May 27, 2014

Chiefs’ tackle Eric Fisher still not cleared for full practice sessions

Tackle Eric Fisher, who is coming back from offseason shoulder surgery, participated in the first day of the Chiefs’ OTA session on Monday but has not been cleared to participate in 11-on-11 team practices.

Chiefs tackle Eric Fisher’s move from the right side of the line to the all-important left side had to wait another day.

Fisher, who is coming back from offseason shoulder surgery, participated in the first day of the Chiefs’ organized team activities on Tuesday but has not been cleared to participate in 11-on-11 team practices.

Donald Stephenson, tabbed to start at right tackle — where Fisher started for most of his rookie year in 2013 — took over the left tackle spot Tuesday. For now, it’s Stephenson who’ll be protecting the quarterback’s blind side, the position vacated when longtime starter Branden Albert left Kansas City as a free agent.

That wasn’t the only change in the first-team offensive line. Rishaw Johnson, who started the regular-season finale at San Diego at right guard last year, was in that spot, a position vacated by Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah. Free-agent signee Jeff Linkenbach was at right tackle.

Only center Rodney Hudson and left guard Jeff Allen were in the same positions as a year ago.

“There are new faces, and you have to get them caught up and get them in the mix,” quarterback Alex Smith said. “That’s everybody in the NFL. There is turnover year to year.

“This time of year, because we’re just in helmets, for those guys (on the line), it’s a time to work on assignments, technique … they don’t get to practice the physical part of the game. It’s a different aspect of it for us on the edge … at the skill positions, we can make a little more happen.”

Hurry-up offense

It was just the first day of the OTAs, but the Chiefs were already working on their no-huddle offense.

“It’s something we’ve had in the package for a long time,” Smith said. “I don’t know if (coach Andy Reid) is doing it from an execution or from a conditioning aspect. It’s good work for us out in the heat. These were great conditions to practice in. It makes the environment tough.”

New faces, old places

Free-agent signee Joe Mays took the place of Akeem Jordan at inside linebacker in the base defense; backup Frank Zombo, not first-round draft choice Dee Ford, played in the outside linebacker spot of Justin Houston, who did not report; second-year man Marcus Cooper started at left cornerback in place of Brandon Flowers, who did not report; and veteran Husain Abdullah was in the free-safety spot vacated by Kendrick Lewis.

When the Chiefs went to their nickel and dime packages, second-year man Sanders Commings was the third safety, and free agent Chris Owens joined Cooper and Sean Smith as an extra cornerback.

“This league is about change,” Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Johnson said of having a new partner on the inside. “I’m going into my 10th year, and I’ve probably had 10 mike-backers next to me, so it’s one of those things where the organization always gets a reliable mike-backer and Joe Mays is another guy that’s very smart.

“He’s been in the league. He’s a big thumper. We’re working good together right now.”

Plays of the day

In 11-on-11 work, Alex Smith connected on a deep corner route with tight end Anthony Fasano.

Owens made a nice interception of a pass by second-team quarterback Chase Daniel. Commings intercepted a bad throw by second-year quarterback Tyler Bray. Bray came back and hit tight end Richard Jordan for a nice gain down the middle.

Injury report

Tight end Travis Kelce, who missed all of last season because of a knee injury, was on the practice field but could not participate. Nose tackle Risean Broussard (knee) and wide receiver Kyle Williams (knee) were also out.

To reach Randy Covitz, send email to

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