The Chiefs went from the NFL’s second-rated pass defense last year, with Smith starting all 16 games as their No. 1 cornerback, to the league’s 28th best pass defense without him during his three-week NFL suspension for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.
That’s how much the Chiefs missed Smith. They were shredded on Monday night by the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Chiefs also appear likely to play this week without starting cornerback Phillip Gaines, who left the Packers game in the first quarter with a sprained knee.
That’s why the Chiefs will enthusiastically welcome back Smith. The plan if all goes well is for Smith to join fellow cornerback Marcus Peters in the starting lineup for Sunday’s game against the Bengals in Cincinnati.
“It will be good to get him back in the mix, for sure," coach Andy Reid said. “I know he’s been working out like crazy so it’s just a matter of getting him back in the football swing of things. We’ll put him right back in and let him get going. Every rep he gets is an important rep in practice."
“Let me see how he does (Wednesday). I’ll know more once I see him run around. But I would tell you (starting Smith) is the thought."
It’s unfortunate for the Chiefs that Gaines probably won’t be ready to play against the Bengals. That would give the Chiefs a nice trio as their top three cornerbacks.