AFC West: Dunta Robinson

As if it wasn't bad enough for the Kansas City Chiefs that a former first-round draft pick, wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, was a bust, they are still paying for their error. Baldwin, who is now with the San Francisco 49ers, will count almost $1 million against the Chiefs' salary cap this season because of bonuses the Chiefs gave to Baldwin when he played in Kansas City.

Baldwin
The Chiefs' new administration of coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey tried to distance themselves from the mistake last summer when they sent Baldwin to San Francisco in return for another former first-round draft pick, wide receiver A.J. Jenkins. He, too, was considered a bust by his former team. Jenkins, in limited playing time for the Chiefs, caught eight passes for 130 yards in 2013. But he also delivered a big 27-yard catch on third down in the fourth quarter of the playoff game against Indianapolis, allowing the Chiefs to continue what was their final scoring drive.

Jenkins probably won't become a starter or big producer for the Chiefs, but they should feel better about those chances or Jenkins' ability to deliver the occasional big play than they would have with Baldwin. And then there's this: Jenkins is costing the Chiefs about the same as Baldwin is this year, $1.02 million. His salary is guaranteed, so the Chiefs will likely keep Jenkins at least one more season.

Baldwin, in two seasons with the Chiefs, caught 41 passes for 579 yards and two touchdowns. He played in seven games for the 49ers in 2013, catching three passes for 28 yards and no touchdowns.

Baldwin isn't Kansas City's leader this year in dead money, so called because the team is accounting for players no longer on the roster. The Chiefs saved more than $3 million against their cap last week when they released cornerback Dunta Robinson. But Robinson still counts $2 million against their cap.

Robinson and Baldwin make up most of the Chiefs' total of $3.5 million in dead money. They also have cap obligations ranging from $228,000 for former wide receiver Devon Wylie and $107,000 to former cornerback Jalil Brown, to $1,334 for wide receiver Frankie Hammond, who was released last year and has since re-signed.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Ask cornerback Brandon Flowers about the recent tackling problems of the Kansas City Chiefs defense and he'll give you a general answer that doesn't reflect any great resolve.

Flowers
"It's hard," Flowers said. "Guys in the National Football League, there are some great runners out there. We've got to make sure to do our part to bring them down whether it's running to the ball ... whatever we have to do."

But ask Flowers about a particular play, one in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts two weeks ago, and he shows an acceptable amount of anger.

On that play, a 51-yard touchdown run by Colts running back Donald Brown, Flowers, free safety Kendrick Lewis and nickel back Dunta Robinson each missed attempted tackles. Lewis actually had Brown wrapped up but failed to bring him down.

"With the defensive guys we have in this building, this room, that huddle, that's not acceptable at all," Flowers said. "We watched it a hundred times to see what happened on that run. The guys that missed those tackles, everybody faulted themselves. Nobody blamed each other. We know we've got to get it right."

The Chiefs were a solid tackling team when the season began but things have been sloppy in that department over the past several weeks. The Chiefs set a torrid defensive pace for the season's first half by sacking the quarterback and forcing turnovers at a high rate.

The Chiefs cooled down considerably in those categories since then and their tackling has worsened. Those are indications of a tired defense.

Eight defensive starters, Flowers among them, received a bye of sorts last weekend when they didn't play in the final regular-season game in San Diego. Maybe they will return refreshed in Saturday's playoff rematch against the Colts in Indianapolis.

If not, tackling against Brown and the Colts could be a problem again. If it is, the Chiefs probably won't get another chance to get it right.

Chiefs should keep Cooper on bench

December, 24, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper was one of the stars of the Kansas City Chiefs' defense almost from the minute his team claimed him off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers at the start of the regular season. He is a big, physical cornerback who was doing a nice job of disrupting routes at the line and making plays on the ball down the field.

But as with many of his defensive teammates and Kansas City's defense as a whole, the quality of Cooper's play has fallen sharply. Over the last several games Cooper has allowed numerous big plays, and it got to the point in last week's game against the Indianapolis Colts that the Chiefs benched him. They gave his job as the third cornerback to veteran Dunta Robinson.

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Cooper
Robinson played well enough to keep the job in this week's game against the Chargers in San Diego. He played well enough in coverage. He missed an attempted tackle on Donald Brown's long touchdown run, but was also contending with a blocker at the time.

“[Cooper] is a young player I think has a good future,'' Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "Sometimes you’ve got to take a little step back to take a big step forward. That’s how it works sometimes in this game. I’ve done that with younger guys in the past. I thought he handled it the right way. He got a few snaps in there in the game and did OK. We’ve just got to let him work his way back in.’’

Next year and beyond, Cooper might have a role for the Chiefs. He showed plenty over the first eight games of the season, and the Chiefs shouldn't give up on him yet.

But it is troubling that Reid and the Chiefs felt it necessary to give Cooper a break. That being the case, they're better off sticking with Robinson, a known commodity, as the third cornerback in the playoffs.

Upon Further Review: Chiefs Week 16

December, 23, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An examination of four hot issues from the Kansas City Chiefs' 23-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts:

Preseason in December: Next Sunday's final regular-season game against the San Diego Chargers in San Diego is now meaningless to the Chiefs. Since the Denver Broncos won Sunday, the Chiefs have been eliminated from any chance of winning the AFC West championship or getting a first-round playoff bye. The Chiefs also cannot fall below the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs. In that case, the smart thing for coach Andy Reid to do is rest key players such as quarterback Alex Smith and running back Jamaal Charles. Reid, though, wasn't saying how he would handle the game. "I haven’t even gotten that far. I wasn't anticipating this right here," Reid said after the Colts game. There's something to be said for heading into the playoffs with some momentum, although that's not worth the risk of losing a star player such as Smith or Charles. "To a certain extent, I think you you want to have some rhythm, a good taste in your mouth headed into the playoffs," Smith said.

Poe
Poe's meltdown: Nose tackle Dontari Poe is normally mild-mannered and quiet, seen but not heard. That's what made his taunting penalty so unusual. He was penalized after the Chiefs stopped the Colts on a third-down play in the third quarter. The penalty allowed the Colts to continue a drive that eventually ended with a field goal. Poe said after the game that he couldn't remember what he said to get the penalty. "There's no excuse for that," Reid said. "He knows that. He's a smart kid, and that's not his M.O."

Injury update: Outside linebacker Tamba Hali entered the game with some soreness in his knee, and he left the game in the fourth quarter after it swelled. He was scheduled for an MRI. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe took a shot that left him with a sore neck, although he was able to remain in the game. The Chiefs played without two injured starters, outside linebacker Justin Houston and offensive tackle Branden Albert. While it was obvious during the week Albert wouldn't be available against the Colts because of a sore knee, it appeared Houston's dislocated elbow had healed to the point that he could play. But Houston missed his fourth consecutive game.

Robinson in for Cooper: The Chiefs made a change at nickel back, replacing beleaguered rookie Marcus Cooper with veteran Dunta Robinson. There was no indication the change is permanent, and Cooper could be back in the lineup for next week's game against the Chargers.
Dunta RobinsonJohn Rieger/USA TODAY SportsChiefs CB Dunta Robinson says Kansas City is a much better team than its Week 16 performance.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs had lost three times before, of course, but the feeling afterward in their locker room this time was different. Players talked about a lack of effort and a lack of focus, things that should not be an issue for a team playing for a division championship.

Instead, the Chiefs played as though they didn't care in Sunday's 23-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead Stadum, so the mood was one of hopelessness. They lost any chance at winning the AFC West and are now locked into a wild-card playoff berth.

Their first-round game in two weeks likely will be played against the team that just came into their home and pushed them around, and their situation was summed up appropriately by nickelback Dunta Robinson.

"They came in and kicked our [butt]," said Robinson, only one of the Chiefs players who was blunt with the truth. "We deserved everything we got. No excuses. We've got to look in the mirror, and we've got to decide what kind of team we want to be moving forward.

"Yeah, OK, you dominate Oakland. Yeah, you dominate the Redskins. But what are we going to do when we face other powerhouses? We're a much better team than we showed today, and we've got to play like it."

There is still time for the Chiefs to prove otherwise, but what they look like right now is the playground bully who can push around the malnourished kids from places like Washington, Oakland and Jacksonville. However, when they come up against someone their own size, they suddenly aren't so tough after all. Indianapolis is one of those opponents, and the Chiefs haven't fared well against that kind of team, one like they will see in the playoffs.

The Chiefs are 1-3 against teams that will certainly be in the postseason. The victory was in September against the eventual winner of the NFC East, either Dallas or Philadelphia. The losses were against Denver twice and now Indianapolis, and that record will look even worse if the San Diego Chargers somehow sneak into the playoffs. San Diego beat the Chiefs last month at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Colts provided the perfect excuse for the Chiefs to disprove the prevailing logic that they have gotten fat against an inferior schedule. They failed the test miserably.

"They wanted it more than we did today," Robinson continued. "We felt like we were ready coming into this game today. What happened today was totally unexpected."

Even the best of NFL teams play a lousy game now and then, and maybe the Chiefs were due for one of those games. They routed Washington and Oakland the past two weeks, and maybe it was their time to get their dose of it.

That part of it is understandable. But to let the Colts want it more? With the shot at the AFC West championship, a first-round bye and having all of their playoff games in the comfort of Arrowhead?

"The effort just wasn't there," said the Chiefs' best player, running back Jamaal Charles. "That's a playoff team. We might see them again. Everybody needs to play harder. Everybody needs to play with more effort. Everybody needs to stay more focused."

Charles scored the game's first points on a 31-yard touchdown run, and at that point, the Chiefs looked like they were back in Washington or Oakland. They looked poised to pummel another opponent. Then they just fell flat.

The Chiefs tackled poorly and gave up several big plays, but that's all the Chiefs do on defense anymore. No surprise there.

The surprises came with a lack of discipline, highlighted by a taunting penalty from the usually mild-mannered Dontari Poe after a third-down play when the Chiefs got a stop.

Another one happened when the offense, which has scored 11 touchdowns over the past two weeks, went limp after Charles' touchdown. The Chiefs committed a season-high four turnovers, three from normally sure-handed quarterback Alex Smith.

"We certainly didn't match their emotion and execution," Smith said. "I felt like especially when we came out there and got the touchdown, I don't know if we thought they were going to [lie] down ... or what. We certainly weren't able to respond like they were."

Legitimate playoff teams don't lie down. They fight back. That's what the Colts did, and by the time they responded, the Chiefs were deep into their daylong coma.

That doesn't speak well for the Chiefs and their chances in the playoffs. Just as the Broncos did twice this season, the Colts sent a message to the Chiefs on how it's done.

The message was loud and clear, but we'll have to wait for the playoffs in two weeks before we know whether the Chiefs learned from it.

"I would expect our players to be upset over this," coach Andy Reid said. "That's what I sensed in that locker room. A lot of time and effort went into preparing.

"If you're not, there's something wrong with you."

It's time for Chiefs to bench Cooper

December, 2, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Rookie Marcus Cooper may still go on to become a fine NFL cornerback. He played well enough over a long stretch in the season’s first nine games that the Kansas City Chiefs shouldn’t give up on him for the long term.

But for now the poor kid looks shell-shocked, and for his benefit as well as that of the Chiefs', it’s time for the team to sit him down. Cooper has had a string of three horrible games, punctuated by Sunday’s 35-28 to Peyton Manning, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and the Denver Broncos.

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Cooper
In order for the Chiefs to get their defensive swagger back, it’s time to sit Cooper down and try veteran Dunta Robinson as their third cornerback behind starters Brandon Flowers and Sean Smith.

To his credit, Cooper put up a brave front following Sunday’s game.

I’ll just keep working,’’ Cooper said. “I’m a cornerback. This is the life I live. Sometimes things are going to work for me, sometimes things aren’t.’’

They worked for Cooper early in the game, when he intercepted one of Manning’s passes. But most of his day was spent chasing Decker or Thomas, just like he spent much of the previous week chasing San Diego Chargers receivers.

“He had the interception and then the one thing he did was he came back and he battled,’’ coach Andy Reid said. “That’s not an easy thing as a rookie, a young kid, and he’s put in a big-time position and he’s not giving up on himself, which is important. There’s a challenge on every play. They got him on a couple but at the same time he came back and he battled."

Robinson didn’t play well as the third cornerback early in the season and has played little since Cooper emerged. But as the aura of invincibility has been stripped away from Kansas City’s defense and its flaws have been exposed, Robinson’s experience can’t hurt.

Reid wasn’t in any mood to discuss whether Robinson might provide some relief for Cooper in Sunday’s game against the Redskins in Washington.

“[Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton] will go through all of that,’’ Reid said.

Signing CB Robinson still good move

November, 6, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Aside from the 9-0 record of his new team, the Kansas City Chiefs, this is not what veteran cornerback Dunta Robinson signed on to do.

Robinson
The 31-year-old veteran and a nine-year starter came to the Chiefs as a free agent to be nothing less than a third cornerback. But his new team has had little use for his skills for much of the season.

Sean Smith and Brandon Flowers are the starters. The Chiefs early in the season gave Robinson's spot as the third cornerback to rookie Marcus Cooper once they discovered how advanced Cooper’s skills are.

That has left no playing time for Robinson in any of the last three games. He’s healthy and been in uniform but he’s been nothing but injury insurance that, other when Flowers missed a couple of early-season games because of a sore knee, hasn’t been needed.

“It was tough in the beginning but it’s not now because I know I’m still effective when I’m needed, so I’m in a good place,’’ Robinson said.

Robinson’s skills aren’t what they were earlier in his career when he played for the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons. The Chiefs lost patience with him when he was beaten deep for a long touchdown by Victor Cruz of the New York Giants in a game in September.

His signing was still a good one for the Chiefs if only for the graceful way Robinson accepted the benching. But with Robinson, there’s more.

“I’m trying to give these young guys someone to look up to from a work ethic standpoint and a film study standpoint,’’ Robinson said. “The things I do in the locker room and in the film room, I know these guys look up to me.

“My role now is just as a leader and a guy when my number is called and they need me to show up to go out and produce. I’ve played a lot of football and where I am on the depth chart doesn’t matter to me in this point in my career.’’

Chiefs win by staying true to identity

October, 13, 2013
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Terrelle Pryor David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/Getty ImagesThe Chiefs sacked Terrelle Pryor 10 times, including six times in the fourth quarter.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Though the situation might have called for it, the Kansas City Chiefs refused to panic. They rummaged through their substantial bag of defensive tricks and threw them all at young Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, but he simply wouldn’t break.

As a result, the Chiefs couldn’t shake the Raiders. The undefeated Chiefs were tied with the Raiders late in the third quarter and one play away from the unthinkable: a seventh straight home loss to Oakland.

The safe thing might have been to dial back the pressure on Pryor and keep him from using his considerable running ability to make a big play. But this is what belief in a defensive system and the players in it will do for a team.

The Chiefs served up more heat and eventually broke Pryor. Under pressure late in the third quarter, he heaved one up off his back foot that was intercepted by safety Quintin Demps.

Soon, the Chiefs scored the go-ahead touchdown and that was the catalyst for more. The Chiefs sacked Pryor six times in the fourth period and intercepted him twice, returning one for their third pick-six of the season.

When it was over, they had beaten the Raiders 24-7 merely by staying true to what they do.

"It was only a matter of time," veteran nickelback Dunta Robinson said. "We just had to stay patient. We knew the plays were going to come. We knew what kind of quarterback we were facing. Things were going to happen. In the second half, things started happening. We smelled blood and we went for it.

"We just did what we do."

Explaining the late defensive dominance is as simple as that. The Chiefs just didn’t veer from the plan.

The Chiefs had a couple of other factors working in their favor. The Raiders were playing with a patchwork offensive line because of injuries, and the noise at Arrowhead Stadium in the fourth quarter was at Guinness Book of World Record levels, which made communication nearly impossible.

But it’s too simple to believe that’s all that emboldened defensive coordinator Bob Sutton to dial up the pressure on Pryor. His decision had more to do with the fact the Chiefs, against a healthy offensive line and without the benefit of crowd noise, had two interceptions in the fourth quarter of last week’s win in Tennessee.

It had to do with the fact the Chiefs own the fourth quarter. They’ve allowed just two final-period touchdowns this season and none in three games at Arrowhead Stadium.

"We did what we always do," Robinson said. "We didn’t make any adjustments. We stuck to what we do. We stuck to the game plan. We didn’t give any new looks."

In the case of the Chiefs and their defense, success is breeding success. After the Chiefs went ahead 14-7 because of favorable field position provided by the Demps interception, Pryor tried a short pass intended for wide receiver Denarius Moore.

The safe thing for rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper to do under the circumstances was let Moore make the catch and tackle him for a short gain. But, playing for a team overflowing with defensive confidence, Cooper made a quick break on the ball and cut in front of Moore for the interception.

Soon, again using favorable field position, the Chiefs had a 17-7 lead.

"You know the pressure is eventually going to start to affect him," Cooper said. "It’s hard when you have people coming after you like we were coming after him."

Sutton has many tools at his disposal and he’s not afraid to use them, particularly in the fourth quarter. The Chiefs sacked Pryor 10 times and have league-high 31 in their six games.

Linebacker Tamba Hali led the way with 3.5 sacks, but six other players had a hand in dragging down the Oakland quarterback.

"Everybody’s trying to eat around here," said linebacker Derrick Johnson, who had two sacks. "Everybody’s hungry. Everybody’s thirsty."

Sutton is able to call whatever he pleases in the fourth quarter because most of the time, the Chiefs are protecting a lead. They’ve trailed in the final period just once, last week against Tennessee.

"Teams have been in a situation where they had to throw in the fourth quarter," coach Andy Reid said. "With our pass rush, that’s a tough thing to do."

The Chiefs have made a habit of allowing at least one big play early in the game. That continued Sunday when Pryor threw 39 yards to Moore for a touchdown and the game’s first points.

As always at home, the damage stopped there.

"The best thing about us is when we get hit in the mouth early, we don’t fold," said Demps, who also had an interception in the fourth quarter last week and leads the Chiefs with three.

It didn’t work for Tennessee, but maybe the only way to beat the Chiefs is to take a lead into the fourth quarter. Otherwise, they’re going to make life miserable for whatever quarterback might be standing in their way.

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Wednesday's Chiefs practice report

September, 25, 2013
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KANSAS CITY , Mo. -- The practice week began in earnest for the Kansas City Chiefs with five players, including four starters, not working. Cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee), free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle), guard Jeff Allen (groin) and tight end Anthony Fasano (ankle) were the starters who did not practice.

Dunta Robinson was starting in Flowers' spot. Quintin Demps filled in for Lewis, Geoff Schwartz for Allen and Sean McGrath for Fasano.

The fifth player who did not practice was backup tight end Travis Kelce (knee).

Two other starters, tackle Branden Albert (shoulder) and defensive end Mike DeVito, were listed on the injury report as being limited practice participants. Fullback Anthony Sherman (knee) and linebacker Frank Zombo (elbow) were listed as full participants.

Monday's Chiefs practice report

September, 16, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Chiefs had three starters who didn't practice Monday as they began their short week of preparation for Thursday night's game against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Left tackle Branden Albert has an AC sprain in his shoulder, but coach Andy Reid said Albert would most likely be ready to play in Philadelphia. Other starters who missed practice were cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee) and tight end Anthony Fasano (ankle).

A fourth starter, defensive end Mike DeVito, was listed as a limited practice participant on the injury report because of a sore neck.

Four other players were on the injury report. Tight end Travis Kelce (knee) and linebacker James-Michael Johnson (neck) did not practice. Linebackers Nico Johnson (ankle) and Dezman Moses (toe) were listed as full practice participants.

Nickelback Dunta Robinson, who missed Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys to tend to a family matter, returned to practice and will play in Philadelphia.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (quad) went through a full practice session and will play Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs officially listed Charles on their injury report as probable for Sunday's game.

Nickelback Dunta Robinson again missed practice after being excused for personal reasons. He was listed as questionable for Sunday's game. Tight end Travis Kelce (knee) was also listed as questionable. He was a limited practice participant.

The five other players on the injury report were full practice participants and are listed as probable for Sunday's game: offensive linemen Jon Asamoah (calf) and Donald Stephenson (shoulder), linebackers Nico Johnson (ankle) and Dezman Moses (toe) and safety Husain Abdullah (foot).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Running back Jamaal Charles returned to practice today, but only on a limited basis. Charles, who has a bruised thigh, is still on track to play Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs welcome the Dallas Cowboys to Arrowhead Stadium.

Charles
But tight end Travis Kelce didn't practice because of soreness in his knee. That raises doubts about his ability to be ready for the Cowboys game.

Nickel back Dunta Robinson was again absent from practice for personal reasons.

The other players on the Chiefs' injury report were listed as full practice participants: offensive linemen Jon Asamoah (calf) and Donald Stephenson (shoulder), linebackers Nico Johnson (ankle) and Dezman Moses (toe) and safety Husain Abdullah (foot).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Former general manager Scott Pioli has been roasted, most times deservedly so, by Chiefs fans angry with many of the personnel moves he made in his four seasons in Kansas City. One of the unpopular moves I happened to agree with: his decision last year to let cornerback Brandon Carr become a free agent.

Carr
Carr returns to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday for the first time since, a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Don’t get me wrong: Carr is an excellent player who would still look very good in a Chiefs uniform.

In a perfect world, the Chiefs would have been able to retain Carr. But the NFL world isn’t perfect, and once the Chiefs’ other starting cornerback, Brandon Flowers, signed a contract extension in September 2011 worth $50 million over five years, Carr became a short-timer in Kansas City. He wasn’t going to take one penny less to stay, and the Chiefs couldn’t afford to give him the same contract they gave Flowers.

Technically, they could have given Carr a contract identical to Flowers'. And for the sake of argument, let’s assume the Chiefs signed Carr for the same deal he was given by the Cowboys: five years, $50.1 million (and you thought Carr wasn’t motivated by Flowers’ contract).

Carr would have cost the Chiefs about $5.4 million this year against the salary cap. The Chiefs instead used that room to sign both starting cornerbacks, Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson, who are costing them about $5.75 million this year against the cap.

So the Chiefs got two players for the price of one here. Given their need heading into this offseason for a quality nickel back, that’s a pretty good deal.

In essence, Pioli had to make a decision back then: Flowers or Carr. I’d say, in this case, he made the right one.

Chiefs roster predictions Part II

August, 28, 2013
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Earlier I posted my predictions for the final 53 for the Kansas City Chiefs on offense and special teams. Here’s how I see the breakdown on defense:

Defensive line (7): Tyson Jackson, Dontari Poe, Mike DeVito, Anthony Toribio, Jerrell Powe, Allen Bailey, Marcus Dixon. Depth behind starters Jackson, Poe and DeVito could be a problem. Toribio and Powe are big bodies, but inexperienced. Bailey comes in to help rush the quarterback on obvious passing downs.

Linebacker (8): Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson, Akeem Jordan, Edgar Jones, Frank Zombo, Zac Diles, Nico Johnson. From top to bottom the strongest position on the Chiefs. Hali, Houston and Derrick Johnson are Pro Bowlers. The other starter, Jordan, as well as Jones, Zombo and Nico Johnson, played well in the preseason.

Defensive back (10): Brandon Flowers, Sean Smith, Dunta Robinson, Jalil Brown, Sanders Commings, Eric Berry, Kendrick Lewis, Quintin Demps, Husain Abdullah, Tysyn Hartman. Maybe the toughest position on the team to call. The situation is complicated by Commings’ broken collarbone. He was injured on the first day of training camp and hasn’t practiced since. In his absence, the Chiefs have been sorting through candidates to be a fourth cornerback behind Flowers, Smith and Robinson without much success. They even turned to Abdullah, a safety, as their nickel back in last week’s game in Pittsburgh. Kennard Cox had a nice game against the Steelers. I don’t have him making the team, but if he plays well against Green Bay in the final exhibition game, he could stick.

AFC West notes

August, 18, 2013
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Kansas City Chiefs star running back Jamaal Charles practiced Sunday for the first time since strained his foot on Monday. Kansas City coach Andy Reid said he hasn’t decided if Charles will play in the preseason next weekend. I wouldn’t be surprised if Reid keeps Charles out of game action until the regular season as a precaution.

Right tackle Eric Fisher, tight end Travis Kelce and cornerback Dunta Robinson were all not practicing for the Chiefs on Sunday because of injuries.

Andre Gurode was reporteldy not working with the first-team guards in Oakland on Sunday after he struggled last week. Perhaps Oakland’s starting guard will be youngsters Tony Bergstrom and Lucas Nix. This is a young team and it makes sense to get the youngsters experience and playing time over a veteran like Gurode. He recently signed in Oakland after not playing in the NFL last year.

San Diego receiver Eddie Royal was released from the hospital Sunday. He bruised his lung in practice Saturday and is expected to have a short recovery time.

U-T San Diego reports Chargers’ receiver Danario Alexander cleared waivers and signed back with the Chargers. He was waived-injured. It was fully expected he would not be claimed since he is a free agent next year. He will miss the season with a torn ACL.

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