The Chiefs will be without four regulars on injured reserve: safety Eric Berry, cornerback Steven Nelson, running back Spencer Ware and kicker Cairo Santos. A fifth regular, starting center Mitch Morse, is on the active roster but hasn’t practiced or played since spraining his foot in a Sept. 17 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Chiefs lost Ford during last week’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers. He was replaced by veteran backup Frank Zombo. Zombo has started 18 games for the Chiefs since joining them in 2013, mostly filling in for Justin Houston or Tamba Hali when one was injured.
But if Ford can’t play against Washington, the Chiefs would be left with only one reserve at outside linebacker. That’s rookie Tanoh Kpassagnon, a second-round draft choice. Kpassagnon was a down lineman in college and played defensive end for the Chiefs through most of offseason practice before being moved to his new position. He’s still learning and has played just two snaps on defense this season, both against the Chargers.
Still, filling in for Ford if he can’t play is simple compared to the task of replacing Fisher if he can’t go. The Chiefs have three remaining healthy offensive linemen -- Cameron Erving, Parker Ehinger and Jordan Devey. The easiest solution is to put Erving in the lineup at right tackle and shift Mitchell Schwartz into Fisher’s spot.
Erving hasn’t played on offense this season after being acquired at the start of the regular season in a trade with the Cleveland Browns.
The Chiefs could also start Devey at center, move Zach Fulton to right tackle and Schwartz to the left side. That’s a lot of moving parts, making this scenario unlikely.
Likewise, Ehinger is a guard and playing him would require someone to switch positions, whether it’s him or either of two starting guards, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Bryan Witzmann. Ehinger also hasn’t played this season after injuring his knee last year.