KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Chiefs thought they could boost the play of their offensive line this year by identifying a starting five early and sticking with them.
The plan worked through offseason practice, training camp and the preseason.
The Chiefs have been hit hard by offensive-line injuries during the regular season, and on Sunday against the New York Jets at Arrowhead Stadium they might be forced to start their third combination in three games.
One starter, left guard Parker Ehinger, received a concussion in practice last week and hasn’t played or practiced since. The other starting guard, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, returned to practice this week as a limited participant after missing last week’s game because of a high ankle sprain.
A third offensive lineman, Jah Reid, hasn’t practiced this week because of knee and ankle injuries. He started at right guard in last week’s game.
So the Chief are likely on Sunday to start an offensive line that includes at least one backup, Zach Fulton, at guard. Depending on Duvernay-Tardif’s availability, Jordan Devey may have to start at the other guard position. Devey opened the season on the practice squad and was promoted to the active roster for last week’s game because of the injuries to Duvernay-Tardif and Ehinger.
The Chiefs can survive all of this upheaval, but given their other problems on offense they’d be better off if they didn’t have to.
A bigger immediate problem against the Jets might be depth, particularly if Duvernay-Tardif doesn’t play. If he’s out along with Ehinger and Reid, the Chiefs would be left with only six linemen. Given the rate of line injuries, it wouldn’t be wise for the Chiefs to go into the game that way.
The Chiefs have a couple of offensive linemen, Daniel Munyer and Jarrod Pughsley, on their practice squad. One could get a promotion before Sunday’s game.