Starting line comes into focus, and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif appears to be part of it


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The identity of the five starting linemen for the Kansas City Chiefs is coming into focus, and the group will likely include Laurent Duvernay-Tardif at right guard.

Coach Andy Reid said Friday that Duvernay-Tardif, who moved into the starting lineup during the preseason, is one of the Chiefs’ five best offensive linemen.

“Larry has made a good case for that right guard spot,’’ Reid said. “I know that’s been kind of a question mark.’’

The Chiefs drafted Duvernay-Tardif, a French-Canadian who played in college at McGill University in Montreal, last year in the sixth round. After a developmental season, he appears ready to claim one spot on a line that also will include Eric Fisher and Donald Stephenson at tackle, Ben Grubbs at left guard and Mitch Morse at center.

“A year ago I probably couldn’t have told you that,’’ Reid said about Duvernay-Tardif being one of the Chiefs’ five best linemen. “ I’m a big McGill University fan, but the level of football there isn’t as great as their academics, if you understand what I’m saying. It’s probably equivalent to some of the upper-echelon junior colleges in our country.

“For him to go out and improve like he’s improved and attack it the way he has is pretty good.’’

Reid wouldn’t name the five starters. But he indicated Fisher, who missed the past three weeks because of a sprained ankle, would probably be ready to return this week. The Chiefs are pessimistic that another starter, Jeff Allen, would return this week. He has a sprained knee.

That would leave left guard for Grubbs, a former Pro Bowler acquired in a trade with New Orleans in the offseason, center for Morse and right tackle for Stephenson, who has been filling in for Fisher at left tackle.

“I can’t tell you where everybody is going to be,’’ Reid said. “But you add Fisher into that mix there, and it looks pretty good there.’’