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Examiner
  • Hali's positive words about defense should excite fans

  • After Chiefs training camp Thursday, Pro Bowl linebacker Tamba Hali spoke to the media. It’s a rare event Hali speaking to a crowd of media people. Hali is the last to leave a fan, but avoids dialog with the press, letting his hard work speak for him. That’s how Hali believes he should lead too.

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  • After Chiefs training camp Thursday, Pro Bowl linebacker Tamba Hali spoke to the media.
     
    It’s a rare event Hali speaking to a crowd of media people. Hali is the last to leave a fan, but avoids dialog with the press, letting his hard work speak for him. That’s how Hali believes he should lead too.
     
    “I try not to be too much of a vocal leader, because I get tired of talking,” Hali said when asked about his leadership style. ”My thing is come out here and work hard, whatever the coach says, and then we should do it. Do it like you love it, even if you don’t. That’s one way of leading, that’s how I go about my work. I come out here and I try to exhaust myself with working. That way guys say that guy is working, so we should work hard too.”
     
    Hali has always worked. He worked himself out of a war-torn country as a teenager and now finds himself working even harder as a senior citizen on Kansas City’s roster. With no player over 30 he’s old at 28.
     
    “My body feels old, but every time we touch the field we feel young again,” Hali responded when asked how old he feels. “Once we are walking off, we feel old, but when we get on the field we feel young again.”
     
    Jokingly Hali said he’s 28, but football-wise he’s more like 49.
     
    Hali has become one of the best at what he does, but as a whole Kansas City’s defense is gaining respect. Hali wouldn’t comment about Justin Houston, not wanting to grade his fellow players. Hali didn’t want to guess about things that haven’t happened yet either.
     
    Hali reverted to something former coach Marty Schottenheimer said  lots of times – one play at a time. Not putting a number on them, Hali said that's how the defense can improve in 2012.
     
    “I can’t put numbers on us,” Hali said about where the defense might be ranked during the season. “We start out and then we’ve got to stop the run. Then we have to get after the passer, one play at a time and one game at a time. We have our goals; we can’t look at anything else other than that. After the season, we’ll look at the numbers.”
     
    But the goal to Hali is the same prize every Chief fan wants this season.
     
    “The goals are the win the AFC West; that is our primary goal. Once we get into the dance, then we’ll have another goal from there, but right now it’s a game at a time and we want to be 1-0 at the end of every week. The guys are not worried about the next game; we are worried about one game at a time to win the AFC West. As you guys know we have a real tough division this year with a lot of top quarterbacks and good pass rushers in our league and in our conference. It’s going to be tough this year, but we’ve got to work through it.”
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    Oh, and Hali said Kansas City needs Dwayne Bowe in camp so they can win the AFC West. He didn’t say they couldn’t without Bowe, but Hali, a man of few words, did mention not having Bowe in camp. Not sure if it was a hint toward Scott Pioli, Bowe, or both, but I’ve learned that when Hali says something, it’s usually the truth.
     
    What makes Hali so wonderful is he’s very simple. He works hard, plays hard, and gives everything he’s got. He doesn’t know any other way. And that makes him fantastic for Kansas City.
     
    A true Chiefs treasure is Hali, a player who should always remain a Chief. And Bowe – if you’re listening – please get to camp. Your leader Hali said so!
     
    My favorite thing Hali said this past Thursday: “Our defense right now is looking good, we come out here and we are contagious, one person makes a play then another guy wants to make a play. As a whole we are very confident in what we are doing.”
     
    Talk of the defense making plays and feeding off each other gets me excited. As good as Hali is he isn’t the only one, not anymore. There are several on the Chiefs roster who could do their own thing in 2012. There are more players on Kansas City such as Eric Berry and Houston that are capable of making their own dent on the 2012 season.
     
    Infectious reminds me of past Chief defenses that fed off each other. It was a lot of fun watching Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith pounce on the opposition, Dan Saleaumua plug the middle, while Dale Carter and James Hasty secured the corners.
     
    Confident defenses were something Chief fans used to count on.
     
    I’m not sure how good the offense will be. I’m pretty sure Matt Cassel, Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis will make it better. I think Jon Baldwin is more than just camp hype. Baldwin is super hungry and ready to take Bowe’s job. Scoring more than 13 points a game, like in 2011, shouldn’t be hard to do.
     
    But how much better the offense will be is a wait and see.
     
    But when it comes to the defense, a unit that’s been learning under Romeo Crennel for the last three seasons, I’m very sure something great is about to happen. I sense it, feel it, and, like Hali said, I think the right attitude is now contagious.
     
    I hope that new confidence spreads like a super virus.
     
    While the offense is figuring things out they’ll need a defense that can lock the opponent down. On a scale of 10, I’m at an eight that Kansas City’s defense will be able to do that.
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    Good day, Chiefs fans!
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