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Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Chiefs' defense can adapt to playing fast

By Adam Teicher

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs are third in the league in total defense after two games, but they will get a different kind of challenge Thursday night in Philadelphia, where the Eagles and their fast-paced offense await.

Compounding the challenge is that the game will be played following a short practice week. The Chiefs did some work on the Eagles before this week to help with preparations. They’ll have to play various schemes with whatever personnel group they have on the field, which could play to their advantage given the versatility of many of their mainstay defensive players.

Johnson
“Realistically, whatever group that's out there for us, personnel-wise, is going to be out there, period,’’ defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. “In their system of offense, they're not going to allow you an opportunity to substitute. We recognize that. We deal with that all the time. Just like anytime you send a group out there, you have to have flexibility in the calls, and you want to make sure that the right adjustments are made.

“It's still football, and I think one of the things you want to do is you still want to look at what the formation is. You can't just be happy that you got the call, you need to get your cleats into the ground, you need to get your eyes where they're supposed to be and you still need to be able to play. Sometimes that's harder than others, but you just have to roll with it, it's a way of life in the National Football League right now.’’

Inside linebacker Derrick Johnson is the player charged with getting the defensive call from the sideline and relaying it to his teammates. The defensive communication has been very good through the first two games, but Johnson said he anticipates plays when the Chiefs simply won’t have time for communication.

“You’ve got to have a lot of plays a defense goes to without a coach calling it, default plays,’’ Johnson said. “They get up to the line of scrimmage and they snap the ball. You don’t have time to listen for the calls or have them do signals and all that stuff. It’s got to be a thing where the players have to call it some of the time.

“We’ll go through it to know, if they’re in this personnel, we’ll call this or if they’re in that personnel, we’ll call that."