The Chiefs, as expected, did not pull off a deal ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline. They reached the halfway point of the season with a 7-1 record and the second-best record in the NFL. It appears their biggest additions in the second half of the season may be the return of currently injured players, though they’re apparently still evaluating free-agent options.
They could’ve bolstered their defense through a deadline addition, but they opted not to make a move.
Through eight games, the Chiefs’ defense ranks near the bottom of the NFL in yards allowed per game (432.4, 31st), yards allowed per play (6.28, 27th) and passing yards allowed per game (304.8, 29th). They’ve also allowed 25.6 points per game (21st in the NFL).
“I know where his mind (was),” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said of general manager Brett Veach. “There just wasn’t anything there that he felt he needed to move on and felt comfortable with doing that. He’s not going to do something just to do it ... He’s going to do what’s best for the Chiefs. He’s real good about that.”
The Chiefs’ linebacker unit has been without starting outside linebacker Justin Houston for the past three games because of a hamstring injury. Inside linebacker Anthony Hitchens, the team’s leading tackler, left Sunday’s game because bruised ribs and had to be helped off the field.
Reid said Houston would “do a little bit” in practice on Wednesday, though Houston was not present for the brief portion of workouts that was open to reporters. Backup outside linebacker Frank Zombo also did not practice due to a hamstring injury.
Injuries have kept both of the Chiefs’ projected starting safeties, Eric Berry and Daniel Sorensen, off the field since training camp.
The Chiefs could activate safety Sorensen as early as this weekend. Sorensen, who began the season on injured reserve, returned to practice last week for the first time since he sustained a left tibia plateau fracture during training camp. Sorensen started 14 games last season in the aftermath of Berry’s torn Achilles in the 2017 season opener.
Reid said if the Chiefs had a game on Wednesday, Sorensen probably wouldn’t play.
Berry, an All-Pro safety, has not practiced since training camp in August, and he has been inactive for every game this season because of a heel injury. The potential for his return remains murky, at best, with his status designated as “day-to-day” by the Chiefs for more than two months.
When they’ve provided updates, both Reid and head of sports medicine and performance Rick Burkholder have repeatedly referred to Berry making “progress” in his rehab. Berry has regularly been present on the sidelines during practices.
“It’s no different than what you’ve heard from Andy (Reid) or Rick Burkholder,” Chiefs CEO and owner Clark Hunt said on Monday. “It literally is day to day. I do know that nobody’s working harder at his rehab than Eric. Eric is a young man who loves the game of football and wants to be out there on the field, and as soon as he feels that he’s ready, he’s going to be out there.”
The Chiefs reportedly played host to a pair of free-agent defensive players on Wednesday. Former Oakland Raiders safety Obi Melifonwu and former Detroit Lions linebacker Marquis Flowers were to be in KC, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Flowers, 26, is a former sixth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals traded him to the New England Patriots before the 2017 season. The Patriots cut him before the start of this season, and he signed with the Lions. He appeared in five games this season before Detroit cut him.
Melifonwu, a second-round draft pick by the Raiders in 2017, reportedly visited with the New Orleans Saints over the weekend and previously met with the Dallas Cowboys and Patriots. The 6-foot-3, 224-pound safety played in just five games as a rookie and made one start.
He had suffered a hip injury that forced him to the injured reserve list, and the Raiders waived him when he got healthy.