When starting Chiefs safety Eric Berry was forced to leave the game against the Denver Broncos with an ankle injury last Sunday, he was at the time replaced by Ron Parker, who despite being listed as a cornerback, did an ample job for the Chiefs.
As it turned out, the safety role wasn't unfamiliar to Parker, who played that position during his collegiate career at Newberry College.
"His original position coming out (of college) was a safety and then he was converted to corner," Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. "I think Ron went in and did a really good job."
According to Pro Football Focus (profootballfocus.com), in 36 plays against Denver, Parker had eight chances to make a tackle. He made seven in nearly a perfect effort.
"He had been splitting time between corner and safety so we thought considering the amount of plays he had to play, he did an excellent job," Sutton reiterated.
That success didn't come at a surprise to Parker, who on Wednesday said that with his knowledge of the team's defense, he would feel ready to go at any spot in the secondary.
"I'm very comfortable with just going into wherever they need me," he said. "I'm very familiar with the defense so wherever they call and need me, that's where I try to go and fill in."
Over the course of his four-year NFL career, Parker spent time with the Raiders, Panthers and Seahawks before being claimed by the Chiefs in September of 2013. Last season, in 16 games with the Chiefs, Parker recorded 18 tackles.
This season, in just two games, he already has collected 13 tackles.
The Kansas City Chiefs practice at the outdoor training facility on September 17, 2014 for their upcoming away game vs the Dolphins.
"Ever since we've had him, he's kind of had a natural ability to make plays," Sutton said. "Whether we use him as a blitzer or whatever, he's always kind of had that knack. I think he feels comfortable back there."
As Parker adjusts to playing the role of safety, the Chiefs defense as a whole continued to work on staying aggressive Wednesday. Through two weeks of football, Sutton's unit has yet to force a defensive turnover, something he said the team is well aware of.
"We talk to our players all the time about it. You have to stay the course and just keep going," he said. "Those things happen. I'm not sure why and when they happen but you have to keep flying to the ball and when your opportunity comes take advantage of it."
Last season, the Chiefs defense forced a turnover on 36 separate occasions, good for second in the NFL, only behind the Seattle Seahawks. As is well known around the league, defensive turnovers can provide sparks when a team needs a lift or a shift in momentum. For that reason, Sutton has challenged his team to force more fumbles, something he said they touch upon every day in practice.
"The more times it's on the ground, the better our opportunities go up," he said. "We just got to just keep working on that and we're working hard on that in practice every day."
As game time nears against the Dolphins, forcing turnovers will remain a concentration in the Chiefs last practice Friday before they head to Miami for their matchup on Sunday.
- S Eric Berry (ankle) and RB De'Anthony Thomas (ankle) did not practice.
- RB Jamaal Charles (ankle) and S Tamba Hali (ankle/knee) were limited.