Us Addicts know about the guys that make this team special. Guys like Jamaal Charles, Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, Dontari Poe, Dustin Colquitt, Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry, Branden Albert, Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Flowers etc. (Yes, there is an etcetera with this 2013 Kansas City Chiefs team.) What about the other guys though? What about the guys who step up when some of these star players are banged up and just cannot get on the field on Sunday? These guys made a big impact against the Tennessee Titans this Sunday and will continue to make an impact this season.
Obviously the first guy I’m going to talk about is Marcus Cooper. This is a guy who played his college ball as a wide receiver for Rutgers. The San Francisco 49ers drafted him in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft, two picks before the Mr. irrelevant pick, and then cut him. Chiefs’ General Manager John Dorsey saw his potential and claimed him off waivers. Not many Chiefs fans knew who he was. That all changed when he played in place of Brandon Flowers against the New York Giants and covered a very talented Giants wide receiver corps. His biggest impact came this past sunday against the Tennessee Titans. Marcus Cooper played great defense against Titans wide receiver Nate Washington, who had 106 receiving yards and two touchdowns the game before. The hustle play to recover the fumble in the endzone wasn’t even his best play of the game. Marcus Cooper intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter that might as well have been in Nate Washington’s arms. This interception stalled a Titans drive that could have led to a Chiefs loss. Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid commented on what allowed Marcus Cooper to succeed and he said,
“Well he’s a smart kid and has good coaching. He wants to be good. He goes out there every day and doesn’t let anything get in the way of him getting better each and every day. He’s willing to challenge, and he also knows that he’s a big kid in size so he’s not afraid of match ups or whatever.”
The next guys I’m looking at are Chad Hall, AJ Jenkins, and of course, Donnie Avery. I don’t consider Avery to be one of the Chiefs stars, but I do consider him one of the Chiefs key role players. He had two catches for 40+ yards against the Titans and led the Chiefs in receiving with three catches for 91 yards. He exited the game later after one of his catches created a shoulder contusion. Coach Reid was asked about what the mindset was when the Chiefs went deep to Avery and he said,
“We liked the match. We had that play on our script, and we thought we had the opportunity to take a shot there. I thought Donnie did a nice job of hanging onto the football and Alex put it out there and let him go get it. That’s what we saw.”
Chad Hall and AJ Jenkins also made an impact in the game against the Titans. Jenkins was acquired in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers for receiver Jonathan Baldwin. Jenkins was placed in the game after Avery hurt his shoulder. Jenkins has rarely seen the field. When asked if Jenkins was “just the next guy up” or if Reid was comfortable with him, Reid said,
“Well I guess both, he was the next guy up and to be the next guy up you have to be comfortable with him. He’s a young guy and is continuing to learn what we’re doing. I thought he did a good job with it.”
Chad Hall had only one reception on the first play of the game, but he was targeted a couple times after that and was in many of the Chiefs early offensive packages. I personally watched Hall play vs. the Chiefs when he was in a 49ers uniform in preseason and I thought he looked pretty solid, and clearly, so did John Dorsey. Reid had some comments about Hall. He said,
“We had a little package in there for him and he did some good things, early, he did some good things. Then we blended him throughout the game at different times. He gives you some quickness. Both he and Dexter (McCluster) are a little bit undersized, they’re smaller guys, but they have great quickness. We try to utilize both of them at the same time.”
Quentin Demps is also a guy who has made such a huge impact both on special teams and defense. He has filled in for Kendrick Lewis on occasions and we all obviously know he has excellent talent in the return game. Demps has two interceptions in two consecutive games. Demps is averaging 35.2 yards per return on kickoffs. He also has nine combined tackles.
The Kansas City Chiefs are 5-0. Their star players can put them in the position to win games, but it is up to the other guys, the guys who aren’t number one on the depth chart to help seal the deal and step up when the time is right. These guys have done exactly that.