The Road Not Traveled

In two short offseasons the Chiefs have almost totally made over the roster. This year, the team said goodbye to long-time veterans like Trent Green, Eric Hicks and Dante Hall, but younger players such as Ryan Sims and Kawika Mitchell were also jettisoned.

After eight games, the ex-Chiefs around the league have had plenty of time to establish themselves with their new clubs. How are they doing? Hindsight is 20-20, but it appears the Chiefs' foresight in this case was almost as sharp.


The most controversial player personnel decision of the offseason for the Chiefs now appears to be the correct one.

Herm Edwards knew exactly what he was doing when he jettisoned Green. In 2006, Green started eight games for the Chiefs and turned the ball over 12 times. In 2007, Green started five games for the Miami Dolphins and turned it over seven times.

That's 19 turnovers in Green's last 13 games. That's simply too many for a coach like Edwards, who places ball security as one of the highest priorities for any skill position, let alone quarterback. What exactly transpired for Green in Miami this year?

As predicted, he got hit quite a bit. Green was only sacked seven times, but fire up a recording of any of his five games with Miami this year and you'll see a quarterback who took a beating. The Dolphins' offense struggled, but some of Green's turnovers were inexcusable. Against the Raiders a few weeks ago, with the Dolphins trailing by a touchdown, Green dropped back to pass on a first-down play from the Oakland 25.

Under pressure, he threw an unwise pass toward wide receiver Chris Chambers, a weak, wobbly prayer that was thrown up for grabs at the goal line. Stanford Routt intercepted the ball, snuffing out a potential game-tying touchdown drive for the Dolphins.

It's this kind of play that led to Green's departure from Kansas City. You can say as many negative things about Damon Huard as you want (no one will argue he's headed to the Pro Bowl), but the stone-cold truth of the situation is that he hasn't cost his team games by turning the ball over this year (the Chicago debacle being the lone exception).


"I can't decide which was the worse move: Trading for Trint or $20m guaranteed for Porter?"


Tynes' pink slip was as good as signed the day the Chiefs drafted Justin Medlock. At the time, this move looked like an upgrade. It blew up in Carl Peterson's face, but fortunately the signing of Dave Rayner has contained the explosion.

In New York, Tynes looks like the same old player – an 80-percent field goal kicker who will mysteriously shank the occasional extra point and can miss a chipshot at the wrong time with the best of them (three misses under 40 yards). His kickoffs, once again, have been left short of the end zone (the Giants rank 21st in kickoff length).

No one will anoint Rayner as the next Adam Vinatieri, but the Chiefs made a surefire upgrade. Yes, he horribly missed short kicks against Jacksonville and Oakland, but extra points are automatic with Rayner, and kickoffs? The Chiefs just happen to lead the league with a 69.2-yard average.


"Tynes is not what the doctor ordered. Or even what the hospital orderly ordered."


After leaving Kansas City, Sims' arrival in Tampa Bay spawned several articles from the Tampa Bay media (and team writers) in which Sims criticized the Chiefs and head coach Herm Edwards. Sims even drew praise from Buccaneers defensive line coach Larry Coyer, who called him "a powerful guy." Apparently, not powerful enough.

Sims has been inactive for all but one game in Tampa Bay this season. That's not a good sign for a defensive tackle when your team ranks 22nd in rushing defense. Sims rotated into the lineup against the Jaguars this past Sunday, who racked up 133 rushing yards. It's safe to say the Chiefs will have no second thoughts about Mr. Powerful.


"Yup, pretty much still a bust. But the Bucs didn't invest too much in him so it's hard to be disappointed in him."


It's safe to say no one complained about Hicks' departure from Kansas City. Once a good player, he had simply declined far too much due to age and injury, and was no longer a pass-rush threat.

Hicks signed with the Jets this offseason to play defensive end in their 3-4 scheme, a role for which he is far more suited as a 6-foot-6, 280-pounder. Unfortunately, he's still a backup in New York, playing behind Kenyon Coleman (a journeyman player who beat out Hicks in training camp). Hicks has 11 tackles this season.

Does anything else really need to be said? For Hicks, it was simply time.


"I haven't even noticed him on the field which is probably a good thing. Most of the players I have noticed are noticed because they stink!"


Everyone knew Knight was playing on borrowed time when the Chiefs drafted two safeties in 2006, but you had to figure he would catch on somewhere when Kansas City dumped him. There will always be a place in the NFL for hard-hitting, smart safeties with a nose for the football, no matter how slow of foot they are.

Knight signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars shortly before the regular season, and stepped into the starting role at strong safety after an injury to Gerald Sensabaugh. As he did for two years as a Chief, Knight has been a key role in Jacksonville's stellar run defense this year – he leads the team in tackles, an impressive feat with an elite linebacker like Mike Peterson running around in front of you.

Knight also has a fumble recovery and an interception this season. But his best play, and one that truly defines him as a player, came this past week against the Buccaneers.

Reggie Nelson ended the game with an interception of Jeff Garcia, and as most young rookies are apt to do, headed up the field looking for paydirt. Knight, realizing that the smart play was to get down, quite literally tackled his young teammate.

No one will mistake Knight for Ed Reed, however. He's still just as slow as he was for two years with the Chiefs, and would be no more than a backup had he remained on the roster.


"Sammy's doing OK. We could be doing better there, but we also could certainly be doing a lot worse. I guess no news is good news in that regard. He's doing his job and that's a good thing."

NEXT WEEK: We take a look at Kawika Mitchell (Giants), Dante Hall (Rams), Lenny Walls (Rams) and Jordan Black (Texans). Top Stories