Poe Adjusts to 3-4 Defense

Published 08/17 2012 10:12AM

Updated 08/20 2012 01:54PM

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- For the third time in five years, the Kansas City Chiefs used their first overall draft pick on a defensive lineman. Now Dontari Poe's fighting for a starting spot alongside Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson.  But as both of those guys know, the jump to the NFL is no easy task.

Dontari Poe took on a large burden when he was selected as the 11th overall pick in the 2012 draft.
While many expect immediate production out of the Memphis product, Chiefs' head coach Romeo Crennel understands that it's going to take to some time.

"This league is a tough league, and he has tough guys that he has to go against," notes Crennel.  "Big tough guys that he's gotta go against."
 "You just have a totally different mindset, playing against grown men now," Poe agrees.

But more than just the size and strength of the guys across from him.  He's also dealing with a new 3-4 scheme at the NFL level - something  former first rounder Tyson Jackson knows all about.  "We play a 34 defense, so it's not as simple as the average person may think," says Jackson.  "There's not pin your ears back, get through and get up field. It's nothing like that. It's real technique sound, you have to be fundamental at all times, staying square and keeping those linebackers free.

Now going through his first training camp with the Chiefs, Poe says it everything is different than his days at Memphis.
"Everything. Because it's all different. The speed of it. The technique of it. There's nothing the same about the college and the NFL. The only thing that's the same is it's football. But as far as the speed of it and the strength and all that, you gotta learn. Learn all over again."

Learning everything again is nothing new for rookies. Romeo Crennel recalls his days as the New York Giants special teams coach, speaking with defensive end Eric Dorsey about how long it took to grasp the schemes.  "I said, 'Eric, when did you become comfortable in the system?' And he told me it took him three-quarters of a year to fully understand how to play the technique, understand where the blocks were coming from, how he needed to play the blocks. Whether it takes that long for Dontari, I don't know. We'll just have to wait and see."

That learning curve is giving Anthony Toribio a chance to shine.
Toribio's played 6 games combine over the last two seasons, but right now, he's just enjoying his status at the top of the depth chart.
"I just look at it like another great opportunity. If I came here fourth string, third string, it's an opportunity for me to make the 53-man roster."

The third man in the mix at nose tackle is Jerrell Powe, another guy with just a couple years of experience. No matter who gets the starting job , a lot is expected of them..

"Up front, there's big expectations no matter what, whether it's Tyson or me, myself," says Glenn Dorsey.  "We're going to need every position, and it's not just the nose guard. Tyson and I, and the guys behind us, we're all going to have to get it together and get it right."

(Matt Tritten, KQTV, St. Joseph, MO)

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