Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 11/29/12
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.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Dallas Cowboys' team employee bus involved in fatal crash

Aldon Smith posts video under a pseudonym of a blunt on Periscope

WATCH: Cam Newton get blocked by a girl playing volleyball

Russia avoids complete ban from Rio Olympics by the IOC

Report: Padres trying to move Andrew Cashner, Derek Norris

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Baseball's top prospect called up to majors by Astros

Report: Braves 'aggressively' shopping Francoeur, Aybar

Report: Hue Jackson designing plays for Terrelle Pryor

Report: Darnell Dockett expected to announce retirement

Report: Yankees have not discussed releasing A-Rod

Report: D-Backs making Shelby Miller available via trade

Cristiano Ronaldo spars with Conor McGregor in gym

Adam Silver is the new standard-bearer for league commisioners

Iowa football player held at gunpoint by police while playing Pokemon Go

Eight most significant injuries going into NFL training camp

Man. U players banned from playing 'Pokemon Go?'

Ken Griffey Jr. put on backwards hat during HOF speech

Mike Piazza honors 9/11 victims during Hall of Fame speech

Jeremy Lin hints he is racially profiled by arena employees

Why did Rio mayor offer to put kangaroo in Olympic village?

Joe Maddon wastes no time cracking Chris Sale joke

Report: Lamar Odom walked out on family intervention

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker