Important Night For These Veterans

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s the time of year where players put to use their math skills. Like everyone else, they know the current number is 80 and the final number is 53; that’s players on the regular-season roster.

That’s 27 names on the roster that will be gone within the next eight days. Coaches always counsel the players to not spend any time working the numbers and trying to cut the roster themselves. It’s easy to say, almost impossible to do.

“We know the score,” said third-year FB Mike Cox (right). “It’s our lives. You try not to think about it, but you can’t help it.”

It’s especially tough for the group of players who are not rookies or first-year players. They’ve been in the NFL for two, three, four, maybe more seasons. They know what they will miss if they don’t get their ticket punched for the 2010 season.

There’s only so much a player can do, and more than anything, that’s the urge they must control.

“I don’t think you can make the team with one play, or one game,” said S Jon McGraw, a guy who has nothing to worry about when it comes to a spot on the 2010 Chiefs roster. “You cause yourself problems when you try to do more than you are capable of doing.”

The Chiefs are a relatively young team, and they are not filled with a bunch of veteran contributors who have been around for a long time. Of 80 players, 59 have joined the team in the last two years. Of the 21 inherited players, 12 are in the starting lineup. That doesn’t leave many veterans for bubble spots.

That didn’t keep us from running the roster and coming up with some veterans whose time in Kansas City may depend on what happens in two games over the next seven days.


FB Mike Cox and FB Tim Castille – There’s an overload of good halfbacks on the roster and it just doesn’t seem possible that they’ll carry two fullbacks. Castille had the early advantage, but Cox in the last few weeks has gotten more time with the No. 1 offense. Both of these guys are far from top of the roster talent and who stays and who goes will largely depend on special teams play. The kicking game performance against Philadelphia and Green Bay will be very important for these guys.

WR Lance Long – The waifish receiver who joined the team early last year after he was released by the Cardinals, has a tough, tough assignment to crack the active roster. He’s small and fast, but he’s not nearly as talented as Dexter McCluster. With Chris Chambers, Dwayne Bowe, McCluster and Jerheme Urban at four of the WR spots, that leaves him fighting with the likes of Terrance Copper, Jeremy Horne and Quinten Lawrence for the final spot.

TE Jake O’Connell – The second-year, former seventh-round draft choice just can’t seem to put all parts of the tight end game together. He’s gotten bigger and stronger, but he still has very inconsistent hands. With Leonard Pope and Tony Moeaki on the final roster; Moeaki is the same size as O’Connell with better hands and more athletic ability.

OL Ikechuku Ndukwe –If the Chiefs had a deep bench behind their starters along the offensive line, then Ndukwe would have no chance. But that’s not the case and his veteran status plus the fact he can jump in and fill both guard and tackle roster spots gives him an edge over everyone else in the group. The Chiefs only have two backup linemen with NFL extensive NFL game experience – Ndukwe and whoever does not start at center, Casey Wiegmann and Rudy Niswanger. Ndukwe struggles at tackle, less so at guard, but with no competition.


DL Shaun Smith and Dion Gales – The key for both of these guys to be part of the conversation is their flexibility to play both end and tackle. Smith has worked on the end for only a few weeks, but it’s probably saved him from getting cut. He can jump inside if needed, but he’s also shown himself to be a good anchor on the end. Gales is a marginal talent and one of those players that should he make the roster, it’s a sign the Chiefs have not improved their roster on the defensive line.

LBs David Herron and Pierre Walters – On the inside it’s Herron, on the outside Walters. Herron was one of the team’s best special teams performers last year and that will give him a chance to stick on the final 53 this year. Walters problem is the arrival of ’10 draft choice Cameron Sheffield. With Tamba Hali, Mike Vrabel, Andy Studebaker and Sheffield, there just isn’t much room for another body, unless he’s outstanding on special teams.

CBs Travis Daniels and Mike Richardson – As long as Maurice Leggett’s neck injury from the other night is not serious, Daniels and Richardson are fighting for the last spot among the cornerbacks. Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr, Javier Arenas and Leggett are four, with five the likely number of corners they will carry. Richardson was strong last year on special teams, while Daniels is the better defensive back.

Ss Donald Washington and DaJuan Morgan – Drafted in the last three years (Morgan in ’08, Washington in ’09) both of these guys cannot make the roster. Two safeties were added in the ’10 Draft and both Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis will make the final roster. Along with them will be Jon McGraw. After that, it appears Reshard Langford has the best opportunity based on playing time opportunities in practice; he’s running as the second team safety with Lewis. Should it come down to these two guys, Washington has the edge because he’s a Pioli/Haley pick and he can play some on the corner, where he worked last year.

4 Responses to “Important Night For These Veterans”

  • August 27, 2010  - KC_Guy says:

    Guess you’ve already written off a bunch of guys behind those you’ve listed above.

    Isn’t it a shame a guy like Ndukwe appears to be uncutable (is that a word at all?) because of lack of depth? Something’s wrong there.

    LB: A team that is stacked at backup quality LB … well, it won’t make the cut. Other than Hali who would make the team with a top team? Studie as developmental player, Vrabel as depth. Else? DJ? Hmmm … probably …
    Guess noone outside of KC ever heard of Walters and Herron (but one guy near Cologne, Germany .. that’s me).

    FB: With that stacked backfield you need a blocker, not a runner/receiver. Big plus for Cox. But gimmie some real FB … TRich, come home …

  • August 27, 2010  - el cid says:

    Not a big Long fan but Lawrence and Urban, really? I do not recall either making much of their chances in this years training camp. Hope the Chiefs do not try to sneak Horne onto the practice squad, tried that and lost Lilja for years.

    Sort of sad, coach Haley seems to not favor guys he did not have a hand in aquiring. First it was DJ and not Charles.

  • August 27, 2010  - Michael says:

    Chambers, Bowe, McCluster and Urban should be the first 4. Copper makes it on special teams. I like Jeremy Horne for the last spot. I think Lawrence could go back to the PS, although Gunnell hasn’t looked bad.

    Unless it’s as a tie-breaker between two players evaluated as even, I don’t think having a hand in acquiring a guy means means much to Haley. He wants to win, period.

  • August 28, 2010  - Tim says:

    Horne needs to stick. I’d look for guys we might pick up from others. Dallas is loaded at WR & somebody is not going to make it…Hurd, Ogletree. Both are probably better than Urban & good on special teams.

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