Mostly watching from the sideline for the first two games, Chiefs right tackle Eric Fisher couldn’t think like a spectator.
“The biggest challenge when you’re out is staying up to speed with everything,” Fisher said. “You can’t shut your mind off. You have to stay focused, stay up on everything that’s happening. It’s a mentality you have to have, that even when you’re out of the game, you’re in it mentally.”
That practice appeared to pay off for Fisher, who started his first game of the season and played every snap in Monday’s 38-28 loss at Green Bay, and is preparing for a trip to Cincinnati on Sunday.
“Fish actually had a pretty good game,” Andy Reid said. “He did well for where he was. He hadn’t played.”
Fisher graded out positively, according to Pro Football Focus, which analyzes every player on every snap and assigns a value. According to the website, Fisher “turned in one of the best games of his career,” and earned a positive pass protection grade for the second time.
After playing a total of three snaps on offense in the first two games, Fisher was back in the lineup for the first time since the preseason opener.
It was two days after that game, when Fisher, who was playing left tackle, sustained a high ankle sprain, an injury that originally was believed would keep him out of action for a couple of weeks.
But the healing process was slow, forcing the Chiefs into personnel moves. They signed Jah Reid after he was cut by the Baltimore Ravens and inserted him at right tackle and kept Donald Stephenson at left tackle, where he played during the preseason.
When the season opened, Andy Reid announced Fisher, the top overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, would return to right tackle, where he played as a rookie. But Fisher still didn’t see much action until Monday.
“It’s never fun being injured, and it was a bummer not being able ready for the first two games,” Fisher said. “But it felt great to be back out there.”
Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson thought Fisher was “a little rushed at the beginning, but once he settled in, got in a couple of hits, he did well.”
But make no mistake. Nobody was happy with the overall effort in the loss. The Chiefs fell behind 31-7 early in the third quarter and got no closer than the final score.
Quarterback Alex Smith was sacked seven times, crumbling under pressure several times.
“We need to take care of pressure better,” Pederson said. “We look at us first, the coaches. We have to get our guys in the right spots.”
Center Mitch Morse, who also graded out positively against the Packers, wasn’t about to let the coaches wear it. He pointed to the inability to convert third downs — the Chiefs were two for 10 against the Packers and are an NFL-worst five for 30 on the season — as self-inflicted wounds.
“Momentum is a real thing,” Morse said. “Picking up third downs keeps the chains moving and helps keep the crowd out of it. It was our job to keep us on the field and we didn’t do that.”
The offensive line juggling could continue with weekend. Jeff Allen, who can play guard or tackle, was active for the first time this season against Green Bay. Jah Reid was inactive. Allen injured his knee in the preseason opener. He didn’t play against the Packers.
“He’s getting there, he feels good,” Reid said.