Burning Pre-Camp Questions For The Kansas City Chiefs

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2. Who will emerge as the starter at right guard?

O-Line

With the departure of both players who logged starts at right guard last year (Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah), one of the Chiefs’ biggest holes in 2014 is at right guard. According to Pro Football Focus, the tandem were the two highest-ranked guards available when free agency opened. That position was one of a precious few strengths along the Chiefs young offensive line. This year, with Schwartz, Asamoah, and Branden Albert all defecting for other teams, the group is even younger and more inexperienced.

As it stands, Kansas City has roughly four options to fill the vacancy left by their two departed veterans. The quartet is comprised of rookie Zach Fulton, recent violator of the league’s substance abuse policy Rokevious Watkins, veteran Jeff Linkenbach, and former Seahawk Rishaw Johnson. That group probably doesn’t inspire much confidence among members of the Kingdom. The most promising members of this bunch are also the least experienced.

Fulton has promise, but as a sixth-round pick he needs time to refine his game. To his credit, he did show well during OTA’s and was able to snare a few first team snaps. There’s some thought that he could compete and have a legitimate shot at winning the job outright. The Chiefs haven’t put pads on yet, so it might be a bit too premature to expect Fulton to do so. Watkins has been slapped with a four-game suspension so he’s the least likely of the group to earn the spot. Rishaw Johnson appeared to be the favorite going in to the offseason, but reports suggest he’s done little to separate himself. Linkenbach is the elder statesman, but might be the least talented (he received a -8.1 grade from PFF in 2013).

This is sure to be one of the hotly-contested position battles on the Missouri Western fields, but it’ll likely be resolved during the team’s preseason contests. I’d venture to guess that this is a two-horse race between Fulton and Johnson. Rishaw Johnson was fortunate to have earned his first NFL start in the Week 17 matchup with the San Diego Chargers (when Coach Reid rested his regular starters). Johnson played well and gave himself the early lead. Time will tell if it’s actually his job to lose.

What say you, Addicts? Are there other important position battles that’ll be settled over the next five weeks? Will Justin Houston make his way to St. Joseph for camp? Are there other pressing issues the franchise is faced with? Use the comment section below to continue the conversation. Your thoughts are always welcome here. Thanks for stopping by. As always, we appreciate your readership and support.

Until next time, Addicts!

 

 

 

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  • tm1946

    Am betting Dorsey is working hard to take care of Houston and Smith. And if Hali has not turned into a teletubbie, Ford might need to fill in for Houston. Not all that hopeful for the start of the season with the status of the OL but Reid should have that fixed by midseason.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I think a lot of people expect this offensive line to hit the ground running. I’m not in that camp either. I think having two guys at new positions and a completely new body in at right guard will come with some growing pains. Especially early in the year. Unfortunately, that’s when this team plays some of its toughest games. Reid will really have to scheme around a young group of offensive linemen trying to get their bearings.

  • Redblack564

    If Houston holds out and has a bad or off year he is costing himself millions on his next contract. Just sayin . U SIGN A DEAL . Honor that deal. 1.4 mil. Is a lot more than I make

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I’ve never really been in that camp. Teams ask players to restructure. They also terminate contracts. I see no reason why players can’t do the same.

      • Andy

        You are right, contacts are what they used to be.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          Houston deserves a new deal. It’s REALLY bad timing for the Chiefs, but hopefully they can arrive at a solution before this gets ugly. If I were Dorsey though, I sign Smith first and re-up with Houston when the new league year starts.

          • Andy

            This is a sticky wicket. Houston has to be looking at a possible injury if he plays under his current contract. He also has to feel under paid.
            The chief’s have two important players to sign, very soon.
            Unfortunately, things don’t get much easier next year.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Good news is, a few other players could walk to create space and the cap should get another bump.

          • Andy

            A friend of mine Rich, (just passed away in May) was an astute judge of talent. Poli never picked any of his choices. He liked Cobb, and kuechly, just to name a few. I was amazed at the players he knew and liked, that I never heard of.. We would text back and forth during the draft. I say all that to say, He loved the Fulton pick.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            The Chiefs appear to as well. It’ll be a hell of a story if he becomes the Day 1 starter at right guard.

          • tm1946

            That is good new, not so much for me.

          • tm1946

            Wish I was so sure of who to re-sign first or at all. If eitherboth get very unreasonable, well face it, the Chief’s are still putting together their first DorseyReid team, they cannot handicap themselves with another Bowe kind of contract much less two.

            The Chiefs may have to satisfy themselves and the fans with the guys who they can afford until after the 2015 season. It is easy for fans to say sign this guy or pay this guy but Dorsey has an entire roster to contend with. Also it is to easy for fans to “fall in love” with a favorite over team considerations and the future.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Interesting. You certainly seem convinced Dorsey make a mistake with Bowe’s contract (just one year into the deal). When in fact, they can part ways with Bowe after the season and get significant cap relief in doing so.

            Both Smith and Houston deserve new deals. Whether or not their contract demands will fall within the front office’s wheelhouse remains to be seen. Both players are needed for the window of opportunity closing with the previous regimes aging core players. Most well-meaning bloggers/fans hope to see the two sides meet in the middle to get the deals done.

            Those fans realize there are other players and the future to consider, but I’m not sure any of them think these aren’t still pressing contract matters in the here and now.

          • Andy

            Not sure how you would prioritize who to sign first. Smith is making 7+ million. Maybe he could stomach to get signed second more than Houston. Smith is in camp.
            Bottom line with Houston, I wouldn’t talk to a player until he shows up for work.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            I made my case in the article above. The Chiefs have much less leverage with Smith than they do with Houston. Dee Ford is a capable outside linebacker with a high ceiling. The Chiefs have no real replacements for Smith as of yet. I “think” Murray will eventually be that guy, but it’s a bit crazy to expect him to be ready to take over in 2015 in a season where he’s still rehabbing his knee. Bray hasn’t figured it out yet and Daniel’s as limited a quarterback as you’ll find in this league. Couple that with quarterback being the more important position and Smith having been present at all offseason activities and there’s your winner. IF his demands can be harmonized with what the Chiefs are willing to pay. If not, Houston’s a great consolation prize.

  • freshmeat62

    I have no sympathy for Houston. He got the contract he deserved by being drafted where he was. As I remember he dropped in the draft because of some positive drug test. It’s his own fault. I don’t care, let him set out a year and then stick the franchise tag on him. Let the bum waste away for a couple of years, and then see what he’s worth.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I’d love to do some research and see what the likelihood is of re-signing a player long-term after being slapped with the franchise tag. I think that often becomes the final nail in the coffin. He may never play here again, once we no longer have his rights, if we delay this negotiation for two years.

  • Reggie Flenory

    And while everybody has been worried about the recievers the offensive line is our biggest weakness and that scares me because nothing happens on offense without protection and our o line struggled greatly last year because fisher got hamdled for most of the yr

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Now he’s on the left side protecting Alex’s blind side. Without having had the offseason to get stronger (because of his shoulder surgery).

      • Reggie Flenory

        They said hes bulked up in the off season but yeah hes missed all of mini camp but as long as hes a full go for training camp ill take it

        • Stacy D. Smith

          I hope you’re right. I’m just wondering when he had time to do it. He had two different surgeries this offseason.

          • Reggie Flenory

            I knowmright honestly im scRared cuz it can all fall apart with poor line play so fast and there would be no quick fix

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Hope these guys get adjusted quickly.

    • Andy

      I agree with your assessment of the OL. It just isn’t the quality, but an OL needs to play together, continuity.
      But, I’m still not worried. First, most everyone on the offense knows Reid system. Second, Reid is a genius.

  • Andy

    The other interesting thing to watch is how Dorsey handles Houston. This well set the tone for future holdouts.
    In regards to Houston and Smith, there is an elephant in the room. Both are looking at the inflated contacts that Bowe and our punter got.

  • Nick the Kick

    If they don’t get rid of these valvoline ads that won’t close I am done with AA

  • David

    Houston’s biggest concern is injury. Had he not been injured last year, he most likely would have became a legitimate super star last season. This year if he gets hurt again, injury concerns are going to limit his payday. The solution is to get that big payday before the season starts.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      For Houston, I’m not convinced last year’s injury makes an extension a priority for the Chiefs.

  • Rob Ross

    IMHO signing Houston should be the priority right now. He has obviously proven his worth as a legitimate pro bowler at his position and is grossly underpaid. I don’t blame him a bit for wanting some financial insurance before heading into this season.
    Alex Smith, as much as I like him is just not worth over 15 mill a year. Don’t get me wrong, I love what he accomplished last season. He did more than almost anyone expected and I think he has more than proven his adequacy moving forward. However if he wants elite money he’s got more to prove. I would definitely keep him where he is unless he agrees to a 3 yr 45 mill type of deal. We can have him this year and franchise him the next depending on his performance this season. I think it would be extremely foolish for the Chiefs to allow themselves to get Cutlered or Flaccoed this year or any other year for that matter.
    Although I am not exactly pleased that Huston has missed so much mandatory practice. I think he needs to be paid and the Chiefs need to pay him NOW NOT LATER. Get it done and move on. The Chiefs need every advantage they can get this season though I have much more confidence in them than most of the writers and bloggers on these sights. I predicted 10 wins last season and I will predict 10 wins this season, regardless of the schedule. GO CHIEFS!!!

  • Andy

    Stacy, how might I correspond with you directly? I have a couple questions