ST. JOSEPH, MO –
Gilberry appears thicker. It’s in a good way. Physically, he just looks stronger.
“He’s not but two pounds off of what he was last year,” Haley said. “It might just be redistributed a little differently.”
At 6-2, 268, Gilberry is built more like an outside linebacker than a defensive end. The majority of Kansas City’s defensive linemen outweigh Gilberry significantly. Starting defensive ends
Because of his smaller frame, Gilberry is often pigeon-holed as a rush player only. The assumptions are unfair based off last year’s snap count. Gilberry played more defensive snaps that any defensive lineman outside of Dorsey.
“He already has been a rotational player for us, and again, when you get into gameday roster numbers, that’s a very important factor,” Haley said. “I don’t know that we can have just a pass rush guy.
“We went to games last year with five defensive linemen, and you’ve got to have some versatility in that. That’s why you would see Wallace Gilberry playing, and he’s continued to develop here since we’ve been here. I would expect him to continue to improve.”
While his overall snap count made him much more than a niche player, the majority of Gilberry’s play-time did come in sub-package sets. One of Gilberry’s personal goals is to become a regular in Kansas City’s 3-4 base as well.
“To be called a pass rusher in this league, it means a lot to me, but at the same time I want to be a defensive end,” Gilberry said. “When I leave here I want to be known as a defensive end so overall, I feel like I’ll be able to hold it on but if not, so be it.”
Gilberry’s role has grown with the Chiefs since a mid-season arrival in 2008. He’s given the Chiefs a steady increase in productivity since the club plucked in off the N.Y. Giants’ practice squad that season.
Last year, Gilberry logged career highs in sacks (7.0), QB pressures (15), forced fumbles (2), fumble recoveries (2) and passes defensed (2).
“We’ll have to see what he can do this year,” Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel said. “I know that he’s been working hard and I think that he’s conscientious about trying to be an every-down player. We’ll see.”
Coming off an expiring contract and hitting restricted free agency, the Chiefs tendered Gilberry at the second-round level and currently own his rights through the 2011 season. He signed the one-year tender offer on July 31st.
With Dorsey out of action on Friday, Gilberry was given an opportunity to run with the first-team defense in base sets.
“I feel good,” Gilberry said. “My weight feels good, I’m moving around pretty good, I feel like I’m in good shape.”
Gilberry owns two career starts. Both came last season when the Chiefs opened in nickel sets vs. Buffalo and at Seattle.
“Defensive line is a critical spot for our defense in general,” Haley said. “Everybody says it, but that’s where you build the foundation of your defense and your offense, is up front. I don’t think you can ever have enough good defensive linemen.”
“I feel comfortable (in base sets), but at the same time know why I’m here,” said Gilberry. “I’m here because I’m good at rushing the passer, so I can’t forget that myself.”