Big MEN Up Front Need to Step Up

ST. JOSEPH, MO - The Kansas City Chiefs have used three of their last five first round draft picks on the defensive side of the ball, with two being used for the defensive line. So when will the investments made in Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey start materializing into a strong defensive front?

If you ask Head Coach Todd Haley, you're sure to get a stereotypical response like "this is a process" or "we are continuing to evaluate players". But when digging a bit deeper, we may find that Haley's bland comments hold a bit more weight than some give him credit for.

In Monday afternoon's press conference, Haley spoke of conversations he's had with assistant head coach Mo Carthon in which Carthon has reminded him not to become too locked onto a specific player.

"He's the voice in my ear all the time, (reminding me) that we're still evaluating," Haley said of his longtime friend. "Let's make sure we're giving everyone an opportunity to see to see what the best they have to offer is".

Much has been made in the local media over Jackson's perceived demotion from the first team unit in practice over the past several days. Specifically, Jackson is subbed out in nickel packages for the quicker and more agile Wallace Gilberry. Some view this as an indication of Jackson's slow progression, but I view it as a very positive sign that this year's coaching staff is putting the best players in the best spots to succeed.

In other words, the coaches are doing a good job of coaching.

I have been very critical of Scott Pioli and this staff for building the team around scheme and philosophy as opposed to building your scheme around your players. But so far in camp, I have seen just the opposite.

In the case of Gilberry's use in nickel situations, I applaud Haley and Romeo Crennel for putting the best player on the field to help the team succeed. Gilberry was the defensive line's best pass rusher in 2009 and continues to look strong in camp.

Dion Gales has a chance to start.
Getty Images



Jackson, on the other hand, has been very strong against the rush and continues to show improvement regardless of which unit he's running with. Haley also seems to be happy with the progression of Jackson

"I'm encouraged by where Tyson is right now and he's working his butt off".

This should be viewed as a very positive sign by Chiefs fans.

Jackson weighs in at 296 pound and stands at 6'4". Add to that his surprisingly strong athletic ability and he becomes the perfect specimen to run the five technique utilized by a defensive end in a 3-4 defense. This is why the Chiefs used such a high pick on the lineman out of LSU.

Dorsey, a fellow defensive end and LSU alum, is also making strides in camp. He is noticeably much stronger than he was in ‘09 and seems to be grasping new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel's system, often drawing praise from new D-line coach Anthony Pleasant.

If you throw in Gilberry and two quickly emerging players in Bobby Greenwood and Jeffrey Fitzgerald, the Chiefs appear to have a very strong defensive end rotation.

Ron Edwards has been fending off younger plays in Kansas City since he arrived as a free agent in 2006.
Getty Images



So far in camp, incumbent nose tackle Ron Edwards seems to be re-energized and is noticeably the most powerful man on the field at times. Coming into camp it appeared that Shaun Smith was the odds-on favorite to win the starting job, but now it may be Edwards' to lose.

Derek Lokey is a relatively small NT, but after six days of camp he has noticeably outplayed his size, even having some hellacious battles with the much larger Rudy Niswanger. Lokey is entering his third year in the Chiefs organization after bouncing back and forth between the active roster and practice squad, but it appears his dedication and persistence may finally be paying off.

Dion Gales and Garrett Brown have also looked very sharp at times in blocking drills and 11-on-11, which should put the jolly Smith on watch. Smith may be the most vocal and animated player on the entire roster, but if he doesn't step up his game he may have to take his comedy routine down the road.

Though it is too early to say how much this defensive line has improved after barely a week of camp, one conclusion can be made: the defensive line is much improved. If these young players continue to follow the tutelage of the patient coach Pleasant, these big men could go from being awful in ‘09 to being down right dominant as the 2010 season progresses.

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\r\nIf you ask Head Coach Todd Haley, you're sure to get a stereotypical response like \"this is a process\" or \"we are continuing to evaluate players\". But when digging a bit deeper, we may find that Haley's bland comments hold a bit more weight than some give him credit for.\r\n\r\n

In Monday afternoon's press conference, Haley spoke of conversations he's had with assistant head coach Mo Carthon in which Carthon has reminded him not to become too locked onto a specific player.\r\n\r\n

\"He's the voice in my ear all the time, (reminding me) that we're still evaluating,\" Haley said of his longtime friend. \"Let's make sure we're giving everyone an opportunity to see to see what the best they have to offer is\".\r\n\r\n

Much has been made in the local media over Jackson's perceived demotion from the first team unit in practice over the past several days. Specifically, Jackson is subbed out in nickel packages for the quicker and more agile Wallace Gilberry. Some view this as an indication of Jackson's slow progression, but I view it as a very positive sign that this year's coaching staff is putting the best players in the best spots to succeed. \r\n\r\n

In other words, the coaches are doing a good job of coaching.\r\n\r\n

I have been very critical of Scott Pioli and this staff for building the team around scheme and philosophy as opposed to building your scheme around your players. But so far in camp, I have seen just the opposite.\r\n\r\n

In the case of Gilberry's use in nickel situations, I applaud Haley and Romeo Crennel for putting the best player on the field to help the team succeed. Gilberry was the defensive line's best pass rusher in 2009 and continues to look strong in camp. \r\n\r\n

Dion Gales has a chance to start.
Getty Images\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Jackson, on the other hand, has been very strong against the rush and continues to show improvement regardless of which unit he's running with. Haley also seems to be happy with the progression of Jackson\r\n\r\n

\"I'm encouraged by where Tyson is right now and he's working his butt off\".\r\n\r\n

This should be viewed as a very positive sign by Chiefs fans.\r\n\r\n

Jackson weighs in at 296 pound and stands at 6'4\". Add to that his surprisingly strong athletic ability and he becomes the perfect specimen to run the five technique utilized by a defensive end in a 3-4 defense. This is why the Chiefs used such a high pick on the lineman out of LSU.\r\n\r\n

Dorsey, a fellow defensive end and LSU alum, is also making strides in camp. He is noticeably much stronger than he was in ‘09 and seems to be grasping new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel's system, often drawing praise from new D-line coach Anthony Pleasant.\r\n\r\n

If you throw in Gilberry and two quickly emerging players in Bobby Greenwood and Jeffrey Fitzgerald, the Chiefs appear to have a very strong defensive end rotation.\r\n\r\n

Ron Edwards has been fending off younger plays in Kansas City since he arrived as a free agent in 2006.
Getty Images\r\n

\r\n\r\n

So far in camp, incumbent nose tackle Ron Edwards seems to be re-energized and is noticeably the most powerful man on the field at times. Coming into camp it appeared that Shaun Smith was the odds-on favorite to win the starting job, but now it may be Edwards' to lose.\r\n\r\n

Derek Lokey is a relatively small NT, but after six days of camp he has noticeably outplayed his size, even having some hellacious battles with the much larger Rudy Niswanger. Lokey is entering his third year in the Chiefs organization after bouncing back and forth between the active roster and practice squad, but it appears his dedication and persistence may finally be paying off. \r\n\r\n

Dion Gales and Garrett Brown have also looked very sharp at times in blocking drills and 11-on-11, which should put the jolly Smith on watch. Smith may be the most vocal and animated player on the entire roster, but if he doesn't step up his game he may have to take his comedy routine down the road.\r\n\r\n

Though it is too early to say how much this defensive line has improved after barely a week of camp, one conclusion can be made: the defensive line is much improved. If these young players continue to follow the tutelage of the patient coach Pleasant, these big men could go from being awful in ‘09 to being down right dominant as the 2010 season progresses.\r\n","mobileBody":" If you ask Head Coach Todd Haley, you're sure to get a stereotypical response like \"this is a process\" or \"we are continuing to evaluate players\". But when digging a bit deeper, we may find that Haley's bland comments hold a bit more weight than some give him credit for.

In Monday afternoon's press conference, Haley spoke of conversations he's had with assistant head coach Mo Carthon in which Carthon has reminded him not to become too locked onto a specific player.

\"He's the voice in my ear all the time, (reminding me) that we're still evaluating,\" Haley said of his longtime friend. \"Let's make sure we're giving everyone an opportunity to see to see what the best they have to offer is\".

Much has been made in the local media over Jackson's perceived demotion from the first team unit in practice over the past several days. Specifically, Jackson is subbed out in nickel packages for the quicker and more agile Wallace Gilberry. Some view this as an indication of Jackson's slow progression, but I view it as a very positive sign that this year's coaching staff is putting the best players in the best spots to succeed.

In other words, the coaches are doing a good job of coaching.

I have been very critical of Scott Pioli and this staff for building the team around scheme and philosophy as opposed to building your scheme around your players. But so far in camp, I have seen just the opposite.

In the case of Gilberry's use in nickel situations, I applaud Haley and Romeo Crennel for putting the best player on the field to help the team succeed. Gilberry was the defensive line's best pass rusher in 2009 and continues to look strong in camp.



Jackson, on the other hand, has been very strong against the rush and continues to show improvement regardless of which unit he's running with. Haley also seems to be happy with the progression of Jackson

\"I'm encouraged by where Tyson is right now and he's working his butt off\".

This should be viewed as a very positive sign by Chiefs fans.

Jackson weighs in at 296 pound and stands at 6'4\". Add to that his surprisingly strong athletic ability and he becomes the perfect specimen to run the five technique utilized by a defensive end in a 3-4 defense. This is why the Chiefs used such a high pick on the lineman out of LSU.

Dorsey, a fellow defensive end and LSU alum, is also making strides in camp. He is noticeably much stronger than he was in ‘09 and seems to be grasping new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel's system, often drawing praise from new D-line coach Anthony Pleasant.

If you throw in Gilberry and two quickly emerging players in Bobby Greenwood and Jeffrey Fitzgerald, the Chiefs appear to have a very strong defensive end rotation.



So far in camp, incumbent nose tackle Ron Edwards seems to be re-energized and is noticeably the most powerful man on the field at times. Coming into camp it appeared that Shaun Smith was the odds-on favorite to win the starting job, but now it may be Edwards' to lose.

Derek Lokey is a relatively small NT, but after six days of camp he has noticeably outplayed his size, even having some hellacious battles with the much larger Rudy Niswanger. Lokey is entering his third year in the Chiefs organization after bouncing back and forth between the active roster and practice squad, but it appears his dedication and persistence may finally be paying off.

Dion Gales and Garrett Brown have also looked very sharp at times in blocking drills and 11-on-11, which should put the jolly Smith on watch. Smith may be the most vocal and animated player on the entire roster, but if he doesn't step up his game he may have to take his comedy routine down the road.

Though it is too early to say how much this defensive line has improved after barely a week of camp, one conclusion can be made: the defensive line is much improved. If these young players continue to follow the tutelage of the patient coach Pleasant, these big men could go from being awful in ‘09 to being down right dominant as the 2010 season progresses. 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