There are plenty of players on the Kansas City Chiefs roster that—if not able to suit up for any period of time—would be sorely missed. With three preseason games in the books, it is grossly apparent that cornerback Brandon Flowers belongs in that group.
Flowers has proven over his career that he is indeed one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, so replacing his presence on the defense would have been no easy task. But the Chiefs have found out the hard way that with Flowers not on the field, their pass defense is at risk of being exploited on every play.
The Chiefs let Flowers’ former running mate, Brandon Carr, walk in free agency (Dallas Cowboys) this past offseason—and for good reason.
No one can blame general manager Scott Pioli for not wanting to dole out top dollar to two cornerbacks, no matter how pass-happy the league has gotten recently. But what the Chiefs did not expect was Flowers to be hampered by a nagging heel injury that has kept him out of action this entire preseason.
Jalil Brown has gotten the most reps as Flowers’ substitute, but showed just how young and inexperienced he is in Friday night’s 44-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He was called for an avoidable pass interference penalty that kept a Seahawks drive moving and was burned on a couple of other plays that Flowers would have more than likely made.
The depth chart keeps getting younger and more inexperienced after Brown, and there were already questions about how free-agent acquisition Stanford Routt would do as Carr’s replacement.
The status of the Chiefs secondary is one that paints a not-so-pretty picture as the preseason winds down.
Safety Kendrick Lewis has a shoulder ailment, although it doesn’t seem to be too serious, and Eric Berry is still getting his feet wet from missing most of last season after tearing his ACL. Furthermore, Brown, along with Flowers, is also expected to miss Thursday’s preseason finale against the Green Bay Packers after injuring his groin against the Seahawks.
The starting secondary Thursday night will hopefully look nothing like it will when the Chiefs kick off the season on Sept. 9 against the high-powered Atlanta Falcons offense.
However, if Lewis’ injury lingers into the regular season, the Chiefs will be able to fill his void much easier than if Flowers can’t lace it up for an extended period of time.
While there isn’t much being leaked as to just how serious Flowers’ injury is, the fact that he is in a walking boot and hasn’t played this preseason is a strong indication that he might not see game action any time soon.
But there is that small glimmer of hope that the Chiefs might be taking extra precaution knowing just how important Flowers is to the defense.
If the high expectations for Kansas City in 2012 are to be filled, Chiefs fans better hope this is the case.