2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Chiefs' suspect offensive line also banged up

    2013-11-21 20:37

(Eds: Should stand.)
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Donald Stephenson and Geoff Schwartz might as well consider themselves starters the way the two Chiefs offensive linemen have been pressed into service this season.

In an ideal world, Stephenson is supposed to be the backup offensive tackle, Schwartz the reserve offensive guard. But a series of injuries to just about everybody on the Chiefs' already suspect line has resulted in each of them playing in every game this season.

Not just on special teams, either.

In fact, Stephenson had to make a spot start at right tackle when No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher was dealing with the after-effects of a concussion. Schwartz did the same at right guard in the opener when Jeff Allen was ailing and at left guard when Jon Asamoah was out.

Stephenson has played in seven games on offense, Schwartz in five of them.

Now, with Fisher again dealing with a shoulder injury and Asamoah hobbled by calf spasms and a shoulder injury, Stephenson and Schwartz might just make up a retooled right side of the Kansas City offensive line when the San Diego Chargers pay a visit on Sunday.

''Luckily those guys have gotten a lot of reps this year,'' Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said. ''They've both played, and when they've come in, they've played well. I think everyone is expecting for them to come in and we won't skip a beat.''

It's not as if the offensive line has been the strength of the Chiefs. They've given up 29 sacks this season, putting them in the bottom third of the NFL, and have been a big reason why Kansas City has struggled to score touchdowns rather than field goals in the red zone.

Last Sunday at Denver, the Chiefs had first-and-goal at the 2-yard line. Jamaal Charles was stuffed, fullback Anthony Sherman managed a yard, and Charles was stuffed again, forcing Kansas City to kick a field goal that closed the gap to 17-10 at halftime. The Broncos went on to win 27-17 and take control of the AFC West.

''I mean, you know what? I think the next guys have to step up,'' Smith said, ''and we have great depth up front. We have some guys ready to go, and that's the way it should be. We hope to get those guys back that were banged up, but that's the nature of football. You have to be able to battle through injuries, and you have to be able to step up and fill the void.''

Still, the offensive line is perhaps the position group where continuity is most vital. The five players have to be in synch so that they're able to pick up blitzes, handle the myriad of twists and stunts, and change protections as the defense changes its packages.

That's why the best offensive lines are often the ones that are simply the healthiest. They have had an entire offseason and training camp to grow accustomed to playing with each other.

Of course, rarely is that the case by Week 11 of an NFL season.

''Everybody is a professional and doing their job, and they have to step up,'' said left tackle Branden Albert, who's also been banged up. ''Each game is important. We all know what the situation is, late in the season, November and December. And we have to show up and play.''

Offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said Thursday that Fisher and Asamoah would likely be a game-time decision Sunday, though it appears that Asamoah is likely to play. He's at least been a limited participant in practice, while Fisher has been held out of afternoon workouts.

Even if neither of them can go, Pederson feels good about the depth behind them.

''As you look at the fourth quarter of the game the other night, Donald Stephenson goes in and we don't really lose a beat there,'' Pederson said. ''We can move some guys around. Geoff Schwartz is there. We have some veteran guys who we feel very comfortable in what they can do.''

Stephenson and Schwartz both said that they're ready to play against the Chargers, just as they've been ready to step in all season. After all, it's the reason they were brought in.

''You know, it's one of those things, me and Geoff prepare like we're starters, so when we go in, there's no surprise about what we need to do or how we communicate,'' Stephenson said. ''So on Sundays when you need to be thrown out there, it pays off.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

T Y HiltonDec 19 11:52a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is not participating in the portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

Julio JonesDec 19 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

DeMarco MurrayDec 19 10:52a

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) is likely to play in Week 16, according to a source. Murray has a high threshold for pain, and according to the source, [ More ]

Eddie LacyDec 19 10:12a

Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy (eye) said he wasn't able to read a teammate's nameplate a few feet away in the locker room Thursday, Dec. 18. Lacy said [ More ]

Leon WashingtonDec 18 11:32p

Tennessee Titans RB Leon Washington caught a team-high seven passes for 62 yards and a touchdown in the team's 21-13 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday, Dec. 18. He [ More ]

Philip RiversDec 18 11:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) looked good throwing the ball in the practice Thursday, Dec. 18, according to head coach Mike McCoy. 'Philip had an outstanding day,' [ More ]

Peyton ManningDec 18 07:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh, illness) said his illness is behind him, and he was receiving treatment for his thigh Thursday, Dec. 18. Head coach John Fox called Manning day-to-day.

Roy MillerDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Tommy StreeterDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Kendall WrightDec 18 07:12p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (hand) is active for Week 16 after being limited in practice all week.

Frank GoreDec 18 07:02p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) continues through the concussion protocol this week, but head coach Jim Harbaugh anticipates Gore suiting up in Week 16 against the San [ More ]

Julius ThomasDec 18 06:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) played just 29 snaps in Week 15; only ten of them were pass routes, according to Pro Football Focus.

Rashad JenningsDec 18 06:12p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Carlos HydeDec 18 05:52p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

DeAndre HopkinsDec 18 05:42p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, Dec. 18.

Blake BortlesDec 18 04:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles has earned positive reviews from the team in his rookie season after being thrust into the spotlight early this year. 'That is not the [ More ]

Jay CutlerDec 18 04:12p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler was benched just for this week against the Detroit Lions, according to head coach Marc Trestman. Cutler will be active and serve as the [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsDec 18 04:02p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (hand) will be fitted cast that he can play with on his injured hand. Williams still has not caught a pass with the injured [ More ]

Rashad JenningsDec 18 04:02p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) has not been able to do any running this week, according to head coach Tom Coughlin.

Ryan MathewsDec 18 03:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Cam NewtonDec 18 02:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, and appears to be on track to start in Week 16, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

DeMarco MurrayDec 18 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand), who was expected to take some team snaps in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, is in no more risk if he plays in Week [ More ]

Cam NewtonDec 18 02:12p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) said he is not dealing with any pain in his back but is taking things one day at a time. Newton said he [ More ]

Peyton ManningDec 18 02:02p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) left practice early Thursday, Dec. 18, because he is receiving a scheduled day of rest. Manning was not limping when he was walking to the locker room.

LeSean McCoyDec 18 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Chris Polk appears to have become the team's goal-line back of late, and two of the three snaps he played in Week 15 led to short [ More ]

Chris PolkDec 18 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Chris Polk appears to have become the team's goal-line back of late, and two of the three snaps he played in Week 15 led to short [ More ]

Cam NewtonDec 18 01:22p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) had an increased set of repetitions in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, and it looks like he's on track to play in Week 16 [ More ]

Rashad JenningsDec 18 12:52p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Andre JohnsonDec 18 12:52p

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson (concussion) has cleared the leagues concussion protocol and will play in the team's Week 16 game.

Julio JonesDec 18 12:12p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Case KeenumDec 18 10:03a

Houston Texans QB Case Keenum is expected to start in Week 16.

Philip RiversDec 18 09:22a

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is battling a back injury that is more severe than the team has acknowledged, according to a league source. Rivers' back injury [ 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