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Taking It All Back About The Chiefs Front Seven

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I take back everything I said. I know, it's only one game into the season. I know our next game is versus the Browns. Still, I ignored some glaring oversights that should have kept my comments at bay and instead I went out on a limb and declared certain things I should have never said. So I take them back. (Can I?)

Does it help if I wasn't the only one concerned about the Chiefs defensive front seven? Last season's contest against the Browns allowed Jerome Harrison to become a household name (in Fantasyville at least) with 286 yards. That makes Arian Foster look like Mike Cloud. (Okay, maybe not, I just wanted to make a random Chiefs reference.) Needless to say, everyone knew it was an issue. In fact, everyone knew it consisted of several issues. Let's review, shall we?

1. Tyson Jackson Was A Bust - It feels stupid to write this now. And we'll discuss why in a second. But since we're only reviewing, let's remind everyone just how many sportswriters and fans called the No. 3 overall pick in the draft a bust after his first season. Many noticed how he lacked an overpowering presence and never made the defenses adjust when running to his side. Others looked at the lackluster stat line and were disgusted the Chiefs spent such a high pick when others like B.J. Raji and Michael Crabtree could have been had. Either way, it seems no one was impressed.

2. No Help Internally Among Linebackers - Everyone sang the praises of Tamba Hali. As for the rest, well, it was clear KC needed help. The Chiefs had guys capable of making tackles. They didn't, however, have playmakers in the defensive mid-section. Mike Vrabel is lauded for his experience and leadership, but that doesn't take down the running back carving your defense apart. Corey Mays, Jovan Belcher, Demorrio Williams -- all guys that are good for depth, but there's a reason fans were chanting for Aaron Curry to be the Chiefs top pick in 2009. That's because the belief was that the Chiefs were average on their best day with their current linebacking corps in-house.

3. Glenn Dorsey Was The Wrong Man -
Or perhaps that should read Glenn Dorsey In The Wrong Scheme. Either way, the dominant opinion was that the Chiefs drafted the best defensive player available in 2008 without any thought of where they would play him. And then they brought in a new regime only to thrust Dorsey into another slot that wasn't suited for his style. In the end, it seemed the Chiefs spent millions of dollars and two Top Five choices on guys who wouldn't make a difference. That's a Matt Millen-esque failure.

4. The Chiefs Failed To Heal Their Wounds -
This one hurt the worst. All season long, you watch the bottom teams in the NFL expose their weaknesses and each week it gets worse. The reason, then, that the NFL draft is such a boon for fans is that we all hope our respective teams apply the right salve to heal the wound. Instead, the Chiefs drafted playmakers at positions not believed to be their primary issue. No top receiver. No offensive lineman. And no defensive front seven. While I was excited about the prospects of guys like Dexter McCluster and Eric Berry, I couldn't believe the Chiefs would head into 2010 with the same issues in play.

Well, one game into the season, all of these were wrong. Of course, some of this emerged in the pre-season. But the opening contest against the Chargers, sloppy as it was, revealed the beautiful truths set against these lies. Let's review, shall we?

1. The Mario Williams Principle - Charley Casserly was right all along. Too bad it got him fired. If you remember, Casserly was absolutely lambasted in the media for taking Texans DE Mario Williams first overall in the draft. Yet anyone who watched the three-time Pro Bowler against the Colts this last weekend knows how this one turned out.

What this tells us is that defensive linemen absolutely cannot be judged in their first couple of seasons. In fact, to do so is to fire the wrong guy, make the wrong personnel moves, and perhaps even drop a player before he's going to fully develop. If you watched the Chiefs-Chargers game, you saw both Dorsey and Jackson as key players among the Chiefs front line. Jackson ate up the run and did exactly what the front office envisioned for him and Dorsey is proving to not just hold his side, but to be a disruptive playmaker in the backfield. The best is clearly yet to come for both players.

2. Oh, Yeah, Derrick Johnson Is Here - For those wondering why the Chiefs failed to acquire another linebacker to push the starting line-up, perhaps most of us forgot that DJ was still in-house. The athletic linebacker made a fantastic start on Sunday, leading the team in tackles and displaying his sideline to sideline speed. If DJ can keep his play at this level, there's no denying the tremendous spark he provides up the middle.

3. The Emergence Of Stud-ebaker - That's an overstatement, but Andy has a fun last name. Studebaker is a force on special teams and reveals that despite the high profile player movement that other teams like the Ravens and Jets and Vikings engage in, some of the best answers can be found in the depth of your own team. Apparently, the front office views Studebaker as a future starter in the linebacking corps, and that will probably come sooner rather than later.

This says a lot more than just a reflection on Studebaker's play potential. This is a reflection on the answers to the Chiefs defensive woes already existing where we might not see them: on the roster or practice squad. The guys at the bottom have stuck for a reason and that's because the eyes and ears closest to the ground believe there's something there to be mined for. It took Studebaker a couple of years to really cement his place on the Chiefs, but with this extension, he's done just that.

The Chiefs front seven still has 15 games reveal its full hand, and the results will likely be ugly from time to time. But for those, including myself, who believed that Browns game from last season was a proper reflection of these players, we need to admit we were mistaken. I will happily take it all back and say that the defensive intensity displayed on Monday night was a sight to behold.