Not Waiting For Ty


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Jan 22, 2006
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Not Waiting For Ty
Jun 05, 2006, 8:14:52 AM by Bob Gretz

So, think the Chiefs are just sitting back and waiting for Ty Law to sign?

You don’t know Herman Edwards and Gunther Cunningham very well then.

Whether Law ever wears a red and gold uniform, the Chiefs are preparing for the 2006 season like somebody other than the veteran free agent corner will be holding down the spot opposite Patrick Surtain.

Sometime in the next month, Law and the Chiefs will have serious discussions about a contract. That will happen only if his financial demands drop considerably from the numbers his representatives have been floating around the league. If Law is looking only for the biggest payday available to him, it doesn’t appear likely he’ll land in Kansas City. If he’s looking for a nice paycheck, a coach he knows and trusts, and the chance to be a final piece in a puzzle for a contender, then there could be an Arrowhead in his future.

The Chiefs have gone on about their business of getting the defense ready for the season. There’s no waiting around in football. They went out and grabbed a collection of corners, added them to a few already on the roster and they’ve been working that group hard through the off-season.

So, we went to the head coach and asked him to put on his old scouting hat and tell us about these corners and what he’s seen from them. He first wanted to talk about something all these corners share: defensive backs coach David Gibbs.

“The greatest thing all these guys have going for them is their coach, David Gibbs,” said Edwards. “He’s not going to give an inch. I think they are starting to feel that. I think if they think they can break David Gibbs, they are in for a rude awakening. Plus, he has the head coach’s backing too, so they had better come to understand what that situation is all about.

“What we know is that we have guys back there with a lot of talent. With all of them, it starts with you’ve got to lineup correctly and you’ve got to us the proper technique. I can’t say that enough to this whole football team right now. The guys that figure that out and get it done are the guys that are going to be on the field.”

One player who knows that is Lenny Walls, a five-year NFL veteran who came over from Denver, where he played under Gibbs. Right now, he’s running with the first team.

“He had a pretty good mini-camp for a guy that had been out for a year,” Edwards said of Walls. “He came in and did some nice things. He’s a talented guy.”

On to the other candidates:

JULIAN BATTLE – A former third-round draft choice, now in his fourth NFL season and he’s barely gotten on the field. Battle is coming off a torn Achilles tendon that cost him the entire 2005 season.

“I think Julian Battle has great talent, but he plays in flashes,” said Edwards. “I tell players, that sometimes talent can be a curse if you don’t use it correctly. He’s got to mature, so he can do things repeatedly over and over. He has to be more disciplined and I think he’s going to learn that. If you are going to play in this secondary, you are going to be a disciplined guy because there are 10 guys counting on you to do it right.”

MICHAEL BRAGG – Last year, Bragg signed as a rookie free agent with the New York Giants, but was released before the start of the regular season. He signed with the Chiefs back in January. In college at Texas A&M-Kingsville he helped the Javelinas reach the Division II semifinals in 2003 and won All-America honors in the long jump three times.

“He can run, and he’s made some plays,” said Edwards. “The thing I noticed about him right away is he’s gotten his hands on balls, he’s knocked them away. He’s stripped probably three or four receivers. He’s a good finisher. Good secondary guys know they need to finish.”

ALPHONSO HODGE – A fifth-round draft pick from last season that never got on the field as a rookie.

“I think he’s improved,” Edwards said. “He’s played a little bit of nickel with Benny Sapp being unable to really practice because he’s coming off an injury. He’s paying attention. He’s trying to do things as they are being taught. If he can show the discipline, of doing the things we ask, he’s got a chance.”

CHRIS JOHNSON – As a college player at Louisville, Johnson once ran the 40-yard dash for NFL scouts in 4.18 seconds. Even the scouts with the slow stopwatches caught him in 4.22 seconds. A former seventh-round draft choice of Green Bay, Johnson spent two injury-filled seasons with the Packers before he was traded last year to the St. Louis Rams at the start of the 2005 season for LB Robert Thomas. He played 14 games, starting one for the Rams, with 25 tackles.

“He can really run, but he has to trust his eyes more,” said Edwards. “We are going to be a zone team. We are going to play some man-to-man, but we are going to be predominantly a zone team. They have to have great eyes and they have to have great footwork so they can react to the ball. That’s where he must make improvement.”

KEVIN GARRETT - A fifth-round selection in the 2003 NFL Draft by St. Louis, Garrett spent two seasons with the Rams playing in 23 games with one start and was released in the 2005 pre-season.

“He’s got some talent, he has some skills,” said Edwards. “He’s another one who at the end of the day, he needs to trust his eyes. He can run fast, but he gets stuck sometimes when he doesn’t believe what he is seeing. That’s new for a lot of these guys.

“I told him he had more pressure on him than anybody in camp. He looked at me and said ‘Why coach?’ I told him, ‘you see that number you are wearing, No. 46. Don’t screw that number up’.”

Edwards wore No. 46 during his NFL playing career.

MARCUS MAXEY – A fifth-round pick in April’s draft by the Chiefs out of the University of Miami, Maxey missed the work in the team mini-camp session because of an injury but should be back on the field soon.

“He’s doing OK in the classroom, but like for most rookies, the whole thing is spinning a little bit,” said Edwards. “We are asking him to do some things that he didn’t do in Miami. He’s got some talent. He’ll be fine.”

Not included in this discussion was Justin Perkins, who spent the spring playing in NFL Europe and was part of the World Bowl game there with the Amsterdam Admirals.

The opinions offered in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the Kansas City Chiefs.
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