Chiefs are Green with defense`

The Kansas City Chiefs have grown under the direction of Carl Peterson and Dick Vermeil. While Trent Green was Vermeil's first major move and Priest Holmes is an explosive back, the defensive could be the reason this team survives the AFC West,

It really is not difficult to fathom the meteoric rise of the Kansas City Chiefs. For all appearances, Dick Vermeil appears to have reincarnated the greatest show on earth, once known as the St. Louis Rams. The exception may be this Chiefs team may just be a better rounded unit.


Winning the 2000 Super Bowl, St. Louis was as explosive team throughout the 1999 season as had ever been viewed, outside of the 1998 Minnesota Vikings team that racked up a league record 556 points. A Rams team that current Kansas City quarterback Trent Green was supposed to lead.


"Leaving Washington was a difficult decision for me, but St. Louis presented itself as a great opportunity for me," Green recollected recently. "There were a number of good players there are the organization was putting the pieces together that would be the foundation that exists today."


Green inked a deal with the Rams in the off-season after having some success with the Washington Redskins. At that time Vermeil was confident Green was a very good fit for the wide-open offensive attack that was in the making. Before he had the chance to grow with the explosive Rams offense, Green suffered a serious knee injury which would sideline him for the season and open the door for the unknown Kurt Warner.


Warner, a former grocery-bagger, Arena League, and NFL Europe league quarterback would do the improbable, leading the Rams to a Super Bowl victory over the Tennessee Titans.


With Warner solidly entrenched as the starting quarterback, Green was eventually dealt to the Chiefs in a draft-day trade in April 2001. Kansas City General Manager Carl Peterson and new head coach Dick Vermeil were looking for a quarterback to lead the Chiefs. Wanting a player that was capable and experienced to run his offense, Vermeil quickly turned to his old mates in St. Louis.


The reception Vermeil received from the Rams initially was not courteous. Vermeil had retired after the team had won the 2000 Super Bowl and had told the Rams he no intention or desire to coach again. Despite those claims, Vermeil returned to join forces with his old buddy, Carl Peterson. Vermeil and Peterson had a long relationship that led to his return to the sideline when head coach Marty Schottenheimer abruptly left the organization.


"Talking to Carl (Peterson), this opportunity was motivating to me. Working with him again, I really feel was inevitable," Vermeil said. "Every time we've done it, at U.C.L.A. and in Philadelphia, we had been successful. Looking at what we had to work with at that time (roster), we believed there was a great deal of promise to work with, but we both realized there would be a great amount of work to do."


Negotiations to secure the services of the veteran quarterback were difficult at best, talks broke down numerous times and it appeared that the Rams would not deal Green to the Chiefs and Vermeil. Desperately wanting his hand-picked selection, the Chiefs and Rams climaxed a deal that set the wheels in motion for Vermeil.


"There were times throughout the discussions and subsequent negotiations that we (the Chiefs) did not believe a deal would be completed. Both sides persevered and a good deal was made for both teams," Vermeil said. "With Trent (Green) we got the guy that we wanted, a guy that we could depend on to step in and know the offense."


In their third-season together in Kansas City, Green and Vermeil may be heading up the best team in the league. The 2002 season was a turning point for the Chiefs, as the 2002 offense was the most prolific in team history, scoring 467 points. Running back Priest Holmes has become the threat in the Kansas City backfield that Marshall Faulk was on that Vermeil coached St. Louis team.


Acknowledging if the team was to take the next step, the defense would have to be greatly improved. Throughout the 2002 season, the Chiefs were involved in many shootout contests. An average defense would have easily made Kansas City a legitimate playoff contender. The undertaking in the off-season was to add speed and a pass rushing presence to compliment the defensive line that was young and promising.


Adding linebacker Shawn Barber and defensive lineman Vonnie Holiday, the Chiefs added the speed, experience, and pass rush presence Vermeil had desired.


"Shawn (Barber) is a player that we really like. He has been a great fit with us, his speed and athleticism are what we felt was a priority for this team to improve as a defense," Vermeil said. "Right now, we are playing well, we have more growing to do."


Through the first three weeks of the regular season the Chiefs are averaging 36.7 points per game, while allowing 16 per contest. The Kansas City Chiefs have won handily while making errors on both sides of the ball, imagine what could be in store for this dramatically improved team.


Then again, with Dick Vermeil at the controls, this should have been expected.

Scout NFL Network Top Stories