Ever since Dick Vermeil led the 2003 Kansas City Chiefs to a 13-3 record, their offensive line has been devolving into the mess that it became in 2014. From juggernaut to just awful. Now, the 2015 Chiefs are faced with the ominous task of returning the front five to fabulous. Or, as I have often thought in the past ten years, it’s time to recreate the juggernaut of strong men on the offensive line that once existed in fountain town.
Look at the once proud tradition of the 2003 Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Line.
T Willie Roaf (Hall of Fame)
“Probably the best pure left tackle to ever play this game.” ~ Brian Waters
G Will Shields (Hall of Fame)
“Will Shields represents what’s best, not only on the field but off the field.” ~ Lamar Hunt
C Casey Wiegmann
“…played 10,141 consecutive snaps, the longest stretch by an offensive lineman.”
G Brian Waters
6 Pro Bowls while playing for 4 different Chiefs head coaches. He also won the 2009 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
T John Tait
“A pure left tackle with no physical weaknesses.” ~ Sports Illustrated
So, as Chiefs fans, we have this not so distant point of reference for understanding what greatness looks like in an offensive line… on the field as well as off. The question now becomes: what will have to happen for the Chiefs to build the juggernaut offensive line they once had in Kansas City?
Let’s begin by taking a look at what, or who, the Chiefs have already got in house to help make up this new “juggernaut.”
Left Tackle: Eric Fisher
Eric Fisher was recently seen at his alma mater, Central Michigan, at their Pro Day, where he said among other things,
"“I’m really looking forward to having a breakout year this year and getting that Pro Bowl invite and do whatever I can to make a name for myself and continue my career on.”"
That’s exactly what it will take for Eric Fisher to fulfill the promise and hope many have been placing in him. More importantly, that’s also what we need to hear coming out of the mouth of someone who can serve as the LT cornerstone of a juggernaut offensive line.
Whether you’re an Eric Fisher supporter or not, Head Coach Andy Reid is on the hook to see what Fisher can do in 2015. Reid stated, “So we are looking forward to him having the offseason and being able to lift… adding a little weight
What we should expect from Eric Fisher this coming season is an improved punch, better leg work not only an improvement in protecting the edge but defending the bull rush. Plus, he should hold up better as games wear on and the season wears down.
If that happens then yes, Eric Fisher could be the LT cornerstone needed to help create that juggernaut this team is needing to dominate in 2015.
Left Guard: Ben Grubbs
Ben Grubbs has been to two Pro Bowls and is an excellent pass blocker but traditionally not as good a run blocker. Here are the plus and minus numbers given by Pro Football Focus over the past 7 years of this career.
This chart doesn’t include Grubbs rookie season when his scores were inconsequential. Since then, Ben Grubbs career is filled with positive results. Should Chiefs fans be concerned about his downtick last season? Perhaps, but he was lined up next to a first year LT in Terron Armstead. Being part of a team that goes 2-4 in their first 6 games and which suffered a 3-game losing streak in the middle of the season, is enough to de-inspire anyone.
There’s no reason to believe Grubbs won’t have a bounce back year and dominate like he has for many other years. Apparently, Ben Grubbs likes to dominate too. He is not only a winner but a huge competitor. When he was signed by the Chiefs he said,
"“I’ve won a lot in my career and that’s why I’m here…. I like to see players (I’m up against) quit and I like to win.”"
Grubbs is also aware of what kind of effect he’ll have on his younger Chiefs cohorts.
"“I know that they’re in a different stage of their lives right now. I’m married with four kids, but I’ve been there and hopefully they allow me to teach them what I know.”"
Grubbs appears to be the player who will not only be a great fit but be helpful to other Chiefs offensive linemen who are hoping to get to where he is at performance wise.
Could Ben Grubbs be counted on to provide a juggernaut LG. Yes.
Unless there is an injury to Fisher or Grubbs they are 99.9% likely to be the choices at LT and LG for the Chiefs in 2015. The picture is not nearly as clear at Center, RG or RT. From here on out, I’ll be giving you the top three possibilities at Center and Right Guard, then several at Right Tackle.
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