Discuss football with over 60,000 fans. Free Membership. Join now!

 FAQFAQ  RegisterRegister   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

FootballsFuture.com Forum Index
FootballsFuture.com Home

2017 KC Chiefs Roster Analysis - The Linebackers
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    FootballsFuture.com Forum Index -> Kansas City Chiefs
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
KC_Guy


Joined: 07 Jan 2008
Posts: 8950
Location: Brussels, Belgium
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:05 am    Post subject: 2017 KC Chiefs Roster Analysis - The Linebackers Reply with quote

The little chart below is a depth chart excerpt from the 2017 KC Chiefs Skeleton Depth Chart linked in the database. Throughout the analysis we will use that (continuouslyy updated) chart as a reference point for our considerations.

Color Codes:

black: 2016 player
bold: under contract through 2017 (in italics: status not confirmed)
violet: 2016 Practice Squad player
red: Free Agent
green: Draft Pick
orange: UDFA

WOLB - Ford, Hali, Nicholas
WILB - D. Johnson, Alexander
SILB - Mauga, R. Wilson, March-Lillard
SOLB - Houston, Zombo

Other Players: Okine, T. Smith, Ochi

A General Look at the Unit:
This unit may have been the most disappointing throughout the season. Ravaged by injuries and father time, an on paper great unit performed underwhelmingly more often than not. While individual performances in some games raised the level of hope, those blips usually went by pretty fast. Although the whole crew is under contract for 2017, I doubt we will see them all back. The unit is up for a general overhaul.

The Guys Under Contract:

Justin Houston had ACL surgery in February and has yet to fully recover. There was some hope late in the regular season when he briefly returned, but new issues took him off the field again. As of now there is hope he will be available for the playoffs. Even if not, he should be fully healed for OTAs and training camp. How effective he will be remains to be seen.
Tamba Hali got badly struck by father time this year. Suffering from knee issues previously, he took a lot of time off during practice sessions. His effectiveness on the field declined massively as well, so I would expect him to be on his way out - if not there was that contract guaranteeing him 6 M$ for the 2017 season. The only way the Chiefs can get out of that is if Hali retires or is traded (won't happen). So he may be back for the better or worse, but I would no longer consider him an effective starter.
Dee Ford flashed his skills during a 5 week stretch when he tallied 8.5 sacks, only to vanish from the stats sheets thereafter. It's weird. However, unless something very strange happens, he will return as a starter opposite to Houston next year, even if it is unlikely he will ever develop into a prime time Hali.
Frank Zombo probably saw more action than anticipated due to Houston's injury. While he's not a liability he's also not the player you want to see as your primary pass rusher. Due to his cheap contract and experience he should be back as depth next year.
Dadi Nicholas still is a developmental project. He showed some of his skills in limited action, but needs to develop further to become a permanent contributor on defense. His injury may set him back some, but I expect him back next year primarily in a ST role.
Derrick Johnson is the godfather of the unit. But even with him time catches up. It definitely showed this year. He looked slower, less aware than I remember him since he was benched by Todd Haley in 2009. After another achilles tear late in the season his return for 2017 is more than questionable. I'd really like to see him in a coaching role.
Josh Mauga may be the luckiest of all LB on IR as his injury occured prior to the season. So he should be available for 2017 and provide the experience at ILB the team lacked so badly after D. Johnson went down. While his contract numbers go up significantly I don't think the Chiefs will even consider releasing him due to the issues at the inside position this year.
Ramik Wilson may be the comeback player of the year. From potential back-up to release, practice squad and forced into a starting role, he had a rollercoaster of a season. I don't consider him starting quality as of now, especially against the run game. Way too often I saw him misplaced, allowing wide open lanes. He's got good speed and quickness, and obviously strong arms - but whenever he used those to recover and catch the runner from behind the other guy had already gained 5 or 6 yards. So he's got some work to do, his initial release may be proof that the team saw similar issues.
Justin March-Lillard broke his hand early on and is expected to play during the playoffs. There were high expectations already last year, and he showed he can be an impactful player early in the season. So here's hoping he's able to continue where he left off.
D.J. Alexander is a top ST player. Not more. His one week stint as a starting LB ended in havoc. So his role for next year has been carved out.
Terrance Smith joined the team late. I didn't pay him too much attention during the two games he started, but I don't consider him a longer term solution as a starter. He may return as a backup though.

Earl Okine and Victor Ochi have yet to see the field. They may be back or not.

The Guys in Red:
Noone there, the unit returns at full strength.

Cap Considerations:
I didn't like the extensions the Chiefs signed with Hali and D. Johnson a while ago - and right now I like them even less. Both have significant amounts of guaranteed money left (Hali: 5.75 M$, D. Johnson: 2 M$) in addition to the prorated portions of their signing bonuses. Thus releasing them will not clear much cap in 2017 (unless declared June 2 releases pushing some of the impact into 2018). Ford is in the final year of his rookie contract at 2.5 M$, Zombo at 1.25 M$, which seems fine for me. Houston's contract provides the opportunity to clear cap by restructuring it - a 16 M$ base salary prorated over let's say four years clears 12 M$ in 2017. But I don't like that process, so this should be considered an emergency option only.

Overall Assessment:
This unit needs to look different next year with (hopefully) a good bunch of the walking wounded back to their former self. However, I fully expect D. Johnson to retire and Hali being demoted to backup unless he also retires or is released. That takes two long time cornerstones of the unit out of the equation. While I assume Ford was drafted as Hali's heir (and I would not give up on him just now), the 2015 draft haul of ILB probably does not work out as expected. A line-up of Mauga and March-Lillard inside, backed up by Wilson and T. Smith may work, but it would definitely leave room for improvement. On the outside there's not much behind Houston and Ford, so this may be an area of concern as well. The team definitely needs to bring in starting caliber talent on the inside, and more depth on the outside. With the limited amount of cap available the only way is probably through the draft (note: I'm aware there are not that many high quality ILB in this year's draft). Who will ultimately start (other than Houston and Ford) is everyone's guess, so consider the chart below as a shot in the dark.

Coaching:
Gary Gibbs is the last coach left over from the previous regime (I think). He's had plenty of success with some of his LB. However, this year definitely was not the best one for him and his unit. Part of that is clearly related to injuries, but I also saw a lot of bad tackling or missed assignments, especially on the inside, including by D. Johnson. I consider Gibbs the coach most likely to have to move on involuntarily.

2017 LINEBACKER PROJECTION:

WOLB - Ford, Hali, Nicholas
WILB - March-Lillard, R. Wilson
SILB - high draft pick, T. Smith, third tier veteran
SOLB - Houston, Zombo, mid-round draft pick


UPDATE 1 Mar: With Mauga gone I expect the team to bring in a low budget veteran
_________________
Follow me on Twitter:@KC_Guy

Casa Estrellita - my retirement home


Last edited by KC_Guy on Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
ArrowheadRage58


Joined: 31 Aug 2011
Posts: 7802
Location: Hate for the Donkeys is at a mile high
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Arrow Your assessment seems to undervalue Dee Ford...maybe I misunderstood

Arrow Derrick Johnson lost awareness? I'm not so sure

Arrow I would consider Ramik Wilson a solid #2 starting ILB at this point
_________________
BroncosFan2010 wrote:

Your Denver hatred is borderline pathological. I don't think my girlfriend cheating on me would cause me as much hate as you have for Denver.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Rearviewmirror


Moderator
Joined: 24 Jan 2009
Posts: 19430
Location: ^^Tamba waiting on his next feast in the Avy Ryk on the sig
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dj already said he wasn't retiring obviously that could change, but to expect it now is silly. We do have to plan for at least half the season without him next year
_________________

les paul wrote:
There's only one thing that determines a teams performance on any given sunday
Their opponent-
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Rearviewmirror


Moderator
Joined: 24 Jan 2009
Posts: 19430
Location: ^^Tamba waiting on his next feast in the Avy Ryk on the sig
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ramik and March will probably be the starters next year
_________________

les paul wrote:
There's only one thing that determines a teams performance on any given sunday
Their opponent-
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
KC_Guy


Joined: 07 Jan 2008
Posts: 8950
Location: Brussels, Belgium
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ford: May be I undervalue him but I think he'll start next year. Then we shall see.
Johnson's awareness: I think he lost some. Broken tackles, weird angles, missing the obvious running lane. And he lost speed.
Johnson's retirement: I think he should. He'll lose even moreof his physicality. In any way: He won't be around for the better part of the season. Chiefs need to plan without him week 1 to 17.
Wilson: I consider him the main culprit of the ILB woes (other than DJ2). He's aworld class tackler from behind - but that's not your job as an ILB. If he starts next year something went wrong (unless the lights go on during pre-season).
March-Lillard starting: He did well early this year, so that could happen. But don't forget about Mauga - and definitely some fresh blood.
_________________
Follow me on Twitter:@KC_Guy

Casa Estrellita - my retirement home
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
mayanfootball


Joined: 13 Feb 2011
Posts: 1484
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KC_Guy wrote:
Ford: May be I undervalue him but I think he'll start next year. Then we shall see.
Johnson's awareness: I think he lost some. Broken tackles, weird angles, missing the obvious running lane. And he lost speed.
Johnson's retirement: I think he should. He'll lose even moreof his physicality. In any way: He won't be around for the better part of the season. Chiefs need to plan without him week 1 to 17.
Wilson: I consider him the main culprit of the ILB woes (other than DJ2). He's aworld class tackler from behind - but that's not your job as an ILB. If he starts next year something went wrong (unless the lights go on during pre-season).
March-Lillard starting: He did well early this year, so that could happen. But don't forget about Mauga - and definitely some fresh blood.
Pretty much agree, KC_Guy.
Chiefs desperately need to draft 3 strong LB tacklers. This yr. showed just how poorly they've drafted here and were prepared for injury.
Johnson's recovery isn't worth the effort to field him at his age.
Hali is broken down and needs to retire.
We're stuck with Houston/Ford, but need to draft another OLB to be ready.
Zombo is average.
Alexander is below average in awareness and tackling skills - replace him on the roster.
Maugua is average with poor tackling and coveage skills.
Wilson is average as he gets pushed around too much and is constantly behind in coverage.
March-Lillard played 1(one) good game then became stagnant.

For a 3-4 unit, KC linebackers are rather pathetic. It's supposed to be a 3-4 strength, but KC has made it a major weakness. Either invest in quality LB's via the draft (I don't like FA's/team cast offs) or go the a 4-3 defense and limit the damage there. Chiefs have some good DL's and simply need to add there, IMO. Oh, and lose Bob Sutton and find another DC to run the 4-3.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Jakuvious


Joined: 06 Sep 2010
Posts: 15213
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mayanfootball wrote:

Alexander is below average in awareness and tackling skills - replace him on the roster.


Alexander is one of the best special teamers on our roster. He set up several of Hill's best punt returns. Him being a below average ILB is fine considering he came into the year as our #5 guy. When 3 guys hit IR at a position where you start two, you're going to be left with someone below average.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
kingseanjohn


Joined: 16 Oct 2009
Posts: 4977
Location: Global
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jakuvious wrote:
mayanfootball wrote:

Alexander is below average in awareness and tackling skills - replace him on the roster.


Alexander is one of the best special teamers on our roster. He set up several of Hill's best punt returns. Him being a below average ILB is fine considering he came into the year as our #5 guy. When 3 guys hit IR at a position where you start two, you're going to be left with someone below average.


Exactly. He deserves a spot for special teams alone. He's like a modern day Gary Stills.
_________________


The Air Less Expected on 3rd down AKA the ALEX scale
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Rearviewmirror


Moderator
Joined: 24 Jan 2009
Posts: 19430
Location: ^^Tamba waiting on his next feast in the Avy Ryk on the sig
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes mayan switch to a 4-3 defense where our current LU would be

Houston Jones Bailey Ford
March Maugha Wilson


sounds like a solid way to get your best players on the field

You complain about having [inappropriate/removed] LBs but want to switch to a defense that plays more of them? Are you insane? a 3-4 defense isn't really 4 linebackers, it's 5 DL and 2 LB. Edges are not LBs in a 4-3 and unless they have Von Miller like agility and movement skills they aren't gonna plays there successfully.
_________________

les paul wrote:
There's only one thing that determines a teams performance on any given sunday
Their opponent-
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
jimmydee1


Joined: 20 Sep 2013
Posts: 442
Location: Missouri
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does it really matter ....3-4 or 4-3, since we are in packages (nickel / dime, etc) 75% of the time anyway??

Jus askin...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mayanfootball


Joined: 13 Feb 2011
Posts: 1484
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Alexander is one of the best special teamers on our roster.

Quote:
Exactly. He deserves a spot for special teams alone. He's like a modern day Gary Stills.
LOL So let's draft a guy to play LB (where we need help) but he can't fathom NFL linebacking so keep him for ST?
Chiefs can find plenty of help at ST. That's what, maybe 12 plays a game? I like Eric Murray better and he'll probably be a starting safety sooner than later. Now that's contribution.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mayanfootball


Joined: 13 Feb 2011
Posts: 1484
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jimmydee1 wrote:
Does it really matter ....3-4 or 4-3, since we are in packages (nickel / dime, etc) 75% of the time anyway??

Jus askin...
Agree with the package stuff. And that's a problem in stopping the run. A 4-3 puts big men up front to slow the run on 1st, 2nd down and are important to attacking the QB on 3rd. down.
It's just that Sutton doesn't see the value in stopping the run either, so Chiefs lose the TOP game.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mayanfootball


Joined: 13 Feb 2011
Posts: 1484
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
yes mayan switch to a 4-3 defense where our current LU would be

Houston Jones Bailey Ford
March Maugha Wilson
That's your LU, not mine.

I like
Chris Jones, Poe/draftee, Jaye Howard, Allen Bailey
Houston, Wilson/draftee, Ford

It's much easier to field this defense and draft to improve.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Rearviewmirror


Moderator
Joined: 24 Jan 2009
Posts: 19430
Location: ^^Tamba waiting on his next feast in the Avy Ryk on the sig
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mayanfootball wrote:
Quote:
yes mayan switch to a 4-3 defense where our current LU would be

Houston Jones Bailey Ford
March Maugha Wilson
That's your LU, not mine.

I like
Chris Jones, Poe/draftee, Jaye Howard, Allen Bailey
Houston, Wilson/draftee, Ford

It's much easier to field this defense and draft to improve.



Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing
Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

Mayan wants to play Goal Line every down
_________________

les paul wrote:
There's only one thing that determines a teams performance on any given sunday
Their opponent-
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Jakuvious


Joined: 06 Sep 2010
Posts: 15213
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mayanfootball wrote:
Quote:
Alexander is one of the best special teamers on our roster.

Quote:
Exactly. He deserves a spot for special teams alone. He's like a modern day Gary Stills.
LOL So let's draft a guy to play LB (where we need help) but he can't fathom NFL linebacking so keep him for ST?
Chiefs can find plenty of help at ST. That's what, maybe 12 plays a game? I like Eric Murray better and he'll probably be a starting safety sooner than later. Now that's contribution.


He was a 5th round pick. You don't draft a guy in the 5th expecting a starting caliber player. You draft a guy either because he can contribute in spots (special teams, rotations, etc.) or because they're high potential but high probability of failure. I don't know what you're expecting. Should we not keep special teamers on the roster? If Murray doesn't wind up starting at S should we just cut him? Even if he's a cheap special teams star?

And Alexander played 357 snaps on special teams. So yes, about 12 per game. That's more than Charcandrick West or Anthony Sherman got on offense. And Alexander is better at special teams than those guys are at offense. Should we cut them?

Your expectations for players and the roster are random, and at times, non-sensical. There's nothing wrong with a niche contributor as long as they're being paid as such. A phenomenal special teamer at minimum salary is EASILY worth a roster spot.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   

Post new topic   Reply to topic    FootballsFuture.com Forum Index -> Kansas City Chiefs All times are GMT - 4 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum




Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group