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2 Kansas City Chiefs
Jeffri Chadiha
September 04, 2006
There will be Law and order on defense with the arrivals of a Pro Bowl corner and a coach who made his name as a DB
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September 04, 2006

2 Kansas City Chiefs

There will be Law and order on defense with the arrivals of a Pro Bowl corner and a coach who made his name as a DB

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THE BELIEF
Sorely in need of another playmaker on defense, the Chiefs got their man in Pro Bowl cornerback Ty Law, a 12-year veteran who was given a five-year, $30 million free-agent deal. That pickup, plus Larry Johnson's emergence as an elite running back in 2005 and the arrival of new coach Herm Edwards, puts K.C. a few steps closer to Super Bowl contention.

THE REALITY
Yes, he's 32 and was battling an injury, but Law can still dominate receivers and have a huge impact on games. He teams with big-play cornerback Patrick Surtain to give Kansas City its best corner duo since Dale Carter and James Hasty in the mid- to late 1990s. Law also gives defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham more confidence to run his exotic blitz packages. As defensive tackle Lional Dalton says, "We should get a lot more coverage sacks with Ty back there."

The Chiefs certainly need something to punch up their pass defense. Last year they tied for 26th in sacks (29) and were 30th in passing yards allowed (229.9 per game). The significance of the second stat is questionable because K.C. found itself defending several big leads, yet the players acknowledge that big plays killed them. "We'd play consistently for stretches and then give up a 60-yard run or a long pass that changed the game," says Dalton.

That's where Law, with 46 career interceptions, should help. He's an instinctive, physical corner who positions himself well in zone and man coverage. Law downplays his role-"I didn't come here to be a savior," he says-but opponents won't be so quick to attack his side of the field.

Law's presence will also have a positive effect in practices and the locker room. For one, he commands the respect that goes with winning three Super Bowl rings with the Patriots. "He knows what it takes for a team to get to that next level," says Surtain. That was evident after one training-camp practice, when Edwards, who played 10 seasons at cornerback in the NFL, pulled Law aside to show him how to funnel outside receivers into the middle in Edwards's Cover 2 scheme. "The younger players could see how he asked great questions about his role in this defense, that he's really a coachable guy," Edwards says. "He hasn't come in here acting like he has all the answers."

Law admits his ego took a hit before last season, when Kansas City passed on him and signed Surtain (seven years, $50.8 million). At the time, however, the Chiefs were concerned about Law's recovery from a broken left foot suffered in October 2004, an injury that, in fact, nagged him last fall when he played for the Jets. There were weeks when he had to miss one or two days of practice so he could play on Sundays, and Law estimates that his foot was probably 75% healthy.

Nevertheless, Law still had 10 interceptions, tied for the NFL lead, and earned his fifth trip to the Pro Bowl. This off-season he was able to work out regularly with noted track coach Bob Kersee and trim his weight from 217 pounds to 204. With a lighter frame, a healed left foot and the confidence gained from enduring what he calls his "toughest professional season," Law is eager to give K.C. the boost it needs. "I was never 100 percent last year, and I still made the Pro Bowl," he says. "If I can do that with one wheel, there's no telling what I can do now."

2006 SCHEDULE

SEPTEMBER

10 CINCINNATI

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