No one is going to miss the major talking points from Sunday afternoon.
When it comes to the Kansas City Chiefs loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 7, the biggest questions are being asked of the biggest stars and the egg laid by the Chiefs on both sides of the ball has everyone talking about the bigger picture for this season. This is a team, after all, that has gone from being the preseason favorites to win the Super Bowl to now wondering whether or not they will even make the postseason at all.
Given that we’ve already spent so much time on these subjects (and will continue to do so), we also thought we’d take a look at some storylines or performances that might have gone overlooked given the larger issues on display at Nissan Stadium. Some are positive. Others are not. But at least we can acknowledge them to shed just a bit more light.
Deandre Baker as inactive
When the Chiefs first signed Deandre Baker in the middle of last season, it was seen as the sort of unfair acquisition that elite contenders often get away with. After years of watching NFL stars choose to play for the New England Patriots because it represented their best chances of playing for a Super Bowl contender, the Chiefs were also getting the same sort of preferential treatment from players on both sides of the ball.
For the Chiefs, Baker was seen as a free first-round pick. He might have been player released due to his penchant for choosing bad company and perhaps making some bad choices within that company, However, he was also the very first cornerback drafted in his class with multiple years remaining on his rookie contract. He’d also already made a full season’s worth of starts with the New York Giants.
Somehow things haven’t worked out the way they were envisioned at all for Baker.
First, the Chiefs forced Baker to wait for several weeks on the practice squad before releasing him in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. In Week 17, Baker finally got a chance to shine and he looked solid in the season-ending game against the Chargers, but it was then that he also broke his femur. Just like that, Baker was sidelined and would require the offseason to come back from a tough injury.
Heading into this season, Baker was healthy again, but the Chiefs also imported another former first-round pick in Mike Hughes. Instead of pairing them together as an upgrade on the overall ceiling at the position, Baker and even Hughes have been marginalized in favor of holdovers like L’Jarius Sneed (as expected) and Rashad Fenton (unexpected). That’s a testament to Fenton’s work ethic and overall talent, of course, but given the assumed ceiling and low cost, it’s frustrating to see Baker still inactive in Week 7.
At this point, Baker is a waste of a draft pick and overall opportunity, and it’s hard to believe that’s how he’s turned out just a couple seasons into his professional career knowing what scouts were raving about heading into the 2019 NFL Draft. After all, Baker was a Georgia product with experience against the best in college football and yet he’d come away with the Jim Thorpe award as the nation’s best defensive back. While he’s undersized against bigger bodies, he’s tough, smart, sticky, and physical for his stature, and the transition shouldn’t be this hard.
Maybe Baker can still turn things around, but it looks like a bad marriage overall and it makes us feel for Baker knowing he’s just overlooked and underutilized at this point.