Three Quick Thoughts On Kansas City Chiefs Secondary Situation

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Oct 6, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Cooper (31) congratulated after recovering a Tennessee Titans fumble in the end zone during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

FAITH IN YOUTH

It is clear Reid and Dorsey are focused on throwing their young secondary into the fire. Should guys like Gaines, Parker, Cooper, and Sanders Commings make the team as expected, nearly half of the Chiefs secondary will consist of players with virtually no experience in the NFL. That’s only made more extreme of Daniel Sorensen and David Van Dyke make the roster.

There are reasons to have faith in the skills of Cooper, Gaines, and Commings, given their tools and some of the things they have displayed in the past. Gaines is one of the more physically gifted cornerbacks coming out of the draft, Commings is loaded with speed and athleticism, and Cooper was the Chiefs best corner for about half of 2013. But with youth comes inconsistency, which is something we can all expect to be taken advantage of when KC faces Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson, and Colin Kaepernick. There were many reasons to cut Flowers but the Chiefs will miss his stability and experience at cornerback.

The good news to take from this is the Chiefs are in some ways following the model of the Seahawks, who were loaded with young players in the secondary. None of Seattle’s five primary secondary players – Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Walter Thurmond, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor – had more than three years of experience in the NFL before last season. Four of those five, Browner being the odd man out, were drafted in 2010 or later, with Chancellor and Thurmond being fifth round draft picks. It isn’t out of the question for the Chiefs young secondary to develop quickly as a unit.

Still, counting on large steps from guys like Cooper and Commings is at tough thing to count on. And even if they both took those steps forward, their ceilings may still not be high enough for the Chiefs to reach they level they need to be successful as a team. Losing the “known” in Flowers puts a lot of pressure on guys like Cooper to become something that he may to be capable of becoming.

It is clear Dorsey thinks the young group of corners and safeties his acquired is capable of being successful now. Much will be made of the salary cap space saved by letting Flowers go now, but the reality is the Chiefs could have easily signed Smith and Houston to extensions and kept Flowers on the team for one more season (at least). Cutting Flowers is more of a sign of Dorsey’s faith in his youthful secondary than it is a financial maneuver.

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Tags: Chris Owens Eric Berry Kansas City Chiefs

  • mnelson52

    I disagree that Dorsey released Flowers more for youth than cap money. It was definitely a financial move.

  • Kisersosay

    Good read Ben….although I had to chuckle at your comparison of Berry to Thomas using Berry vs. Manning and Thomas vs. Kap. The comparison of the two Safeties also is stacked in Thomas’s favor when factoring in Lewis vs. Chancelor sitting by your side. Let alone the fact that Thomas plays FS and Berry plays SS. But your point that Berry needs to step up this year is spot on. I am excited to see what happens with him playing more on the back end of the defense instead of lining up as a LB.

  • A1 Yola

    Teams are gonna throw outside at the Chiefs. EB’s PFF score will still look good;) Why would teams throw inside, when you got rookies on the outside that you can exploit?!

    • area

      I get your point, however, Smith will be in his second year in the same scheme, cooper we just have to hope does not suffer from a sophomer slump. I see Gaines in the slot, maybe Commings, we’ll see. Either way, opposing teams will be looking to unload on the Chief’s young secondary extremely fast, they better, because our pass rush is coming. I just hope it’s enough.

  • Stan Colbert

    In San Francisco first Super Bowl they started 3 rookies in the secondary.

  • tm1946

    I dislike saying it but this move HAD to be made. Players, who have out priced themselves out of their team and, for whatever reason, do not get a team helpful adjustment, have to move on.

    That said the spin on this action is about as silly as it gets, much like not drafting a WR, “we don’t need no WRs, what is on the roster is not only good enough but better”.

    NOTE: Ben pointed out Owens is ” not nearly as accomplished” as Flowers….. that means he is NOT BETTER, read the posts. Now spin away.

  • preston riley

    in defense of Berry with regard to game changing plays. big hit on goal line late in playoff game could have been game winner but ball just took lucky bounce right to Luck. Big pick six to start off game v. Eagles. Also had what should have been game clinching int v. cowboys but for a questionable d-holding penalty. I think he is fully capable of making those big time game changing plays.

    I also think last year the chiefs DBs got spooked by the calls against them in first Denver game and it changed how they played. They should look to seattle in this instance also. Seattle just keeps playing same way regardless of calls – and they come out ahead in the long run.

  • Roger Mihalko

    I would drop owens now, he just doesn’t size up for the scheme, minus owens, everyone of the db’s is 5.11 or bigger. I would keep as many of these young guys as will squeeze into the roster. They are big and fast group and the more we have the better, for scheme and depth.

    Sutton has to get to it, and work the three areas, line, backers, DB’s. The line has a lot of competition… need to get someone solid to spell Poe at NT, plus two blood thirsty animals for DT’s to rush and also maul anyone who tries to rush the ball.

    Backers, inside, we have a couple, DJ is a lock, but he needs backup (hopefully one of the other 9 johnsons on the roster can be that role). I’m not sold on Joe Mays, but not a lot of choice, would rather see a bigger younger step up ( here enters the johnsons again). This needs to evolve so the strong safety can stop playing backer.

    Outside is pretty dam good, hali, houston, ford, zombo…. solid solid.

    DB’s, I think the base 4 will be smith, cooper, berry and abdullah. Plug in the best fits for backup and scheme change up from the remaining DB’s.

    Personally I would ask Kearney if he wants to convert back to Wideout, 6.2 4.4 speed…that big, fast, take the top guy we need to make Avery pay attention and for jenkins to figure out how to run routes and be a big NFL player dude.

  • e_racer

    Flowers was released because of the cap situation, but also because he did not fit the defense. Although he went to the pro-bowl, he was not effective. Some of that was due to injuries during the season, but a lot of that was due to mismatches. Flowers gave it his all, and his timing was impeccable. He delivered big hits, but was too small, and lacked ideal speed. The Chiefs have some young talent that will be tested this year. It was a gamble to release Flowers, but the status quo was not getting the team anywhere. This will not be the last shoe to drop. Next year the Chiefs will be forced to make even more hard choices.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    Owens is perfectly suited for the role Flowers just vacated. He’s a pretty good slot corner. He’s a cheaper, faster, version of Flowers at nickel.

  • Nicholas Franco

    berry can make those game changing plays and he did in the playoff game when he made donald brown fumble on the goal line. but we all know what happened after that (bounces off a players head into andrew lucks hands). so berry is very capable of making those plays.