KANSAS CITY — At least one man engaged in a lively competition at middle linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs is not happy about it.
Monty Beisel went to training camp in July as a former defensive end who had been asked to take off weight and retrain himself as a backup outside linebacker.
When middle linebacker Kawika Mitchell sprained his ankle in the preseason, though, Beisel was moved to that unfamiliar spot and asked to start Sunday night against Denver.
He did reasonably well considering the drastic change in reads and responsibilities, and he will probably start again this week in the home opener against Carolina.
When Mitchell returned to practice, though, Wednesday, coach Dick Vermeil made it clear the job is still anyone’s to win.
“We’ll find out who plays the best,” Vermeil said.
Beisel agrees that competition makes for better players. Still, it would be nice to get a position and stick to it.
“Yeah, I don’t know,” he said. “I think I’ve kind of been on that chopping block all year. They never know what they’re going to do with me. They tell me I’m going to do one thing, then the next day I’m doing the next.”
He had an interception in the 34-24 loss to the Broncos but Denver had 16 plays of 10 yards or more and the overall defensive effort did not get a good grade.
“I think it went OK,” Beisel said. “Being out there for the first time, I think I was a little tentative for that first series. After I got the cobwebs off, I loosened up and started to play a little bit and hopefully as the weeks go on, I’ll keep loosening up and playing a little better.”
Vermeil said Mitchell would probably play against Carolina. Originally, Mitchell was supposed to be the backup. Returning starter Mike Maslowski’s knee problems have put him out for the year.
Mitchell gives his competitor high marks for his first start.
“I think he did a great job, made some big plays,” he said. “Assignment-wise, he did a good job. He was where he was supposed to be. He did what he needed to do.”
Mitchell has an edge in experience at the position. It’s similar to what he has played since high school.
“I think competition can only benefit both of us,” he said.
Dante Hall, in the meantime, was getting a good laugh about the $7,500 Denver’s John Lynch was fined Monday for a hard hit on Hall.
Lynch drew a penalty for the play, which did not cause Hall to leave the game.
“I think it ought to be $25,000,” Hall said. “For my pain and suffering.”