Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey receive most of the headlines along the Kansas City Chiefs frontline. Like 'em or not, both players were top five choices in the NFL Draft, a high investment for any team. Year after year, both players are praised for their work against the run and questioned by more casual fans wondering where the sack totals are at.
But Jackson and Dorsey have held their own quite well against the run, and it's become quite difficult to find a player who is capable of helping defend both the pass and run along the defensive line. Thus teams often employ specialists and use them in specific situations. When a team finds a two-way player, they're usually locked up with a long-term deal. Perhaps that's why the Chiefs recently signed Amon Gordon for two years.
Gordon doesn't fit the bill of a defensive star. He's already 30-years-old. He had 23 tackles and two sacks last season for the Chiefs, the only sacks of his NFL career. After being drafted in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, he's also bounced to the Broncos, Ravens, Titans, Seahawks, Eagles and Patriots before landing with the Chiefs. He's the very definition of a journeyman, so why would the Chiefs sign him for more than a single season?
Some players bloom late. Some simply need the right scheme. Whatever the reason why Gordon hasn't caught on with another team, it speaks to his work ethic and determination that he's still in the NFL at this point. And it's a credit to the Chiefs coaching staff that they've gotten the value out of him that they have. While he doesn't grab the attention of a high investment like Dorsey or Jackson, Gordon has won over the coaching staff and front office with the versatility to play along the line.
"Anytime you have a guy like Amon that's athletic and can have that type of ability where he can rush the passer and he can play the run, that's the ideal player that you like to have," said defensive line coach Anthony Pleasant. "It's so hard to find that type of player, so once you get a player like that, he's a special type of guy. The way that the league is going now, it's all about scoring. You want to have a guy that can stop the run but can also rush the passer."
The Chiefs now have the deepest defensive line since Scott Pioli first arrived in Kansas City in 2009. With Dorsey and Jackson on the edge, Dontari Poe in the middle and versatile players like Allen Bailey and Gordon among others, the Chiefs can, simply put, do more with more. Finding, developing and hanging on to players like Gordon might not make the headlines, but it's the sort of smart, tactical moves that the best front offices seem to make year after year.