Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs Defense Must Find Holistic Success in 2013
The Kansas City Chiefs were a trendy pick to win the AFC West in large part last season thanks to a defense that is stacked with young talent. Their ability to turn this into a cohesive, suffocating unit will depend hugely on the development of major investments like strong safety Eric Berry.
While he’s shown an incredible knack for blowing things up in the run game, he’s failed to deliver on his top-ten draft selection as of yet because of shortcomings in the pass game. The man can fly all over the place yet ranked 67th among qualifying safeties in Pro Football Focus coverage grades last season and just 58th back in 2010 (landed on injured reserve early in 2011).
KC did not stand up to the run or pass last year particularly well, despite the All-Pro-caliber potential in Derrick Johnson, Brandon Flowers, Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, along with a slew of first-round selections. The unit finished 20th in total defense (27th against run and 12th against the pass) last year.
“(We) come out. They bust a 50-yard run on us. Like, dang, all right, that’s BS. We can’t have that,” Berry told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “But we end up stopping them and holding them to a field goal. That’s how we’re trying to get stuff corrected quickly and not just keep going downhill. Get it turned around.”
The Chiefs will be able to show resistance to downhill running more so if new KC Coach Andy Reid can inject life into the offense, and not leave zero hope of points hitting the board for the Chiefs offense. Houston and Hali are a nice bookend pass rush to utilize.