2015 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

Stephen HillAug 2 08:02p

The Carolina Panthers waived WR Stephen Hill (knee) after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament Sunday, Aug. 2.

Terrelle PryorAug 2 07:52p

Cleveland Browns WR Terrelle Pryor took reps with the first-team offense during training camp Sunday, Aug. 2.

Martavis BryantAug 2 04:22p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant (elbow) will undergo a procedure for an elbow infection that will cause him to miss the Hall of Fame Game Sunday, Aug. 9, against [ More ]

Michael EgnewAug 2 03:02p

The Pittsburgh Steelers have released TE Michael Egnew.

Tony McDanielAug 2 12:12p

The Seattle Seahawks released DT Tony McDaniel Sunday, Aug. 2. McDaniel should quickly find a new home.

Stephen HillAug 2 12:02p

Carolina Panthers WR Stephen Hill (knee) has an ACL injury, according to assistant head coach Steve Wilks Sunday, Aug. 2.

Sam BradfordAug 2 11:52a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) has been cleared for 11-on-11 drills Sunday, Aug. 2, and head coach Chip Kelly told reporters the quarterback doesn't have any restrictions.

Stephen HillAug 2 10:12a

The Carolina Panthers signed free-agent WR Paul Browning Sunday, Aug. 2. Browning is expected to take WR Stephen Hill's roster spot.

Brandon BoykinAug 1 08:12p

The Pittsburgh Steelers acquired CB Brandon Boykin from the Philadelphia Eagles Saturday, Aug. 1, in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. The Eagles could [ More ]

Kyle WilliamsAug 1 02:22p

Denver Broncos WR Kyle Williams (Achilles') suffered at least a partially torn Achilles' tendon in practice Saturday, Aug. 1, according to a source. He may be out for the season.

Melvin GordonAug 1 02:12p

San Diego Chargers RB Melvin Gordon has struggled with pass protection through the first three days of training camp.

Devin SmithJul 31 09:32p

New York Jets WR Devin Smith (ribs) will miss a majority of training camp after suffering broken ribs Friday, July 31, according to the team. He will be held [ More ]

Bashaud BreelandJul 31 07:42p

Washington Redskins CB Bashaud Breeland (knee) is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks because of a knee injury he suffered during practice Friday, July 31.

Bashaud BreelandJul 31 07:22p

Washington Redskins CB Bashaud Breeland has been suspended one game by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Breeland received a citation for marijuana possession last year.

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 31 06:22p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand) is not allowed to use his injured hand while it is healing from the fireworks accident he had earlier this month. Pierre-Paul [ More ]

Orson CharlesJul 31 06:02p

New Orleans Saints TE Orson Charles has been suspended one game by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

Marcus MariotaJul 31 03:52p

Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota went 13-for-18 with zero interceptions during team drills at practice Friday, July 31. He was able to use a hard count to make the [ More ]

Jameis WinstonJul 31 12:52p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston was officially named the starting quarterback Friday, July 31, by Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith.

Junior GaletteJul 31 12:12p

Free-agent LB Junior Galette (Saints) will sign a one-year contract with the Washington Redskins, according to a source.

James JonesJul 30 06:52p

Free-agent WR James Jones (Raiders) is signing a one-year deal with the New York Giants. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Cobi HamiltonJul 30 06:42p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Cobi Hamilton was waived Thursday, July 30.

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 30 06:42p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger) has not reported to training camp as he continues to rehabilitate from a finger injury, much to the dismay of owner John [ More ]

David FluellenJul 30 06:12p

Free-agent RB David Fluellen (Colts) signed with the Tennessee Titans Thursday, July 30.

Tyler EifertJul 30 03:23p

Cincinnati Bengals TE Tyler Eifert said he is 100% healthy for the first time since the beginning of last offseason.

LeGarrette BlountJul 30 01:22p

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount was placed on the Non-Football Injury list because he was not able to complete the conditioning test at the start of training camp. [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJul 30 01:02p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (hamstring) said his hamstrings are fine and that he is 100% healthy entering training camp.

Terrance WestJul 30 12:52p

Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West worked with the first-team offense during team drills Thursday, July 30. Head coach Mike Pettine said several running backs will see time with the starters during training camp.

Trent RichardsonJul 30 10:22a

Oakland Raiders RB Trent Richardson is rumored to being unimpressive with his new team.

Tom BradyJul 30 10:12a

Updating an ongoing story, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's lawsuit was transferred to Manhattan, N.Y., by a Minnesota judge Friday, July 30.

Tom BradyJul 30 09:52a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has filed a lawsuit against the NFL asking a Minnesota federal court for penalties against Brady to be vacated. The suit alleges that [ More ]

Jake LongJul 30 09:42a

Free-agent OT Jake Long (Rams) left his visit with the New York Giants Wednesday, July 29, without a deal. It was his second visit with the team without a [ More ]

Joseph RandleJul 29 08:43p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle received strong praise from team owner and general manager Jerry Jones Wednesday July 29. 'We have a player (in Randle) that has the potential [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group