Big Question: Kansas City's defense

July, 13, 2010
7/13/10
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NFC Big Question: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Have the Chiefs done enough on defense to make the team a viable playoff contender?

There is renewed hope in Kansas City, where the Chiefs have won a total of 10 games the past three seasons. There is hope that the Chiefs can make a run at a .500 record and perhaps better.

[+] EnlargeEric Berry
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty ImagesTop pick Eric Berry will help the Chiefs defense, but the team needs more pieces.
Much of the excitement is because of what the team has done on offense. Quarterback Matt Cassel, in his second season in Kansas City, has a revamped offensive line, more receiving options, veteran running back Thomas Jones to go with young star Jamaal Charles and the group is headed by guru Charlie Weis, who is back in the NFL where he enjoyed his greatest success.

That is reason for hope. But what about on defense?

I’m not sure if Kansas City has improved enough on that side of the ball to make a serious playoff run. There are two new, significant pieces in coordinator Romeo Crennel and safety Eric Berry, who was the No. 5 overall pick. I think Crennel will make the defense better just because of his presence and I think Berry will be an impact player. Every great defense needs a stout safety and Berry should be just that.

But the Chiefs had a lot of holes on defense and need another significant addition or two that can help right away. I’d like to see an experienced pass-rusher and perhaps another linebacker.

If Crennel and Berry make big impacts and if young players such as Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson (two defensive linemen who were Kansas City’s No. 1 picks the past two years) make big strides, there is hope. But they need more impact personnel than just Crennel and Berry.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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