Chiefs + 34 Defense = 4-12 in 2009 (Part 2)

Trebor TodrabContributor IMarch 8, 2009

Thanks to everyone who read my first post, and an even bigger thanks to those who took the time to comment. Oh, and a Super Sized thanks to those who took the time to EDIT my post.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about writing for the Bleacher Report (besides the incredibly large salary) is reading and responding to those who commented on the article.  I enjoy hearing what others think, and, while I think I am always correct, there is a one in 100 chance I will be wrong…Or is it the other way around?

Keep the comments coming good or bad!

In the first part of this series, I took a look at arguably the most talented player on the defense, and examined what his role would be if the Chiefs made the switch to the 3-4. In today’s feature, I will continue to evaluate the other young lineman presently on the roster and determine what, if any, role they might have in the 3-4.

Tamba Hali: Our 2006 first round pick, Tamba is another player with no easily identifiable role in the 3-4. The first inclination is to put Tamba down as a rush linebacker.  This would, in theory, play to his strength of getting to the quarterback. Unfortunately there are many problems with this idea.

Tamba is not fast. At the 2006 combine, Tamba clocked in at a sloth like 4.8, sloth like for linebackers in the NFL. Prototypical outside backers in the 3-4 tend to run in the 4.5 to 4.6 range.

Tamba has never played in a two point stance. This wouldn’t be a problem if the only job outside backers in the 3-4 had was rushing the quarterback. But they do have to be able to drop in coverage, something Tamba has never done, and, given his aforementioned stone blocks for feet, something he would probably struggle with. 

So if not linebacker, perhaps he would work as an end?  Again, there are problems. At 6’3” and 275 lbs, Tamba does not fit the bill of a prototypical end. He simply is not big enough to hold the point of attack, clog two lanes, and still get his hands on a running back. I will concede he may have some value as an end, but he is not an every down player in the 3-4.

Claude and DeMarcus:  The Chiefs’ 2007 second and third round choices are more of the same, guys drafted for specific roles in a 4-3, with no plug and play position in the 3-4.

Claude is a RE in a 4-3 alignment. He is not explosive enough, fast enough or big enough to find a role in the 3-4 (sensing a pattern?). 

It is a different story for DeMarcus. While a bit on the small side at 306, DeMarcus has potential as a nose tackle. During his college days, DeMarcus was listed at 326. If he was ever anywhere close to that weight, this gets him in the ball park for a nose tackle. Add to that his 42 reps on the bench press at the 2007 combine ,and we may have found our first guy with a position. 

Of course, did you see the note above about no plug and play role? DeMarcus has never played the nose tackle in a 3-4 defense. He has played effectively as a two gap player, but with every position switch in the NFL there is an adjustment period. Even minor changes.

Gold Stars to those of you who knew who I was talking about. Two gold stars if you knew which was which. For those of you who do not know, the answer is at the bottom.

The final installment of this series will focus briefly on the linebackers, at length on the coaches, and bring home the original idea… a 3-4 defense means another losing season for the Chiefs.

NFL notes:

That was quick… TO is now a member of the Buffalo Bills. This seems like an odd signing to me. Sure, the Bills need another WR to complement Lee Evans. And sure, Ralph Wilson would like a big name to sell our friendly neighbors up north. But did anyone ask Dick Jauron? And if they did, why didn’t he call Mooch and ask him for his take on TO?

Is it just my red and gold bleeding through, or is anyone else excited about the prospect that Cutler is unhappy out in the Rockies? Something tells me Cutler could still be had for the right package of players and picks, and the Chief FAN in me hopes someone will come through. 

Answer: Claude McBride, aka Turk, and DeMarcus Tyler, aka Tank.