NFL Nation: Donnie Avery

WR has to be priority for Chiefs

March, 17, 2014
Mar 17
8:15
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You might like the Kansas City Chiefs to improve at any number of positions before starting the 2014 season and chances are they might agree with you at least in some of those areas. But the fact is they have enough at this point to line up, play a game and at least be competitive with most NFL teams.

You might think the Chiefs have holes in their starting lineup at right guard and free safety, but I don’t think the Chiefs agree with you there. Their actions in free agency would suggest they don’t. At right guard, they watched without a trace of panic as the two players who shared the starting spot last season walked out the door in free agency, Jon Asamoah to the Atlanta Falcons and Geoff Schwartz to the New York Giants. They did sign Jeff Linkenbach from the Indianapolis Colts and he could wind up claiming that vacant starting spot, though his versatility suggests they prefer him as a backup at both tackle and guard. The Chiefs have three developmental prospects in the middle of the offensive line in Eric Kush, Rishaw Johnson and Rokevious Watkins. At this point, it wouldn’t be a surprise if one of them was a starter next season.

The Chiefs don’t appear interested in re-signing Kendrick Lewis, their starting free safety. But neither have they appeared interested in replacing him through free agency. They could draft a free safety, but the two best prospects will likely be off the board by the time the Chiefs make their first pick. They did re-sign reserve Husain Abdullah, but for backup money. All signs there point to Sanders Commings, a rookie last season, inheriting that job. The Chiefs were impressed with Commings in offseason practice last year and he was going to challenge for playing time but broke his collarbone in the first practice at training camp. That effectively ruined his rookie season but he’s back and will find a role somewhere in their defensive backfield.

Then there’s wide receiver, which is a little bit of a different story. The Chiefs were last in the NFL last season in receptions, yards and first downs from their wide receivers, and that was before they lost Dexter McCluster to the Tennessee Titans as a free agent. It’s unfair and inaccurate to blame this problem on quarterback Alex Smith. The fact is, receivers weren’t getting open enough down the field and dropped too many passes.

The Chiefs tried to sign free agent Emmanuel Sanders of the Pittsburgh Steelers and thought they had an agreement with him on a contract. They believe Sanders’ agent then shopped the offer to other teams and he struck a better deal instead with the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs haven’t and most likely won’t say anything publicly on this matter but they’re not happy about things because the loss of Sanders stings. He would have been the solution to many of their receiving problems and they know it.

Instead, this is what they’re left with at wide receiver: Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, A.J. Jenkins, Junior Hemingway and Weston Dressler, plus some developmental prospects. You like that mix? They’re good enough for the Chiefs to line up with and not get embarrassed. But probably not much better than that.

In the best-case scenario, Bowe bounces back after a down season, Jenkins plays like the first-round draft pick he once was and Dressler makes the transition from the CFL to the NFL look simple.

The odds are against any of those things happening, much less all three of them. Minus all three things happening, the Chiefs need help at wide receiver in a big way. That's why their priority the rest of the offseason has to be on upgrading their roster of wide receivers.
Kansas City Chiefs fans have been less than thrilled with the first few days of free agency. They've watched their team lose five players who were regulars at some point last season while they've added Joe Mays, an inside linebacker who will probably play only on running downs, and Jeff Linkenbach, an offensive lineman who may be just a backup.

Sanders
But the NFL Network reports the Chiefs will visit with Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. If the Chiefs could get Sanders under contract, that should be a signing for their fans to be excited about.

If he came to Kansas City, Sanders could wind up being the slot receiver who replaces Dexter McCluster. Sanders caught 67 passes and scored six touchdowns for the Steelers last season and since he turns 27 next week, he should be headed into the best seasons of his career.

Wide receiver is the position of biggest need for the Chiefs. Their No. 1 receiver, Dwayne Bowe, had the least productive full season of his career last year. The Chiefs were last in 2013 in wide receiver receptions, yards and first downs and were near the bottom in touchdowns. That was with McCluster in their lineup.

They were also last in targets, which suggests they weren't getting open. Alex Smith's history is to throw the checkdowns and shorter and safer patterns, so that's part of the issue. But Smith hasn't made a habit of neglecting open receivers down the field, either.

With Sanders, Bowe, A.J. Jenkins, Donnie Avery and perhaps a first-round draft pick (the more I think about it, the better LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. would look in a Chiefs uniform), the receiving positions would be improved. Far from best-in-the-league improved, but good enough to pose a threat to opposing defenses.

Let's put it this way: That group should be good enough to get the Chiefs out of last place in wide receiver production.
On to this week's questions:
 
Wide receiver is the biggest position of need for the Kansas City Chiefs, so both Mel Kiper and Todd McShay are thinking clearly in their latest mock drafts. For those with ESPN Insider access, Kiper has the Chiefs taking one receiver, Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin, with their first-round pick, which is 23rd overall.

McShay gives a different wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr. of Louisiana State, to the Chiefs in the first round.

Either player makes sense for the Chiefs. Both players entered the draft as juniors so they may need more time to develop. The Chiefs would need immediate help from either player, but not necessarily as a starter. The Chiefs have veterans in Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, A.J. Jenkins and Weston Dressler, so they wouldn’t have to ask a rookie to carry the load.

But eventually the Chiefs would need him to grow into the No. 1 role, which has been occupied by Bowe for several years. Bowe had a down season, a sign that perhaps he’s started the inevitable downhill slide. Even if not, he will turn 30 in September so the Chiefs have to think about finding his eventual replacement.

Benjamin at 6-4 and 232 is bigger than Beckham Jr. at 6-0 and 193 but Beckham has kick return ability. Otherwise there is little to choose from. Both are fast and run well after the catch.

So it wouldn’t be a surprise to see either Benjamin or Beckham Jr. wind up with the Chiefs.

Arrow indicates direction team is trending.

Final Power Ranking: 10
Preseason Power Ranking: 19

Biggest surprise: The Chiefs plucked rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper, a seventh-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers, off waivers to start the regular season. Cooper played better than the Chiefs had a right to expect for a long stretch of the season as the third cornerback. He had a rough stretch late in the season before bouncing back at the end. At 6-foot-2 and 192 pounds, Cooper has the size to match up with the league's bigger receivers. Cooper projects as nothing less than the Chiefs' third cornerback next season and could eventually become a starter.

Biggest disappointment: Offensive tackle Eric Fisher was the first overall pick in the draft last year but rarely played like it. The Chiefs used Fisher on the right side, and he initially had trouble making the transition. He also had trouble avoiding nagging injuries, which caused him to miss four games, including the playoff loss to Indianapolis. Fisher should eventually develop into the kind of player the Chiefs envisioned. He showed great athletic skills that will help him reach his potential. Fisher was usually unable to anchor against a strong pass rush and that's where many of his problems occurred. A year in Kansas City's strength program will benefit Fisher greatly.

Biggest need: The Chiefs need a fast wide receiver to energize their passing game. They gambled by giving Dwayne Bowe a lucrative long-term contract last offseason, but Bowe didn't play like a No. 1 wide receiver until the playoff loss to the Colts. Bowe will turn 30 next season, so if nothing else, it's time for the Chiefs to plan for someone else to step into that top receiver's role. The Chiefs have a couple of fast wide receivers in Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins. While Avery delivered some big plays, he dropped too many passes and disappeared too many times. Jenkins hasn't been able to establish himself as a consistent threat.

Team MVP: The Chiefs have at least a couple of defensive candidates but the better choice is running back Jamaal Charles. He supplied much of Kansas City's offensive production, particularly early in the season when the offense around him frequently sputtered. Charles led the league in touchdowns and expanded his game to become a much more dangerous pass-catcher. Coach Andy Reid and his offensive staff did a much better job of getting Charles matched up against linebackers in the open field, and he rewarded them with a number of big plays. If the Chiefs had not lost five of their final seven regular-season games, Charles would have been a strong candidate for league MVP.


INDIANAPOLIS -- A few thoughts on the Kansas City Chiefs' 45-44 loss to the Indianapolis Colts:

What it means: The 2013 Chiefs are among history's most infamous playoff teams. The Chiefs led 38-10 early in Saturday's third quarter before an epic collapse. The blown lead of 28 points is the second-biggest in NFL playoff history, behind the 32-point margin coughed up by the Houston Oilers against the Buffalo Bills in 1993. The Chiefs lost their eighth consecutive playoff game in a streak dating back 20 years.

Stock watch: Quarterback Alex Smith set a franchise record for touchdown passes with four. The touchdowns went to four different receivers. Joe Montana held the old record of three, in Kansas City's most recent playoff victory, in January 1994 against the Oilers. But Smith lost a fumble in the third quarter with the Chiefs ahead 38-17, and it led to an Indianapolis touchdown. Wide receiver Donnie Avery left the game late in the first half with a concussion and caught only one pass, a 79-yard touchdown in the second quarter that gave the Chiefs a 17-7 lead, their first double-digit advantage of the game. They never led by fewer than 10 points until the fourth quarter. Outside linebacker Justin Houston had a sack and a fumble recovery in his first game since suffering a dislocated elbow Nov. 24 against San Diego. Nickel safety Husain Abdullah had two interceptions. After missing the potential game-winning field goal attempt in the final seconds of Sunday's game in San Diego, Ryan Succop made all three of his tries.

Concussion for Charles: The Chiefs lost running back Jamaal Charles on their first possession with a concussion; they still scored a franchise record for points in a playoff game without him. His backup, rookie Knile Davis, scored on a 4-yard run in the second quarter and a 10-yard catch in the third quarter. Davis left the game with a knee injury in the fourth quarter, leaving Cyrus Gray and Dexter McCluster to finish the game at running back. The Chiefs also lost starting cornerback Brandon Flowers to a concussion. Houston injured his leg late in the game and did not return.

What's next: The Chiefs lost five of their final seven regular-season games before collapsing against the Colts.


Something will have to give when the Indianapolis Colts and the Kansas City Chiefs meet in an AFC wild-card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday.

The Chiefs have lost seven straight playoff games, tying them for the longest playoff losing streak in NFL history. The Colts have lost three straight wild-card playoff games.

This is the second time the teams will meet in a three-game period. The Colts, who are on a three-game winning streak, beat the Chiefs 23-7 at Arrowhead Stadium on Dec. 22.

ESPN.com Colts reporter Mike Wells and Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher break down the matchup.

Teicher: The Colts were wobbling coming into Kansas City a couple of weeks ago but seem to have righted themselves that day. What can you point to as the reasons?

Wells: Most fans would say it's because of quarterback Andrew Luck. Don't get me wrong, Luck has been as good as expected, but the change has been led by the defense. The Colts have 12 sacks and have forced eight turnovers, including four against the Chiefs in Week 16, during their three-game winning streak. That's where Luck and the offense come in. You give Luck a short field to work with, and the odds are pretty good that he'll lead the Colts to a score. They scored a quick 17 points in the first quarter against Jacksonville last week.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid decided to rest most of his starters against San Diego in the finale. Do you think that was the right thing to do?

Teicher: Undoubtedly. The Chiefs didn’t get a bye in the playoffs, but Reid created one for eight defensive and seven offensive starters who didn’t play against the Chargers. I would expect that to be reflected in how those guys play against the Colts. Momentum going into the playoffs is overrated. The NFL is such a week-to-week deal that it’s almost impossible for a team to carry anything over from one game to the next, and even at that, the starters were able to get in some practice time last week. Not that this is a huge thing with the playoffs beginning, but the Chiefs got a good look at some of their backups under game conditions against an opponent that needed to win. In several cases, they liked what they saw.

Donald Brown was the Colts’ playmaker against the Chiefs a couple of weeks ago. He obviously is fast and has more power than you would think by looking at him. Why don’t the Colts use him more as their featured back and why did they trade for Trent Richardson?

Wells: Brown took over the starting spot from Richardson against Tennessee on Dec. 1 because Richardson was having a difficult time finding a rhythm. I still think the Colts made the right move in trading for Richardson, because Brown has been inconsistent for most of his five seasons with the Colts up until now. Richardson is still the future for the Colts; they have no intention of parting ways with him after the season. They still envision him and Luck having a great future together. And Brown said it best earlier this week, “There are only a handful of teams that only use one running back. We’re going to need two, three running backs to get through the playoffs.”

Speaking of running backs, it looked like Jamaal Charles was going to have a huge game against the Colts (not that 106 yards is a bad game) after the first series. He ended up with only 13 carries. How come the team’s best player didn’t have more carries or more catches, for that matter?

Teicher: Reid messed up that one and he beat himself up for it afterward. You can count on that not happening again this time around. Charles was given the ball 18 times (13 carries, five receptions) against the Colts two weeks ago. That actually wasn’t a season low for him. He had 16 touches (and a monster game) the week before in Oakland and 18 touches in two other games (both Chiefs losses). Another thing to remember is the Chiefs had only 53 offensive plays against the Colts, their second-lowest total of the season. They didn’t have the normal amount of opportunities to get him the ball. But whether or not the Chiefs have a limited amount of snaps on Saturday, they will get him the ball more often. He’s their best offensive player, so they’re making a huge mistake if they don’t.

Linebacker Jerrell Freeman is another player who had a big game for the Colts when they played against the Chiefs. Has he had other games like that this season? Give us a little scouting report on his strengths and weaknesses.

Wells: You have to credit Colts general manager Ryan Grigson for finding Freeman. Grigson is known for finding players in different parts of the world. He’d probably go to Antarctica to scout if there were a football team there. Freeman is a former Canadian Football League player. He led the Colts in tackles as a rookie and would be the team’s defensive MVP if not for a player named Robert Mathis. Freeman reached double figures in tackles in 12 of the 16 games this season. He has no problem being matched up against a running back out of the backfield, a tight end or even a wide receiver if he has to, because he’s athletic enough to defend them. An argument could be made that Freeman deserved a Pro Bowl nod.

This is not a knock against Charles, but how come the Chiefs had a running back lead them in receiving this season? I would have said Dwayne Bowe led them in receiving if you asked me to take a guess on their leading receiver this season.

Teicher: It’s a number of factors. The Chiefs wanted to use Charles more in the open field and get him in favorable one-on-one matchups, and it’s easier to do that by throwing him the ball. Ideally, the Chiefs would go down the field to their wide receivers more often, but Bowe, Donnie Avery and Dexter McCluster haven’t been able to get open consistently and have delivered few plays. Quarterback Alex Smith has tended to do the safe thing and opt for the checkdown to Charles rather than take a chance down the field. It’s something the Chiefs will need to correct next season. They’ll find another receiver or two in the draft or through free agency.

Dwayne BoweAAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post/Getty ImagesThe Chiefs led 21-7 until four unanswered TDs gave the Broncos control of the game and the division.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The day began with the Kansas City Chiefs entertaining visions of regaining a grasp on the AFC West race. It ended in frustration, with the Chiefs having been sent a message by the division's bully about just how far they really are from being a championship team.

The Chiefs played with great energy for the game’s first 19 minutes, building a two-touchdown lead in front of a raucous home crowd. The Denver Broncos then showed the Chiefs how a true Super Bowl contender gets things done by shifting their game into a higher gear, reeling off four unanswered touchdowns and taking control of what ended up a 35-28 victory.

In doing so, the Broncos realistically ended Kansas City’s hopes of a division title. At 10-2, Denver has a one-game lead over the Chiefs, a sweep of the season series between them and four regular-season games remaining, all against teams with sub-.500 records.

Two times in three weeks the Chiefs have tried and failed to keep up with the NFL’s highest-scoring team. Those failures, wrapped around last weekend’s defensive collapse against the San Diego Chargers, have left the Chiefs pondering what appears to be a certain fate: a berth in the playoffs as a wild card.

“Certainly we are in a position to go another direction, not to say we still can’t win the division," quarterback Alex Smith said. “There are still a lot of games left, but those things are out of our control at this point.

“There certainly are two other ways to get into the playoffs, with the two wild-card spots, and we’re sitting pretty good with that."

By early in the second quarter on Sunday, the Chiefs looked ready to take command of the division race again. They raced to a 21-7 lead by doing all the things they failed to do in their loss to the Broncos in Denver two weeks ago. They were getting pressure on Denver quarterback Peyton Manning. They intercepted a pair of Manning passes. Their offense scored a pair of touchdowns. They got a big special-teams play in a 108-yard kickoff return from Knile Davis.

At that point, the Broncos did what the league’s best teams do when faced with adversity on the road. They didn't just match Kansas City’s energy -- they topped it.

The Broncos scored four touchdowns in five drives to leave the Chiefs flailing in their wake. They weren't content to take only what the Chiefs were giving them, which at that point probably would have been enough to help them win the game.

Instead, the Broncos started protecting Manning and gouged the Chiefs for five plays of more than 30 yards. In what seemed like an instant, Denver moved from being in a precarious position with regard to the game and the division race to controlling things.

The Chiefs scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter, and later, down by seven points, moved as far as the Denver 13-yard line. That’s where they relinquished the ball on downs with less than two minutes remaining.

“We weren't going to knock that team out with 10 minutes left in the second quarter," Smith said. “Yeah, we jumped on them 21-7, but we knew what they were capable of. You knew they were going to battle back and be able to put up some points. There was just so much game left at that point.

“I don’t think we were in a place to finish them off."

The trouble is that the Chiefs played for a long stretch as if their 21 points would hold up. From the time the Chiefs went ahead 21-7 to the point where Denver’s 28-point blitz was finished, the Broncos outgained Kansas City 356 yards to 97.

Where the Broncos put together one big play after another, the Chiefs bungled their chances at big plays. Donnie Avery (twice) and A.J. Jenkins (once) dropped deep passes from Smith that could have halted Kansas City’s slide.

“Those things are going to happen," Smith said. “It’s my job just to keep throwing them. That’s the nature of the passing game. You’re striving for perfection. You’d love to hit every single one, but it’s not going to happen."

That’s one of the things that separates the Chiefs from the Broncos. Denver expects to make those plays and then, more often than not, the Broncos go out and do it.

Now, there’s something else separating these teams. It’s just one game in the standings, but it might as well be a mile.

Rapid Reaction: Kansas City Chiefs

December, 1, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A few thoughts on the Kansas City Chiefs' 35-28 loss to the Denver Broncos:

What it means: The Chiefs lost both games in the season series to the Broncos. While at 9-3 the Chiefs trail the 10-2 Broncos by one game in the AFC West standings, they effectively trail by 1 games, because Denver has the tiebreaker. So the Chiefs would need to finish ahead of the Broncos in the standings to win the division, while the Broncos could finish tied in the standings with the Chiefs at the end of the season and still be the division champion.

Stock watch: The Chiefs again failed to sack Denver quarterback Peyton Manning. They were able to get some pressure on Manning early in the game and affect some of his throws, but that pressure dissipated as the game went on and Manning was able to step into all of his throws. They were frequently asked to cover for too long, but the cornerbacks again had a tough day. That’s particularly true for Marcus Cooper, who was beaten cleanly off the line by Demaryius Thomas on one of the game’s crucial plays. Thomas had a 77-yard catch and run in the third quarter to set up the Denver touchdown that put the Broncos ahead for good.

On offense, wide receiver Donnie Avery dropped a pair of deep passes, and a reserve, A.J. Jenkins, dropped another pass. The Chiefs received some contributions from unexpected places, though. Rookie Knile Davis returned a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown in the first half, the longest such return in Chiefs history and second-longest in NFL history. Wide receiver Junior Hemingway had a pair of catches, including a 17-yard reception for the first touchdown of the game.

Losing steam: The Chiefs had everything going in the first half as they built a 21-7 lead. They came after the Broncos in all three phases with great energy and, with the backing of a loud home crowd, appeared headed for a lopsided victory. The Broncos weren’t matching their intensity. But while Denver put its game into a higher gear, it was the Chiefs who couldn’t sustain the pace. The Chiefs owned the last half of the fourth quarter, but after scoring one touchdown, their final drive stalled and they relinquished the ball on downs at the Denver 13.

What’s next: The Chiefs begin a two-game road trip next Sunday with a game against the Washington Redskins. The Chiefs will finish the road trip on Dec. 15 against the Oakland Raiders.

Dropped passes may be in Chiefs' DNA

November, 20, 2013
11/20/13
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Ever since the Kansas City Chiefs dropped five passes, according to Pro Football Focus, in the season opener against Jacksonville, the issue has been a problem for the Chiefs.

The Chiefs are fourth in the league in dropped passes with 28. They’ve had only one game, last month’s home matchup against Cleveland, without a dropped pass.

Drops have been particularly costly the past couple of weeks. Dwayne Bowe and Dexter McCluster dropped passes for what could have been big gains or even touchdowns against Buffalo. And last week against Denver, Jamaal Charles dropped what would have been a touchdown pass, and Donnie Avery dropped one that would have gone for a long gain.

Charles leads the league in dropped passes with nine, an indication he’s not as polished as a receiver as the Chiefs would like. Bowe has struggled with dropped passes his entire career, while Avery has also had bouts with drops over the years.

It’s something the Chiefs continue to work on before, during and after practice. But with the receivers they have, extra repetition may only get them so far.

“You’ve got to focus on the football,’’ coach Andy Reid said. “We’ve seen a lot of man coverage the last couple of weeks. It’s tight coverage. It becomes a physical game. You’ve to make sure you focus even that much more on the football and stay aggressive on the ball. We keep working it in practice.’’

Charles has drawbacks as receiver, too

November, 20, 2013
11/20/13
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jamaal Charles leads the Kansas City Chiefs in pass receptions, but he's also well out in front in another receiving category, this one not as positive.

Charles
According to the fine folks at Pro Football Focus, Charles has dropped nine passes. That not only leads the Chiefs and NFL running backs, but it's second in the league to the 10 drops credited to Cleveland Browns wide receiver Davone Bess.

One of Charles' two drops in Sunday night's loss to the Denver Broncos was an easy throw that would have been a touchdown had he caught it. The play didn't cost the Chiefs as they scored a touchdown on the next play on Alex Smith's pass to Dwayne Bowe.

But with the Chiefs struggling to get their passing game going, it's a problem spot for them. Donnie Avery dropped a pass in Denver for what should have been a long gain. Dwayne Bowe also had a drop against the Broncos.

Charles, though, leads the way.

Quiet day not bad thing for Chiefs

October, 29, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The NFL’s trade deadline came and went without the Kansas City Chiefs making a deal. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the Chiefs. They could have used another playmaker for the offense, but couldn’t afford to give up a lot in compensation, either in salary or draft picks.

So the Chiefs will make a stretch run with what they’ve got. They’re good enough to make it work. Defensively, they didn’t need any help. They are deep in the secondary, so they could withstand an injury or two on the rear guard.

The Chiefs will need to improve offensively, and there’s reason to believe they can. Alex Smith last season completed 70 percent of his passes for San Francisco, so he should in Andy Reid’s version of the West Coast offense be able to get well above the 59 percent mark where he currently stands. That alone would make the offense better.

The Chiefs can get more in terms of yardage and big plays from Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery and Dexter McCluster. Their offensive line, comprised of two players once picked in the first round, two once selected in the second round and another once chosen in the third, can also get better.

Another thing to consider: The Denver Broncos made no trades. So they're no better off either.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The idea of trading for tight end Tony Gonzalez and having him around to help with the drive to win the AFC West championship and get the Kansas City Chiefs to the Super Bowl is a sound one.

It’s just not a very realistic one and with regard to anything short of that, the Chiefs should pass at Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline and move ahead with their roster as it’s presently constituted.

There doesn’t appear to be much the Chiefs could realistically do to improve. They could use receiving help at wide out and tight end, but is anything out there and, again, reasonably obtainable better than Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, Anthony Fasano and Sean McGrath? Players available at this time of year are that way for a reason, and it’s usually because they’re someone else’s trash.

[+] EnlargeAlex Smith
Denny Medley/USA TODAY SportsWould trading for an elite receiver or tight end help Chiefs QB Alex Smith be a more productive passer?
The other thing is compensation. The Chiefs already will give their second-round draft choice in 2014 as part of the trade that brought quarterback Alex Smith from the San Francisco 49ers. So if the Chiefs, say, give their third-round pick to the Cleveland Browns in return for wide receiver Josh Gordon, next year’s draft for Kansas City is for all intents and purposes a one-player deal. Even then, it might not be a great player because the Chiefs will inevitably be picking at or toward the end of the first round.

(A brief interlude to say that after watching Gordon play against the Chiefs on Sunday, I would part with a third-round pick for him. Problem is, that’s not realistic because the Browns wouldn’t take that deal).

There’s a school of thought that says the Chiefs at 8-0 should go all-in and need to make every effort to get to the Super Bowl this season, even if sacrificing next year’s draft is the cost. If you’re on that bandwagon, just don’t complain the next time the Chiefs are 2-14 because that’s where they’re inevitably headed if they’re going to sacrifice next year’s draft.

Here’s the other thing: Are the Chiefs as they are now good enough to win the Super Bowl? They certainly don’t need to change a thing on defense, where they have a handful of guys playing as well or better than they’ve ever played.

They need to make plenty of improvement on offense and even though it hasn’t happened through the season’s first half, it’s reasonable to think it can over the final eight games. Bowe is on pace for 52 catches, 600 yards and four touchdowns, far from his career averages.

That’s obviously the first place to look for growth. Others include Avery, who has had two big games and six mediocre ones, Dexter McCluster, an offensive line that should be delivering more and even quarterback Alex Smith, who is completing only 59 percent of his passes but has the capability of being much higher.

There’s certainly no reason for Chiefs general manager John Dorsey to panic. He’s better off sitting tight with the roster he has than mortgaging the fortune with an iffy move made now.

Friday's Chiefs practice report

October, 18, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs could have their entire roster available to them in Sunday's game against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium. Starting free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle) returned to practice on a limited basis and was listed on their injury report as having a 50-50 chance to play.

The other 12 players on their report were listed as probable. That includes cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee) and tight end Anthony Fasano (ankle/knee). Both were listed as being limited practice participants on Friday.

Everyone else on their injury report was listed as a full practice participant: wide receiver Donnie Avery (shoulder), offensive linemen Branden Albert (knee/elbow), Jon Asamoah (knee) and Jeff Allen (groin/hand), nose tackle Dontari Poe (ankle), fullback Anthony Sherman (knee), punter Dustin Colquitt (knee), tight end Kevin Brock (shoulder), linebacker Dezman Moses (toe) and defensive lineman Jaye Howard (non-injury related).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Rookie defensive back Sanders Commings, who has been on the Kansas City Chiefs' injured-reserve list all season, practiced for the first time on Wednesday.

The promotion of Commings, a fifth-round draft pick from Georgia, to the active roster, appears inevitable, with the only question being the timing of the move. Commings was a nickel safety for the Chiefs during offseason practice and would have challenged for playing time had he not broken his collarbone during the first practice at training camp.

The Chiefs are deep in the secondary, with the emergence of rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper and veteran safeties Quintin Demps and Husain Abdullah, but the return of Commings would provide even more security at the back end of their defense.

Starting tight end Anthony Fasano, who has missed the last four games because of knee and ankle injuries, returned to practice on a limited basis and said that barring a setback he would play Sunday against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium.

The only player who did not practice was starting free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle). The only other player who was limited in practice was cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee).

The Chiefs listed nine players as full practice participants: tackle Branden Albert (knee/elbow), nose tackle Dontari Poe (ankle), guard Jeff Allen (groin/hand), guard Jon Asamoah (knee), wide receiver Donnie Avery (shoulder), tight end Kevin Brock (shoulder), fullback Anthony Sherman (knee), punter Dustin Colquitt (knee) and linebacker Dezman Moses (toe).

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