The 2009 season was a humbling experience for several Kansas City Chiefs players, and after the struggles they endured last season they have emerged this season more driven than ever to make the Chiefs a winner again.
Perhaps no player was humbled more last year than linebacker Derrick Johnson.
A former first round pick out of the University of Texas, Johnson found himself in head coach Todd Haley’s doghouse last year.
After starting all but one game in his first four seasons in the league, he lost his starting job and was the topic of debate within the local media about whether or not he would have a future with the Chiefs.
On Monday night against the Chargers, once again a starter, Johnson turned in perhaps his best performance in his six seasons. His 12 tackles were a career-best, and his forced fumble on a run by the Chargers’ Ryan Mathews set the Chiefs up for a go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter.
Johnson has emerged as a leader on the Chiefs defense, and he’s out to prove it with his play.
After Monday night’s win against the Chargers, Johnson had this to say: “I’m trying to play with a chip on my shoulder each game. That’s not a negative chip, that’s a chip that every play I have to get to the ball, be a consistent player, stay healthy, and I can help this team.”
At the end of the day, Johnson wants help lead this Chiefs defense back to being one of the premier units in the league.
“We’re trying to have that mentality to have a great defense here with the Chiefs," he said.
Heading to Cleveland in Week 2, Johnson and the defense will definitely have something to prove against a rushing attack that gashed the Chiefs for 341 yards last season in a 41-34 loss to the Browns.