Found November 29, 2012 on Fox Sports Kansas City:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Here's a situation that would send shudders through any head coach: Starting a rookie left tackle next to a rookie guard next to a center playing out of position, all against the NFL's best pass rush. That's exactly what the Chiefs did last Sunday against Denver. With left tackle Branden Albert out with an injury, and veteran guard Ryan Lilja now at center because of another injury, Kansas City's reshuffled line looked nothing like coach Romeo Crennel expected when he broke training camp a few months ago. But lo and behold, with rookies Donald Stephenson and Jeff Allen starting alongside Lilja, the patchwork offensive line played well in a 17-9 loss to the Broncos, providing the shakiest of silver linings to the eighth straight loss in a season of misery. "If they play with that kind of attitude and energy, like I tell them - that kind of energy and effort, that makes everything better for everybody," Crennel said. The offensive line is rarely a sexy topic. Even more rarely is it the one thing that coaches, players and fans can feel good about. Usually, those anonymous big guys up front are only singled out when they give up a sack, or get called for a penalty. When a running back breaks a long run, he's the one in the spotlight, not the guys prying open holes along the defensive line. Or when a quarterback stands stoically in the pocket, surveying the field, and then delivers a perfect pass down the seam, the pass-catch combo gets all the love - certainly not the five guys up front who were sacrificing their bodies to give them enough time to make a play. "Most of us are used to each other," right guard Jon Asamoah said. "I'm used to Lilja and he's used to me. We're on the same tempo. I don't know. We spend so much time together, we've developed that through games and practice, things most people don't see." There are plenty of reasons why they're 1-10 and barreling toward one of the worst seasons in franchise history, and the offensive line has been part of the problem. They've given up plenty of sacks, allowed pressure to force several fumbles in the pocket, and rarely created much running room for Jamaal Charles and Co. It hasn't been entirely their fault, though. Second-year center Rodney Hudson was poised to take over the position from veteran Casey Wiegmann, but he broke his leg in late September and landed on injured reserve. That forced Lilja, a career guard, to slide over to center. Allen, the Chiefs' second-round pick out of Illinois, moved into the void that created at left guard. He got off to a rough start in the NFL, routinely blown back by bigger, quicker defensive tackles, but has started to hold his own over the past few weeks. Stephenson, the franchise's third-round pick out of Oklahoma, got his when Albert hurt his back a couple of weeks ago. It was trial-by-fire against Cincinnati, but he performed well last week against Denver, holding its fearsome pass rush at bay most of the game. The Broncos came into the game with a league-leading 35 sacks, but the only ones allowed by the Chiefs were to Von Miller and Wesley Woodyard, and only Woodyard's was for a significant loss. "Yeah, Cincinnati, I was trying to feel it out," Stephenson said. "This game, I knew that if I tried to go out there and try to feel it out and figure out how the game was going to go, I'd probably get my butt kicked, so I came out aggressive and knew I had to play hard." Stephenson said it helped to be able to practice with the first team all week, just as he's been doing this week with Albert still questionable for Sunday's game against Carolina. "The more you prepare yourself through the week and how hard you practice, it kind of gives you more confidence," said Stephenson, who grew up in the Kansas City area. "If you don't prepare right and you don't practice right, you have a right to go in there a little bit nervous, because you don't have confidence in what you did all week." NOTES: The Chiefs have several injury concerns this week. Lilja (knee) and Albert (back) did not practice Wednesday, along with Pro Bowl linebacker Tamba Hali (knee), wide receiver Dexter McCluster (headneck) and safety Kendrick Lewis (shoulder). ... The Chiefs released linebacker Bryan Kehl. Crennel said he expects to fill the roster spot later this week.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

NFL Coroner's Report: Kansas City Chiefs Autopsy

The season is already over for some teams, at least when it comes to postseason hopes.When they finally succumb to statistical reality of dashed dreams, we'll be here to pick up the sad, lifeless bodies, once so full of hope back in September.We'll determine what killed all 20 non-contenders between now and the time the playoffs get underway.Our autopsies began, naturally...

Chiefs, Army leaders discuss head injuries

Former Kansas City Chiefs players and Army leaders say a change in culture about the risks of concussions is possible but must start at the top levels in sports and the military. The comments came during a forum Wednesday at Fort Leavenworth on traumatic brain injuries. Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Willie Lanier said he learned the lessons early on. Lanier, who played...

Chiefs rise up, fall down to level of opponent

The Chiefs have been something of a rollercoaster this season, though not in terms of wins and losses. They've been quite consistent at losing. It's their performance that's been uneven, and it's often dictated by their opponent. When the Chiefs have played one of the league's top teams, such as the Steelers or Broncos, a motley bunch that's lost eight consecutive...

Kansas City Chiefs: Week 13 NFL Power Rankings (#32)

Last week: 31 (-1) Record: 1-10 Net points per drive: -1.01 (32nd) DVOA: -38.3% (32nd) Weighted DVOA: -36.8% (31st) Tier 7: Terrible Studs CB Javier Arenas: Allowed 4 catches for 16 yards on 8 attempts, 1 pass deflection, 5 solo tackles, 2 stops CB Brandon Flowers: Allowed 1 catch for 17 yards on 3 attempts, 1 interception, 3 solo tackles, 2 stops Duds C Ryan Lilja: Allowed 1 quarterback...

Chiefs claim OL off waivers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Chiefs have claimed offensive lineman Hayworth Hicks off waivers. The 6-foot-3, 336-pound Hicks entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Colts in April. He spent time on their practice squad before being acquired by the New York Jets on Nov. 6. He spent three games on their roster but was inactive each week. The former Iowa State standout...

Chiefs line holding its own during miserable year

(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.) By DAVE SKRETTA AP Sports Writer Here's a situation that would send shudders through any head coach: Starting a rookie left tackle next to a rookie guard next to a center playing out of position, all against the NFL's best pass rush. That's exactly what the Chiefs did last Sunday against Denver. With left tackle Branden Albert out with...

Chiefs claim OL Hayworth Hicks off waivers

The Chiefs have claimed offensive lineman Hayworth Hicks off waivers. The 6-foot-3, 336-pound Hicks entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Colts in April. He spent time on their practice squad before being acquired by the New York Jets on Nov. 6. He spent three games on their roster but was inactive each week. The former Iowa State standout takes the roster spot...

Chiefs players get autographs, pictures with Peyton Manning

After leading his Broncos to a victory over the struggling Kansas City Chiefs, Peyton Manning was greeted by a couple of guys eagerly waiting to get the quarterback’s autograph and snap a picture. But they weren’t Broncos fans. They were players for the team Manning had just beaten. Jamal Charles greeted Manning after the game and got him to sign a program, but he claimed his...

Jamaal Charles, It Is Acceptable to Want Manning's Autograph

After Sunday's loss to the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles approached Peyton Manning and asked him for an autograph.  Many media "experts" blew a gasket at this notion.  They believed by Charles doing this he may have somehow not played as hard on the field during the game.  This is the biggest insult I've ever heard of and athletes...

NFL’s Strongest and Weakest Divisions Week 13

Teams are getting to crunch time when it comes to their push for the playoffs, or in the case of the Kansas City Chiefs, their push for the first overall  pick in the 2013 draft.  Injuries are having a large effect on how some teams are faring (Steelers) while questionable management is again at the forefront of how others are flailing in the dark (Cardinals, Eagles, Chiefs etc…...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.