Chiefs put Moeaki on IR, cut down to 53-man limit
Sunday, September 4, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Chiefs put tight end Tony Moeaki on injured reserve Saturday after he was hurt in their final preseason game against Green Bay, depriving quarterback Matt Cassel of one of his most dependable targets heading into the regular season.
Kansas City also put linebacker Gabe Miller on IR and waived 25 other players.
The Chiefs took a different approach than most teams this preseason, playing their starters sparingly early on to guard against injuries after the NFL lockout wiped out a normal offseason.
The first-team unit then played into the second half against the Packers, while most teams used the final exhibition game largely to rest their regulars. Several players were banged up in the game, including Moeaki, who limped off the field with what is believed to be a knee injury.
Moeaki's loss is a significant blow to the defending AFC West champions.
He caught 47 passes for 556 yards and three touchdowns last season, giving the Chiefs the kind of receiving threat off the line of scrimmage that Tony Gonzalez provided for so many years. Now they'll count on Leonard Pope, Jake O'Connell and Anthony Becht to fill his role.
Kansas City kept journeyman Tyler Palko and fifth-round draft pick Ricky Stanzi to back up Cassel at quarterback. It's still possible that general manager Scott Pioli will sift through the waiver wire to find a veteran who can serve as the backup when the regular season starts Sept. 11 against Buffalo.
"I reserve the right — as we always do — that if there's guys we think that fit with what we're trying to do and create competition, we'll be on it," Haley said early last week.
There were few surprises among those the Chiefs cut.
Perhaps the biggest was at wide receiver, where they let go Jeremy Horne, Zeke Markshausen and Verran Tucker. That allowed them to keep Terrance Copper and Keary Colbert, who emerged as the feel-good story of fall camp. Colbert he spent last season as a coach at Southern California, his alma mater, and earlier this summer signed with a UFL franchise.
Colbert hasn't played in the NFL since 2008, when he bounced through Denver, Seattle and Detroit. The former second-round draft pick has 121 catches for 1,540 yards in his career.
Colbert gives the Chiefs some depth at wide receiver behind Dwayne Bowe, Jerheme Urban and Steve Breaston. First-round draft pick Jonathan Baldwin missed almost all the preseason after getting into a locker room altercation with running back Thomas Jones, which left him with a heavy bandage on his right thumb. It's unclear when Baldwin will be able to play.
The Chiefs also cut offensive linemen Darryl Harris and Butch Lewis, who were fighting for backup jobs. They decided to stick with Jared Gaither as the backup tackle and Rodney Hudson as the backup guard after putting veteran Ryan O'Callaghan on IR earlier in the week.
The only rookie free agent who made the team was defensive end Brandon Bair.
Amon Gordon was another defensive lineman who made the team after impressing the staff during fall camp. He was a late addition to the roster and survived the cut after making the most of the extra reps he received while defensive tackle Anthony Toribio was out with an injury.