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Chiefs’ Questions at Kicker Remain as Bucs Game Looms

Coming off a dreadful special teams performance, KC still has questions to answer at kicker.

The Kansas City Chiefs had their worst special teams outing in quite some time last Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, and the club is hard at work to ensure that a similar performance doesn't happen again. To start things off, the team released kicker Matt Ammendola on Tuesday before also releasing linebacker Elijah Lee from the 53-man roster and placing defensive tackle Cortez Broughton on the practice squad (presumably taking Ammendola's place).

On Tuesday morning, before any roster moves were made, I wrote about what the Chiefs' options at kicker could be without a potential replacement being present. Of those options, two of them (Justin Reid being called upon and Harrison Butker being healthy) were on the extreme opposite ends of the spectrum. The most realistic one was revisiting the "kicker derby" market from when Kansas City hosted multiple players for a competition a while back: 

This may be Plan B to the Plan A of Butker being healthy. When it was reported that the Chiefs would be signing Ammendola to their practice squad on Sept. 12, it was the result of a six-man kicker derby that the team hosted to determine who would be filling in for Butker. Ammendola won the derby by a pretty significant margin, prompting him to be the man for the job. While that option didn't end up working out, could Kansas City simply go back to the list of players who participated in the derby and sign one of them for a week or two?

Multiple derby members are still on the open market, including Cameron Dicker and Cody Parkey. Elliott Fry, who played for the Chiefs in a pinch last season and has some familiarity with how Toub runs things in Kansas City, is the third name of that group to be available. Many speculated when Butker initially got hurt that Fry could perhaps be the club's player of choice — could that come to fruition now? The logic is certainly there for one of them, or even someone else. 

Since then, shortly after the Chiefs made their moves with Lee and Broughton, former Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Matthew Wright was signed to the practice squad per Field Yates of ESPN. As Yates noted, Wright serves as a potential insurance policy in the mold of Ammendola should Butker not be able to play in Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With a career 89.3% field goal conversion rate — including a long of 56 — the hope for the Chiefs is that Wright would have better luck than Ammendola if called upon. 

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If Butker can play, which is still a massive question mark, then the Wright signing will have been simply a proactive move by a team still trying to sort some things out. If he can't go on Sunday, Kansas City will once again be in the same boat of playing a formidable opponent and leaning on a replacement player to help see them through to victory. The acquisition of the latter doesn't rule the former out in regards to being able to play, but it does keep the suspense surrounding Butker's health very much alive. 

The Chiefs will get a clearer picture of their situation at kicker on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before making their final call on Butker later in the week. Nothing is set in stone at this point, and the fact that Butker hasn't been practicing over the past couple of weeks doesn't bode well for his future prospects. With that said, a new week presents new opportunities for both him and the Chiefs as they work to stay afloat and keep their special teams efforts rolling. Against the Buccaneers, they'll need all the help they can get.  

Conner Christopherson of Arrowhead Report joined me on Wednesday's Roughing the Kicker podcast to answer mailbag questions from Twitter surrounding the Chiefs' offensive struggles, special teams mishaps and more. For all of our analysis and commentary, you can listen to the full episode below.

For more Kansas City Chiefs coverage and analysis, be sure to subscribe to the 'Roughing the Kicker' podcast. RTK is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever else you listen to your favorite programs.