Chiefs protect lone practice squad player for Week 17

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After two consecutive weeks of protecting the full allotment of players, the Kansas City Chiefs have protected just a single player on the practice squad for Week 17 per the NFL’s personnel notice on Tuesday.

It’s not a big surprise that a week after leading the team in tackles (8), the team has decided to protect CB Dicaprio Bootle. It’s the third consecutive week that he’s been protected by Kansas City, and the fifth time they’ve protected the former Nebraska Cornhusker this season.

Bootle has proven to be a solid special teamer, but also a capable nickel corner for the Chiefs. During last week’s blowout, Bootle played 27 snaps on defense mostly at the nickel corner position. With the final playoff push happening and some injuries in the secondary around the league, the team is making sure they hang onto one of their best reserve assets.

This also could signal that they’re intending to elevate Bootle to the 53-man roster again in Week 17. While Tyrann Mathieu quickly dispelled any injury concerns after the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers after the team ruled him questionable to return late in the game with a quad injury. It’s possible that the Chiefs decide to play it cautious here ahead of the playoffs, but it’s also possible this has nothing to do with Mathieu.

With L’Jarius Sneed back in the lineup, they have a clear starter at the nickel position. However, Rashad Fenton is still on the Reserve/COVD-19 list, and it’s possible they head into the practice week shorthanded at this spot. Protecting Bootle is a safe move for the team, but it also shows commitment to a player who has grown over the course of the season.

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