Rage? Rage is good.
Options are better.
The Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday cut six players — and by “players,” we’re tossing out kickers — rated by ProFootballReference.com as among the Top 35 in the NFL at their respective positions, at least in terms of preseason performance.
At this time last summer, that count was four.
And on final cutdown day the year before that, “53” Day 2013, it was just one.
Small sample size? Well, yeah.
But by the same token, that’s one hell of a makeover.
“So hey, if we make it hard on the coaches,” wideout Frankie Hammond, one of the bubble survivors — thank you, special teams — observed recently, “then that means somebody else on another team is looking at us and potentially wanting us.”
It’s not that they weren’t wanted here — most of them, anyway — so much as this stretch is a game of roster musical chairs, and the record stopped at the wrong blasted time.
The Chiefs’ internal dynamics were (and more) made even more complicated by the respective status of three defensive starters: nose tackle Dontari Poe, recovering (well) from back surgery but still a maybe for the opener; safety Eric Berry, recovered from Hodgkin’s lymphoma but still untested at regular-season speed; and cornerback Sean Smith, staring into the teeth of a three-game suspension as a result of his little light-pole dance from summer 2014. It’s a lot of back-side real estate to cover on short notice, and only so many wooden barrel planks to go around.
So fare thee well (possibly for now), Mike Catapano. You, too (also for now), Eric Kush. You, too (presumably for now), Sanders Commings. You, too (probably for now), Da’Ron Brown.
Catapano, a 25-year-old seventh-round selection in the 2013 draft, the first of the John Dorsey/Andy Reid regime, was probably the biggest surprise on the board, given a return to health and — at least to the naked eye — a relative return to form (PFF preseason grade: +5.1 in 121 snaps, second among Chiefs defenders). The Kush decision is a bit of a boggle, but the more one saw of Zach Fulton snapping the rock smoothly, the clearer the writing on the wall became. Commings is more an injury enigma than an answer, at present, while Brown (and Fred Williams, for that matter) didn’t have the special-teams trust/wrinkle that helped Hammond stake his case.
“Definitely, special teams come into play as well,” the latter noted. “And, like I say, all of us (that are) in the rotation on special teams, everybody gets looks.”
Some longer than others. Cruel week. Cruel game.
With most franchises, given a perfect storm, the bar steadily rises; in Dorsey’s world, it’s jumped like a tree frog. From fall 2012 to September 1, 2013, the Chiefs turned over a whopping 26 players — most of any NFL roster during that span. Now? Now, change hurts. Don’t weep for the departed. Celebrate the survivors.