KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs survived the war of attrition along the offensive line in Week 12 and should have the bodies to fill the starting five in Week 13.
Depth, on the other hand, becomes the bigger issue.
Already down guard Ben Grubbs, who missed a fourth straight game with a neck injury, against the Buffalo Bills, the Chiefs lost starting left tackle Eric Fisher (neck) and rookie center Mitch Morse (concussion). The Chiefs also experienced a scare with left guard Jeff Allen, who left briefly with an ankle injury before returning.
With Grubbs out and Fisher and Morse down, the Chiefs turned to the only available offensive linemen on the gameday roster, Zach Fulton and Donald Stephenson.
And that left the Chiefs in a perilous situation if the offensive line suffered another injury.
“We didn’t have anybody,” coach Andy Reid said after Sunday’s game. “You probably throw a tight end in there or go with a defensive lineman, but we were a little low there, too. That wasn’t a real pretty picture.”
Reid didn’t have injury updates on Fisher and Morse during his Monday press conference, but the Chiefs have options from within to address depth as necessary.
The Chiefs currently have four offensive linemen on the 10-man practice squad: Guard Jarrod Pughsley, rookie tackle Laurence Gibson, rookie guard/center Michael Liedtke and rookie center Daniel Munyer, whom the Chiefs brought back Monday.
“There are a couple of them we like,” Reid told reporters Monday. “We’ll be OK there.”
The 6-4, 310-pound Pughsley, who spent time on the Chiefs practice squad in 2014, offers versatility to play inside or outside and emerged during training camp to take first-team reps at right tackle.
Pughsley, who played collegiately at Akron, made it to through preseason action with a legitimate chance to make the active roster before being waived on Sept. 5 as part of the final roster cuts.
“It was probably just a numbers thing as it turned out,” Reid said.
The Chiefs immediately signed Pughsley to the practice squad on Sept. 6 and he’s been with the team since.
The 6-6, 315-pound Gibson originally entered the league out of Virginia Tech as a seventh-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in May’s NFL Draft. Dallas waived Gibson on Sept. 5 as part of its final roster moves leading to him signing with the Chiefs on Sept. 7.
Kansas City signed the 6-3, 310 Liedtke, who played collegiately at Illinois State, on Oct. 13, while the 6-1, 305-pound Munyer first joined the Chiefs as an undrafted agent out of Colorado in May. Munyer, who can also play guard, spent time on the Chiefs practice squad in Week 1-5 before being waived on Oct. 13.
The Chiefs have time to evaluate the health of Fisher, Grubbs and Morse heading into Week 13’s game against the Oakland Raiders. But having healthy players behind Fulton, Allen, Stephenson, right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and right tackle Jah Reid is essential.
Barring the signing of a free agent, the team appears comfortable with the players on the practice squad and Reid believes there are viable options capable of contributing if called upon.
“I think one or two of them, possibly,” Reid said.