New England's offensive line has had its struggles with consistency in the early stages of 2014. Monday night in Kansas City, they'll face another set of formidable challenges – namely the Chief pass rush tandem of Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.
"Exceptional players," remarked left tackle Nate Solder. "[They] play really hard, make a lot of plays. It's a huge challenge for us."
The o-line has allowed seven sacks of QB Tom Brady in the first three games and has been inconsistent in its run blocking.
"We're working hard to fix everything," Solder continued. "At this point, it's just a building process. Things hopefully improve, but you never know until game day. We're working hard to make it that way.
"I don't think confidence has been a problem. We've been building steadily this whole year and we're going to continue to do that."
Another obstacle that Solder and the o-line will have to overcome Monday, he acknowledged, will be the expected din of the Arrowhead Stadium crowd, one of the loudest venues in the NFL.
"Communication certainly is [critical]. We've been working on that, and continuity. We have a lot of different [snap] counts – some things for silent, some where [Brady]'s going to be under center."
"When the [Kansas City] offense is on the field, the home crowd usually isn't going to be as loud," DE/OLB Rob Ninkovich observed. "So, communication for us, it will be somewhat loud, but it's not going to be like our offense against their defense."
For Ninko and Co., the Chiefs' ability to play-action pass is a top priority.
"They set it all up with their run game," Ninkovich said. "You run the ball, you set up those play-actions. So, we need to stop the run. It's big."
Defensive tackle Sealver Siliga has not practiced for three consecutive days, since injuring a foot in the first quarter against Oakland this past Sunday.
There was no sign of practice squad o-lineman Chris Martin Friday, but there was a new player wearing jersey number 93. As yet, he has not been formally announced by the team.
Also, for two straight days now, QB Tom Brady has left his usual spot in the stretching line – in between the offense and defense, with fellow QB Jimmy Garoppolo – and has gone to the very end of the offensive section, where the o-line and WR Julian Edelman warm up. Read into this whatever you will, but when media are allowed to watch only stretching portions of practice, this is as noteworthy as practice reports get.