When assessing the Chiefs' weak spots this season, the defensive line certainly would rank near the top. The unit has underachieved for most of 2010, and lately it has shown in the opponents' rushing numbers. However, the team might have received its D-line highlight of the season in Week 15.
A quiet contributor for most of the season, DE Wallace Gilberry made an enormous impact at St. Louis, sacking Sam Bradford three times in a key victory. Despite coming off the bench in all but one game this season, Gilberry ranks second on Kansas City with seven sacks, the most among defensive linemen. Even without extensive playing time, the undrafted third-year player has emerged as the biggest difference maker along the line.
"Wallace is another great example of a guy that has bought in from Day One and has worked hard, is very coachable, very passionate about being a part of this team," head coach Todd Haley said. "He's developed and has gotten better, and (Sunday) obviously he had some real big plays for us."
While Gilberry and fellow reserve Shaun Smith have stood out, Haley has not had much glowing praise for the rest of the line. From what we hear, the team is nearly ready to declare DE Tyson Jackson a bust. The third overall pick in the 2009 draft, Jackson has accumulated just 26 tackles and one sack this season and has been nearly invisible in the run game. Thinking they had the DLE spot taken care of, the Chiefs might have to address it in the offseason.
Another position at which they will be looking to upgrade is nose tackle, where we're told that Ron Edwards is no longer a legitimate NFL starter. The 31-year-old's production has been minimal, and at 315 pounds, he is undersized as a 3-4 middle man, unable to take on double-teams in order to free up defenders. It's almost certain K.C. will try to add a nose tackle on Draft Day.
Even DE Glenn Dorsey, who began the season on fire, has cooled off since then. He excelled at setting the edge against the run early on but hasn't been as effective doing so in recent weeks. His re-emergence will be critical for the Chiefs to improve their run "D" heading into the postseason.