The Kansas City Chiefs have put the 2013 preseason in their rear view and are now focusing on the final cuts from 75 to 53 that have to be turned into the league by 5 p.m. Saturday. The majority of the roster has been set for quite a while, but there are plenty of tough decisions on the bottom quarter.
When I sat down to work out on my latest 53-man roster predictions, I thought I would look back at how Andy Reid handled this big cut down during his time with the Philadelphia Eagles.
I was curious if they rosters looked similar year to year when it came to the number of players he preferred to keep at certain positions and the answer was — clearly — yes.
To keep this very unscientific study somewhat modern, I only went back six years, starting with Reid’s final cuts in 2007. Also keep in mind this is only the final cuts and doesn’t reflect how the roster may have changed the days, weeks and months following the initial cut down to 53 players.
Before we look at each position, it’s interesting to note that Reid kept the same number of players each of the past three years at five different positions (four on offense and special teams).
Over the six-year span, eight position groups were within one player.
It’s also worth noting that when Reid talks about not factoring in where a guy was drafted, you can probably pay attention. Last year the Eagles cut two of their draft picks and kept two undrafted free agents.
Take a look at the breakdown of each position and decide if we’ll see the same sort of numbers when Reid works with GM John Dorsey on the final 53-man roster.
Position – Six year average number of players
Quarterback – 3
Very consistent and that’s not going to change this season with the Chiefs.
Running Back – 3.16
Only took four running backs on his 53-man roster once, in 2012.
Fullback – 1
Reid may like his fullbacks, but he’s never kept two.
Wide Receivers – 5.5
Almost every prediction for the Chiefs is at least six or seven. Four of the last six (including three straight) years Reid has only kept five receivers. The only seasons he didn’t were in 2008 (6) and 2009 (7).
Clearly this offense has been able to function with just five receivers, meaning it could be a tight squeeze for guys like Devon Wylie, Rico Richardson and Junior Hemingway.
Tight End – 2.3
For all the talk about how Reid wants to feature the tight ends (he does), the head coach hasn’t kept three on his initial 53-man roster since 2008. In fact, after keeping three in 2007 and 2008, it’s been two every year. That’s likely bad news for Tony Moeaki, Kevin Brock and Demetrius Harris.
Offensive Line – 9.6
There are a lot of people that follow the Chiefs thinking Reid will only keep eight offensive linemen on the final 53-man roster. In six years, he has never had less than nine and four of the years it was 10.
Though we don’t figure post-final cut moves into these numbers, it’s worth noting that last year the Eagles had nine offensive linemen initially, but added a 10th the next day. The Chiefs don’t have a ton of strength in the depth, but Reid clearly likes to have a lot of linemen on his roster.
Obviously the Eagles ran a completely different scheme, so whatever insight you take from the offensive history can be thrown out the window with the defense. Still, I figured as long as we were looking at a bunch of numbers, let’s see them all!
Defensive Line – 9.6
Just like the offensive line, Reid’s Eagles had 10 d-linemen in four of the past six years. Big Red likes his big men.
With the flip from 4-3 to 3-4, you could make the argument this is the number that should be closest to the final number of linebackers the Chiefs keep.
Linebackers – 6.16
Six was the magic number at linebacker for Reid’s Eagles. That was how many they kept every single year except 2010 (7).
Again, you might be able to expect the Chiefs defensive line to fall at six.
Defensive Backs – 9.5
Considering the mixing and matching we’ve seen — and should continue to see — from Bob Sutton, it makes sense to just focus on defensive backs as a whole instead of breaking it down to CB/S.
From 2007-10, Philly carried just nine defensive backs, but that number jumped to 11 and 10 the last two seasons, respectively. Different scheme or not, this is the one number of the three on defense I feel safe thinking is a good guide.
Special Teams – 3
Never tried to get cute with two kickers or anything else outside the box. The Chiefs specialists have been set since before Reid got to town and won’t change unless one of the three get injured.