Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs Player Spotlight: Derrick Johnson

 

 

The Kansas City Chiefs are in a must-win situation this week when they travel to Washington to take on the 3-9 Redskins. Washington features the number one rushing offense in the league so middle linebacker Derrick Johnson will need to be on top of his game. He will have the KC Kingdom spotlight directly on him most of the day.

The Chiefs position in the playoffs is far from set right now so they must take care of a lesser, and struggling, opponent, even if it is on the road. Unlike their opposition over the past three weeks, the Redskins are totally committed to running the ball, and they rely on their ground game more than their aerial attack.

Still, Robert Griffin III can pass the ball. Washington ranks 16th in the league in passing, even though they have the top ground game in the NFL. Their record is 3-9 but it is not because of the 7th ranked offense in the league. Kansas City has been brutal on the defensive side of the ball over the past few weeks. They cannot underestimate how good the Redskins can be offensively.

Griffin III has over 3,000 yards passing and 460 yards running. He must be contained in the pocket, where he will turn the ball over. He has thrown 11 interceptions and fumbled 11 times this season. As talented as he is, he will cough it up if the Chiefs can apply pressure on him, and keep him inside the tackles.

Derrick Johnson will be a huge key to containing RGIII this week. Johnson must hold containment in the middle if the outside pass rush gets to Griffin III. Johnson will also have to be ready to track down the fleet footed quarterback if Griffin III gets flushed from the pocket. Johnson’s incredible skills in pursuit of the ball will most certainly come into play Sunday.

Of course, Kansas City will also have to deal with Alfred Morris, the fourth leading rusher in the NFL at 996 yards (Jamaal Charles is third with 1011 yards). Morris is a dangerous rusher who averages 4.8 yards per carry. Derrick Johnson will be kept busy a large portion of the day tracking down Morris when he takes the hand off.

Unlike Charles, Morris is not a threat to catch ball as he only has 6 pass receptions on the season, and 17 in his 2-year career. Washington likes to use Roy Helu out of the backfield in passing situations. Helu has 25 catches on the year, and is a talented back in his own right. Johnson won’t be able to take plays off just because Morris isn’t in the game.

USA; Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

There is little question as to how valuable Derrick Johnson is to the Chiefs’ defense. He leads the team with 92 total tackles, 33 more than the next highest, Eric Berry. He is 4th on the team in sacks with 3.5, 1st in tackles for loss with 8, tied for 1st in fumble recoveries with 2, and has 3 passes defensed, just for good measure.

He has turned himself into a Pro Bowl line backer who sometimes can fly under the radar with pass rushing line backers like Tamba Hali and Justin Houston in the huddle with him.

Derrick Johnson is the rock on this defense. He seems to never have a bad game. He goes out and does what he does best – he tracks down, and tackles whoever has the ball.

The Washington Redskins are more talented on offense than their record may show. Johnson will have to be key in stopping Morris and Griffin III, and helping the Chiefs end their three-game losing streak Sunday.

Keep an eye on number 56 this weekend as this is the kind of game Johnson should figure in heavily on the defensive side. There is a very good chance he will lead the team in tackles, not only because that is what he does anyway, but he should have plenty of opportunities against the Redskins.

Derrick Johnson is in the spotlight this week. Hopefully, it will shine on him in a big Chiefs’ road victory.

 

 

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