Red Zone

Coaches explain why they signed former Chiefs during free-agency

Former Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith.
Former Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith.

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.”

Narrated by Chiefs beat reporter Terez Paylor, the 2015-16 season is recapped with Star staff photos by David Eulitt, John Sleezer, Shane Keyser, Allison Long, Keith Myers, Joe Ledford and the Associated Press from London. Music "Welcome to the Sh