KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Expect the status quo when the Chiefs cornerbacks take the field against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Chiefs have stayed true to its word since the final week of training camp in St. Joseph, Mo., with a first-team rotation of Marcus Cooper, Sean Smith and Ron Parker.
And the scenario won’t change even as the Chiefs enter the third preseason game, which is often viewed as a dress rehearsal for the regular season when considering how deep into the contest starters play.
“We’re just going to let it go like we said,” defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said Thursday. “We’ll roll them through and keep going, each of them have had some really good plays and probably some they could do better.”
While Smith recorded a pick-6 in the preseason opener two weeks ago, the bad Sutton alludes to are a big 53-yard play allowed by Parker in the preseason opener and penalties committed by all three through two preseason games.
But Sutton believes the competition throughout training camp and preseason action is beneficial for the team and the individual players.
“We’re going to need all those guys and as we said a couple of weeks ago there are certain packages all of them are in the game anyway,” Sutton said. “I’m not really too concerned who is the starter or isn’t because I know the way the NFL is, all those guys are going to play a lot of plays for us.”
The Chiefs defensive schemes calls for a lot of nickel and dime packages.
And the defensive backs will surely be put to the test in 2014 when considering some of the offenses and quarterbacks on the schedule, including Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger. The Chiefs also face Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers twice.
So, regardless who is listed atop the depth chart when the regular season opens, the odd man out is sure to be included in a defensive game plan.
“The way we look at them and a lot of those packages – whatever personnel group goes out there – that’s the team that is quote, ‘The starters,’” Sutton said. “But next week if a different offensive personnel group will be out there, there’ll be a different set of starters. So I’m not too concerned about that right now who is the first or second or whatever.”
Running back Jamaal Charles, who missed the second preseason game and first two practices of the week with a bruised foot, returned to the field Thursday.
Charles, however, did not practice with the first-team offense. Instead, the All-Pro worked with the scout team.
“The guys that have been nicked up are trying to get their reps back on the scout team,” defensive coordinator Bob Sutton explained. “(Defensive end Mike) DeVito (wrist) was over there, (inside linebacker) Josh Mauga (groin) was over there, so it’s just a way for them to get work and not take away from guys that are definitely playing in this game.”
The Chiefs haven’t determined if Charles will play Saturday.
Running back and kickoff returner Joe McKnight started training camp on the physically unable to perform list after undergoing a knee scope following minicamp.
He returned to the practice field on Aug. 4, but hasn’t participated in the two preseason contests as the Chiefs appear to ease him back into action.
Whether McKnight finally sees the field Saturday remains to be seen.
“He practiced all week,” special teams coordinator Dave Toub said. “The meeting that we’re going to have right after this (post-practice media session) is talk about personnel and who’s going to play, who isn’t going to play. I really can’t answer that totally, but he had a good week at practice.”
Running back De’Anthony Thomas (hamstring), outside linebacker Josh Martin (quad), cornerback Chris Owens (knee) and defensive lineman Jermelle Cudjo (hamstring) returned to practice Thursday.
Thomas missed Wednesday’s session after experiencing spasms in the morning.
Strong safety Eric Berry (right heel), wide receivers Dwayne Bowe (quad) and Junior Hemingway (hip), running back Charcandrick West (illness), inside linebacker Joe Mays (wrist), defensive end Mike Catapano (illness), offensive lineman Ryan McKee (knee) and cornerback Damond Smith (abductor) did not practice.
Berry, Bowe, Hemingway, Mays and McKee missed all three days of practice. Catapano practiced Tuesday before missing the past two days.
Mays is scheduled for wrist surgery.