Injuries Testing Unbeaten Chiefs Echoes Club's Hot Start From 2017

Oct 7, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid talks with quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) in the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Arrowhead Stadium.© Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries at OL, LB and S pose a challenge as the Chiefs hope to keep their unbeaten streak alive against the Patriots

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Last season the Chiefs jumped out to a 5-0 start before injuries to defensive playmakers and along the offensive line sent them into a midseason swoon, starting with a key matchup against a tough AFC foe, but Andy Reid dismisses any similarities between last year's team and this year's squad still undefeated after five games.

“I don't worry about all that,” Reid said. “Every year is different. We have new players playing. I don't put any time or thought into that other than you asking me the question.”

The parallels seem eerie, however. Safety Eric Berry went down in the season opener last year with a torn Achilles tendon. Berry remains on the sidelines this season with a heel issue keeping him on the sideline since Aug. 11.

Last year's team saw center Mitch Morse and right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif battling injuries at this point in the season. Duvernay-Tardif fractured the fibula in his left leg in Sunday's 30-24 win over Jacksonville and expects to miss several weeks.

Linebacker Justin Houston left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury. Last season Dee Ford played just six games due to a back injury.

Houston's injury along with Ford's disqualification following a second personal foul penalty depleted the outside linebacker bench to just second-year pro Tanoh Kpassagnon and rookie Breeland Speaks. Kpassagnon also briefly left Sunday's game.

“He kind of tweaked his ankle a little bit early,” Reid said. “For him to push through and play the way he did, I thought he did a nice job with it.”

Reid felt both young players made an impact finishing out Sunday's game as the primary edge rushers.

“Breeland was about two inches away from two sacks there,” Reid said. “He's getting better as we go. He's a young guy that plays hards. And then Tanoh just keeps improving and improving.”

The injuries sent general manager Brett Veach considering options augmenting the team's depth chart, with Reid suggesting a roster move may become necessary.

“he's looking at some different options, kind of juggling all that today,” Reid said. “He started on last night so we just got to finish up with some of the evaluations from the docs and then we'll go on from there.”

The team currently carrie nine offensive linemen, which means they could choose to keep Duvernay-Tardif on the active roster for now. Journeyman Jordan Devey and second-year pro Andrew Wylie appear the likely candidates to fill in at right guard.

At linebacker the Chiefs have an internal option with rookie free agent Rob McCray on the practice squad. The club could also turn to veteran Frank Zombo, whom the club released at the end of the preseason. Reid said familiarity with the defense is merely a bonus for any new additions.

“You want to bring in the best players that you can,” Reid said. “Then if they've been here that's just an added addition to it if those are the guys just for familiarity standpoint, whether it's with how we do things or the actual schemes.”

Safety remains another position of concern for the Chiefs. Neither of the team's anticipated starters have played s snap this season. The team continues listing Berry as day-to-day with his heel issue, while Daniel Sorensen remains on injured reserve with a tibial plateau fracture. Starter Eric Murray went down with a sprained ankle Sunday, followed by the exit of rookie Armani Watts with a groin injury.

The club finished the game with Ron Parker and Jordan Lucas at safety. Neither player was on the team's roster until the beginning of September.

Last year the Chiefs brought a 5-0 mark into their Week 6 home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The dropped that contest, starting a slide of six losses in seven games. Now Reid's squad takes their unblemished record into New England to face the Patriots, where Reid expects his counterpart Bill Belichick to have some surprises in store for quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

“He's going to form fit the defense to your offense and do what he feels is best there,” Reid said. “Might be completely different from what he did the week before. He's done a great job with that over the years. It's the same thing on offense. They're going to fit it to what they feel are your tendencies and matchups and everything else.”

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