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Stefen Wisniewski could start for Chiefs vs. Texans on Sunday

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Wisniewski has nine years of experience as an NFL starter along the offensive line.

With Andrew Wylie missing the first two practices this week because of the ankle injury he suffered against the Indianapolis Colts, and his in-game replacement — Ryan Hunter — waived and now on the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad, veteran Stefen Wisniewski could step in and start for Kansas City on Sunday against the Houston Texans.

Starting would not be new for Wisniewski, who has done so 101 times in 123 games during the course of his nine-year NFL career.

“Well he’s capable of doing that,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said Wednesday. “It’s just a matter of getting in and learning it right now. But he’s played a long time in the league. He’s been a starter at guard, been a starter at center.”

Reid added the 6-foot-3, 305-pound guard would be ready if needed but the Chiefs are “just [giving] him a chance to learn right now.”

Wisniewski spent the last three seasons as a member of Reid’s old team, the Philadelphia Eagles, who cut him before the season. Suddenly without a job, Wisniewski kept in shape over the last five weeks at Penn State.

The Chiefs called this week, and he got right to work.

NFL: Super Bowl LII-Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

“I’m learning as fast as I can, luckily the offense is very similar here to Philly,” Wisniewski said. “Obviously, Doug Pederson came from here, worked for Andy Reid for a long time, so the offense is very similar. [I’ll] able to pick it up really fast.”

Pederson was the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator under Reid from 2013-15 before becoming head coach of the Eagles in 2016 — when Wisniewski arrived. He was Pederson’s left guard when the Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2017.

“Some of it carries over,” said Reid, speaking to the similarities between his system and Pederson’s. “[Wisniewski’s] a real smart guy. He was that coming out and he’s had that reputation since he’s been in the league. Whatever is new, he will learn it. He’s good with all of that.”

“I came from an Andy Reid-style program in Philly, which is what Pederson tried to implement there,” said Wisniewski.

As left guard with the Eagles, Wisniewski became close friends with Eagles center Jason Kelce, brother of now-teammate Travis.

Dallas at Philadelphia Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

“[I] heard a few good stories on him, but then again, my brother has a good story on just about anybody,“ Travis said this week. “It’s good to see someone who comes in who already has a pretty good idea of what this offense is about and where we’re trying to go with it.”

“I’ve heard great things about Andy,” said Wisniewski. “I have a lot of respect for him and everything he’s done. I’ve heard great things about this organization—just as a fan of football, I’ve been watching this team and impressed with all the talent they got here and excited to have a really good shot of going to the Super Bowl with these guys.”

Wisniewski relishes the potential opportunity to play with the reigning NFL MVP, quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

“Having not been here, just watching him on TV—unbelievable playmaker,” Wisniewski said of Mahomes. “Unbelievable athlete. He makes throws that not too many people in the world can make—running left, running right, fading back. It’s impressive watching him on TV. I’m excited to watch it up close here, be his teammate.”

Wisniewski called Mahomes’ willingness to move and extend plays a “challenge” yet a “blessing.”

“We know where he’s starting the play,” Wisniewski said. “You don’t always know where he’s going to go at the end of the play, so you do have to learn how to adjust to that. I’ve played with running quarterbacks before—(Carson) Wentz likes to run around a little bit and make plays, so as an O-lineman, you just got to kind of be on your toes and just be willing to improvise.”

If Wisniewski plays, it will likely be next to Cameron Erving at left tackle and Austin Reiter at center. Another option would be turning to rookie seventh-rounder Nick Allegretti at left guard or pushing second-year tackle Martinas Rankin (the Chiefs’ bounty in the Carlos Hyde trade) to the outside while inserting Wisniewski or sliding Erving over.

Knowing how critical it is that the Chiefs’ keep Mahomes clean given lingering his ankle injury, there is a decent chance the Chiefs turn to Wisniewski right away.