Very interesting interview with Kiwanuka by Youngmisuk of ESPN.
The article starts out with the platitude between Osi and Mathias but evolves into some very frank comments about the turmoil within the defensive unit last year. Kiwanuka goes onto relate how the defense evolved into chaos:
“It started out with good intentions, players were doing more than they were asked to do in an attempt to make up or compensate for issues that we couldn’t correct from one week to another,” Kiwanuka explained. “And then from there it just snowballed into when you were on the field, you had 11 guys freelancing and you have no idea where the other person is going to be or what to expect and teams are taking advantage of it. Once things started going downhill, people quit buying into the system and it is tough. There were errors all over the board.”
He also went on to describe what Banks had stated during the season on why there weren’t “fighters” this past season:
“We didn’t believe in the system that we had and people didn’t trust that the positions that we were put in were always going to work,” Kiwanuka said when asked what went wrong last season. “We had a high enough of a maturity level to overcome it but for some reason the passion just wasn’t there.”
This leads us to question on the culpability of the Head Coach on A) feeling the pulse of his team, B) accountability for hiring the coaches on his staff and C) making changes as the boat was sinking.
We have heard comments, speculation and analysis of how much Phillips will contribute this coming season but apparently he wishes to prove naysayers wrong:
“I know a lot of people are counting me out and don’t feel I can be the same player ever again which is crazy but I feel I can prove everybody wrong.”
Finally, Kiwanuka has some very positive things to say about Fewell but the critical word in his statement was communicating:
“He has a lot of fire and energy and he is good at communicating with people,” Kiwanuka said. “He listens. I think (Fewell’s scheme) will be a better fit. I don’t think anybody will have a problem buying into the system.”
Apparently, Sheridan failed miserably at communicating given no one was aware of their assignments and you had “11 guys freelancing”. While many players left the 2009 season with a very bad taste in their mouth.
Well at least they have the hunger and desire to change what happened last year per Manning and Kiwanuka.
Extra: Please visit the Fifth Down as they have a great article about evaluating quarterbacks and running backs on tape. Good stuff!