Cutting Brandon Flowers Would Be A Mistake

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2014 FIT

Kansas City has two things going for them in 2014 in the secondary that they did not have last season: An experienced Marcus Cooper and depth.

Should the season start today the Chiefs would have two outside corners in Smith and Cooper starting with Flowers on the inside. Cooper is now armed with the experience of a full season in the NFL and will be going through an entire offseason with the Chiefs for the first time which should help him grow within the scheme. These are to big pluses for Cooper and the Chiefs.

Add to that Phillip Gaines, the Chiefs third round draft pick. He’s the big corner depth the Chiefs lacked last season, unless you’re choosing to consider Dunta Robinson “depth.” Should Cooper or Smith need a break or get hurt, Kansas City at least has an outside option to plug in as opposed to moving Flowers back outside.

The issue here is how much confidence do you have in the Cooper/Gaines combination? Further, how sold are we on Smith as being an above average corner? (Smith had a -6.4 PFF grade from week seven through the playoffs.) Kansas City’s depth is better with Flowers than without, especially is Gaines is slow to picking things up at the NFL level, if Cooper has a sophomore slump, or if someone gets hurt.

Keeping Flowers on the roster adds stability and experience as well as an insurance plan if Kansas City’s youth falters.

Then there’s Flowers’ actual fit on the field. We can probably come to a simple agreement that Flowers positive attributes include is physical nature, ability to defend against the run, and cover receivers 6-1 and under. One of the more underrated parts of Flowers’ game is he is pretty good at rushing the passer, which is something he demonstrated well in the Houston game.

Take those elements and think about what a slot corner is asked to do in most circumstances. Flowers is playing against guys his size, and most of the time he will be a more physical presence than any of the players he’ll be covering. He’ll be closer to the line of scrimmage which should put him in play more frequently against the run and as a pass rusher.* There are not a lot of teams in the NFL that can boast that kind of player as an inside corner.

Without Flowers, who are you putting in the slot that you trust? Chris Owens? Ron Parker? Is Parker really the guy you want covering Welker, Harvin, and Amendola? Keeping Flowers for 2014 to cover those three guys seems like a better option than saving some cap room for 2014 and having Parker or Owens chase those guys around.

*Writing that sentence, I had this vision of one of those 2-3-6 formations where Tamba Hali is a lineman and Dee Ford is an outside linebacker. In my daydream Hali, Ford, and Flowers are all coming off the same edge with Poe collapsing the pocket. It ends with Peyton Manning getting hit very hard. It made me happy.