Kansas City Chiefs: Jeff Allen

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The bad injury news continues to pile up for the Kansas City Chiefs. Coach Andy Reid said offensive lineman Jeff Allen would need elbow surgery and is not likely to return this season.

Also, rookie running back De’Anthony Thomas has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Broncos in Denver because of an injured hamstring.

 Allen started at right tackle in the season-opener against Tennessee. He started training camp as the left guard but switched positions when right tackle Donald Stephenson was suspended for the season’s first four games because of a violation of the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Allen’s spot at right tackle on Sunday will be filled by veteran Ryan Harris, who signed with the Chiefs on the eve of training camp. The starter in Allen’s original spot at left guard, Mike McGlynn, joined the Chiefs in late August after being released by Washington.

If Allen misses the remainder of the regular season, he would be the third starter lost for the year from the Tennessee game. Linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive end Mike DeVito each ruptured an Achilles tendon.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Three months after losing three of last season's regular offensive linemen to free agency, the Kansas City Chiefs are still trying to sort through their options to replace them.

Offensive line combinations have often changed day to day and sometimes within practice periods. The Chiefs have worked seven linemen with their starting group at offseason practice, and that's not including starting left tackle Eric Fisher, who hasn't been able to participate in full team drills because of recent shoulder surgery.

"You know you need more than five," said coach Andy Reid. "You need to make sure you've got a good 10 of them ready to go ... and see what you've got there. So we've been challenging them as much as you can challenge them here, which isn't much.

"We've always tried to make sure if somebody goes down we've got that next guy up that can go."

The Chiefs look set at both tackle spots, as well as left guard and center. Fisher will start at left tackle, though it's unlikely he won't participate fully this week as the Chiefs wrap up their offseason work with a three-day minicamp that begins Tuesday. The Chiefs are hopeful he will be cleared for work when training camp begins next month.

Donald Stephenson will start at right tackle, Jeff Allen at left guard and Rodney Hudson at center. Including Fisher, all started at least seven games last season.

The scramble is at right guard, where the Chiefs have looked at various times in the starting lineup at developmental prospect Rishaw Johnson, free-agent addition Jeff Linkenbach and rookie Zach Fulton, a sixth-round draft pick. The Chiefs are also sorting through candidates for the backup positions.

That's difficult to do during offseason practice, when the Chiefs work without pads. But the competition should get interesting beginning next month at training camp.

"That's one group that's improving," Reid said. "We had some guys that were in there and then moved on and the guys have stepped up with the exception of Fisher, who can't do anything. The other guys have grasped it pretty well."
To say the Kansas City Chiefs weren’t concerned when three offensive linemen walked out the door in the moments after the free-agent signing period began wouldn’t be accurate. But they certainly didn’t go into a panic mode. This was part of their plan.

The Chiefs have tried to fortify at the five line positions in recent seasons. They drafted center Rodney Hudson in 2011, guard Jeff Allen and tackle Donald Stephenson the next April and tackle Eric Fisher last year. They also signed a developmental prospect, guard Rishaw Johnson, last year.

Those are the probable starters next season.

"We kept a load of offensive linemen on the roster knowing something like this could happen," coach Andy Reid said. "Some of them are young guys but ... they were able to get some experience and they’ll have an opportunity to compete in there."

Because of their work through the draft and free agency in recent years, the Chiefs are better off with regard to their offensive line than a lot of people believe. That's not to say there aren't concerns.

One is a glaring lack of experience. In terms of age, Jeff Linkenbach and Ricky Henry are at 26 the oldest among their 12 offensive linemen. Linkenbach will at least begin practice as a backup, while Henry will compete for a backup spot.

The five probable starters have a total of 74 career NFL starts, led by Allen with 27.

The offseason surgeries for Fisher, recently installed as the starting left tackle, don't help. The Chiefs aren't concerned that Fisher will miss much if any in terms of practice time for the season, but he needed to get stronger in his upper body during the offseason. So shoulder and sports hernia surgeries have limited him in that effort.

The depth took a big hit by losing three linemen. The only proven backup is Linkenbach, who started 33 games in four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts before joining the Chiefs this year as a free agent. The rest of their linemen are developmental prospects.

But the Chiefs have six draft picks to use this year and, given their strategy of recent years, it makes sense they would bring in at least one more lineman.

As far as the starting right guard spot, the Chiefs seem comfortable with Johnson. The Chiefs got a good look at him as a starter in the final regular-season game last year in San Diego. The Chiefs rested many of their starters that day against the Chargers, who needed to win to get into the playoffs.

"We'll open it up and let them go," Reid said. "We signed a kid (Jeff Linkenbach) and he’ll get in the mix and compete there."
Let's take a closer look at the salary-cap situation for the Kansas City Chiefs. As of last week, and this information should still be up to date, the Chiefs had $4,379,280 of remaining salary-cap space. That ranked 25th among the NFL's 32 teams.

Here, we'll look at how the Chiefs' cap situation breaks down with regard to offensive positions. Later, we'll look at defense and special teams.


Salary-cap commitments: $11,898,333

Percent of Chiefs' total cap: 9.2

NFL average: $11,667,289

Chiefs rank on QB spending: 15th among 32 teams

Analysis: The Chiefs are spending about 2 percent more than the league average on their quarterbacks. This will change when they extend the contract of starter Alex Smith, who currently counts $8 million against their cap. That's tied for the 15th-highest QB cap number with Oakland's Matt Schaub. Chase Daniel's salary-cap number of $3.4 million is fifth among players listed as backups on their team's depth chart, but Daniel is the only one of those five who has never been a starter.

Running backs

Salary-cap commitments: $7,775,255

Percent of Chiefs' total cap: 6

NFL average: $7,750,422

Chiefs rank on RB spending: 13th among 32 teams

Analysis: Again, the Chiefs are very close to the league average in spending at this position. Most of their cap allotment at this position goes, of course, to Jamaal Charles. His cap number is $5,233,333. Charles is still a bargain at that price. His cap number is just 10th among NFL running backs this year. Knile Davis has the Chiefs' next highest cap number for a running back at $646,504 but that puts him far down the league's list of runners.

Wide receivers

Salary-cap commitments: $16,366,594

Percent of Chiefs' total cap: 12.7

NFL average: $13,534,504

Chiefs rank on WR spending: ninth among 32 teams

Analysis: Here's where the Chiefs' spending gets out of line, both for the league average and what they're getting for the money. The Chiefs are spending 21.75 percent more than the league average on wide receivers but last season that group was last in the league in pass receptions and yardage. Dwayne Bowe leads the way with a $12 million cap charge. That's the sixth-highest cap number in the NFL for a player who caught 57 passes for 673 yards and five touchdowns during the regular season last year.

Tight ends

Salary-cap commitments: $6,122,076

Percent of Chiefs' total cap: 4.7

NFL average: $6,137,131

Chiefs rank on TE spending: 15th among 32 teams

Analysis: The Chiefs are spending very close to the league average at this position. Most of their spending here goes to the starter, Anthony Fasano. His cap number is $4,281,250, giving him the 11th highest figure at his position. Travis Kelce has the next highest cap number for a tight end at $700,826 but he's well down the league list for this position.

Offensive linemen

Salary-cap commitments: $12,314,356

Percent of Chiefs' total cap: 9.5

NFL average: $21,449,958

Chiefs rank on OL spending: 31st among 32 teams

Analysis: Here the Chiefs drop well below the league average in positional spending. Only the Detroit Lions are spending less in salary cap on their offensive line. This is the byproduct of allowing three regulars from last season to leave as free agents. Meanwhile, the linemen who have the top three salary-cap figures are working under the contracts they signed as rookies. Left tackle Eric Fisher, the first overall pick in last year's draft, has far and away the highest salary-cap number for a lineman at $5,043,295. Even at that, Fisher has the 43rd highest cap number for an offensive lineman. Left guard Jeff Allen ($1,266,497) and center Rodney Hudson ($1,115,577) are next.
Here’s this week’s Kansas City Chiefs mailbag based off questions taken from Twitter. To ask a question for a future edition, tweet questions to me (@adamteicher) and use the hashtag #ChiefsMail.


Some options for the Chiefs' OL

March, 10, 2014
The NFL’s free-agent signing period begins Tuesday. Though teams have been able to talk with the representatives of prospective free agents since Saturday, no contracts can be signed until Tuesday.

Once that moment arrives, it shouldn’t take long for the Kansas City Chiefs to lose their left tackle of their last six seasons, Branden Albert. He reportedly will sign with the Miami Dolphins shortly after the signing period begins.

The Chiefs have two other free agent offensive linemen who could strike a deal with another club. Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah shared the starting right guard spot last season and one or both could depart as well. Though Albert is a Pro Bowler and plays a premium position, it would hurt the Chiefs more to lose Schwartz and Asamoah than Albert. The Chiefs began preparing for the eventuality they would lose Albert from the day they drafted Eric Fisher with the first overall choice last year. The Chiefs have Fisher and Donald Stephenson to play tackle and they believe both will soon develop into high-quality players.

The Chiefs don’t have that kind of depth in the middle of their line. In center Rodney Hudson and left guard Jeff Allen they have two young players in the same category as Fisher and Stephenson. But the rest of their offensive linemen are in the developmental category.

If the Chiefs lose Schwartz or Asamoah or both, they could turn to the draft to replace them. The Chiefs have the 23rd pick, but that’s their only selection among the top 86. They traded their second-round pick to San Francisco in last year’s deal that brought quarterback Alex Smith. One of the best guards is Stanford’s David Yankey. The Chiefs could plug him in as their right guard from the start. One problem with using a rookie there is that the Chiefs already have a young offensive line. If the Chiefs lose Albert, Asamoah and Schwartz, Stephenson becomes the oldest of their linemen and he doesn’t turn 26 until September. Hudson, with three years of experience, is the eldest of the group in that regard.

Free agency is another option for the Chiefs. The problem there is that, according to Pro Football Focus, Schwartz and Asamoah are the best available free-agent guards. PFF has them rated 1 and 2, so the Chiefs would be taking a step or two backward no matter whom they sign, in theory at least.

The Chiefs could also promote into the starting lineup one of the developmental linemen on their roster. They have three: Eric Kush, Rishaw Johnson and Rokevious Watkins. The Chiefs got a peek at all three when they started the final regular-season game last year in San Diego. Each had a negative grade in the game, according to PFF’s system. Watkins particularly struggled with his pass blocking and Kush his run blocking. Johnson distinguished himself in neither area.

One of them could wind up in the Chiefs’ starting lineup next season. Those chances increase if the Chiefs fail to re-sign either Asamoah or Schwartz.
Pro Football Focus has an interesting story ranking the top free agent guards and the Kansas City Chiefs have the top two on the list in Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah. That sets up an interesting decision for the Chiefs on which one to re-sign.

The easy answer is to bring them both back. That would give the Chiefs a solid middle three to their offensive line, including center Rodney Hudson. Since Schwartz and Asamoah shared the right guard spot last season, the Chiefs could switch one (probably Schwartz) to the left side and move Jeff Allen to a backup spot.

The problem with this is that the Chiefs won't have unlimited funds to solve the problem. Schwartz and Asamoah will want to be starters next season and will want to be paid like a starter. So re-signing both players will require a financial commitment from the Chiefs that may not be in their best interests, particularly when they have Allen available to play one of those spots.

It's a tough call for the Chiefs. Asamoah will turn 26 this summer, Schwartz 28. Schwartz has the versatility to also play right tackle if that's what the Chiefs need him to do. As PFF notes, Schwartz is the better run blocker, Asamoah the superior pass protector. That would seem to give Asamoah the edge to Andy Reid and his pass-heavy offense.

Then again, the Chiefs opted for Schwartz over Asamoah last season. Asamoah began the season as the starter at right guard but missed a game in late November against San Diego because of a shoulder injury. Schwartz played so well the Chiefs kept him in the lineup for the rest of the season, leaving Asamoah on the bench. And don't forget that the offense began to make its move at the time Schwartz was put into the lineup, though it's difficult to make the direct connection between the events.

Either way, the Chiefs would be keeping a good player and a valuable offensive lineman. They would be losing one, too.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- We're looking today at the offensive line, where it might be time for the Kansas City Chiefs to part with one of their better players.

Roster (14): Branden Albert, Jeff Allen, Jon Asamoah, Chandler Burden, R.J. Dill, Eric Fisher, Ricky Henry, Rodney Hudson, Rishaw Johnson, Colin Kelly, Eric Kush, Geoff Schwartz, Donald Stephenson, Rokevious Watkins.

Potential 2014 free agents: Albert, Asamoah, Schwartz.

The position: Some decisions await the Chiefs here, none bigger than what to do about Albert, their long-time starting left tackle. The sides were never close on a long-term deal last year, when Albert also was headed toward free agency, and the Chefs eventually kept him as their franchise player at a cost of almost $10 million. The decision at the time made sense. The Chiefs hadn't yet drafted another tackle, Fisher, with the number one overall pick. The franchise player option exists for Albert again. But the Chiefs have Fisher now and though his rookie season wasn't particularly productive, he should return as a much-improved player after a year in Kansas City's strength program. Fisher could move to Albert's spot at left tackle and Stephenson, who the Chiefs have viewed as a starter-quality player, can step in at right tackle. That's the Chiefs' best plan for this situation.

The money they would save on Albert's contract could go a long way toward solving problems elsewhere on the roster. Albert is a solid player and this year he's participating in the Pro Bowl for the first time. In a perfect world, the Chiefs would keep him as their left tackle but in the real world it's time for them to move on from Albert, who missed five starts in 2012 and four games this season because of injuries. Asamoah and Schwartz, the Chiefs' two best guards, both are eligible for free agency. The Chiefs need to sign at least one of them. Asamoah began the season as the starter at right guard but Schwartz replaced him midway through the season and played so well he retained the spot even after Asamoah returned. Hudson is the starting center and Allen the starting left guard and they are under contract for next season.

The Chiefs should keep: Allen, Asamoah, Fisher, Hudson, Kush, Schwartz, Stephenson and Watkins. It might be difficult for the Chiefs to re-sign Asamoah and Schwartz. Both could want starter's money. If so, Asamoah should be the priority. At 25, he is two years younger than Schwartz. Kush and Watkins have shown enough to at least keep around and compete for backup positions.

The Chiefs should dump: Albert, Burden, Dill, Henry, Johnson and Kelly.

Free agency/draft priority: The Chiefs invested heavily in these positions in recent years. Since 2010, they picked Allen, Asamoah, Fisher, Hudson and Stephenson in the top three rounds. Particularly after drafting Fisher with the top pick last year, there's no reason to invest a high pick this season. If the Chiefs retain at least two among Albert, Asamoah and Schwartz, there's also no reason to spend in free agency.

This is beyond Chiefs' wildest dreams

December, 15, 2013
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Their season will ultimately be defined by what happens in the next few weeks and whether the Kansas City Chiefs can win a playoff game for the first time in 20 years.

But it was validated Sunday in the oddest of places, in a building the Chiefs have always considered a monument to everything evil. It was here, in the basement of the Oakland Coliseum, that the Chiefs celebrated their return to the postseason.

With two games left in the regular season, the Chiefs clinched nothing worse than a wild-card playoff spot by beating the Oakland Raiders 56-31. At 11-3, they pulled into a tie with the Denver Broncos for first place in the AFC West and would win the division championship by picking up a game in the standings on the Broncos over the next two weeks.

That’s a concern for next week and beyond. For one afternoon, the Chiefs were content with their stunning achievement. They had come from a very bad place -- they were a league-worst 2-14 last year and endured the murder-suicide involving teammate Jovan Belcher -- and still managed to thrive. The unexpected thing is that it hardly took any time at all.

"You can’t really explain it in words," said linebacker Derrick Johnson, the longest tenured Chiefs player. He is playing for his fifth head coach in Andy Reid and, until this season, was mainly known around the league for being a great player stuck with some bad teams.

"We’re a humble group," Johnson said. "Last year was a year we wouldn’t wish upon any team, on or off the field. But it’s just gratifying how we’ve grown in the short time, with the new [coaches] coming in."

The big move, of course, was the hiring of Reid as Kansas City’s coach. It looks now like a no-brainer, but the move carried some risk. Reid looked burned out after 14 sometimes difficult seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and endured last year’s death of his son Garrett.

Reid was so energized by his move to Kansas City that he looks like a first-year head coach.

Other major steps followed, all accompanied by danger. The Chiefs hired longtime Green Bay Packers scouting college director John Dorsey, giving him the job as general manager for the first time. They traded for quarterback Alex Smith, who was benched last season with the San Francisco 49ers.

"I don’t know if it validates everything I’ve done, but I’m so pleased to see it come together like it has," said Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt, who hired Reid and Dorsey and approved the trade for Smith. "It hasn’t all been easy. We went through a three-game stretch where we didn’t win a game. It was tough. The guys knew Andy had been there and he had done it. They maintained their confidence and continued to let him lead and as a result we’re sitting here today in the playoffs."

As if the Chiefs needed a reminder of how far they’ve come in one season, there’s also this: They played their annual game in Oakland on this very weekend in the middle of December 2012.

They were shut out, losing when Oakland scored just five field goals. On Sunday, the Chiefs played like they encountered little resistance. Their 56 points is the most they’ve ever scored against the Raiders no matter where the game was played.

"It’s pretty tough to put into perspective," guard Jeff Allen said. "It’s actually amazing. It’s unbelievable. We all believed that we could do it but for it actually to happen is indescribable."

From the outside, that can be difficult to believe. Even at 2-14, the Chiefs were talented. They sent six of their players to last season’s Pro Bowl.

So they didn’t feel this would be a rebuilding season.

"Early this year we saw Andy taking over the team in [offseason practices] and later in training camp," Hunt said. "It was clear to me the process was moving faster than I had anticipated. I had no idea where it would finish."

To the Chiefs, that’s the great thing. They still don’t know when or where it will finish. They just know it won’t end with the final regular season game in two weeks against the Chargers in San Diego.

This journey will continue into January and perhaps beyond. If the Chiefs are being honest, they will tell you that part is beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

Line spurred offensive growth

December, 12, 2013
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.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Judging from the latest count of fan voting, the Kansas City Chiefs will again have a bunch of players headed to the Pro Bowl.

Tackle Branden Albert, nose tackle Dontari Poe, outside linebacker Tamba Hali and punter Dustin Colquitt lead the balloting at their respective positions. Running back Jamaal Charles, guard Jeff Allen and safety Eric Berry are second at their positions.

Poe, Berry and Charles, who leads the AFC with 1,011 rushing yards, certainly deserve Pro Bowl recognition. Hali is tied for 11th in the league with nine sacks. Only three linebackers have more, one being his injured teammate Justin Houston, who has 11.

Colquitt doesn't have quite the numbers he had last season, when he made the Pro Bowl for the first time. But he still leads the NFL with 31 punts downed inside the 20. Don't underestimate how important that's been for a 9-3 team that relies on advantageous field position.

As for those not in the top two at their positions who might deserve recognition, how about Houston, who is fourth in the league in sacks?

Then there's Derrick Johnson, who has made two straight trips to the Pro Bowl but in my mind still doesn't get the recognition he's due. Johnson doesn't pile up the stats voters often look for (interceptions, sacks, fumbles), but he is as solid an inside linebacker as there is in the league.

Locker Room Buzz: Kansas City Chiefs

October, 27, 2013
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Observed in the locker room after the Kansas City Chiefs' 23-17 win over the Cleveland Browns:

Momentum changer: Coach Andy Reid had no regrets about having Ryan Succop try a 52-yard field goal late in the second quarter, with the Chiefs ahead 13-0. Succop’s kick was long enough, but slightly wide to the left. It took Cleveland just two plays to use the resulting favorable field position to score its first touchdown to cut the deficit to 13-7. “He had been bombing those [kicks] before the game,’’ Reid said.

Home run hitter: Former Kansas City Royals infielder George Brett, a Hall of Famer, was in attendance. He grabbed a drumstick and beat on a big bass drum on the field shortly before kickoff to help fire up the fans at Arrowhead Stadium. “George Brett looked like he can still swing,’’ Reid said. “It was great to see him out there. I know he’s a big football fan.’’

Rookie mistake: Guard Jeff Allen had to wait for rookie tackle Eric Fisher to finish his postgame Q&A session with the media because it was conducted right in front of Allen’s locker. Asked whether Fisher’s move was worthy of a fine, Allen said, “It definitely is.’’

Friday's Chiefs practice report

October, 18, 2013
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs could have their entire roster available to them in Sunday's game against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium. Starting free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle) returned to practice on a limited basis and was listed on their injury report as having a 50-50 chance to play.

The other 12 players on their report were listed as probable. That includes cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee) and tight end Anthony Fasano (ankle/knee). Both were listed as being limited practice participants on Friday.

Everyone else on their injury report was listed as a full practice participant: wide receiver Donnie Avery (shoulder), offensive linemen Branden Albert (knee/elbow), Jon Asamoah (knee) and Jeff Allen (groin/hand), nose tackle Dontari Poe (ankle), fullback Anthony Sherman (knee), punter Dustin Colquitt (knee), tight end Kevin Brock (shoulder), linebacker Dezman Moses (toe) and defensive lineman Jaye Howard (non-injury related).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Rookie defensive back Sanders Commings, who has been on the Kansas City Chiefs' injured-reserve list all season, practiced for the first time on Wednesday.

The promotion of Commings, a fifth-round draft pick from Georgia, to the active roster, appears inevitable, with the only question being the timing of the move. Commings was a nickel safety for the Chiefs during offseason practice and would have challenged for playing time had he not broken his collarbone during the first practice at training camp.

The Chiefs are deep in the secondary, with the emergence of rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper and veteran safeties Quintin Demps and Husain Abdullah, but the return of Commings would provide even more security at the back end of their defense.

Starting tight end Anthony Fasano, who has missed the last four games because of knee and ankle injuries, returned to practice on a limited basis and said that barring a setback he would play Sunday against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium.

The only player who did not practice was starting free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle). The only other player who was limited in practice was cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee).

The Chiefs listed nine players as full practice participants: tackle Branden Albert (knee/elbow), nose tackle Dontari Poe (ankle), guard Jeff Allen (groin/hand), guard Jon Asamoah (knee), wide receiver Donnie Avery (shoulder), tight end Kevin Brock (shoulder), fullback Anthony Sherman (knee), punter Dustin Colquitt (knee) and linebacker Dezman Moses (toe).

Friday's Chiefs practice report

October, 11, 2013
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs ended the suspense with outside linebacker Justin Houston, listing him on their injury report as probable to play in Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium.

Houston, hit in the head and neck area in last week's game against Tennessee, missed practice Wednesday as the Chiefs put him through the NFL's concussion protocol. He returned to practice on a limited basis on Thursday and was a full practice participant on Friday.

Houston is second in the NFL with 8.5 sacks.

But cornerback Brandon Flowers, who missed a game against the New York Giants two weeks ago because of a sore knee, injured the other knee in practice and was listed as having a 50-50 chance to play against the Raiders.

Another starter, free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle) practiced for the first time this week and was also listed as questionable for Sunday's game. Tight ends Anthony Fasano (ankle/knee) and Travis Kelce (knee) did not practice all week. Fasano is listed as doubtful, and while Kelce will not play.

The Chiefs have nine other players on their injury report, and all were listed as likely to play: running back Jamaal Charles (toes), wide receiver Donnie Avery (shoulder), punter Dustin Colquitt (knee), tackle Eric Fisher (concussion), guard Jeff Allen (groin), tight end Sean McGrath (knee), fullback Anthony Sherman (knee), offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz (triceps), and linebacker Dezman Moses (toe).