KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- With the obvious exception of quarterback Alex Smith, many of the key players for the Kansas City Chiefs were with them last season, before the arrival of general manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid.
Where Dorsey and Reid went to work was on Kansas City’s depth. Much of Kansas City’s considerable roster turnover was in backup players and, according to Pro Football Focus, their efforts have paid off.
PFF ranked the 32 NFL teams with regard to the quality of their depth and the Chiefs came in a surprising sixth (ESPN Insider access is necessary to read the story).
On offense, the Chiefs have been hammered by injuries at tight end. They were counting on veteran Tony Moeaki and rookie Travis Kelce. Neither played a snap this season and starter Anthony Fasano has missed five games, but their losses haven’t been crippling.
The Chiefs plucked Sean McGrath off waivers from Seattle to start the regular season. He's fifth on the Chiefs with 23 catches.
Because of injuries at times to tackles Eric Fisher and Branden Albert and guard Jon Asamoah, the Chiefs have had to dip into their offensive line depth. The play of tackle Donald Stephenson and guard Geoff Schwartz prevented the line from collapsing.
Schwartz, signed as a free agent from Minnesota in the offseason, played so well in recent games that he’s retained the starting job at right guard even with Asamoah healthy and back.
On defense, the Chiefs added linebacker Frank Zombo as a free agent from Green Bay. He replaced the injured Justin Houston the past couple of games and had a sack in last week’s win against Washington.
Two of the better pickups have been in the secondary. Rookie Marcus Cooper, claimed off waivers from San Francisco at the same time they picked up McGrath, played well as the third cornerback before a recent slump. He bounced back with a strong game against the Redskins.
The Chiefs signed veteran Quintin Demps in the spring and he’s played well as the nickel safety. Demps has four interceptions, to say nothing of his work on special teams.
Demps is second in the league in kickoff return average. He brought one back 95 yards for a touchdown in last week's win against Washington.