Red Zone

Coaches explain why they signed former Chiefs during free-agency

Former Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith.
Former Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith. deulitt@kcstar.com

The Chiefs lost a handful of key free agents this March, and I caught up with their new coaches this week at the NFL’s annual meeting to find out why they signed each player. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio on cornerback Sean Smith: “I love his competitiveness. Sean’s a long athlete, a veteran with an understanding of who he is and where he fits in this league, and he brings that knowledge of playing the position at a high level for a long time in this league. We needed a veteran presence in our secondary, and it’s good to get it. We love his length — he’s a long guy. So that’s what we added, a competitive, long athlete that brings toughness and experience.”

Texans coach Bill O’Brien on guard Jeff Allen: “I really like Jeff. To be honest with you, I think we’re lucky to get him. I think he’s a tough guy, very, very good football player. Loves the game. Everybody you talked to who played with him or coached with him says he’s a great teammate, good in the locker room. Just like with any player, he’s got to stay healthy, he’s got to stay healthy. But I think that we got a guy there that’s going to really help our team.”

Broncos coach Gary Kubiak on offensive tackle Donald Stephenson: “We liked his versatility. He played inside, he played outside. We liked his nasty, how hard he plays. We liked his effort as a player. We just think he fit for us, especially on the right side. But I think the fact he’s very versatile and played a lot of football in this league gives us a chance to get better.”

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians on safety Tyvon Branch: “One of our coaches had him in Oakland. Carson (Palmer) gave him rave reviews as a guy we’d love to have in our locker room. Very versatile safety that we need. Plays back, front and man-to-man on the tight end. Just a heck of a player. But when those people endorsed him the way they did, we wanted him.”

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