Line spurred offensive growth

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Chiefs' first play from scrimmage in last Sunday's win over the Washington Redskins looked just like their coaches drew it up. Right tackle Eric Fisher and guards Geoff Schwartz and Jeff Allen cleared out Washington's defensive linemen. Left tackle Donald Stephenson and center Rodney Hudson did the same with a pair of Redskins linebackers and Jamaal Charles had little resistance on his way to an eight-yard rushing gain.

Plays like that from the Chiefs' offensive line have been frequent in recent weeks. Sacks of quarterback Alex Smith are down. Yards per carry from Charles are up, and so are points from Kansas City's offense.

Fisher is beginning to play like the first pick in the draft, as he was this year. Schwartz has played well since taking over as the starting right guard. Hudson is having a nice season and, as a whole, the line has started to become as productive as the Chiefs imagined it might when the season started.

"It just takes time," Schwartz said. "We're fortunate that now it's starting to click, just at the time we need it to. We've done a better job up front with the little details, with us working with the back, knowing what the back is going to do."

The Chiefs have plenty invested in their offensive line. The Chiefs had the first overall pick in the draft this year for the first time since the joined the NFL and used it on a lineman, Fisher. Injured left tackle Branden Albert is a former first-round draft pick making almost $10 million this season as Kansas City's franchise player.

The Chiefs also drafted Hudson, Stephenson, Allen and Jon Asamoah in the first three rounds of the last four drafts. Schwartz was signed this year as a free agent.

So their line has been an area of huge expectations for the Chiefs and it's growing, as Schwartz said, not a minute too soon.