An Open Letter To Two Chiefs On The Bubble

Tony… Kendrick…

I hope this letter finds you in good spirits.

As much as I intend to support the players originally drafted by this franchise, I understand sometimes those players don’t work out. I’m beginning to think that will be the case with both of your respective careers. There’s really no nice way for me to say what I’m about to say, but I’ll be as considerate as I can be. The two of you are on borrowed time in Kansas City if there isn’t significant improvement over the next four months. Your careers have been marred by injuries and inconsistencies. This is a courtesy, gentlemen. A fair warning (if you will). The new administration won’t be hesitant to part ways with the underachieving players from regimes past.

Anthony Fasano and Travis Kelce potentially spell the end of your tenure here in Kansas City, Tony. Fasano is a reliable veteran who’s been the picture of health his last five seasons in the NFL. Over that stretch, Fasano has missed just four games. He provides the kind of stability and productivity that will make him a favorite in the race to become the Chiefs’ #1 tight end. Kelce’s a hungry, physical young player who is gifted both as a blocker and as a pass-catcher. He’s easily the most athletic player on the team at the tight end position. He’s going to give you a serious run for the #2 tight end spot. You’re perilously close to being pushed out the door if you can’t shake the injury bug.

Sanders Commings could turn out to be the thorn in your side, Kendrick. Andy Reid has already told members of the Kansas City media that he got looks at free safety in the Chiefs’ rookie minicamp earlier this month. Commings is bigger, stronger, faster and has comparable ball skills. He was drafted as an outfielder by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008. He has lots of ball-tracking experience, Mr. Lewis. I’ve defended you on a number of occasions, but loyalty is a curious thing in professional football. If you can’t stay on the field and out of the tub, you’re going to be on the bench by Labor Day (oh the irony).

When the team gets to St. Joseph for training camp, blood should be drawn for a chance to bunk with head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder. He’s been heralded as one of the best athletic trainers in the NFL. His work is very well documented. Burkholder’s rehab program in 1995 helped Rod Woodson return from a torn ACL in about five months. In 2004, he helped wide receiver Terrell Owens return from a severely sprained ankle and fractured fibula in time enough to play in Super Bowl XXIX. The guy knows his way around an NFL injury. Do yourself a favor and get to know him on the right side of the training table.

Finally getting that issue with your shoulder resolved might actually kill two birds with one stone, KL. You’ve been a poor tackler throughout your stay in Kansas City. That’s a weakness your unit can’t afford, seeing as how you’re the last line of defense. Your one good shoulder won’t be enough to bring most ballcarriers down in this league. I tend to think if you were healthier, had better tackling form, and technique, you’d keep your job. Ballhawking safeties are coveted around the league, but ballhawking safeties who can tackle get new deals a little faster.

With you Tony, it’s more of an durability issue. You’ve already missed the team’s first OTAs of the offseason (back in April). In fairness to you, I know you had your knee scoped at the end of last season. Thing is, every opportunity you miss on the practice field, gets Kelce one step closer to pushing you to the bottom of the depth chart at your position. If that happens, I’d be shocked if you were re-signed.

The two of you are good football players who I’m sure most of the Kingdom would like to see earn second contracts with Kansas City. It’s going to be an uphill battle, but I’m sure you’re up for the challenge. As these position battles heat up, along with the summer weather, the pressure will be on. R&D will have a watchful eye on the tight end and safety positions. The best are going to play. Good luck to you, gents!

Until next time, addicts!

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  • Calchiefsfan

    Hey Stacy, nice read. I thought you were crazy at first for suggesting these 2 were on the bubble but injuries have been a problem for both. At some point something has to be done if you can’t get out on the field. I think Moeaki is in a much better place than Lewis. We normally keep 3 tight ends, Moeaki can block, make one handed catches for touchdowns and really just missed his second year. His first and third years he was healthy the whole year. I’m excited to see what Moeaki and Kelce can do when they’re on the field together with a good QB throwing to them.

    Lewis on the other hand has some serious competition and the Chiefs aren’t going to keep 3 free safeties. Your right about his tackling. I hope he gets healthy and plays well this year, we need all the quality depth we can get. But if he spends another season on and off the field it might be time to cut bait.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      If he falls to 3rd on the depth chart at tight end, he’s as good as gone once the season is over. I think Kendrick Lewis is safer at this point.

  • 30-27

    as of now kc may keep only 4 corners, and go with 5 safeties. commings works as a FS/CB in case of injury.
    lewis keeps his job
    moeaki as 3rd TE beats oconnell of years past. he keeps his job. 2nd leading receiver last year.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      They had both do more than just keep their jobs. Neither of them is under contract next season. If they expect to have a future in Kansas City, they had better play good football.

  • Carlos Nevarez

    Tell you the truth, I’m done with both of them. Watching Moeaki drop all those easy passes makes me sick an NOBODY in the league is afraid of Kendrick Lewis. Too easy to throw deep on us. Im already getting exited about what Kelce and Fasano are gonna do in 2te sets.

  • Austin Wagner

    I really like Anthony Fasano, but I don’t think that he is on the same level that Moeaki is… I think Tony has his job locked if he stays healthy, but the first sign of inconsistency injury wise will sign his job over to Kelce not Fasano. Commings is really intriguing with his versitility he has a chance to split reps with Lewis even if he isn’t the starter

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Fasano isn’t as athletic, but he’ll still get you comparable production. He’s good for 400 and 5 annually.

  • kmon

    Keep moeaki, I can do without lewis. I remember 2yrs ago against NE, gronk was running along the sideline and here comes Kendrick at full speed and cant even move gronk 2inches to knock him out of bounds lol. he flew off of him like a ball thrown off a trampoline lol. outside of his ball hawking skills he’s really not that good

    • tm1946

      Moeaki has never been healthy for a full season from HS thru college and now the pros.
      Both can be the finest player at their position for the entire history of the NFL but if they are sitting on the bench or in the training room what good can they do the team?

      • kmon

        Moeaki actually stayed healthy all last season

        • Stacy D. Smith

          He played 15 games, but he really wasn’t effective until the end of the year.

          • superman_25_58

            He also was coming off of a ACL injury at a much bigger frame than what JC and Berry have. EB didn’t come on til around mid season either and wasn’t his normal productive self in the first half of the season. Is Berry going to get cut too?. Moeaki still had around 200 more receiving yards coming off a majory ACL tear than Fasano had healthy. Fasano had 5 TD’s to Moeaki’s 1 TD but Fasano had Tannehill and well no WR/TE had a lot of TD’s last year for the Chiefs and that is bc they were receiving balls from Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            There’s no comparison to be drawn between Berry and Moeaki. Berry’s been to the Pro Bowl twice already. Moeaki will be lucky to make two trips to Honolulu the rest of his career.

  • Patrick Allen

    I thought Moeaki came on a bit at the end of last year but it is hard to rely on him. Kendrick is a good player. I think his shoulder really screwed up his ability to make solid tackles. I want him to stay on the team, even if it is as a reserve.

    I actually think it could be husain abdullah that ends up starting next to EB. He was out of football a year but he has plenty of experience and was a solid layer for the Vikes.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I think that year out of football will hurt Abdullah’s chances of winning that job.

  • cd3382

    Right on Stacy! I say keep them both for depth, if we can. Abdullah was a solid player for the Vikings and I can either
    see him or Cummings actually starting next to Berry, or who knows in certain packages,
    we can have them both in the game “at the same damn time”.

  • Adam Schwartz

    if either of these guys can stay healthy enough to get some decent play on tape they will be fine, they might not be on KC next season, but they will make another team and most certainly contribute, they are both quality players with health issues, I don’t think either of them merit having this letter written about them, the season we made the playoffs, Moeaki was the new T.Gon and Kendrick Lewis earned the right to be the safety opposite Berry, so calling them failures is a bit of a stretch and their NFL careers will not by any means be over if they don’t make the team in KC, and don’t be surprised if we see Arenas killing it in Arizona, that draft class was amazing, and will probably be the only positive note on Pioli and Haley’s time in KC

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I used the word failure?

      I’m sure they’ll find work again in the NFL even if they aren’t retained in Kansas City, but their chances of starting again will be significantly smaller.

  • tm1946

    Both seem to be good guys, probably good teammates but this roster is being rebuilt for the 3nd time in less than 6 years. Those who cannot get on the field, during practices or regular games HAVE to move on. There is no space on the roster.

  • scomstock55

    if moeaki isnt on the field kelce will be the number one…

  • Lyle Graversen

    I see no reason to cut Moeaki. When healthy he’s a starting level NFL TE and as a 3rd round pick he’s not very expensive. He can block and catch okay so why not keep him. Maybe he wins the starting job, maybe he’s 3rd string, neither would surprise me.

    Lewis on the other hand is just a guy. I think KC fans over value Lewis because he started as a 5th round rookie. So everybody got excited about what great “value” we got from our pick. The fact is that he’s a relatively slow safety that doesn’t ballhawk, isn’t good in man to man coverage, and doesn’t tackle very well. He’s a below average NFL starter who doesn’t tackle well enough to really be a factor on special teams which would limit his value as a back up. If he wins the job, fine, but if he gets cut I won’t be surprised.

  • Jim Harper

    The open letter was a nice idea, and I think you are exactly right. Lewis may not make the team and Moeaki will need to have a pro bowl type year or they may not bring him back next year. There are too many solid safeties for Lewis to make the team. Moeaki may very well have a great year with Smith throwing the ball where he can catch it.

  • JediChris816

    Very good point in the post. I too believe Lewis hasn’t fully recovered from the shoulder injury. It was evident in his limited playing time last season. Moeaki has the tools to be a #1 TE, but as you say, he’s only been on the field half the time in the past 3 years.