KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs are set to welcome back a key player on defense and it comes at the right time with the Cincinnati Bengals and four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green waiting in Week 4.
Cornerback Sean Smith, who served a three-game suspension to start the season, is expected to be activated from the reserve/suspension list within the day.
“(General manager John) Dorse(y) is on top of that, so they’ll get all that worked out,” coach Andy Reid said Tuesday in a media conference call. “He’ll be back this week, so that’s the important thing. He’ll be back for tomorrow’s practice.”
Smith’s return should have an immediate impact and bolster a struggling pass defense.
The Chiefs finished the 2014 season ranked second against the pass (203.2 yards allowed per game) with Smith in the lineup, but have slipped to the 28th (287 yards per game) without Smith through three games.
Cornerbacks Jamell Fleming and Marcus Cooper filled in during Smith’s absence, but were picked on by quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers in consecutive weeks.
The Chiefs are also dealing with Phillip Gaines’ knee sprain, which the second-year cornerback suffered Monday night against the Green Bay Packers.
Gaines is scheduled to undergo an MRI, but Reid didn’t have an update.
“We’ll get you whatever it is after the MRI and seeing the docs,” Reid said.
Meanwhile, the time off shouldn’t hinder Smith and Reid indicated the plan is to get the seventh-year pro fully integrated in practice.
“I know he’s been working out like crazy so just it’s a matter of getting him back kind of into the football swing of things,” Reid said. “I think you probably put him right back in and let him get going. I think every rep he gets is an important rep in practice.”
Reid appeared cautiously optimistic Smith could be in the starting lineup in Week 4.
“Let me just kind of see how he does tomorrow,” Reid said. “I’ll know more once I see him run around. I would tell you, yes, that’s the thought.”
The Chiefs will need Smith alongside rookie Marcus Peters, who has been a bright spot on defense, when considering the weekend’s opponent.
Cincinnati enters Week 4 ranked sixth in passing, averaging 285 yards per game. Green, one of the NFL’s star wide receivers, ranks fourth in the league with 335 yards receiving through three games, including a monster performance of 10 catches for 227 yards and two touchdowns in Week 3.
“I think it’s important that you have all your players,” Reid said. “We went in that game last night healthy for the guys that we had except for Sean, but it will be good to get him back in the mix for sure.”