When the Chiefs took the field for their first full squad practice on Monday, it wasn’t first round pick Eric Berry starting at strong safety. Instead it was second year player Reshard Langford, a player signed off of the Eagles practice squad late last season. Bob Gretz talked to Chiefs head coach Todd Haley and the determined Langford about pushing for playing time.
“Anybody that plays the game and loves being part of the game does it so they can play in the games,” Langford said this week as the Chiefs began their OTA practice sessions. “That’s all I’m trying to do every day, make another step to being able to play in the games.”
Starters in May do not rack up equity in the position. But for Langford, the honor was recognition of the hard work he’s put in for the past two months.
“He’s at the top of the list of guys working as hard as they can to put themselves in a position to succeed,” Haley said of Langford. “All these guys know that they all have great opportunity because anything they learned from last year (is) the guy that gives us the best chance to win will play. When guys hear that and know that, they’re excited and it gives them hope and then it’s just up to them to take advantage of the opportunity given.”
In a season where the Chiefs were 4-12 and there was a revolving door on the roster, with the safety position one of the weakest on the team, it’s easy for an undrafted college free agent who spent 15 anonymous weeks on another team’s practice squad to pass well under the radar.
The Chiefs were happy to get him signed up for the 2010 season. “We were excited about being able to pick him up,” said Haley. “He’s a guy that had a lot of the qualities we are looking for in players.”
I’m not cracking any state secrets when I say that Eric Berry will be the starter at safety sooner rather than later. He was brought in to eventually run this defense and that’s what he will do as soon as he adjusts to the pro game.
However, Langford has a chance to deliver what they Chiefs were without all of last season: depth. He was a big time performer (and captain!) at Vanderbilt while playing in a conference Haley and Scott Pioli clearly are impressed with, the SEC.
We talked about it when he was first signed, but I don’t understand why more struggling teams don’t poach players from the practice squads of the top teams in the league.
Wouldn’t the 60th player on a first place team more often than not be better than the 53rd on a last place team? I understand that’s the most simple of terms, but there are times when it absolutely holds true.
If the Chiefs are not happy with their options at linebacker after training camp, I would love for them to go and take a chance on the final guy cut from the New York Jets or any other team loaded with quality ILBs.