Another starting offensive line combination looms for Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs have started six different offensive line combinations in their 12 games and could be looking at No. 7 on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium.

Left guard Jeff Allen was taken from last week’s game against the Raiders after aggravating an ankle injury. He was replaced by tackle Donald Stephenson, who was playing for the first time at a new position.

The Chiefs will begin to determine Allen’s availability for Sunday’s game when they begin their practice week on Wednesday. But Stephenson again may have to work at guard.

“He did get some work (at guard in practice) last week," coach Andy Reid said. “Everything’s faster in there, so even though you don’t have that naked side where you’re not protected, you’ve got people on both sides, in other words, playing guard. But you’re closer to that defensive lineman in a pass protection and a run game situation where normally you can kind of skip-step to the guy. Now it’s on you, by the time you set that second step, it’s in your face and right now you’re in the battle.

“That takes a bit of getting used to. We’re not doing anything live in practice so you do it the best you can and as live as you can in practice, but you don’t get the full feeling until you get into the game. So his run game wasn’t as good as his pass game.”

The Chiefs will also get a better idea when they begin their practice week whether starting center Mitch Morse will be able to play against the Chargers. Morse, who had been the one constant for the starting offensive line during the season’s first 11 games, didn’t play against the Raiders because of a concussion.

The Chiefs lost guard Ben Grubbs for the season with an injured neck. Allen has previously missed time because of a sprained knee. Tackle Eric Fisher didn’t start until the season’s third game because of injuries.

Stephenson, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Zach Fulton and Jah Reid have also started games for the Chiefs this season.

“We’ve been banged up a little bit right from training camp on," Reid said. “I think (offensive line coach Andy) Heck has done a nice job, both he and (assistant offensive line coach Eugene (Chung), of keeping that group together and teaching. These are some young guys in there. Even our veteran guys are young guys."