Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Chiefs will need their OL depth
By Adam Teicher
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- One of the underrated reasons for the Kansas City Chiefs’ success this season is their ability to build high-quality depth on their offensive line. Tackle Donald Stephenson had to start seven games, three on the right side and four on the left, and guard Geoff Schwartz came off the bench in the middle of the season and played so well the Chiefs left him in the starting lineup.
That depth may be put to use in Saturday’s wild-card round playoff game against the Colts in Indianapolis. Right tackle Eric Fisher injured his groin, did not practice Wednesday and his availability for the game is in question.
Stephenson, who started the last four games at left tackle for the injured Branden Albert, would start in Fisher’s place. Albert will start for the first time since hyperextending his knee in a Dec. 1 game against the Denver Broncos.
“It’s very hard to do,’’ Albert said of Stephenson bouncing from side to side. “You’ve got to be a special person to do it. There’s different mechanics on different sides.’’
But the Chiefs began making preparations for this eventuality long ago when offseason practice started in May.
“You start targeting certain guys,’’ offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said. “You begin to work those techniques and fundamentals and so, in their minds, they now know they have an opportunity to play either side of the ball.
“You have to have those guys. You have to have those swing tackles and swing guards and guards that can play center. This time of year, you go with it and everybody’s ready to go.’’