Chiefs secondary could have unfamiliar look, at least temporarily, this off-season

Posted Feb 26, 2012

Kendrick Lewis joins Eric Berry in injury rehab after undergoing shoulder surgery

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Chiefs defensive backfield won’t have its familiar look when the team gathers for its first off-season program under head coach Romeo Crennel. Kansas City’s secondary could feature up to three new faces lining up with the first-team defense once OTAs begin later this spring.

Stanford Routt could be replacing Brandon Carr as one of the team’s starting cornerbacks if the Chiefs are unable to reach a new deal with the pending unrestricted free agent. Crennel and GM Scott Pioli re-iterated their interest in resigning Carr at the NFL Scouting Combine.

In addition, Pro Bowl strong safety Eric Berry may not be on the field either.

Berry’s recovery process since tearing his left ACL has been positive and is moving on schedule, but the Chiefs aren’t likely to rush one of their top play-makers into full football activity less than nine months after undergoing knee surgery.

A similar approach will be taken with running back Jamaal Charles and tight end Tony Moeaki, who both suffered similar injuries at within three weeks of each other last year.

“Once we get to OTAs we’ll see how much they can do and how they respond to what they’re asked to do,” Crennel said. “Then we’ll have to go from there.”

In addition to Carr’s contract status and Berry’s ongoing rehabilitation, starting free safety Kendrick Lewis is set to see a lighter workload this spring as well.

Lewis recently underwent shoulder surgery to repair an injured labrum. He suffered the injury in the Chiefs season finale at Denver.

“He had his shoulder cleaned out and those can be tough to comeback from,” Crennel said. “He’s going to have to recover from that. They say everything is going good, but that’s of those that we’ll have to be careful with and make sure its back before we get him at out there at full speed.

“He can still run and things like that. We’ll manage him by letting him do all of the individual drills, drops and things like that, but no diving for the ball or those things.”

Having both starting safeties sidelined should fuel a competitive off-season environment for younger players and reserves to prove their worth prior to entering training camp.

The Chiefs added free agent Kyle McCarthy to the roster last week and are likely to make several additional moves at the position with veterans Jon McGraw and Sabby Piscitelli scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on March 13th.

Reshard Langford, who started two games at strong safety last season, is also without a contract for 2012. Berry, Lewis, McCarthy and Donald Washington are currently the only safeties that Kansas City has under contract for next season.

The Chiefs tendency to use three safeties in sub-package sets only increases the need to make further additions at the position this off-season.

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