The Kansas City Chiefs gave LB Derrick Johnson a five-year contract extension earlier this season, which quieted some concerns he may be leaving in free agency at the end of the year. DJ's story is unique. He was a first-round pick and everything that comes with that as he started his first four years in the league. Todd Haley was hired and for some reason DJ's playing time was cut back drastically and DJ's 2009 season was almost non-existent. Then he won the starting job in training camp this year and hasn't looked back putting on one of his strongest seasons to date.
In Week 16 against the St. Louis Rams, DJ was once again critical in the Chiefs success as he had 17 tackles and four passes defensed earning him the AFC Defensive Player of the Week award. After their seemingly awkward start to their relationship, Haley and DJ are on the same page. DJ's playing awesome and he's doing it the way Haley wants it done.
"This year in particular, starting with the off-season, you could tell that he had the mindset to try to get the most out of himself and allow the most to get out of him and he has stacked, he has really stacked game on top of game where he’s been the epitome of what we’re trying to do – just get a little better every day – and in his case, with such ability, ends up being a real good player and the game he played the other day against St. Louis, he’s stacked a bunch of really good games together and made big plays for us but that game in particular, that was a true all-pro effort."
Something you should know about Haley -- he doesn't recognize guys individually very often. He constantly stresses the team aspect of things so you don't hear him calling out one player and saying they were really good (or really bad). This is among the highest praises DJ has received in the Todd Haley era.
"Across the board, he did everything for us and was such a big part of helping us win and obviously it’s an 11-man defense but the chances and opportunities he had he took full advantage of, whether it was knocking a ball down, making a tackle, chasing somebody down the sideline, chasing the quarterback down on a big third down. He did a great job but he’s been doing that and he’ll say that it’s due to everybody else doing their job, which it is but at the same time, it’s his superb skill level that he’s utilizing with a lot of work and practice and dedication."
We've heard some chatter about a potential Pro Bowl for DJ which would be well deserved, especially when you consider he's already had his payday via a five-year contract extension.
We've talked this year about how everything just seems to fit really well with the Chiefs -- it all makes sense. So they wrap him up to an extension and then he has one of his best years. That's the kind of fit I'm talking about. It's looking right now that the decision to extend Derrick Johnson was a smart move for the Chiefs.