Is the Chiefs’ Roster Set?

andatory credit: Thomas Campbell-US Presswire

More than one eyebrow raised when the Chiefs released their final roster and revealed both Nate Eachus and Jake O’Connell had made the cut with no fullback in sight (with four tight ends and five tailbacks, if there was any doubt remaining you’re going to see the Ace formation this year, it has be thoroughly squashed). Because Tamba Hali does not count among the final 53 this week due to his Atlanta game suspension, one more player must be cut or moved to the practice squad next week – which very well be one of these nine TEs/RBs.

This roster is not set in tone. As preseason injuries have conjured up one too many bad memories reminiscent of 2011, it’s important to remember several serviceable players become available every year as teams promote younger, cheaper replicas of their former starters (New England has been cutting former stars like crazy in some hyper-youth movement evil genius Bill Bellicheck no doubt began planning in a secluded laboratory five years ago). As such, there’s a small list of players on the back nine portion of their careers that I wouldn’t mind kicking the tires on, just in case.

With O-Linemen Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson available to step up and play inside and outside, respectively, I’m comfortable with the talent level here. And fortunately there have been no big injury concerns for Kansas City on the offensive line. However, a couple options exist that the Chiefs should keep in mind because, quite frankly, merely having a backup guard and another tackle doesn’t create a glut of depth. 31-year-old guard Jake Scott has started 117 of the 120 games he’s played in (including a Super Bowl victory with Indianapolis over Chicago in 2007), and doesn’t give up sacks. Worth kicking the tires on.

Also to keep in mind is Trai Essex, released by the Steelers. Essex offers a solid flex potential having played right and left tackles, left guard, and center in the NFL. Center Dan Koppen, one of the Patriots’ several cuts, has started 120 games over nine years with one Pro Bowl appearance. His smaller size doesn’t offer the same versatility, but should Rodney Hudson ever go down, he would bring experience and a solid run-blocking acumen to the team. Finally available on the line, right tackle Kareem McKenzie won his second Super Bowl with the Giants last season before being released. All with tires exhibiting worn tread, but still worth kicking.

While the Chiefs’ secondary has more warm bodies to step in, they all seem to be injured. Brandon Flowers remains on the mend while Kendrick Lewis is out for the Falcons game. And though Eric Berry looked just as phenomenal as I remembered during the preseason, ACLs don’t come back stronger after tearing. Should any problems arise here Bryant McFadden is another two-time Super Bowl champion worth taking a look at (both with Pittsburgh), although at age 30 he’s already seeing his production decline and was never much of a ball hawk with just nine career interceptions. At 31, safety Oshiomogho Atogwe brings 25 career interceptions along with 5.5 sacks, 19 forced fumbles and over 500 tackles. The former track star could offer depth as a poor man’s Eric Berry for a secondary I worry poses as a weak link if it can’t stay healthy.

The final position worthy of attention is along the defensive line, although it may be an extreme situation to justify another big body here. Considering the release of Amon Gordon and condition of Anthony Toribio’s bum ankle, the Chiefs are starting a nose tackle they don’t believe is ready (Dontari Poe) and backing him up with a man unable to maintains his assignments (Jerrell Powe). Shaun Smith, who played in Kansas City in 2010, conducted a workout for the team but remains unsigned (it should be noted that Paddy has a particular rooting interest in picking up “The Perv,” principally to write that nickname over and over again). He is pictured above playing clean football.

I’d love to be able to simply pick up several of these players for insurance, but for every player picked up another player must be released. That’s another player who spent the offseason practicing with the Chiefs, learning the playbook and building team rapport. Additionally, youth and potential would be traded for age and experience in almost every instance – not a recipe for long-term success. Having one spare guard and tackle should be sufficient, particularly with David Mims still on the practice squad, and hopefully Toribio is healthy before long. However, I don’t think Kansas City can justify nine combined tight ends and tailbacks, and I want to see another DB because Neiko Thorpe on the practice doesn’t cut it. The problem is where to make room. Look out Stanzi, you better start impressing…

So what do you think Addicts – any available veterans out there you think should be brought in for a boost of depth? Anyone you’d be willing to cut to make room? Or is the youth movement worth more than bringing in a former starter at this point in the season?

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  • http://gplus.to/Tarkus Tarkus

    Just a reminder: This afternoon is when teams can start using the new IR designation, which allows them to bring back a player at midseason. (I’m looking at you, Cyrus Gray.)

    • thabear04

      Rucker
      Menzie
      Tanney
      McCarthy

      are the only one who are on the IR

      • http://gplus.to/Tarkus Tarkus

        Guys who go on IR after this afternoon (3 o’clock or something like that) can be designated to return to the team after 8 weeks. The players you listed above cannot return, and are lost for the year.

        This is a new rule, and I believe it explains why the Chiefs are currently carrying 5 RBs on their 53 man roster. If they put Gray on this new type of IR, they not only go with a more reasonable 4 RBs, but they also open up a roster spot for Tamba Hali, who doesn’t count on the roster this week.

  • thabear04

    Well as soon the first chiefs game is over better have jake gone to make room for Hail. And if we are going after Smith then a RB is sure to be gone cause there no reason to carry 5 RB so its either Gray can get healthy or he will be put on IR Draughn or Eachus is gone

  • ArrowFan

    I think one reason we are so heavy in RB’s is possibly ammunition for a trade.

    • http://gplus.to/Tarkus Tarkus

      Really? The only two tradeable backs the Chiefs have are Charles and Hillis, and neither of them are getting traded. Nobody is going to trade for the other three guys.

  • Roger Mihalko

    backup QB is weak to say the least, Quinn with his time in NFL should be closer to talent of Cassel, the wrangling with Stanzi for the job. I would get one of the veterans that have been released, McNabb is also my favorite choice, with massive tightends and running game, McNabb’s arm would be very helpful.

    They need some secondary help, The falcons are going to lite us up if they don’t.

  • Lyle Graversen

    I would prefer Wallace and Hoyer over Quinn and Stanzi. Koppen would be a nice add and there are several FBs worth looking at.

  • BigGil

    Definite no on Essex. The Steelers have had terrible luck in keeping their OLine healthy, and it’s a huge red flag if they cut such a seemingly versatile player given their predicament. Besides that, if Ben wasn’t such a bull to bring down, he’d likely be the most sacked QB over the past couple of years. Do not want a player on that OL unless his name is Pouncey. I think we’re fine going forward though could use a boost in our secondary. 4 TEs is reasonable for a team planning to use two TE sets (especially when one of those TEs is often enough injured). Gray will likely make his way to IR, though Pioli may be hoping that we’re able to run up the score in some games and showcase the other 3 RBs for possible trade down the road.

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