Switching to the 3-4 defense creates many problems for a team built to run a 4-3, it also makes some things easier.
By the end of the last season, it became very apparent that the team's No. 1 need was a pass rushing DE. With the switch in defensive schemes, this specific position is no longer needed. Instead, the need for a pass-rushing linebacker arose.
Lucky for the Chiefs (and the fans), Tamba Hali took the challenge head on to drop weight and work on his linebacking skills, and Mike Vrabel came in a package deal with Matt Cassel from the Patriots for our second round pick.
Hali has indeed been hard at work dropping the necessary weight to play on his feet instead with his hand in the dirt.
Hali commented back in May about losing the weight, "I don't really need to be 275 pounds. I don't even need to be 260. Maybe I can be 250 like James Harrison or Shawne Merriman. I'm more comfortable at that weight anyway. Right now, We're looking for speed."
"I went to the (weight machine) the other day," head coach Todd Haley said, "and there was a pool of sweat around it the size of a small lake and I knew Tamba had been there."
He also said Haley was "a hungry kid that wants to be really good. There isn't a time that you don't see him working."
Hopefully losing up to 25 pounds will bring a lot of speed and quickness to Hali's game, doing so could be pivotal to this season.
Another crucial part of the position switch is the mental side of the game. Hali has to learn everything anew with his new position, and Haley mentioned in a press conference something the new linebacker has done to aid in this process.
"With his own money he purchased a football station that he can watch tape. He’s doing all the things to try to be really good."
This kind of enthusiasm and initiative is exactly what we need from Tamba at this stage in his career.
After the announced switch to the 3-4, Tamba Hali was the player most worried about in dealing with the switch of positions. If he can fully acclimate to playing out of the two point stance, and return to his old ways when Jared Allen was playing opposite of him, Hali could get between 10 and 15 sacks this year.
"I think he’s starting to look like a linebacker," Haley said. "Just saying that I think is pretty positive."
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