KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rarely one to be critical in public of his players, Andy Reid had little but compliments for the Kansas City Chiefs’ cornerbacks Wednesday.
But the Chiefs’ actions to an extent drowned out his words. The team would have had no reason to sign veteran cornerback Darrelle Revis if things were going well in its secondary.
“We’ve had some young guys in there trying their hearts out and doing a nice job for us, too,’’ Reid said, though the Chiefs have allowed more passing yards than all but four other NFL teams. “I think it’s a win-win. You get a veteran guy and you have some young guys that still continue to grow. It’s good for the football team. That’s a positive thing all the way around.’’
Reid wouldn’t say it, but this was a move the Chiefs had to make. Their pass defense was holding them back. The Chiefs have allowed 36 passes of 20 yards or more. Only four teams have yielded more.
“I don’t know about all that,’’ Reid said. “I would just tell you that you have an opportunity here to add a quality player and a quality player person to your team. [General manager] Brett Veach is always looking to upgrade, which is great.’’
Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson have been the starting cornerbacks, but the Chiefs have struggled to find any consistency from their third cornerbacks. They’ve gone through a rotation of Phillip Gaines, Kenneth Acker and Terrance Mitchell in recent weeks, but none has been able to help stem the tide of big pass plays.
Gaines allowed a 34-yard catch on fourth down in overtime in Sunday’s game against the New York Giants. The play set up New York’s winning field goal, and might have pushed the Chiefs into action. Revis said he’s been talking to the Chiefs for most of the season and it’s interesting they signed him only this week.
“The reason for me returning is the fire I have, the fuel I have to continue to play this game at a high level,’’ Revis said. “My role is to help win. Whatever is best for the team, whether my position is playing a few downs or playing in the slot, wherever coach wants to play me and feels he can utilize me to help win.’’
The idea is for Revis to join Peters in the starting lineup. Nelson would become the nickelback.
It works if Revis can be anything close to the player he was earlier in his career. He’s 32 and coming off what he acknowledged was his worst NFL season in 2016, when he played for the New York Jets.
The Chiefs expect the Revis of old whenever he gets on the field, whether that’s on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills or sometime afterward.
“I would tell you he looks great physically,’’ Reid said. “Time does that. Time will take a step away from you. That happens. But he’s a smart guy who knows how to play the game. That’s becomes important at this point in his career. I’m not telling you he can’t run. He can still run.’’
The chance is just as good that the Revis signing won’t work out for the Chiefs. His play in 2016 was that bad.
But his play can’t be a lot worse than some of what the Chiefs have already displayed this season. They owe it to themselves and their fans to find out.