VAHE GREGORIAN

Chiefs GM Dorsey says this is time to make moves to help build franchise

Updated: 2013-09-03T14:19:58Z

By VAHE GREGORIAN

The Kansas City Star

A day after whittling away 23 players to settle the roster down to 52, Chiefs general manager John Dorsey purged six more Sunday so he could pluck a fresh seven from the waiver wire.

“We always welcome new faces, new people,” said receiver Dexter McCluster, suddenly one of the Chiefs’ ancients as he enters his fourth season.

Good thing. Stop the scan button, and it’s 30 new players, including nine rookies, among the 53-man allotment for the 2013 opener Sunday at Jacksonville.

For the moment, anyway.

The week was young yet as Dorsey was asked Monday about the “whirlwind.”

“It’s not a whirlwind,” he said, grinning, pausing and finally conceding, “It was.”

Only it wasn’t a “confused rush,” as Merriam-Webster defines the term, and Dorsey and the Chiefs aren’t just acting on maniacal impulse as if they’re running a fantasy football team.

This was a time of urgency, not desperation.

“In January,” said Dorsey, referring to when he was hired, “we said that we would turn over every stone possible.”

In this case, these moves were less about finding rock stars there than they were about fortifying the bedrock of depth.

“We’ve always said … we’re going to try to make that back end as competitive as possible,” he said. “Because what that does is that creates the next man up, that creates competition, that creates a stronger roster at the end of the day.”

The maneuvering also serves to further illuminate the depths of what’s needed to turn the franchise around and this rare opportunity to do it.

That’s because by virtue of earning the overall No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft the Chiefs also got another perk from their 2-14 record in 2012: assured first dibs among NFL waiver claims until after the third game of the season.

“So if there’s a time to do it, you do it now,” Dorsey said. “It’s a very unique situation. You know, hopefully, it will never happen again.”

So combine that circumstance with a new regime churning to set a tone and foundation (Jacksonville, 2-14 a year ago, too, also claimed seven on waivers Sunday), and the turnstile spins.

The Chiefs’ previous GM-coaching combination, for instance, had 32 new players among its 53 for the opener in 2009.

That didn’t all work out so great, but, well, there was a lot more to that story.

“I think your first year sometimes, this is what you have to do to move forward,” Dorsey said. “I think we’re better off today than we were yesterday and a couple of days ago.”

Dorsey has invested more than 20 years in the business of scrutinizing personnel and was acclaimed as director of college scouting and director of football operations for the Green Bay Packers.

In most of his 14 years coaching the Philadelphia Eagles — who went to five NFC championship games or beyond in that span — coach Andy Reid also held sway and final say in personnel matters.

So it seems reasonable to suggest that the pair, eager to be reunited here after working together with the Packers, has a grasp of what personnel would enhance the roster.

The latest influx, incidentally, included receiver Greg Hall, who appeared in 15 games with the Eagles in 2010 and 2011, and linebacker Dezman Moses, who started six games for the Packers last season.

Asked if he had been hoping Moses might be available, Dorsey smiled and said, “You’ve got to do your research.”

In the case of preparing for the last few days of prospecting, that required a virtual task force assessing both what the Chiefs had on hand and the landscape for who might come available and be considered an upgrade.

It also required a certain meshing of minds that can’t be taken for granted.

“A lot of the credit in terms of the moves here goes to the personnel department, now. Let’s don’t lose sight of that,” Dorsey said. “We were organized, we had a plan, we had everything ranked. Then we had all the positions ranked out. So we were ready.

“Then it comes to a group evaluation by position in terms of ‘can they or can they not help us?’ Then during the course of that as personnel guys … we evaluated, we narrowed it down. And then we told the coaches, ‘OK, here we go: Look at some of these guys and tell me what you think as well.’

“Then we factored in everybody’s opinion. Then we made the best decisions for the Chiefs.”

And so the Chiefs have 30 new players, give or take a few by week’s end.

“I’m sure that’s a big number,” Dorsey said.

But …

“I don’t think we should make emphasis on the number,” he said. “I think we should make emphasis on the fact that … we said all along that we had this plan and part of that was to utilize the waiver system at the end here as well. … Because you know year in and year out there’s good players who are going to be released.”

And, hopefully for all concerned, a lot more staying put a year from now.

To reach Vahe Gregorian, call 816-234-4868 or send email to vgregorian@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @vgregorian. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com.

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