They Are “The Bubble Boys”

After wrapping up practice early Thursday afternoon, Andy Reid was not headed for a late lunch, or an early dinner, or a trip to mall.

With his media responsibilities finished up Reid was heading to GM John Dorsey’s office where they would continue the personnel meetings that have already begun the task of trimming the 90-man roster to 75 players and then 53, with a 9-man practice squad a week from Friday.

There are locks to make the final roster, names that can easily be located on the roster. There are others that will make the team for reasons other than what they’ve shown in the pre-season; it will have more to do with potential.

And then, there are the bubble boys, the guys that are sitting on that 53-man bubble, sometimes in, sometimes out, but very much in the discussion for a spot on the Chiefs roster. The bubble boys have shown the head coach and general manager that they can make a contribution to an NFL team, but the opportunity may not be in Kansas City and in the 2013 season.

We will take an in-depth look at two bubble boys in WR Jamar Newsome and C Eric Kush. Here are the other top spots with guys on the bubble before kickoff to start the Chiefs-Steelers game on Saturday.

RB: Shaun Draughn & Cyrus Gray – It’s unlikely the Chiefs will keep more than 3 running backs and two are known: Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis. FB Anthony Sherman appears to be able to contribute on both offense and special teams so that spot appears filled. That leaves one more possible roster spot at the position and that’s where Draughn and Gray will compete in the numbers game.

Draughn had 83 touches on offense last year, producing 391 yards and 2 touchdowns. So far this year he’s had 31 offensive snaps, with 10 touches for 41 yards. He also plays special teams, getting 15 snaps in the kicking game so far this pre-season. Last season he had 4 tackles, as well as 23 kickoff returns for an average of 23.3 yards. That return job does not appear to be open based on what Davis and S Quintin Demps have shown in the first two games.

Gray saw limited playing time last year, with 9 touches for 62 yards, along with a 33-yard kick return. He added 3 special teams tackles. In this pre-season he has 34 offensive snaps, with 10 touches for 23 yards and 19 plays in the kicking game.

DE Austen Lane & DL Marcus Dixon – along the defensive line the Chiefs will keep 6 or 7 players with Dontari Poe, Mike DeVito, Tyson Jackson, Allen Bailey and Anthony Toribio appear to be solid in their spots. That would leave another 6 players fighting for the one or two spots that maybe available. Free agent DE Miguel Chavis has shown some ability and there are not many players with the size and physical skills that Jerrell Powe has at the nose tackle position. It just doesn’t seem like the numbers add up to both Lane and Dixon making the squad.

Lane was claimed on waivers by the Chiefs from Jacksonville on June 13th, just as they were heading off to summer vacation. He’s in his fourth NFL season after spending 3 seasons with the Jaguars where he played in 28 games and started 17. Lane had 66 total tackles, 3 sacks and a forced fumble. Last year he played 11 games and 366 snaps producing 32 total tackles and 2 sacks. With the Chiefs he’s had 42 snaps in two games, with no participation in the kicking game.

Dixon is in his 3rd NFL season after spending two years with the New York Jets. He signed with the Chiefs on February 12th as a street free agent. The Jets released him in late September 2012 and he did not play in the league. In two pre-season games with the Chiefs, Dixon has 63 defensive snaps and 4 plays on special teams. He has 2 tackles on defense.

ILB Zac Diles & ILB Orie Lemon – For defensive purposes, the Chiefs are likely to keep 3 or 4 inside linebackers. That’s Derrick Johnson, Akeem Jordan and Nico Johnson. If there’s a fourth spot, it’s special teams abilities and right now consider it a fight between Zac Diles, Orie Lemon and rookie Darin Drakeford. Veterans Diles and Lemon that appear to have the real fight.

Diles has gotten 52 defensive snaps and 21 plays in the kicking game. He has 5 total tackles and a sack on defense. Lemon has 44 plays and 18 special teams snaps. He’s had 7 total tackles.

There’s a difference of 3 years between Diles (28 years old in his 7th season) and Lemon (25 years old in his 2nd NFL season.)

OL Matt Reynolds & G Rokevious Watkins – The backup spots for the offensive line require players with some versatility. Veteran free agent Geoff Schwartz will make the squad because he can play both guard and tackle and on either side.

Reynolds can match that versatility and throughout the pre-season and training camp he’s worked at both positions on both sides of the line of scrimmage. The 27-year old BYU product has not played in an NFL game yet, but since he was claimed off waivers from Philadelphia on May 14, Reynolds has shown his versatility and some blocking talent.

Watkins was signed on August 3, not long after he was released by the Rams, the team that selected him in the NFL Draft in 2012. Watkins problems have revolved around his weight and conditioning and after two chances to show he could overcome those problems; the folks in St. Louis had enough. His chances are not helped by the fact he’s only played guard. Watkins was on the field for 28 snaps against New Orleans, but did not play against San Francisco; that’s also not a good sign for his chances.

CB Neiko Thorpe & CB Vince Askew – The first three spots are set with Brandon Flowers, Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson, and it appears Jalil Brown will be the fourth. There’s room for at least one more cornerback on the defensive depth chart and that looks like a decision between Thorpe and Askew.

Thorpe has gotten more snaps on defense than any other cornerback – 87 in two games, with another 23 plays on special teams. He has two tackles.

Askew struggled in the game in New Orleans, where he was targeted by the Saints quarterbacks and failed to do much to stop their throws. But he came back and played better against San Francisco. Overall, he has 74 snaps on defense and another 13 in the kicking game. That’s an indication the coaches think he can contribute and want him to show it on the field. He’s the team’s leading tackler with 11 and he also blocked a PAT kick against the Niners.

11 Responses to “They Are “The Bubble Boys””

  • August 23, 2013  - KC_Guy says:

    I think there are a few more competitions going on (my front runners with a *):

    QB: *Bray vs. Stanzi
    OLB: *Zombo vs. Catapano vs. Martin
    S: *Hartman vs. McDougald
    ST: Richardson vs. Copper vs. Harris vs. Opurum (wide open, Copper may become a cap casualty)

  • August 23, 2013  - bhive01 says:

    I’m surprised Stanzi/Bray wasn’t mentioned. Is it that much of a foregone conclusion that Stanzi will hit the road?

  • August 23, 2013  - kc arrowhead says:

    It’s Vince Agnew, not Askew. He, Thorpe and Brown are good special teamers, but need to show improvement at corner. Agnew did play better after his disaster in New Orleans. This might be a spot the Chiefs look to other team’s late cuts to fill if they don’t see improved play from these young guys.

  • August 23, 2013  - el cid says:

    Doubt Agnew will make it but I recall Kevin Ross was burnt toast his first time out but a stud after that one game for an entire career, a great career.

    We have decent depth at DB. But injury could still effect roster.

  • August 23, 2013  - j.t. collins says:

    After the cut down to 53 the bottom of that, better not unpack their bags.I see Dorsey signing DL/DBs/WR & maybe OFL. Some question the Bray /Stanzi battle, Stanzi didn’t play in 9ers game , end of battle.Well Dorsey cut his 1st draft class ,I don’t have that answer . The good GMs w/out egos seem to be able to do it,well ours !

  • August 23, 2013  - Russell says:

    I think the shocker is Chase Daniels. If he plays tomorrow and basically sucks, he goes. Contract or not.

  • August 23, 2013  - tuan le says:

    Russell. what the hate of chase Daniels ? so you rather take stanzi over him ? you much be a KU fan ! He’s in the NFL now so let it go .

  • August 24, 2013  - Russell says:

    Tuan, Care less about Mizzoo…Have hoped for Stanzi since he got here. Realize he has not shined like we hoped, but on the field He just appears as the better QB than Daniels or Bray —ATM

    Yes I went to KU

  • August 24, 2013  - cychief24 says:

    Stanzi could beat out Tyler Palko.

  • August 24, 2013  - cychief24 says:

    My bad… Stanzi could NOT beat out Palko.

  • August 24, 2013  - tuan le says:

    Russel., please look at the depth chart, choach Reid rather have undrafted free agen bray ahead of stanzi and so it show in game, that’s a indication of how much he think of stanzi . so what make you think stanzi is better than Daniels ? with our QB situation last year, if stanzi is any good he’s already playing. stanzi is just another pioli failed draft pick.

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