KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs offensive line is under siege during the team’s current three-game losing streak, a span where the unit has allowed 13 sacks on quarterback Alex Smith.
Drawing arguably the most attention is left guard Mike McGlynn, who is officially credited with allowing three of the five sacks recorded by the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14.
To say McGlynn, who also drew a holding penalty, struggled against Arizona is an understatement.
But coach Andy Reid offered an explanation.
“First of all, Mike’s been banged up a little bit,” Reid said Wednesday. “He’s kind of fighting through all that stuff. He hasn’t played as well as he wanted to play, but he’s a battler and he gives you that attitude, and will fight and do all that stuff. We got to get him healthy, as much as you can be healthy at this time of the year.”
McGlynn suffered a quad contusion in Week 13 and did not finish the game. He did not practice Wednesday in Week 14, was limited Thursday, and then put in a full practice Friday before the game against Arizona.
But injury aside, McGlynn hasn’t been a model of consistency through 13 regular-season games.
He has allowed seven sacks on the season for a loss of 46 yards, and penalized four times (two holding, two false starts).
McGlynn’s struggles have been magnified in the past four games where he’s drawn three penalties, and, of course, the three sacks allowed in Week 14 to the tune of 27 yards lost.
The 29-year-old McGlynn currently boasts a minus 33 rating among the Chiefs offensive lineman, according to Pro Football Focus.
McGlynn became a permanent fixture at left guard based on the loss of Jeff Allen, who in all likelihood would’ve moved back to the position after filling in at right tackle to start the season.
Allen suffered a season-ending elbow injury in Week 1, and the Chiefs weren’t prepared for what now looms as a tremendous blow to the offensive line.
Kansas City has rookie offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif on the active 53-man roster, but he has been a healthy game day inactive the entire season. And it appears Duvernay-Tardif isn’t an option given Reid’s emphatic response.
“Probably not,” Reid said. “No. Not right now, but we’ve got other guys that can also work in.”
Other viable options include veteran offensive lineman Jeff Linkenbach, who filled in at left guard after McGlynn left Week 13’s game, or elevating guard Ricky Henry from the practice squad.
But barring a personnel change, the Chiefs are set to go with McGlynn the rest of the way during a critical stretch with a postseason berth on the line.
The Chiefs have issues on both sides of the ball. But the struggling offensive line, especially McGlynn, proves hard to ignore when considering Smith has been sacked 38 times on the season, which ties for third-most in the NFL.
Smith was sacked a career-high 44 times while with the San Francsico 49ers in 2011, and he was sacked 39 times in 2013 during his first season with the Chiefs.
It is difficult to fault Smith if he has developed happy feet in the pocket this season.
The quarterback, however, indicated Wednesday he is still comfortable despite the number of times he has been dropped behind the line of scrimmage.
“As good as it always is,” Smith said of his comfort level. “It’s a part of the game. We’ve had our fair share of games where I’ve been very clean. There’s a lot that goes into that. I know those five guys up front take the brunt of it, but certainly it’s on all of us, myself included. A lot of that is little things from my perspective, moving it in the pocket, when to get rid of the ball.”
McGlynn was briefly present in the locker room during Wednesday’s open media session, but he declined to make himself available for comment.