Chiefs to stick with new starters in the secondary on Sunday

Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Jamell Fleming broke up a pass attempt in the end zone intended for San Diego Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd on Sunday.
Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Jamell Fleming broke up a pass attempt in the end zone intended for San Diego Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd on Sunday. The Kansas City Star

Chiefs coach Andy Reid said the team likely will stick with cornerbacks Jamell Fleming and rookie Phillip Gaines in the lineup Sunday against St. Louis.

Fleming, who was signed during the second week of the season, started at left cornerback in place of Marcus Cooper, and Gaines opened at nickel back.

“There’s a chance we’ll do that,” Reid said. “There were some good things that Fleming did. He settled down as the game went on. His juices were flowing early. Gaines did a good job on the inside, and when he had chances on the outside, he did a nice job there.

“I came out feeling positive about it. Is there room to improve? We have to continue to get better there.”

Smith’s Rams memory

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith’s life turned upside down the last time he faced the St. Louis Rams.

While playing for San Francisco, he suffered a concussion on Nov. 11, 2012, in a 24-24 tie against St. Louis, and he never returned to the lineup. Smith’s backup, Colin Kaepernick, started the final seven regular-season games, three postseason games and the Super Bowl, and Smith was traded to the Chiefs in the spring of 2013.

“I haven’t given it that much thought,” Smith said. “Certainly I recognize when we go over the personnel, some of these guys. I remember the game. I remember it well. But I haven’t really thought about the what-ifs.”

Smith, who rushed for a club-record 431 yards by a quarterback last season, uses the feet-first slide more than he did as a younger player, but not because of the hit he absorbed against the Rams.

“You get older, you get smarter,” said Smith, 30. “Whether you like it or not, as a quarterback, you’re a target, and you get outside the pocket, some of the rules that protect you go away. So it’s being smart, understanding situations, and for the most part protecting yourself when you get outside the pocket.”

Injury report

The Chiefs said wide receivers Donnie Avery (sports hernia) and Junior Hemingway (strained hamstring), and cornerback Chris Owens (concussion) did not practice Wednesday. Strong safety Eric Berry, who has missed the last four games because of a high ankle sprain, worked with the scout team and was to be re-evaluated after practice.

Tight end Travis Kelce (ribs) and cornerback Sean Smith (groin) were limited.

The Rams said cornerback Janoris Jenkins (knee), guard Rodger Saffold (knee), defensive end William Hayes (illness), safety T.J. McDondald (concussion) and wide receiver Kenny Britt (ankle) did not practice.

Dorsey, Bienemy nominated

Chiefs general manager John Dorsey and running backs coach Eric Bienemy are among several players with ties to the team who have been nominated for the College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015.

Dorsey, a linebacker at Connecticut during 1981-83, was nominated in the Divisional class. Bienemy, a running back at Colorado, helped lead the Buffaloes to the 1990 national title.

Former Chiefs who were nominated include defensive end Art Still, an all-American at Kentucky and the club’s first pick in the 1978 draft; and running back Paul Palmer of Temple, who led the nation in rushing and was a first-round pick in 1987.

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