The headline here is misleading, so let’s state that admission for the books before we begin. Both names are replaceable with another option. It could easily read “Should the Chiefs replace Eric Berry with Ricky Price or Ken Hamlin?” The main idea is that the Kansas City Chiefs have internal, familiar options to work with and foreign free agents they could bring in to replace Eric Berry, lost to injury for the year against the Buffalo Bills.
The question, then, is which way should the Chiefs replace him. That’s assuming, of course, that a roster move is coming, which even the Chiefs official site concedes should be on its way despite the Chiefs failure to place Berry on Injured Reserve just yet. But at some point soon, the assumption is that KC will have a new name on the 53-man roster at safety and, given the level of talent at the position, this player should see significant playing time.
Ricky Price and Reshard Langford are already familiar with the team’s playbook and defensive scheme. They are known commodities by both the coaches and the players. That helps tremendously since coaches plan around what they know their guys can and cannot do.
That’s also the downside, given that the team kept Sabby Piscitelli over either one of those players for what he brought to the roster. We’ve discussed Piscitelli’s league-wide reputation before, and it’s hard to believe a playoff team from last year is banking on the guy turning it around, even if some talent is there.
The Chiefs cannot afford to give up the big play with the way their offense is structured around the run and short passing situations. Thus, if the Chiefs find themselves in a bind, they unravel quickly. The safety position is that all-important slot that prevents such plays from happening, and the Chiefs now have players in that position who struggle with just that.
This is why Langford can’t just be familiar, but he has to be successful in the Chiefs scheme. And if not, then the Chiefs need to bring in a Darren Sharper or Ken Hamlin or some other free agent safety who can step in and help fill in with their experience and intelligence. The season is still in its infancy and it’s no time to start playing young players to see what you have for the future when solid veteran free agents are right in front of you.