During his reign as the General Manager for the Kansas City Chiefs, one of the positions in which Scott Pioli made questionable personnel decisions on was at cornerback. It is up to new General Manager John Dorsey, and new Head Coach Andy Reid, to build back up the position, starters and depth.
Last off season, Pioli decided to let Brandon Carr walk and he signed ex-Raider Stanford Routt to replace him. Yes, the exchange saved a lot of money, at least initially. Carr signed with Dallas Cowboys for 5 years, $50.1 million deal (a deal that has since been restructured), and Pioli inked Stanford Routt for 3 years and $18 million, with $6 million guaranteed. Carr intercepted 3 passes for the Cowboys and made 53 tackles; Routt was released halfway through the initial year of his deal. Routt was most certainly not worth nearly $1 million a game.
After evaluating the team, Dorsey and Reid evidently believed they could improve the position. A little over a month ago, the Chiefs traded corner Javier Arenas to the Arizona Cardinals. The chief Chiefs had already brought in free agents Seth Smith, formerly of the Dolphins, and Dunta Robinson from the Falcons, and then they drafted Sanders Commings in April.
One thing that all three of these newcomers have in common is they are all three physical defenders. Getting away from the Tampa 2 zone defensive scheme, and switching to a attack style of defense that will require more man coverage, Dorsey and Reid need corners that won’t shy away from contact, can cover man-to-man, and are willing to be aggressive.
Brandon Flowers is as close to a shut down corner as the Chiefs have right now. He usually will draw the opponents number one wide receiver and never allowed a 100-yard game in 2012. He is assured one of the starting corner spots. Even in an attacking defense that uses corner blitzes, it would be surprising if Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton brings Flowers on a blitz very often. The Chiefs will need him to cover his man on an island while the rest of the guys are applying the pressure.
Former Dolphin Sean Smith is a big, versatile corner (6’4″, 215) who will bring the physicality to the Chiefs secondary that has been missing since Bernard Pollard was released right before the 2009 season. Smith seems ideal for Sutton’s aggressive defensive scheme. Smith can cover big receivers and tight ends, punish runners, and can be brought in to apply heat to the pocket. He averaged 52 tackles a game in his four season with the Dolphins so the man can bring down opponents.
Dunta Robinson has averaged 55 tackles over his 9-year career, including 67 in 2012 for the Falcons. There has been some noise about Robinson playing safety but it looks as if for now he will be a corner. Rotoworld.com‘s profile page for Robinson speculates a move to safety could happen but for now Reid wants him at that corner position. Regardless, his versatility and tackling skills will help the secondary.
To increase the quality of the depth at corner, the Chiefs drafted former Georgia Bulldog Sanders Commings in the 5th round. Off the field issues probably dropped Commings at least a round in the draft, but he is another hard hitting player with the flexibility to play safety as well as corner. Commings, like Smith, is a bigger corner (6’0″, 216) and maybe can match up with some of the pass receiving tight ends that always come up on the schedule. Commings may need some work on some of the fundamentals, but that is what the coaches are for.
This gives the Chiefs three solid cornerbacks, plus a promising rookie, for Reid and Sutton to work with. A couple other corners on the roster will earn places for depth. It is obvious that Reid and Sutton were looking to attain versatile and physical secondary pieces. My colleague, Josh Michaels, speculated that Eric Berry could get some time at corner. That may not be necessary but it is always good to have that option is the staff believes he can be spared at safety.
The Chiefs’ defense should be much more exciting to watch in 2013. Let’s hope they play better. It will be interesting to see how Sutton uses this unit in games but he should have options. Options are always good.