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Kansas City Chiefs depth will allow Joe Mays to return slowly

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The Chiefs have depth for the first time in forever.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Donald Stephenson missed the first four games of the season due to suspension but has yet to reclaim his starting job that he held during training camp. I wonder if Stephenson isn't the only one to get Wally Pipp'd. I wonder if it's happening to linebacker Joe Mays, too.

Mays was the Chiefs starting inside linebacker heading into the season but he ended up breaking his wrist, which required a two month absence. Mays returned to the field last Sunday but only played special teams snaps. Why didn't he return to his starting job? Because the guys who replaced him are playing well.

"Well, those guys are playing well, so you don't disrupt that," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said of James-Michael Johnson and Josh Mauga, who have replaced Mays and Derrick Johnson. "Everybody is going to play. You need everybody, especially this time of year. I thought it was important that [Mays] got in and got used to the speed of the game again and he did that on special teams. We will just see how it goes this week. Bob (Sutton) has all these different packages, so if he works in on one of those he works in, if not we will keep bringing him along."

The depth on this team is something we haven't seen in Kansas City in a while. Usually you're dying waiting for your starters to return from injury. This year the replacement players are playing at such a high level that it's like you don't miss a beat.

This is a very good problem to have, and not one that happens all over. The Chiefs depth is really proving itself this year.