Kansas City Chiefs vs Washington Redskins: 5 players to watch

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 25: Tight end Travis Kelce
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 25: Tight end Travis Kelce /
4 of 6
GREEN BAY, WI – SEPTEMBER 28: Julius Peppers
GREEN BAY, WI – SEPTEMBER 28: Julius Peppers /

Whoever Is Playing Left Tackle

As I am writing this on Sunday afternoon we still aren’t sure who will be starting at left tackle for the Chiefs. Starter Eric Fisher is listed as questionable with a back injury. This isn’t a good situation for Kansas City. If Fisher plays, he likely won’t be 100% and if he doesn’t then there is a HUGE question mark as to who will play at arguably the most important spot on the offensive line.

If Fisher can’t go there aren’t any great options available for the Chiefs. They could slide Mitchell Schwartz (by far their best remaining tackle) over to the left side and start someone new at right tackle but in that case the Chiefs would have both tackle spots being started by guys that don’t normally start there.

If they leave Schwartz on the right side then it would be either Cameron Erving or Bryan Witzmann starting at left tackle. Erving is listed as the back up but he is the newest addition to the KC roster and has more experience in the NFL on the interior of the line. Witzmann has been starting at left guard, but it looks like Parker Ehinger will likely be active for the first time, so the Chiefs could start Ehinger at his old left guard spot and slide Witzmann to tackle (where he has played previously).

More from Arrowhead Addict

Neither of those options off the bench are encouraging, however, and the Chiefs would likely need to help out either Erving or Witzmann as they would be going against a couple of talented edge players in Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith. Those two have combined for 5.5 sacks through three games. We saw last week against the Chargers that if Alex Smith doesn’t have time the Chiefs passing game becomes much more pedestrian. The Chiefs wide receivers are already going to have a battle on their hands with Washington’s talented corners and if Smith doesn’t have time to let routes develop then the wide outs could become a complete non-factor in this game.

Also, if guys who we’ve already established are going to need to be huge contributors (Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce) have to stay in and block because of bad tackle play, it will make it that much harder to get them going in this one. Definitely keep your eye on the left tackle position in this game.

I would imagine that many people may have put Alex Smith on their “players to watch” list for this game but I actually don’t believe there is much question about Smith at this point. If the offensive line play is solid and guys like Hunt and Kelce are making plays then Smith will likely look comfortable and efficient. If the line gets overpowered and Hunt and Kelce aren’t having any success then Smith will look rattled and will dump off short far too much for most fans liking. I believe this game has far more to do with the players around Smith then it does with the quarterback himself.

Next up, what about on the defensive side of the ball?