One of the biggest areas of weakness the Kansas City Chiefs need to remedy for the 2014 season is the secondary. After being exposed by Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers late in the season, Andrew Luck made history punishing them to make an epic comeback in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Kansas City has some big talent, but also some big holes in the secondary. Eric Berry, Brandon Flowers and Sean Smith are under contract, so the core will be back in 2014, but Kendrick Lewis, Husain Abdullah and Quentin Demps are all free agents.
The Chiefs can afford to let Lewis go. After a solid start to his career, the four-year vet has not progressed as Kansas City hoped he would, and he may have even regressed a little. The coaching staff is excited about the abilities of rookie safety Sanders Commings, who was injured for most of 2013, so there may not be a lot of room for Lewis.
Demps, on the other hand, should be signed. He not only provides solid depth to the secondary, but was also one the league’s best kickoff return men, averaging 30.1 per return.
But signing Abdullah should be the top priority for Kansas City. After taking a year off for a spiritual journey in 2012, the Chiefs took a chance and signed the versatile defensive back to a one-year deal for 2013. He had incredible performances in limited playing time, and Kansas City found out a little too late that he was one of their best defensive backs.
The first time Abdullah got significant playing time was in Week 17 when the Chiefs rested their starters, and he was a big reason why the Chiefs’ defense looked better against Rivers with their backups in. The following week in the Wild Card round, Abdullah was the about the only thing working in the secondary grabbing two interceptions, six tackles, and defending two passes against Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.
With the secondary slumping midseason, there was talk of whether Marcus Cooper or Dunta Robinson should get more playing time when the answer should’ve been Abdullah. The Chiefs have plenty of talent to play with in the secondary; Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton just stuck with wasn’t working for a little too long in 2013.
If the coaching staff does a better job with recognizing their talent and adjusting their schemes, the Chiefs should have a very good secondary next season. Signing big names like Jairus Byrd or T.J. Ward is probably out of the question for Kansas City, but if they play it smart, and with some better coaching decisions, they can have a stronger secondary in 2014 without overspending.