Looking at the Kansas City Chiefs’ roster and trying to pick the defensive MVP takes me back to when I was a kid at the grocery store. I would get my choice of one candy bar (if I was good) and the decision process was torture because so many things seem like the right answer but sadly, there could only be one.
One week Dontari Poe looks like the answer, then it’s Justin Houston, then Eric Berry, and then Tamba Hali. Poe is an excellent run stuffer and brings tremendous pressure, Houston and Hali have stopped so many drives with their pass rush, and Berry makes plays and brings an unmatched versatility to the team. It’s another maddening decision to make in which there seem to be several right answers.
After racking my brain and trying to pick just one MVP from the ridiculously talented Chiefs defense, I’m going with Derrick Johnson as the most valuable defender. With a team high 61 tackles (25 more than the next best), Johnson is on pace for his fourth straight season with 120+ in the category. He’s also compiled 3.5 sacks, three defended passes, four tackles for a loss, as well as handling defensive play-calling duties.
His stats are impressive, but what puts the team captain over the top is his leadership and contagious passion. Coach Andy Reid commented on the subject via the team website saying:
“You know what I like is his enthusiasm every day. He comes out and he’s been doing this a long time. Those guys that are kind of in his shoes there, that have survived a very tough position for a number of years, that still can come out and bring energy every day, have to marvel at those guys. They’re special and he falls into that category.”
On top of his incredible performance and passion, the nine-year veteran passes an invaluable knowledge of the game to the younger guys. Johnson has been exactly what a team trying to make a big turnaround needs.