Todd Haley has been emphatic in saying that no one has officially made the team yet. While it’s simple coach-talk for some people, it couldn’t be any more accurate for someone like Pierre Walters.
For Walters, who received a free-agent invitation after the NFL Draft, he’s excited to showcase his skills and possibly earn a roster spot. Walters has appeared in both preseason games with the club mostly on special teams, but he has had some defensive series at linebacker.
Walters relishes his time on special teams because he knows he’s building a film resume of special teams highlights.
“It’s been a lot of hard work. It’s been a real stressful time. You want to stand out.”
Walters is in the process of transitioning from defensive end to linebacker, which he admits has been rough.
“That’s still a work in progress. It’s about me taking it one step at a time.”
With the roster unsure, Walters knows making a team won’t be easy, especially with massive roster cuts around the corner. NFL rosters have to be cut to 75 players Tuesday and then 53 players Sept. 5.
“He is an outstanding young man who is competing and working very hard in camp,” said linebackers coach Gary Gibbs through an e-mail. “He is very diligent in terms of trying to learn and trying to make a contribution to our organization.”
Walters understands the cutthroat-like business of the NFL.
“I’m a rookie. I can only control what I can control. There’s no secret formula.”
Walters was my favorite of all the UDFA the Chiefs decided to bring into the fold. In the way of defensive reps he has been passed by another UDFA in Jovan Belcher and it’s hard not to root for both of those guys. I would love to see them both make the team and be a part of the Chiefs defense going forward. It’s a lot to ask, but if there was ever a year for it to happen this is the one.
Chiefs quarterback Tyler Thigpen, the starter for most of last season, has said all the right things since Matt Cassel came to town. But according to Adam Teicher at the Kansas City Star, yesterday wasn’t one of those days.
“Matt’s been taking all the (snaps) with the (starters),” Thigpen said. “That’s obvious. They signed him to a long-term deal. He’s the face of the franchise right now. Good for him. Congratulations to him. Right now, I’m competing for a backup spot on this team. It’s very frustrating, but that’s the way the business works.”
Thigpen couldn’t even console himself with the possibility he might get to try to win a job somewhere else. The Jacksonville Jaguars offered the Chiefs a sixth-round pick and later sweetened the offer to a fifth-rounder in exchange for Thigpen.
The Jaguars are only the latest team to try to pry Thigpen away from the Chiefs. Tampa Bay and Carolina showed some interest around the draft, and more recently Baltimore made an inquiry. To date, the Chiefs have resisted. But they may have their price in mind for Thigpen, who said he hadn’t heard anything about trade talks.
“The task at hand is the Seattle Seahawks. That’s what I’m focusing on right now. Whatever happens, happens. That’s not in my control, so I’m not going to worry about it. Right now, I’m a Kansas City Chief and I’m looking forward to the season. Right now, I’ve got a job and I’m going out each and every day pushing Matt, helping Matt become a better quarterback and making myself a better quarterback. Every quarterback wants to compete for a job. Whatever situation comes up for me, I’m going to take full advantage of it.”
I don’t know that there has been a more vocal supporter of Tyler Thigpen, but he needs to just keep his mouth shut and go to work the way Tamba Hali has during training camp. Yes, of course it’s frustrating to play as well as he did last season and then not even get a sniff at the starting job this year. Venting that frustration through the media isn’t ever the way to go and definitely not with Scott Pioli and Todd Haley.
Hopefully Thigpen goes out there Saturday night, plays well and makes the Chiefs decision that much harder. If he doesn’t beat out Croyle for the backup job in Kansas City, it’s clear by the amount of teams that have shown interest that he will find a home quickly. You can find more of my thoughts on a potential Thigpen trade here.
When the Seahawks signed free agent Edgerrin James, there were plenty of people wondering if Julius Jones’ job was in jeopardy. According to Eric Williams at The News Tribune, James will be happy playing Robin to Jones’ Batman.
That’s what James said Wednesday afternoon when the veteran running back spoke to local reporters for the first time since signing a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks. James shadowed Jones for most of the 2 1/2-hour practice, leaning in to get advice here or there, and mostly serving as a spectator while he tried to get up to speed on his new team’s offense.
James said there will be no competition for carries between the backfield running mates, and that he is willing to fill his role as a complementary back to Jones, although he bristled at being in a similar role for Arizona last season, leading to the team eventually release him in April.
“In this day and age in the NFL everything is pretty much two backs. With two backs, I am not here to compete with Julius. I am here to complement and come in here for us to work together. Do whatever we have to do. I just want to win.”
Seahawks coach Jim Mora said he talked with Jones about James’ arrival before the team brought the former Arizona back in Tuesday, and reiterated that Jones will be the team’s main rusher.
“Julius is going to be our workhorse, our lead dog. And to be able to get a guy of Edgerrin’s caliber, and of his personality, and of his pedigree, I guess you want to say, to come in here and do what he’s going to do, it’s really a bonus for us.”
Mora said he doesn’t know if James will play on Saturday against Kansas City, and the team will have to wait and see if the 31-year-old back is mentally and physically ready to play.
Okay, so maybe we won’t see James get any run this weekend. It’s good to hear that he is playing nice early on, but will he stay so civil if he only has 20 carries over the first 3 games? If he does then we have to start to wonder why the Chiefs didn’t give him a look. You’re telling me he wouldn’t be more reliable than Jamaal Charles, Jackie Battle or Javarris Williams? I’m a huge Charles fan and love his potential but he obviously doesn’t have the same resume James does.