Todd Haley rarely talks about individual injuries, but he does often touch on Kansas City’s overall lack of depth. Few NFL teams are able to absorb a brunt of injuries and the Chiefs aren’t an exception. While the bottom of Kansas City’s roster has been relatively stable compared to a year ago, it’s clear that the team’s margin for injury is paper thin.
Depth concerns are nothing new for the Kansas City Chiefs. Haley first addressed the lack of depth during training camp and has re-iterated that sentiment multiple times since. For the most part, however, the Chiefs reserves have responded well after being thrust into action. It’s actually been a pleasant surprise given the unproven status of the Chiefs many reserve players.
Smith ended up making the most of his opportunity and is now a key contributor in the Chiefs defensive scheme, even after Jackson’s return.
From Tucker, the Chiefs are getting positive production as well. Four months ago, Tucker wasn’t even on the radar for those outside Kansas City’s personnel department. A rookie free agent out of California, Tucker looked more like a camp body when he arrived than he did anything else. Tucker had been released by Dallas before the Cowboys’ training camp even started and didn’t land with the Chiefs until after the start of training camp in St. Joseph.
Tucker fought the uphill battle and ended up making enough plays in practice to earn a spot on the practice squad. He eventually earned a promotion to the 53-man roster when Kansas City’s receiving core became thin. Still, Tucker was a special teams promotion more than anything else, but he has now found a way to weave into the receiving rotation after making some big-time catches the past two weeks.
There are other players who have stepped up in a pinch this season as well.
Those are some of the success stories and, as a result of them, the Chiefs have been able to manage a handful of injury situations. Although Kansas City’s reserve players have generally responded to the call of duty, the injury tally is starting now to rise and the Chiefs are beginning to charter into dangerous territory.
For teams with depth concerns, one or two injuries are usually bearable; even if they occur to key players. It’s when the quantity grows that injuries become a real issue. For the first time this season, it looks as if Kansas City will enter preparations for Arizona with a number of injury concerns.
Fresh off a practice squad promotion,
Price saw the most snaps of his career to date because of an injury-depleted secondary.
Any of the three safeties could return to action this weekend, but there’s always the chance that they’re just not ready to return. Throw McCluster in the same boat as well. Add in Brian Waters and
Moeaki suffered a nasty hit from LB Joe Mays while covering an onside kick and appeared loopy while getting off the ground. During his Monday press conference, Haley wouldn’t confirm whether or not Moeaki suffered a concussion, but Moeaki’s post-hit reaction was definitely unsettling and he didn’t return to action.
Missing Moeaki would not only affect Kansas City in the passing game, but it was also force personnel changes to the Chiefs’ heavy sets consisting of three tight ends.
While Asamoah has proved to be an emerging option off the bench, missing Waters would further stretch a Chiefs offensive that enters most games on the low end of the numbers game. An inactive Waters would leave
“We went into (Sunday) with eight (offensive linemen) just because we’re beat up a little bit but we’ve gone into a bunch of these games with seven guys,” Haley said. “That’s a risky proposition.”
We’ll learn more about each injury situation as the week progresses, but it’s safe to say that the Chiefs injury numbers are at seasonal highs. The depth of Kansas City’s roster could be tested this week more than it has all season.