Dunta Robinson signing latest hint that Chiefs plan to compete in 2013
Inheriting a 2-14 team with the No. 1 draft pick and several key players facing free agency, new Chiefs coach Andy Reid and GM John Dorsey had every right to start from scratch in Kansas City.
Instead, Friday night’s reported signing of cornerback Dunta Robinson is just the latest indication that Reid and Dorsey believe this team is ripe for a quick fix.
The addition of the 30-year-old Robinson comes on the heels of Kansas City re-signing wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, using the franchise tag on left tackle Branden Albert and laying the groundwork for a trade that will bring Alex Smith to town once the new league year begins on March 12. The only move that really went against the grain was Kansas City’s release of right tackle Eric Winston — and even that may have been done with a nod toward the draft, with Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher are fighting for top-pick consideration.
Robinson, after nine NFL seasons, is headed toward the trail end of his career. He’s also far from the impact defensive back he was in, say, his rookie season, when he recorded career highs in interceptions (six) and sacks (3.0). Still, he’s an experienced defender with knowledge of the league’s offenses.
Better yet, he’ll provide some versatility in the secondary — Robinson could jump in as a slot corner, alongside Brandon Flowers and Javier Arenas, or he could see time at safety.
Regardless of where he ends up, Robinson would not have been handed a contract by the Chiefs if they did not think he could help in 2013. And Robinson, after three years of playoff disappointment, likely would not have agreed to said contract if he thought he was entering a miserable situation.
The Chiefs were a chic pick to challenge for the AFC West title last season, despite Peyton Manning’s arrival in Denver. They finished 2011 by winning three of their last five, including two of three under interim head coach Romeo Crennel. After Crennel was handed the full-time job, the Chiefs finally appeared to have some stability following Todd Haley’s tumultuous tenure.
Unfortunately for them, everything spiraled the wrong direction. The Chiefs finished 2-14 last season, enduring a heartbreaking nadir when linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend and then took his own life.
If ever there was a franchise set up for a wipe of the slate, this was it.
But, on the contrary, aside from sending Winston packing and apparently deeming QB Matt Cassel unnecessary, Reid and Dorsey have dug in.
To some extent, that approach speaks to the talent on this roster — which is why the Chiefs had such high hopes heading into 2012 in the first place. Smith, obviously, will play a key role, but Reid has the advantage of players like Bowe, Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and others. On paper, this was not a 2-14 club.
The main exception was at quarterback, where Cassel and Brady Quinn each posted 1-7 records as the team’s starter. Smith, for all the criticism he takes, is 19-5-1 over the past two seasons. He should stand as an upgrade at the game’s most important position.
The Chiefs clearly are banking on that being the case. Usually when a new regime inherits a floundering roster, there are massive changes forthcoming.
That’s not been the case, to this point, with Reid and Dorsey at the helm. The new Chiefs brass seems to feel this team can be a force again, starting in 2013. Robinson’s addition is just another sign of that belief.