As the Kansas City Chiefs prepare for the first game of the 2013 regular season, they’ll find themselves facing two players who many Chiefs fans should be pretty familiar with.
The first is Luke Joeckel, the former Texas A&M star offensive tackle who many thought the Chiefs should have drafted with the first overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft. The Chiefs, instead, went with offensive tackle Eric Fisher out of Central Michigan, and Joeckel fell to the Jaguars at No. 2.
The second, is Blaine Gabbert, who was the star quarterback at Missouri before being drafted by the Jaguars in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Both players could be considered household names around Chiefs’ Kingdom due to their emotional proximity to Kansas City, and Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid recently discussed them, according to a recent Chiefs Communications press release.
Here’s what he had to say about Joeckel:
“I think he’s a heck of a player. He’s a good football player. I thought he was a good football player coming out of (Texas) A&M, and I think he’s carried that over into the preseason and what he’s done there.”
Q: What tilted it between Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel?
REID: “I’m not going to get into all that. We ended up taking Eric (Fisher), but I thought both of them were good football players and both of them will have long football careers in the National Football League, very successful careers. We made the decision we made, and that’s what we did.”
Reid also gave his thoughts on Gabbert:
“The times that he’s played, he’s been banged up a bit this year, but from the times that he’s played, he is very efficient. He did a very nice job executing the offense and they were productive. I liked him coming out of Missouri, and I like what he’s done in training camp.”
When Kansas City heads down to Jacksonville this Sunday both Joeckel and Gabbert will undoubtedly play a huge role in what Jacksonville will try to do offensively. Note: Gabbert could be game-day decision because of a broken thumb, according to the Associate Press.
Look for Kansas City to really pressure Joeckle at the line of scrimmage in an effort to rattle both him and the Jaguars’ quarterback. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton could essentially kill two birds with one stone by applying pressure on the rookie offensive lineman, so don’t be surprised if the Chiefs bring the heat early and often.
Keep in mind, this will also be a big game for Eric Fisher, as one can only imagine that he’ll be looking to prove the Chiefs right for picking him over Joeckel. One organization will definitely come out looking smarter than the other based on the play of these two offensive linemen.
There are a ton of story lines heading into game one of the 2013 regular season. The Kansas City connection to both Gabbert and Joeckel are among those talking points.
As if you needed another reason to tune in this Sunday…