KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry came out of Week 9 without a setback after missing the previous five games with a high ankles sprain.
Berry entered the game as a backup and logged 51 snaps (74 percent) out of the Chiefs’ 69 defensive plays against the New York Jets.
While he’s apparently healthy, the Chiefs aren’t in a rush to thrust Berry in full action as he gets his legs under him.
“The thing about E.B. is he’s just honestly getting back in the swing,” defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said Thursday. “You’ve got to remember he missed a lot of training camp, he’s obviously missed a lot of time here. So no matter who you are, you need to be out there to see the reactions.”
Getting into football shape is the key thing for Berry given the missed time.
Berry hasn’t seen significant starting action since Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans, a game where he logged all 79 defensive snaps.
And Sutton said the coaching staff is keeping a close eye on Berry, who has practiced fully the last two days, with the eventual view for more work.
“Obviously, the thing we don’t want to do is get him back, get him hurt again and sit down again,” Sutton said. “I’m really talking from about being fatigued. That’s kind of what we are doing, we are going to up his pitch count and go from there.”
Berry made an impact even with 51 snaps in Week 9, finishing tied for third in tackles with six (5 solo).
He also made a play on a Jets quarterback Michael Vick, who scrambled out of the pocket only to be stopped short of a first down by Berry.
While the play-making ability is apparently present, the Chiefs hope the Berry will only improve to what he expects of himself as he works his way back to form.
“You may want to go there, but your body isn’t quite yet there,” Sutton said. “The more he plays, just like he did last week, he played a lot of plays for a guy that just walked back in there. I think he’s just going to keep getting better and better and back to where he expects to be. I know he has a high standard for himself.”
The Chiefs rotated kickoff return duties between running backs Knile Davis and De’Anthony Thomas in Week 9, and that will be the norm going forward.
“It’ll be back and forth,” special teams coordinator Dave Toub said Thursday. “We have designed returns for each guy and depending on who we play, it will dictate who we’re going to play and when, at different portions of the game, who we’re going to go with.”
The Chiefs have an explosive duo to work with.
Davis earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week following a 99-yard kickoff return against the St. Louis Rams in Week 8, while Thomas is a threat to go the distance on any given touch.
Davis recorded one return for 27 yards against the Jets, and Thomas had one return for 78 yards.
“We’re fortunate to have two that can break it at any time,” Toub said. “So we’re lucky with that.”