A year ago the Chiefs lost safety Eric Berry in the opener and struggled to replace him the rest of the season. Once again coach Romeo Crennel is dealing with injuries in his secondary and scrambling to figure out how to replace important starters in CB Brandon Flowers and FS Kendrick Lewis.
As Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli figure out the right 53, they will need to have built-in depth on the defensive side of the ball and might have to sacrifice a few offensive players to get there.
Stock rising: CB Jacques Reeves saw his stock increase this week because of a groin injury to Jalil Brown. Brown was filling in for Flowers at the left corner spot, and with him out this week, Reeves is getting the start in Green Bay on Thursday. The injuries could also earn him a roster spot.
Stock falling: RB Shaun Draughn has run hard and shown a nice burst during the preseason, but he could be one of the players who loses his spot because of the need for depth on defense. Draughn ran for nine yards on three carries in the last preseason game and was outplayed by undrafted free agent Nate Eachus. He is on the bubble and could need a good showing in Green Bay to make the roster.
QB -- In (3): Matt Cassel, Brady Quinn, Ricky Stanzi. Out: Alex Tanney. Analysis: Tanney survived the first cuts, which was surprising considering he had not seen the field yet in the preseason. It also suggests the Chiefs will give him a look in Thursday's preseason game against Green Bay and he could be a candidate to make the practice squad.
RB -- In (4): Jamaal Charles, Peyton Hillis, Cyrus Gray, (FB) Patrick DiMarco. Out: Shaun Draughn, Nate Eachus. Gray is on the bubble along with Draughn, and it's tough to knock one of them off the roster, but the Chiefs need those extra roster spots on defense. Eachus was impressive in mop-up duty against Seattle. In fact, he was one of the few positives against Seattle, running for 98 yards and a touchdown in 10 carries. Was it enough to make the roster? Probably not. But the undrafted free agent from Colgate could be another keeper for the practice squad.
WR -- In: (6) Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston, Jon Baldwin, Dexter McCluster, Devon Wylie, Terrance Copper. Out: Junior Hemingway, Jamar Newsome. Analysis: Copper will likely make the roster for special teams, and the other five in are locks. Hemingway and Newsome are on the bubble and one of the two could play their way on to the roster with a great showing in Green Bay. Hemingway has the best shot to at least make the practice squad since the Chiefs used a seventh-round pick on him.
TE -- In (3): Kevin Boss, Tony Moeaki, Jake O'Connell. Out: Steve Maneri. O'Connell and Maneri are battling for that final tight end spot. It wouldn't be shocking to see the Chiefs find a way to keep both because of Maneri's blocking ability.
OL -- In (7): Branden Albert, Donald Stephenson, Ryan Lilja, Jeff Allen, Rodney Hudson, Jon Asamoah, Eric Winston, David Mims. Out: Rich Ranglin, Luke Patterson, Rob Bruggeman, Cam Holland, Darryl Harris. Analysis: The top seven are set. The one player on the bubble is tackle David Mims. If Mims doesn't make the roster, it's once again to make room for depth on the defensive side of the ball.
DL -- In (7): Glenn Dorsey, Anthony Toribio, Dontari Poe, Jerrell Powe, Tyson Jackson, Allen Bailey, Ropati Pitoitua. Out: Amon Gordon, Brandon Bair, Jerome Long. Analysis: With Toribio battling an ankle injury against Seattle, the Chiefs could be thin at defensive tackle if they only keep Toribio and Poe. Powe has looked good at moments during the preseason and this is a position where the Chiefs could use some depth, especially if Toribio's ankle injury keeps him out for a few weeks. Gordon is in his eighth year in the league and can play both inside and on the end, but he could be the odd man out because it would be difficult to justify keeping eight players on the D-line. If Pioli decides to keep seven, the final spot will likely either be Gordon or Pitoitua.
LB -- In (9): Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Jovan Belcher, Brandon Siler, Justin Houston, Andy Studebaker, Cameron Sheffield, Edgar Jones, Cory Greenwood. Out: Leon Williams, Gabe Miller. Analysis: Siler, Jones and Greenwood are all on the bubble. All three provide depth and have experience on special teams. The Chiefs could end up keeping all three. Remember, the Chiefs are playing a man down in the opener because of Hali's suspension. At the very least, two of the three should make the roster.
DB -- In (11): Brandon Flowers, Stanford Routt, Jalil Brown, Javier Arenas, Eric Berry, Abram Elam, Kendrick Lewis, Travis Daniels, Donald Washington, DeQuan Menzie, . Out: Chandler Fenner, Tysyn Hartman, Terrance Parks, Neiko Thorpe, Mikail Baker, Jacques Reeves. Analysis: If the Chiefs are keeping their eyes on the players getting cut around the league, it's likely finding some defensive backs is the top priority. The injuries to Flowers and Lewis make it critical that the Chiefs have good depth and keep players like Reeves and Washington.