Give Chiefs credit for recognizing Husain Abdullah's ability


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- After lousy play at free safety helped cause a defensive meltdown the last half of last season and in the playoff loss, the Kansas City Chiefs were under plenty of pressure to find a quality replacement for Kendrick Lewis. It made sense they would spend heavily in free agency or use their first round draft pick on a safety.

The Chiefs deserve credit for finding the solution right under their collective nose. They re-signed and then promoted Husain Abdullah, who was their fourth safety last sesaon. Abdullah isn't the only reason the Chiefs have greatly reduced the number of long pass plays they've allowed. The other safety, Ron Parker, is also playing well. Sean Smith is one of the league's top-rated cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus.

But the play of Abdullah has been as big a single reason as any. The Chiefs like Abdullah's ability in pass coverage so much they used him some last season as a nickel back. He returned an interception 44 yards for a touchdown last season against Oakland and brought one back 39 yards this year for a score against New England.

The Chiefs picked Abdullah off the scrap heap. A former starter for the Minnesota Vikings, Abdullah was looking last season to get back in the NFL. A practicing Muslim, Abdullah spent the 2012 season out of football while making a pilgrimage to Mecca.

“I thought he was a good player before he took a sabbatical for a year,'' coach Andy Reid said. "Then I thought it was just a matter of kind of getting into the swing of things. You saw that taking place last year. I thought he finished the season strong and then he kind of carried that into (offseason practice) and training camp.''

The Chiefs didn't draft a safety. They signed no one of significance at the position in free agency. Sometimes the best moves are the ones a team doesn't make. That so far has proved to be the case with the Chiefs and their free safety position.