KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The fourth and fifth Kansas City Chiefs players have popped up on ESPN's rankings of the top 100 defensive players. Safety Eric Berry is in at No. 21 and outside linebacker Tamba Hali checks in at No. 27.
Both players are deserving of top 100 ranks. So are the other top Chiefs defensive players, nose tackle Dontari Poe at 35, outside linebacker Justin Houston at 42 and inside linebacker Derrick Johnson at 62.
So how did the Chiefs' defense do a huge nosedive the last half of last season and waste a 28-point, third-quarter lead in the playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts? Houston missed five games last season because of a dislocated elbow but his absence alone doesn't explain why the Chiefs were so bad defensively over the season's second half.
There's a huge disconnect between the talent level and the way the Chiefs have played on defense. The Chiefs have five premier defensive players and filled in the other spots around them with decent players (other than perhaps cornerback, an important position). So if the Chiefs don't play better on defense this season, they'll someday look back at these times and regret a wasted opportunity.