston. The defensive end has already drawn comparisons to Allen, and a good training camp could mean immediate playing time for the rookie. The team is also banking on second-year D-line hybrid Turk McBride to take a big leap forward and contribute. Finally, look for the Chiefs to incorporate more blitzing linebackers into their game plan, especially with the active Derrick Johnson.

I'm not so sure Pro Football Weekly is correct in saying the Chiefs won't match, or even surpass, last year's pass rushing success. Jared Allen is obviously gone, but Tamba Hali might have more overall talent than Allen, and he's healthy this year.

Many people are making a huge deal over Hali rushing from the weakside now that Allen's gone, but I'm not sold on that move being a huge difference maker. Sure, the quarterback won't be able to see Hali coming, but the hardest part about sacking the quarterback is beating the guy in front of you to get there - Hali will face superior tackles at his new position. It's possible the improved talent he'll compete against will balance out the fact he'll be attacking passers from the blindside.

Last season, defensive tackle Alfonso Boone proved to be quite the menace to opposing teams attempting to pass. Of course, that was from the defensive tackle position, and he's now playing defensive end. What I'd like to see is Boone moving inside in obvious passing situations, teaming him up with Glenn "Swamp Thing" Dorsey to form an elite interior pass-rushing tandem.

If Boone and Dorsey take up double teams, it will free up Hali on the right side and either Turk McBride or Brian Johnston on the other. From what I've seen in OTAs and minicamp, Johnston is more of a true pass rusher than McBride. Herm Edwards prides himself on giving young players an opportunity.

One thing this article talks about is more blitzing from the linebacker position. This is a definite possibility as the Chiefs boast one of the more athletic linebacker corps in the entire league. Napoleon Harris, though not loved by all, is an exceptionally fast linebacker, as are Donnie Edwards and Derrick Johnson. The fact that Gunther Cunningham is KC's new linebackers coach might be a clue that he has more in store for this unit than in years past.

The Chiefs may not have the league's sack leader in 2008, but that doesn't mean they won't still be a good pass rushing team. A couple extra sacks from Hali, a handful from Dorsey, three more from the linebackers and a handful from the left defensive end, and the Chiefs will be putting plenty of heat on quarterbacks.

The Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets are other clubs with quarterbacking dilemmas. Favre's representative, Bus Cook, has said that should Favre choose to continue his career, he would prefer doing it with the Carolina Panthers, who do business less distant from the quarterback's Mississippi residence.

-Jerry McGee, San Diego Union-Tribune

Under no circumstance will Brett Favre be a Kansas City Chief. The first reason being, he would have no desire to come here. The Chiefs are nowhere near a Super Bowl.

The second reason Favre would never end up in Kansas City is because the Chiefs wouldn't want him. He had a great season last year, but the same couldn't be said for his previous twilight years. Why would the Chiefs bench a young quarterback with a rocket-arm and a knack for throwing interceptions in favor of playing an old quarterback with a rocket-arm and a knack for throwing interceptions?

Reason number three: If Favre decides he wants to play this year, the Packers will take him back. Despite media reports saying the Packers wouldn't have an interest in bringing Favre back, I think the opposite rings true. They have a young, talented team that made it to the NFC Championship game last year, and Favre is a Green Bay icon. Besides, the Packers can't be too sold on Aaron Rodgers if they drafted Brian Brohm. If Favre plays, it will be in green and gold.

While we're on the subject of quarterbacks let's talk about Sporting News rankings of AFC signal callers. Kansas City's quarterback crew ranked as the 15th and second worst in the AFC. They were one spot ahead of the Miami Dolphins and one spot behind the Baltimore Ravens.

The rankings were based on the team's quarterbacks, not just the starter, but I still say they sold the Chiefs a little short. I understand the low ranking, because Kansas City has no proven commodities in Thigpen or Croyle and an ancient third-stringer in Damon Huard. What I don't understand is ranking Oakland higher than Kansas City. What flashes of brilliance have JaMarcus Russell, Andrew Walter, or Marques Tuiasosopo shown?

The most glaring problem in the rankings has nothing to do with the Chiefs, but it's worth pointing out. Somehow, David Garrard and the Jacksonville Jaguars were ranked eighth, while Jay Cutler and the Broncos were seventh. Am I missing something? Did John Elway come out of retirement? Garrard had a great season in 2007, and Jay Cutler's weight has fluctuated significantly due to the onset of diabetes. San Diego's quarterbacking crew was also ranked ahead of Jacksonville's at the five spot. Top Stories