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

Lardarius WebbJul 29 10:45a

Baltimore Ravens CB Lardarius Webb (back) missed his third straight day of practice Monday, July 28, and will undergo further testing to determine the extent of the injury, according [ More ]

Jairus ByrdJul 29 10:43a

New Orleans Saints FS Jairus Byrd (back) was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Alfonso SmithJul 29 10:43a

The San Francisco 49ers signed free-agent RB Alfonso Smith (Cardinals) to an undisclosed deal and waived/injured OT Fou Fonoti (undisclosed).

Eric WinstonJul 29 10:43a

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent OT Eric Winston (Cardinals) to a one-year deal.

Kelvin BenjaminJul 29 10:40a

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee) doesn't have a timetable for his return after bruising his left knee, but he is expected to be back in days, not weeks. [ More ]

Josh ThomasJul 29 10:03a

Carolina Panthers CB Josh Thomas (undisclosed) was activated from the Non-Football Injury list and is practicing Tuesday, July 29.

Chris IvoryJul 29 09:53a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is likely to be the team's goal line back, according to running backs coach Anthony Lynn.

D'Aundre ReedJul 29 08:53a

The Miami Dolphins signed free-agent TE Brett Brackett (Cardinals), undrafted free-agent QB Seth Lobato (Northern Colorado) and DE D'Aundre Reed. QB Brock Jensen was waived and OG Davonte Wallace (undisclosed) was waived/injured.

Ricky SappJul 29 08:43a

The Houston Texans signed free-agent RB Tim Cornett (Cardinals) and OT Mike Farrell (Broncos) to undisclosed deals. LB Ricky Sapp was waived.

Alan BonnerJul 29 02:23a

Houston Texans WR Alan Bonner (foot) was placed on the Texans' Reserve/Injured list after clearing waivers Monday, July 28.

Brandon JenkinsJul 29 02:13a

OG James Dunbar (Bears), OT Anthony Dima (Texans), OT Jack Breckner (Colts) and LB Brandon Jenkins (Redskins) all cleared waivers Monday, July 28, and are free to sign with any team.

Menelik WatsonJul 29 01:43a

Oakland Raiders OT Menelik Watson is slated to start at right tackle. The coaching staff has confidence in his ability after what was largely viewed as a disappointing 2013 [ More ]

Jimmy ClausenJul 29 12:22a

Chicago Bears QB Jimmy Clausen was accurate with his throws during practice Monday, July 28, and he led a touchdown drive during a two-minute drill. Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com [ More ]

Jordan ZumwaltJul 28 11:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers LB Jordan Zumwalt (groin) left practice early Monday, July 28, and WR C.J. Goodwin (shoulder) was held out of drills during practice.

Rod StreaterJul 28 11:33p

Oakland Raiders WR Rod Streater (concussion) is dealing with a concussion, head coach Dennis Allen confirmed Monday, July 28.

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 28 11:33p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) is expected to be sidelined at least another week due to his hamstring injury. Beckham was originally [ More ]

Marcus LattimoreJul 28 11:33p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) has not been cleared to practice yet due to lingering concerns about his surgically repaired right knee. However, he appears close to joining his teammates.

Chris CantyJul 28 11:33p

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty (family issue) missed practice Monday, July 28. OG Will Rackley (head) and OT Parker Graham (groin) also missed practice.

Alfonso SmithJul 28 11:33p

The San Francisco 49ers are expected to announce the signing of free-agent RB Alfonso Smith (Cardinals) Tuesday, July 29. The team needs healthy reinforcements with RBs Kendall Hunter (knee) [ More ]

Juron CrinerJul 28 11:33p

Oakland Raiders WR Juron Criner (hamstring) has been sidelined from practice due to a hamstring injury, head coach Dennis Allen confirmed Monday, July 28.

Gavin EscobarJul 28 11:23p

Dallas Cowboys TE Gavin Escobar has often lined up out wide during training camp, and offensive play-caller Scott Linehan is experimenting with different ways to get him involved in the offense.

Roy MillerJul 28 10:52p

Jacksonville Jaguars DT Roy Miller (shoulder) returned to practice Monday, July 28, after being given the day off Sunday, July 27, to rest his shoulder that he had surgery on in the offseason.

Cyrus KouandjioJul 28 10:43p

Buffalo Bills OT Cyrus Kouandjio has struggled in training camp, and Joe Buscaglia of 550 Sports Radio believes that OT Erik Pears is now the frontrunner for the starting RT job.

Mario ManninghamJul 28 10:42p

New York Giants WR Mario Manningham (knee) said he is still not 100 percent confident in his surgically repaired knee. 'I'm working on it,' he said of overcoming that [ More ]

John AbrahamJul 28 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals DE John Abraham was detained, questioned and later charged with multiple counts, including DUI, on Sunday, June 29, according to arrest reports in DeKalb County. Abraham missed [ More ]

Anthony DixonJul 28 10:12p

Buffalo Bills RB Anthony Dixon was listed as the No. 3 back on the team's first official depth chart with RB Bryce Brown listed as the No. 4 back.

Scott ChandlerJul 28 10:12p

Buffalo Bills FS Kenny Ladler (hamstring), TE Scott Chandler (groin), TE Tony Moeaki (hamstring) and TE Chris Gragg (cramps) were held out of practice Monday, July 28.

Joe HawleyJul 28 10:02p

Atlanta Falcons C Joe Hawley and C Peter Konz have both been taking reps with the first-team this offseason.

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 28 09:53p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) had tests on his injured hamstring Monday, July 28, and the results were negative, according to two sources briefed on the injury.

Danny AmendolaJul 28 09:43p

New England Patriots WR Danny Amendola has spent the offseason working with trainer Alex Guerrero. Guerrero is also QB Tom Brady's trainer, and he helped WR Julian Edelman prior to last season.

Marlon MooreJul 28 08:42p

The Cleveland Browns signed WR Marlon Moore (Dolphins) Monday, July 28.

Clay HarborJul 28 08:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Clay Harbor (calf) will miss some time with a strained calf, according to John Oehser of Jaguars.com.

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