Chiefs Mushrooms Enjoy Sun

From Arrowhead Stadium

They often call themselves the mushrooms of the NFL – guys that are kept in the dark and are frequently covered with crap.

“That’s us, the offensive line, just a bunch of mushrooms,” Brian Waters said with a smile on Sunday.

Well on this afternoon, the mushrooms got a day in the sunshine. Any NFL team’s victory can be traced in some part to the offensive line. The ability of that group of five to control the line of scrimmage makes or breaks any team’s chances.

But there are days when they standout even more, and that was Sunday for the Chiefs offensive line, in the team’s 31-13 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

Consider the following:

  • The Chiefs averaged 5.5 yards per carry, as the team ran for 159 yards on 29 carries. They did this despite the fact the Cardinals spent a lot of time trying to shutdown the K.C. running game with an extra man in the box.
  • The offense had 24 passing plays, and QB Matt Cassel wasn’t sacked and he did not have to take off running at any point in the game.

The Chiefs blocked threw a shutout. Considering the circumstances, they all deserve game balls. At LG Waters missed most of the week of practice with groin, ankle and shoulder injuries. Was there any doubt in Waters’ mind that he would play against the Cardinals?

“Not in my mind, no,” Waters said. “I can’t speak for anybody else, but I was going to play.”

At RG Ryan Lilja missed practice time because of a foot problem, along with the dislocated thumb he’s been dealing with for the last month. Was there any question that he was going to play against Arizona?

“Nothing major,” Lilja said after the game.

Then, during the game LT Branden Albert went down and left the field with what the Chiefs called a hip injury. That forced RT Barry Richardson to move over to the left side and Ryan O’Callaghan came in and took over on the right side.

Only the grizzled 15-year veteran Casey Wiegmann got through the week and the game in the same spot without a problem.

“We’ve got each other’s back,” Waters said. “We’ve got guys who can jump in and practice and they keep everything going. When we are watching, we aren’t just standing there, we are watching and learning.

“Plus, we’ve got guys that are versatile and can do more than one thing. That really makes a difference. It doesn’t feel like you are handicapped if something should happen.”

The Chiefs only have eight offensive linemen on their active roster, with two more on the practice squad that can help out during the week. Most game days, they only have seven blockers active, but in recent games they’ve been forced to keep all eight up because of injuries.

“Everybody is hurt right now,” said Waters. “I mean everybody. Some of the young guys don’t feel it so much, but they will.”

The mushrooms don’t get a lot of attention and they don’t want a lot of attention. The backs and receivers like the spotlight. The blockers would rather play in the shadows. Evidence comes from the post-game comments of head coach Todd Haley, Cassel and leading rusher Jamaal Charles. None mentioned the offensive line, although in fairness none were asked about the offensive line and its performance.

“It’s a real honor to play with those guys up front,” said Thomas Jones. “They are pros. They get things done.”

One Response to “Chiefs Mushrooms Enjoy Sun”

  • November 22, 2010  - Edward says:

    O-line is playing good. Albert, Lija, Waters, and Wiegman deserve some pro-bowl votes. Because of them we’re top rushing team in the league. We need to give those guys alot of credit.

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