Chiefs have to stick by Eric Fisher

The Kansas City Chiefs continue to look for encouraging signs from left tackle Eric Fisher, and they continue to be disappointed. Fisher had another difficult game in Sunday night's preseason loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Alex Smith took more physical punishment than the Chiefs would like their starting quarterback to absorb, but it wasn't all Fisher's fault. Still, he had a hand in it, and Fisher is now 0-for-2 when it comes to playing well in the preseason.

Fisher's transformation into a solid left tackle evidently will take some time, if it ever happens. That said, the Chiefs have little choice but to work with the No. 1 overall pick from the 2013 draft and hope for the best.

The Chiefs have too much invested in Fisher to give up on him. They did the smart thing last season by letting him play right tackle as a rookie while Branden Albert played out his contract on the left side.

Moving Fisher to the left side was inevitable. The Chiefs might feel better about that move had Fisher earned the promotion with his play as a rookie, but that didn't happen. They couldn't afford Albert, not with big contracts due to players like Jamaal Charles, Smith and Justin Houston.

And even if the Chiefs wanted to replace Fisher, their options are limited. They're having trouble identifying a third tackle on their roster, much less one they're comfortable with in the starting lineup. High-quality tackles aren't available through free agency or trade this time of year. They could have him and right tackle Donald Stephenson switch positions, but things haven't reached that point yet.

The Chiefs need to make Fisher into the player they believed they were getting when they drafted him. They simply are going through some tough growing pains with Fisher, and they have little choice but to suffer through them.