The Kansas City Chiefs lost CB Phillip Gaines to a torn ACL, which means he is out for the year. It's a significant blow for the Chiefs because they aren't as deep at that position (nickel) as they are on the outside.
The Chiefs have some decisions to make. How do they replace Gaines?
Tyvon Branch would seem like the first option given that he replaced Gaines in the game last week. Branch was lit up by Aaron Rodgers but playing in an emergency role against the NFL's best quarterback might not be the best game to judge him on. It reminds me of that Broncos game last year when Donald Stephenson had to come in. He struggled in that game but that was because he came in in the middle of the game after not playing there all year and faced one of the NFL's best set of pass rushers. So hold off on judging Branch too much based on last week.
Chiefs rookie Steven Nelson comes into mind as well. He has not been active yet this season so I am guessing that the Chiefs ideally would have preferred he redshirt this season. However, if they need him, he's someone to consider. Andy Reid indicated last week that Nelson wasn't quite ready yet when asked if he could be active. "We'll see on that," Reid said. "He's got to continue to work, he's getting better there."
Here's one candidate we should consider: Husain Abdullah. He does have a little experience there with the Chiefs AND his safety spot seems to have been overtaken by Eric Berry as Abdullah has been seen mostly in dime (also, Abdullah was on the injury report). The more I think about it, the more I like this possibility.
The Chiefs other cornerbacks are Jamell Fleming and Marcus Cooper, although they primarily play on the outside. I don't know if they would be options. I haven't mentioned Sean Smith or Marcus Peters but I am guessing they want to keep them on the outside. Peters did see a little nickel in camp, however.
Ron Parker is another name. He has played safety and cornerback although I can't remember him playing much nickel (update: pretty sure he played a little bit last year when needed but not regularly).