The Chiefs cut C.J. Spiller as they trimmed the roster down to 53 players on September 2, and the move surprised a lot of people. It was even more surprising when Kansas City re-signed Spiller to the active roster the following day.
But the Chiefs weren’t done. They would go back and forth between signing and cutting Spiller in one of the more interesting storylines from the NFL season you may not have heard of.
Keeping Spiller around seemed to make sense at the time, especially since Ware is likely to miss the entire season. But, no:
“When you have co-team-builders, it’s vital that you communicate well on how you’re building the roster.”
That was the first piece and, in many ways, it really came to life a year after the Dimitroff/Quinn pairing was consummated with the draft that brought a Kam Chancellor-type strong safety (Keanu Neal), a undersized heat-seeking middle linebacker (Deion Jones), and a KJ Wright clone (De’Vondre Campbell) in the first four rounds.
The second piece is actually developing the talent that arrives. For some guys, as both Dimitroff and Quinn wanted, it meant playing right away. That’s how it was for those three aforementioned rising stars. For others, like Schweitzer, it was a result of Quinn and his staff allotting time. “We put so much time in,” Dimitroff said. “Practice time, and outside work or off-practice work, we felt like he was being developed as well as he could without being a starter.”
While he may not be able to return to those heights, he’s been a perfectly serviceable passer in the interim. A solid defense and cache of offense weapons helped him post a 5-1 record in games where he threw at least 10 passes over the past two seasons. His last playoff performance was a modest 195-yard, two-touchdown showing back in ‘13. If he can just be similarly successful on Saturday, he’ll have a shot to push the Eagles to the NFC title game.
You probably won’t be paying much attention to Wes Schweitzer late on Saturday afternoon. He is, after all, a right guard, and right guards don’t flash much on TV unless they’re doing something really, really wrong. So to you, he’ll probably just kind of be there among the Falcons offensive linemen.
But to the guys running the show in Atlanta, he embodies where the team is.
The Falcons spent the 195th pick in the 2016 draft on Schweitzer, and promptly shelved him. He made the team. He didn’t get so much as to wear a game jersey all year. And he developed through the team’s Plan D program. That meant working with backup guard Ben Garland after practice. It meant extra classroom work. It meant time with the player engagement and athletic performance staffs.