KCCD Editor: Jason Madson
We heard it the entire off-season. We heard it the early stages of camp. But we aren’t hearing it as much anymore. This is the deepest the Chiefs have been in a long time. It was easy to say. After free agency and the NFL Draft, we had what looked like a very deep roster. One that could survive a few devastating injuries, unlike the 2011 season. Additions of key backups along the defensive line, secondary and quarterback in free agency. Depth at WR and offensive line in the draft. This team was built for the long haul. Then the injuries started to hit.
Brandon Flowers, carted off the field at the night practice almost a month ago, has been mentioned to be sitting out week 1. His heel must be in horrible shape, because it’s his decision when he comes back. At least according to Romeo Crennel. Without Flowers in the lineup, the Chiefs are missing their best cover corner and a leader on the field.
Flowers backup, Jalil Brown, went down this past week with an injury to his groin. Jalil did struggle in this game, but he is the best option if Flowers is out for an extended period of time. Brown also adds a playmaker on the kick coverage units. He has excelled this preseason at being the first down to the returner and making the solo tackle.
The list continues. Another member of the Chiefs secondary, this one had shoulder surgery, injured the same repaired shoulder in the second preseason game. Kendrick Lewis came off the field in week 2 of the preseason with his shoulder hanging and the worst was feared. The injury isn’t the same that caused him to have surgery, but the Chiefs aren’t giving a definite timetable of his return. This could be a problem all year for the promising safety.
Travis Daniels has missed time in the preseason to add to the secondary depth concerns. He is an important piece to this group that can play both corner and safety. Then, Seattle running back Leon Washington dives into Eric Berry’s repaired knee last week. Berry flew over him and stayed on the ground for a second. That second felt like an hour to Chiefs fans. He got up and was able to continue, but that’s just another scare fans will have all season.
It’s been a rough preseason for the Chiefs on the injury front, and that’s just the secondary.
Add to the list: RB Cyrus Gray who injured a hamstring 2 weeks ago. OLB Cameron Sheffield who has having a great camp before his injury hit. WR Junior Hemingway who missed the majority of camp in ST Joe and has struggled to see the field. NT Anthony Toribio who has had a very good camp, went down early in the Seattle game.The Chiefs also had not 1, but 2 offensive tackles retire in St Joe.
With the exception of Flowers, Lewis and Toribio the bulk of the injuries are blows to the Chiefs depth.
Now, looking at the teams depth, I can’t say it’s much of a strength. The backup QB battle has been a disaster. Ricky Stanzi has been atrocious and Quinn just slightly below average. This is probably hard for a lot of Chiefs fans to say, but prayers are being said for Matt Cassel’s health.
The Chiefs starting five on the offensive line ranks among the best in the NFL. Winston and Hudson are looking like great additions to this unit. After the starters, well it’s all unproven talent. The draft picks from this year, Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson, are slowly making progress. But it’s not enough to trust them in a starting role. David Mims has improved, but he isn’t ready yet either. The line has an abundance of young talent, and it needs to stay on the sideline for the time being.
The same can be said for the defensive line. First round pick Dontari Poe isn’t ready to hold down the nose and Jerrell Powe is better at rushing the passer than playing in the base defense. This group is talented, but similar to the offensive line, just not ready.
The timing is never great to figure out you have injury and depth issues, but at least teams are about to set over 600 free agents loose onto the market. If the Chiefs think they have a need, they will be able to go get a player or 2 from the available list.
There are a few positions the Chiefs should definitely take a look at. They have to be interior offensive and defensive line and the defensive secondary. Scott Pioli doesn’t have to sign anybody, but he needs to at least take a peak at who’s cut loose on Friday. This will be after the Chiefs final preseason game and cuts have been made. Expect more moves after the cuts are made on Aug 31.