When Kendrick Lewis was the “other” starting safety next to Pro Bowl rookie Eric Berry, the Kansas City Chiefs young secondary and specifically the safeties seemed to be in good hands. Lewis was certainly a pleasant surprise as a fifth round choice who started 10 games and had 3 interceptions and a forced fumble. Now that Eric Berry has been placed on injured reserve, however, the story becomes an entirely different one concerning the Chiefs corps of safeties.
Berry was the hero among the unit, the guy with game-changing talent that made not only everyone around him better but also made their jobs easier. Now Lewis must become that key safety that steps up to another level while hoping the bit players the Chiefs have around can become something else entirely.
Sabby Piscitelli and Reshard Langford are the best bets. Jon McGraw is the veteran special teams player who is a known commodity at this point, and picturing him as the long-term starter for the rest of 2011 isn’t a proposition anyone would be too happy with. Piscitelli has been lambasted in the media for his poor technique and overall play, but clearly the Chiefs see something there to keep him around.
Then there’s Langford, who was a late cut in training camp to pare down the roster to 53. He’s a four-year starter from Vanderbilt who was also the defensive captain. He fits the SEC mold that Scott Pioli loves as well as the high character/leadership mentality that is a mark of so many of his draft choices thus far in KC. Yet Langford wasn’t drafted and signed with the Eagles after the ‘09 Draft. He eventually made his way to KC’s roster off and on the last two seasons.
Langford and Piscitelli both have a nice opportunity in front of them if the Chiefs are willing to give them a long look. Piscitelli was resuscitate his reputation with a decent year filling in for Berry and Langford can finally cement his place on an NFL roster for the long haul. Both players stand much to gain from Berry’s injury, and the Chiefs are hoping that at least one of them seizes the moment in a major way.