KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs coach Andy Reid on Monday defended embattled right tackle Eric Fisher, who has been dealing with a high ankle sprain and was unable to play in their season opener at Houston.
Fisher practiced last week but was not on the field with the starters Sunday. Several reports citing unidentified sources said the Chiefs were upset with Fisher for telling them late in the week that he was not ready to deal with J.J. Watt and the rest of the Texans.
Reid denied those reports in a conference call with writers Monday, saying the former No. 1 overall draft pick never approached any coaches about not wanting to play.
“I know things are out there. That’s ridiculous,” Reid said. “I was the one that watched him practice. I thought if I put him out there, I’d put him in a terrible situation.”
Reid said that it became evident during Fisher’s limited repetitions that he was unable to plant on his ailing ankle. That would have not only made it difficult to defend Watt and Co. during pass protections, but it would have made it hard for him to move around in the run game.
So, Reid chose to start Jah Reid in his place. Reid was just signed Monday after spending the past four seasons with Baltimore, and had only a couple of practices to get up to speed.
Even so, Reid performed well. Watt was the only Texans player to get to Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, sacking him twice. The Chiefs offensive line also managed to pry open running room for Jamaal Charles late in the game, when they were trying to hang on for a 27-20 victory.
“He did good. He did a respectable job,” Andy Reid said. “I thought the whole group did. I thought there was good communication and good work with all of them.”
The big question now is whether Fisher will play Thursday night against Denver.
The former Central Michigan standout has dealt with injuries throughout his career, leaving some to question his toughness. Even when he’s been on the field, Fisher has not been particularly effective, forcing the Chiefs to move him from left tackle back to right before the season.
Reid said that Fisher’s health would determine when he will return, but the coach sounded confident in the front five that he had last Sunday in Houston — especially with another talented group of pass rushers on deck in the Broncos’ Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware.
“These things, they’re nagging,” Reid said. “Everyone is different. I’m just going to play it by ear and see how things roll here. Until he can push off, or I feel he can do that, I can’t put him out there at all.”