Chiefs OL: Winning At Musical Chairs
By Laddie Morse
Although Eric Fisher has been penciled in here since Branden Albert flew the coop, Fisher’s off season rehabs from shoulder surgery and a sports-hernia operation made his transition from RT to LT look like it was going to be a faiure for the organization. However, Fisher’s steady progress has him firmly entrenched at LT for the foreseeable future barring any further injuries, knock on Redwoods. With Andy Reid making the decision to use much maligned Mike MCGlynn at LG it appears that even if Fisher was not progressing he’d probably get the rest of this season to hold down the fort and at worst be moved back to RT in the event he gets QB Alex Smith maimed or IR-ed.
Jeff Allen was slotted for this spot but the suspension of Donald Stephenson had coach Reid believing Allen could easily slide to right tackle, a position he’d played in college, without having practiced it much for the Chiefs. Allen injured his elbow in game one against the Tennessee Titans and four days later had surgery, ending his season. Mike McGlynn was chosen by coach Reid to fill in for Allen upon his move to right tackle and although Allen’s injury impacts the Chiefs line-up immediately at right tackle, it impacts the line-up long term, and to a greater extent, at left guard.
Rodney Hudson has been the incumbent and projected starter at center for the past year. Two years ago he broke a bone in his left leg in game three against the New Orleans Saints. Since missing the rest of that season, Hudson has established himself as the starter which has always been the plan for the Chiefs who choose him in the second round of the 2011 draft. While Rodney Hudson is developing into a solid center for the Chiefs he doesn’t look to have the upside required to become an all-pro in the future.
Zach Fulton was the Chiefs 6th round pick in this year’s draft in May. Fulton moved to K.C. and almost immediately took over the reigns at right guard from presumed starter Rishaw Johnson (who has since been traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) after Jon Asamoah left town. Fulton seems to do a little better in pass protection than in run blocking, especially when he attempts to get down field or tries to block in space.
In ten days the Chiefs will have Donald Stephenson back, the player initially projected to start at right tackle when the season began. In Stephenson’s absence, Jeff Allen gave it his best one game effort only to end up on the IR and lost for the year. Then Ryan Harris took over. The Chiefs summer signing (July 23rd) of Harris has paid off for both the Chiefs and the former Broncos third round selection (70th overall) in the 2007 draft.
As of August 24th, about a month ago, Pro Football Focus published the following information showing their ratings through three preseason games for most Chiefs offensive linemen, just prior to the Chiefs signing their current left guard Mike McGlynn on August 27th (which is why he’s not listed here).
Although these are just preseason stats, these numbers look close to my own evaluations of how the offensive linemen have performed in the first two games of the 2014 season. Which is not very good, except for RT Ryan Harris. For the most part, everyone is worse in pass protection than in run blocking. Although LG Mike McGlynn is not listed in the above chart, his performance so far this year is the worst of any of the Chiefs linemen including rookie Zach Fulton.
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“Chiefs OL: Winning At Musical Chairs”