The Not-So Final Roster … Sunday Cup O’Chiefs

There are a half-dozen or so players that went to bed last night, members of the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs, who may find their station in life changed by the end of business on Sunday.

They need to remember the mantras of all NFL players, other than the upper echelon of the league – rent, don’t buy.

Like all the other NFL teams, the Chiefs got their roster pared down to 53 players on Saturday. Among the decisions were some moves that could be called surprises, others that were obvious. How the roster looks on this Sunday does not necessarily mean it will look the same a week from now when Todd Haley holds his final practice to get ready for the regular-season opener against the Chargers.

Until then, here’s how the pieces came together for the first version of the final roster and what might change from there.

ONLY 15 NEWCOMERS MAKE THE ROSTER

It’s not out of line to think that a team that won only four games last year, and just 10 in the last three years, would have a big roster turnover every season. It only seems natural that the franchise would be plowing the field over and over each year until they found the right bodies.

That’s what makes it a bit unusual that there are just 14 players on the roster right now that were not with the team last year in some form, whether active roster or practice squad:  

  • (7) Draft choice – Eric Berry, Dexter McCluster, Javier Arenas, Jon Asamoah, Tony Moeaki, Kendrick Lewis and Cameron Sheffield.
  • (3) Rookie free agents – Jeremy Horne, Justin Cole and Cory Greenwood.
  • (4) Veteran free agents – Thomas Jones, Ryan Lilja, Casey Wiegmann and Shaun Smith.

ONLY TWO QUARTERBACKS

Third QB Tyler Palko was released, but that does not mean he’s gone; he could go on the practice squad if Haley and his staff want to keep him. They may also decide to go with just Matt Cassel and Brodie Croyle for a few weeks before making an additional move at the position.

Or, maybe there’s already somebody out there who could fill the third QB spot. Maybe a guy named Matt Leinart. Released by the Arizona Cardinals, it will be interesting to see if Leinart clears waivers. It will also be interesting to see if the Chiefs have any interest. Haley worked with him in Arizona, so they have some inside information on the young man. Leinart certainly knows Cassel, since they played together at Southern Cal. Croyle is signed just for the ’10 season, so grabbing Leinart would make some big picture sense.

WHY TWO FULLBACKS?

That three halfbacks in Thomas Jones, Jamaal Charles and Jackie Battle are on the roster is not a surprise. But carrying both Tim Castille and Mike Cox is. Special teams work has to be involved here, especially with Castille who seems to be on all the major units. Considering the Chiefs offensively are not a normal two-back NFL scheme, it seems strange.

But it’s also may be an indication that Haley really means to run the football in 2010.

WHAT HAPPENED TO JERHEME URBAN?

That’s a good question, and one that does not have an obvious answer. The only thing Urban showed that was wrong with him last Thursday night against the Packers was the fact he dropped two of the first three passes in the game.

But now he’s gone for the season and that leaves a hole in the receiving group, where they could have used an experienced receiver at the No. 4 spot. Just how much rookie Jeremy Horne is capable of contributing to the offense in this first season remains to be seen.

This may be a spot where the Chiefs will cast their hook into the waiver wires.

SKIMPY ON OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

There are only eight blockers on the final roster. I would expect at least three of the practice squad spots will go to offensive linemen, probably Bobby Greenwood, Lemuel Jeanpierre and Darryl Harris or Colin Brown.

On the active group are Branden Albert, Ryan O’Callaghan and Barry Richardson at tackle, with Casey Wiegmann, Brian Waters, Rudy Niswanger, Ryan Lilja and Jon Asamoah on the inside. That combination leaves the Chiefs vulnerable at tackle, and that’s why it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them go after a tackle on the waiver wire or in another fashion.

SOMETIMES THE BEST TRADES ARE THE ONES NOT MADE

Next time Scott Pioli grabs the phone and works on a deal with his father-in-law’s team, the Miami Dolphins, somebody should wrestle him to the ground and rip the receiver out of hands.

Last year when a dearth of talent and injuries created a shallow offensive line, Pioli made a deal with Bill Parcells and the Dolphins. He sent a sixth-round choice to Miami in exchange for G Andy Alleman and T Ikechuku Ndukwe. These were two blockers that were not going to make the Miami roster.

Turns out they barely made the Chiefs roster. Alleman left after last season, as the Chiefs made no attempt to re-sign him as a free agent. Ndukwe was signed to a one-year contract for 2010, even after he showed he didn’t have the talent to be a starter at right tackle last season.

Now, both are gone and should be. And every time you say, “Oh it was just a sixth-round pick” just remember that Tom Brady was a sixth-round pick.

WHAT’S UP WITH ALL THOSE LINEBACKERS?

Special teams, that’s why there are 10 linebackers on the roster. That’s another spot where the number could be influx over the next several days. That group includes three rookies (Cameron Sheffield, Justin Cole and Cory Greenwood) and one second-year player (Jovan Belcher) and all four of those guys must become kicking game stars.

That’s how Greenwood made the team. Out of Canadian college football, he’s a very good athlete and smart. He lacks some of the football experience that young players at major American colleges get as a freshman. But last Thursday night, on the first Green Bay punt of the game, Greenwood nearly blocked the kick, then picked himself up off the ground and ran up field to make a block that helped spring Arenas for a 44-yard return.

THE CLASS OF 2009

It’s the same with most any NFL teams – the players selected that year in the draft, are generally thought to be on scholarship. That means they will make that final roster as a rookie.

There were eight players selected by the Chiefs in the first draft of the Pioli/Haley Era. As a group, they’ve been a disappointment, with only K Ryan Succop establishing himself as a contributing player. DE Tyson Jackson did play 16 games. The other six were around strictly on scholarships.

Generally, those scholarships run out after a year, especially for guys taken out of the money rounds, the first through third. After this year’s roster cut down, two members of that ’09 class are off the roster – fifth-round choice OG/OT Colin Brown and seventh-round RB Javarris Williams. Despite what appeared to be mediocre pre-season performances, DE Alex Magee, S Donald Washington, WR Quinten Lawrence and TE Jake O’Connell made the active roster, an indication that some guys got two-year scholarships.

WHERE ARE THE HOLES IN THE ROSTER?

Right now, there’s a hole at quarterback with only two on board. The offensive line, especially at tackle, is too shallow. Quality help is needed at nose tackle, where there’s really only Shaun Smith to provide help for Ron Edwards. A veteran No. 4 receiver would be plenty helpful as well.

Those are just the obvious holes. Other empty spots will show themselves as this team goes through the 16-game schedule and players that were counted on do not produce, or no longer possess the necessary level of performance.

WHO WAS NUMBER 53?

There’s no way of telling, and the folks around the Chiefs will not say so. We may find out when it comes time to add waiver claims or free agents signed off the street.

But here’s a few guesses – Cox, Cole or Bates.

WHO WAS NUMBER 54?

All we can go by is what we saw in the pre-season and what was said about these players by Haley and the coordinators.

My guess would be – Lokey, Price and Harris.

Now, stayed tuned for the practice squad and the changes in the active roster.


18 Responses to “The Not-So Final Roster … Sunday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • September 5, 2010  - Byzkit says:

    Bob, that was an great breakdown of the first “official” roster for the 2010 Chiefs… Good to see Cory Greenwood made the team…


  • September 5, 2010  - Brandon says:

    After that hustle I am also glad to see C. Greenwood around.


  • September 5, 2010  - Michael says:

    Bob, it’s not unusual for teams to give their draft picks more than than just their rookie season to prove themselves. The Chiefs aren’t doing anything unusual there. You yourself have said many times it’s pointless to judge a draft class until 2 or 3 years down the road.


  • September 5, 2010  - KC_Guy says:

    There’s one more major hole on the roster: CB.

    Travis Daniels may pass as diem back, but Jackie Bates? Seriously?

    Let’s hope none of the top three guys goes down and Arenas is not stretched too much holding down his tasks at CB, KR and PR.


  • September 5, 2010  - RW says:

    Good overview and breakdown of the roster as currently constructed, in fact, really good. One major thing jumps out at me:

    QB: There’s no one to push Cassel to a higher level of performance. Right now, for all intents and purposes, the Chiefs have a backup as their starter and a M*A*S*H* second teamer yet to win a NFL game. And this is the answer for the most important position on the team?

    I agree with the holes pointed out by Bob elsewhere as well. I’m trying hard to convince myself that Pioli knows what he’s doing but I’m losing that self argument.


  • September 5, 2010  - Marc says:

    Watch for rookie Dan Lefevour at QB. He did not make roster. We had paid alot of attention to him in the 2010 draft. See if we pick him up.


  • September 5, 2010  - Brandon says:

    @RW, what’s awesome about self-arguments is that while you’re losing, you’re also winning. Not sure where that puts the Chiefs though.


  • September 5, 2010  - TX_ChiefAN says:

    Excellent wrap-up Bob-thanks.
    Btw, once again, how long does waivers last, how long until the practice squad is established and how long do we have to pick up others fodder before they are placed on their teams ps?
    Thanks again Bob


  • September 5, 2010  - Niblick says:

    I just don’t see them only carrying two QBs. It’s too risky. You need a 3rd QB if there is an injury. I also don’t expect them to just carry eight offensive lineman. None of the receivers, after Bowe and Chambers, have few if any receptions in the regular season. I guess Copper has a few and Lawrence has less than 10. Copper is only on the roster because of special teams. They definitely need to add another veteran WR. Tj Hous. and mark Clayton are available. I’m not sure who might be available for the OL.


  • September 5, 2010  - aPauled says:

    Unless Lienhart gets his attitude adjusted he is going to be a cancer where ever he goes…which won’t fly in Chiefs land. He didn’t get cut in Arizona just because of poor play.

    Possible upgrades from the waiver wire:
    - NT Anthony Toribio (Green Bay)
    - C Justin Hartwig (Pittsburgh via KU)


  • September 5, 2010  - John says:

    Something that Bob didn’t point out while talking about the quality (or lack there of…to be determined) of our 2009 draft, is the fact that quite a few of 2d and 3d rounders from 2009 just got cut from a slew of different teams. Wasn’t just our Chiefs cutting some losses. Although I do suspect that Colin Brown will be back on the PS.

    Lienhart can go fly a rope. Don’t want him. Haley knows him and has already benched him once. Don’t think he would take a roster spot to bench him again.


  • September 5, 2010  - JohnNdallas says:

    Nothing wrong with Bates! I’ve seen his improvement from last year to this, I was hoping he would make the roster again. Kinda anxious to see how much more he can develop.


  • September 5, 2010  - Michael says:

    They might look for a veteran wide receiver, but McCluster and Horne should get a lot of playing time. Copper will be active to play on special teams. With Lawrence sprinkled in here and there if he’s active on game day, there may not be that much work available.

    Bates reminds me of Leggett; small, fast kid from a small college who just kept sticking around and improving.

    First look at KC’s PS shows no Colin Brown; so his shot with the Chiefs may be over. Looks like they like the converted DL Bobby Greenwood more. It’s good they got D. Harris on the PS. It’ll give him more time to get healthy. He was set for a reserve spot before he got hurt.

    They put Palko on the PS, too, so they may just keep two QB’s on the active roster.


  • September 5, 2010  - Michael says:

    Nice call e-Pauled…Chiefs actually did claim NT Toribio from the Packers. Have to see who goes off the active roster to make room for him.


  • September 5, 2010  - dan in joplin says:

    The wildcat will be our emergency 3rd qb! The 3rd can only play if the #1 & #2 go down and if who we would have for a 3rd, we would be better off running the ball anyway. I see us putting a qb on the practice squad to develop. I would be shocked if they sign Leinart, he doesn’t love football he’s onlyy in it for the hollywood parties! My guess is Haley lost is number!


  • September 5, 2010  - Niblick says:

    We signed Palko to the practice squad. I guess it will be an easy transition, if we need him on the active roster. I still wouldn’t be surprised if we acquire another QB and perhaps a veteran receiver. We are carrying two fullbacks so one of them could be released. We also have to make room for Toribio.


  • September 5, 2010  - aPauled says:

    Quinten Lawrence got axed to sign Toribio. I was expecting Mike Cox. Still don’t see how we can carry 2 FBs.


  • September 6, 2010  - Edward says:

    Surprised Jarvarris Williams didn’t make this roster. He had a solid preseason. It want take long for that kid to find a new team.




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