The starting safety positions are largely set with Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis, but there are several names vying for those slots behind both players as roster cuts are coming up for the Kansas City Chiefs. In some press comments today, head coach Todd Haley said he's getting a good handle on who might occupy those roles.
Thus far, Lewis and Berry are in and familiar names like Jon McGraw could also be considered a front-runner given Haley's comments today. From there it will come down to special teams for those last slots -- not only within the secondary but for the linebackers and wide receivers as well.
"I think we have good competition at the position," said Haley, via KCChiefs.com. "As we went through the game review as a staff and graded the guys, that was definitely one of those spots or areas that we talked about. Usually when we get through going through a position and we know it's going to be critical and there's going to be good competition, I stop the meeting and say, 'Coach Hoffman, are you hearing this? Special teams might be one of the separators here in this battle.'
"So it's a good competition obviously," he continued. "Jon McGraw is in there and he's not out of the mix to even be up front in the mix. Then you've got a good competition between Donald [Washington] and Jersey Shore [Sabby Piscitelli]. I think it's good competition, but as you do get into some of those fourth safety or sixth linebacker or fourth or fifth receiver, special teams might play a big role in it."
Two things stand out in this one. First, McGraw may have a stronger grip on a final roster spot than perhaps some realized. Secondly, some viewed the signing of Piscitelli as a reach and the former Buccaneer has few fans among sports media, but Scott Pioli and Haley see something there enough to keep him around and getting reps. Plus, you gotta love Haley cracking a joke in the middle of a press conference.
Ten players must be cut by August 30, a week from tomorrow, in order to meet the NFL's requirement of 80.