2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Chiefs line holding its own during miserable year

    2012-11-29 03:53

(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.)
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Here's a situation that would send shudders through any head coach: Starting a rookie left tackle next to a rookie guard next to a center playing out of position, all against the NFL's best pass rush.

That's exactly what the Chiefs did last Sunday against Denver.

With left tackle Branden Albert out with an injury, and veteran guard Ryan Lilja now at center because of another injury, Kansas City's reshuffled line looked nothing like coach Romeo Crennel expected when he broke training camp a few months ago.

But lo and behold, with rookies Donald Stephenson and Jeff Allen starting alongside Lilja, the patchwork offensive line played well in a 17-9 loss to the Broncos, providing the shakiest of silver linings to the eighth straight loss in a season of misery.

``If they play with that kind of attitude and energy, like I tell them - that kind of energy and effort, that makes everything better for everybody,'' Crennel said.

The offensive line is rarely a sexy topic. Even more rarely is it the one thing that coaches, players and fans can feel good about.

Usually, those anonymous big guys up front are only singled out when they give up a sack, or get called for a penalty. When a running back breaks a long run, he's the one in the spotlight, not the guys prying open holes along the defensive line.

Or when a quarterback stands stoically in the pocket, surveying the field, and then delivers a perfect pass down the seam, the pass-catch combo gets all the love - certainly not the five guys up front who were sacrificing their bodies to give them enough time to make a play.

``Most of us are used to each other,'' right guard Jon Asamoah said. ``I'm used to Lilja and he's used to me. We're on the same tempo. I don't know. We spend so much time together, we've developed that through games and practice, things most people don't see.''

There are plenty of reasons why they're 1-10 and barreling toward one of the worst seasons in franchise history, and the offensive line has been part of the problem.

They've given up plenty of sacks, allowed pressure to force several fumbles in the pocket, and rarely created much running room for Jamaal Charles and Co.

It hasn't been entirely their fault, though.

Second-year center Rodney Hudson was poised to take over the position from veteran Casey Wiegmann, but he broke his leg in late September and landed on injured reserve. That forced Lilja, a career guard, to slide over to center.

Allen, the Chiefs' second-round pick out of Illinois, moved into the void that created at left guard. He got off to a rough start in the NFL, routinely blown back by bigger, quicker defensive tackles, but has started to hold his own over the past few weeks.

Stephenson, the franchise's third-round pick out of Oklahoma, got his when Albert hurt his back a couple of weeks ago. It was trial-by-fire against Cincinnati, but he performed well last week against Denver, holding its fearsome pass rush at bay most of the game.

The Broncos came into the game with a league-leading 35 sacks, but the only ones allowed by the Chiefs were to Von Miller and Wesley Woodyard, and only Woodyard's was for a significant loss.

``Yeah, Cincinnati, I was trying to feel it out,'' Stephenson said. ``This game, I knew that if I tried to go out there and try to feel it out and figure out how the game was going to go, I'd probably get my butt kicked, so I came out aggressive and knew I had to play hard.''

Stephenson said it helped to be able to practice with the first team all week, just as he's been doing this week with Albert still questionable for Sunday's game against Carolina.

``The more you prepare yourself through the week and how hard you practice, it kind of gives you more confidence,'' said Stephenson, who grew up in the Kansas City area.

``If you don't prepare right and you don't practice right, you have a right to go in there a little bit nervous, because you don't have confidence in what you did all week.''

NOTES: The Chiefs have several injury concerns this week. Lilja (knee) and Albert (back) did not practice Wednesday, along with Pro Bowl linebacker Tamba Hali (knee), wide receiver Dexter McCluster (head/neck) and safety Kendrick Lewis (shoulder). ... The Chiefs released linebacker Bryan Kehl. Crennel said he expects to fill the roster spot later this week.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Mike CampanaroAug 28 09:13a

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro remains in the mix for a spot on the 53-man roster. If the team elects to keep just five receivers, he would be competing [ More ]

D. Heyward-BeyAug 28 09:10a

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Darrius Heyward-Bey appears to be in good shape for a roster spot, as the team will likely keep six receivers on the 53-man roster. WRs Antonio [ More ]

Cam NewtonAug 28 12:53a

Updating a previous report, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ribs) said Wednesday, Aug. 27, that he will be ready for the regular season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers [ More ]

Frankie HammondAug 27 10:42p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Frankie Hammond Jr. is likely to start in place of suspended WR Dwayne Bowe in Week 1.

Derek CarrAug 27 10:40p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr appears firmly entrenched as the primary backup quarterback behind starter QB Matt Schaub (elbow), even though QB Matt McGloin has posted the best numbers of the preseason.

Wes WelkerAug 27 10:31p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) made another positive step Tuesday, Aug. 26, in his recovery from another concussion, according to head coach John Fox. Welker has still not [ More ]

Matt SchaubAug 27 10:23p

Oakland Raiders QB Matt Schaub (elbow) will be the team's starting quarterback in Week 1 against the New York Jets assuming his elbow is better and he can get [ More ]

Timothy WrightAug 27 10:23p

The New England Patriots really like TE Timothy Wright, acquired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for OL Logan Mankins. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport even considers him as the team's 'new' [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIAug 27 09:43p

Washington Redskins QBs Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins aren't involved in any kind of quarterback controversy, according to head coach Jay Gruden. The first-team offense has yet to [ More ]

Nate FreeseAug 27 09:27p

Detroit Lions PK Nate Freese has won the kicker job, because the team has released PK Giorgio Tavecchio.

Kory SheetsAug 27 06:53p

Oakland Raiders FS Larry Asante (undisclosed), WR Greg Jenkins (undisclosed) and RB Kory Sheets (undisclosed) all were placed on the team's Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Aug. 27.

John PotterAug 27 06:43p

The Miami Dolphins placed PK John Potter (hip) on the Reserved/Injured list Thursday, Aug. 27.

Matt JohnsonAug 27 06:33p

The Dallas Cowboys placed TE Jordan Najvar (undisclosed), S Matt Johnson (hamstring), CB Justin Green (undisclosed), LB DeVonte Holloman (neck) and CB Johnny X. Thomas (undisclosed) were all placed [ More ]

L. WestbrooksAug 27 06:23p

The Cincinnati Bengals placed LB J.K. Schaffer (concussion) and CB Lavelle Westbrooks (thumb) on the Reserve/Injured list.

D.C. JeffersonAug 27 06:23p

Carolina Panthers TE D.C. Jefferson (undisclosed) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Wes WelkerAug 27 06:03p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) has been ruled out of the team's final preseason game Thursday, Aug. 27, but has been exercising and will travel with the team.

Tim BenfordAug 27 05:23p

Dallas Cowboys waived WR Tim Benford Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Wes WelkerAug 27 05:13p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) has not been cleared to practice at this point but is making good progress.

Jemea ThomasAug 27 05:03p

The Dallas Cowboys claimed S Jemea Thomas (Patriots) off waivers Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Tandon DossAug 27 05:03p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Ace Sanders (personal) and WR Tandon Doss (ankle) may be able to play in the final preseason game after missing the first three preseason games. Head [ More ]

Josh ScobeeAug 27 04:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars PK Josh Scobee (quadriceps) said he is not sure if will be able to play Week 1 because of his quadriceps injury. PK Kasey Redfern may make [ More ]

D.J. HaydenAug 27 04:33p

Oakland Raiders CB D.J. Hayden (foot) is considered a few weeks away from returning to practice, according to head coach Dennis Allen. Allen said he expects Hayden will be [ More ]

Richard MarshallAug 27 04:23p

San Diego Chargers CB Richard Marshall has been working at safety because of the injury to SS Jahleel Addae (hamstring). Marshall's versatility could help him make the final roster.

Ryan McBeanAug 27 03:53p

The Arizona Cardinals cut DE Ryan McBean Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Tommy KellyAug 27 03:43p

Arizona Cardinals DT Tommy Kelly agreed to terms on a one-year contract Wednesday, Aug. 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Josh GordonAug 27 03:03p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon's representatives are considering a lawsuit against the NFL which could seek an injunction to put the suspension on hold until the legal process takes [ More ]

Pierre DesirAug 27 02:43p

The Cleveland Browns may consider placing CB Pierre Desir (knee) on the Active/Reserve/Injured list, which would keep him out for at least eight weeks of the season.

Phillip TannerAug 27 01:53p

The Dallas Cowboys will sign free-agent RB Phillip Tanner (Colts), according to sources.

Josh GordonAug 27 01:43p

Updating previous reports, Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will be allowed to apply for reinstatement after the 2014 season and not after a full calendar year.

Josh GordonAug 27 01:23p

Updating previous reports, Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will not be allowed at the team's facility during his one-year suspension. The team hoped they would be able to work with him during the suspension.

Zach ErtzAug 27 01:13p

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz is expected to be more involved in the passing game this season and has shown the confidence to be a solid pass catcher, according [ More ]

Josh GordonAug 27 01:03p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will not be allowed to file for reinstatement during his one-year suspension, according to a source. His representatives will look [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group