Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he plans to keep Ryan Harris as the starter at right tackle when the Chiefs play at Arizona on Sunday.
Donald Stephenson replaced Harris for 11 snaps in last week’s loss to Denver and has played primarily as an extra tight end and on placement protection since his return from a season-opening four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Stephenson started three regular-season games and the playoff game at right tackle and four games at left tackle last season. Harris, a seven-year veteran signed by the Chiefs last July, has started 11 games at right tackle since Jeff Allen was lost for the season with a shoulder injury in the opener against Tennessee.
“Right now … Harris is the guy,” Reid said. “That doesn’t mean Donald won’t be in. We’ll work him a little bit at tight end, he’s gotten a little bit at tackle. Right now it’s Harris. It’s not really what Donald’s done, it’s Harris had done a pretty good job there.”
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Harris has allowed 19 quarterback hurries, most on the team, and six quarterback hits, second-most to left tackle Eric Fisher’s nine. Harris is tied with left guard Mike McGlynn for allowing the second-most sacks, four, one behind Fisher’s five.
“Protection is such a total offense deal, and we’re all in on it,” said quarterback Alex Smith, who was sacked six times by Denver on Sunday. “Watching the film, I had my fair share of I could have done a lot better job in the pocket, a lot better job getting rid of the ball at times, and all of us doing better on first and second down so we’re not in those situations.
“You’re not in a bunch of third and longs … you’re not getting down multiple scores. If you are against a good defense, that’s the type of game it’s going to be.”
Arians has KC memories
Bruce Arians, in his second season as Arizona coach, was amember of Marty Schottenheimer’s original staff as running backs coach with the Chiefs during 1989-92.
Arians went on to serve as offensive coordinator at Cleveland, Pittsburgh (where he was part of a Super Bowl championship team) and Indianapolis, but he still considers his time in Kansas City as special.
“It was fantastic,” Arians said. “It’s still one of our favorite places to go. It was a time that my son was a ballboy so we had a lot of bonding time in that locker room over at Arrowhead Stadium. We used to have (phone) cords back then, and he was a guy that held my cord so I have great memories of Arrowhead.
“It was my first time in the NFL coming out of college so it was a great learning experience. Joe Pendry and Howard Mudd — two of the finest coaches I have ever worked with — got to learn from them. The relationships with the running backs with Christian (Okoye) and Barry (Word) and Todd (McNair) and Billy (Jones), James Saxon — it’s crazy how many of those guys ended up coaching.”
Former Chiefs defensive line coach Tom Pratt and Chiefs Hall of Fame cornerback Kevin Ross are on Arians’ staff in Arizona.
Smith a Cardinal?
One of the first moves Arians wanted to make after he was hired as Cardinals coach in January 2013 was to acquire quarterback Alex Smith from San Francisco.
Smith had lost his job to Colin Kaepernick at the end of the 2012 season, and Arians viewed him as the quarterback to run his offense.
“We talked about it, yeah,” Arians said. “(General manager) Steve Keim brought his name up and I said, ‘Heck yeah, if they’ll trade in the division we’d love to have him,’ because I’ve always thought he was an outstanding prospect.”
Talks with the 49ers didn’t go very far.
“I think the 49ers just hung up the phone,” Arians said.
San Francisco traded Smith to the Chiefs in March 2013, and he’s been the club’s starter ever since.
“He’s an outstanding leader,” Arians said. “He’s obviously been in a system now and they know how to use him. He’s athletic, he’s smart, he’s got, I think, an outstanding arm. He can beat you both ways, with his feet and with his arm.”
The Chiefs said wide receiver Junior Hemingway and defensive lineman Allen Bailey, both with concussions, and guard Mike McGlynn (quadriceps) did not practice on Wednesday.
Outside linebacker Tamba Hali (knee), tight end Anthony Fasano (knee) and wide receiver Donnie Avery (groin) were limited, and running back Jamaal Charles (knee) was a full participant.
The Chiefs said they had no updates on the condition of safety Eric Berry, who is being evaluated for a mass in his chest feared to be lymphoma.
Arizona said wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who has missed the last two games because of a knee injury, was limited, and running back Andre Ellington did not practice because of a hip-pointer.