Photo: Denny Medley USA Today Sports
St. Joseph, MO - Despite a hamstring twinge that’s kept All Pro Safety Eric Berry on the sidelines for parts of training camp, the former first round pick is not only ready for the Chiefs first preseason game next week but he has an eye on the start of the regular season.
The key to the Kansas City Chiefs 2013 season could ultimately come down to how well their defense plays in crunch time. We know the offense will be better but winning more games than losing is going to boil down to how well the Chiefs Pro Bowl play makers get it done in the fourth quarter.
One of those playmakers third year Safety, Eric Berry, who has a pair of Pro Bowls under his belt. But those rewards don’t mean much in preparing for the regular season. And next Friday, the Chiefs travel to New Orleans to play the Saints in an exhibition game and Berry is itching to be part of the live action.
“Anytime you step out on the field, it’s definitely fun but you know how it can be during camp,” Berry said.
And with training camp entering the second week, Berry and his teammates are doing their very best to get ready for not only their first football game in August, but keeping an eye out for the start of the regular season in September.
But before that happens, the grind of training camp is a proving ground that will ultimately prepare the Chiefs for live action games when it really counts.
”I think they do a good job of putting us in situations where we can forget that we are at camp and go at it with the offense. We can realize that we’re out here for a bigger purpose, and I think that helps out a lot,” Berry said of his coaching staff.
For Berry and the rest of his teammates, getting a preseason primer is a good thing. But it’s also a gauge to see how well KC’s defensive secondary can gel. In fact, with the talents of Cornerbacks Brandon Flowers, Sean Smith and safety, Kendrick Lewis, Kansas City has one of the better young secondary units in the NFL.
Based on that youth and talent, new defensive coordinator, Bob Sutton, is going to ask his secondary to mix it up and Berry is looking forward to that.
”I’m going to be all over the place. I really had to get into my playbook because there are certain things I didn’t know how to do in the past. I have to know what to do as a linebacker, so to speak. Sometimes I’m rushing off the edge. Sometimes I have to stay on top of my game before the back end, like with the safety position. There are just so many different things that I have to know what to do and I pretty much just cause confusion on the opposing offense. I guess that’s my job,” Berry said about Suttons new defensive schemes.
That means Berry, who is an accomplished blitz man, is going to be situations that allow the Chiefs to use his speed and skills beyond those he already possess in regards to pass coverage and run defense. But to Berry, he knows being well rounded is the key to making plays.
”I like my job because it’s multiple. They ask me to do a lot of things. I blitz, I cover, I play the pass. I feel like that’s a lot to put on a player, but I feel like I can handle it so I put a lot on myself. As far as my techniques and trying to learn the defense, I want to be able to fit that role and help my team out,” Berry said.
Thus if the Chiefs defense is going to rise from one of the leagues worst to one of the best in just one season, Berry has to be the leader in the secondary. That means he has to give it his all in practice and on game days.
“Like I said, every time you step out on that field it’s always fun. It’s exciting. Whether we’re at practice or a game, I treat both of them the same way. Under the lights it’s show time. I’m always excited,” Berry said.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Will Eric Berry have an All Pro season?
For all the news, notes and quotes on the Chiefs, visit WarpaintIllustrated.com