Talk about bad timing. I thought it was a little ominous to see Kansas City Chiefs CB Steven Nelson miss practice days before the season opener against the New England Patriots and it is. The Chiefs put Nelson on IR-return after a core muscle surgery (previously called sports hernia).
The Chiefs put starting CB Steven Nelson on IR after he had core muscle surgery. Chiefs expect him back at some point this season— Adam Teicher (@adamteicher) September 3, 2017
When can he come back: The rule means Nelson is out eight weeks, at least. The Chiefs said they think this is a 6-8 week injury. Brutal timing for the Chiefs who were already a little light on experience at corner.
Where did Nelson play: Nelson was listed as the No. 2 corner but played the slot when three receivers were on the field so that’s really what they’re trying to replace, that slot corner because the Patriots offense will often have the Chiefs defense in nickel.
How the Chiefs will replace him: If the depth chart is accurate then Terrance Mitchell and Phillip Gaines are up next. Neither has the experience of Nelson and are thrust into a major role against the greatest quarterback of all time. So, yeah. Mitchell has been hurt all of camp and preseason while Gaines hasn’t been the same player since a 2015 ACL injury. Other options include DJ White and Kenneth Acker. The Chiefs could still also be trying to bring in a corner although we’re now three days away from the game.
Who steps up with Steven Nelson out?
This poll is closed
The Chiefs don’t move their corners around so Tom Brady and the Patriots can avoid Marcus Peters and pick on someone else, which we expect them to do. The good news is that the Chiefs know this with a few days heads up and can prepare for it rather than him going down in the first quarter. Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton will need to adjust.
It’s easy to overreact and it is indeed a bad injury at a bad time but the Chiefs went through this last year too. Mitchell was on the practice squad last November and ended up starting. DJ White, listed on the third team here, played early on last season.
The Chiefs haven’t really replaced that corner opposite Peters since Sean Smith. They’ve been in this position before. I think they’re going to be OK this season. Against New England on Thursday night? They may not be OK then.