Lyle’s Take: I’ve been preaching offensive line since the 2014 season came to a close and I’m not going to stop now. When I make my way up to camp I plan on spending one entire day watching the OL. There are just so many intriguing stories there. Has Eric Fisher finally added the muscle needed to step up and become a quality NFL left tackle? Will Ben Grubbs stand out as KC’s best lineman or is he starting to decline? Can Eric Kush hold off Mitch Morse at center? Assuming KC doesn’t sign Evan Mathis, can Zach Fulton hold off Morse and the vastly overrated Jeff Allen at RG? Can Allen challenge Donald Stephenson at RT where Allen’s athleticism may be better suited? This training camp is all about the offensive line for me. I’m excited to hear and see how other guys are doing as well, but the fate of the 2015 season lies in the trenches.
My Take: I fully believe the offensive line will be better in 2015 than it was in 2014. However, “better” doesn’t necessarily mean “good”. The group as a whole has a ton to prove, especially with only two spots apparently decided as far as starters go (Eric Fisher and Ben Grubbs). There are a lot of questions left to be answered, and almost none of them are the kinds of questions you want to have at this point in the season. The offensive line could very well be all that stands in the way of the Chiefs being a championship-caliber team.
- Matt Verderame: Right Guard
Matt’s Take: As for my camp battle to watch, I’m looking at right guard. Zach Fulton is entering his second year and played all 16 games last season. He was good at times but left plenty to be desired. He gets to the second level in the run game but has a hard time locking onto his target. He is mobile, however, something his counterpart Paul Fanaika is not.Fanaika is a mauler who is a better pass-blocker at this point. On film, Fanaika is great at stonewalling a rusher. If he gets his hands on you, it is over. That said, he struggles to pull and get out in space. With the Chiefs liking screens and tosses as much as they do, that has to be a serious concern.
Then there is Jeff Allen. Does he win the job if Donald Stephenson locks down the right tackle spot? If Reid puts him in that group, he’s clearly the best player.
I want Allen to win this job and left Fulton and Fanaika back up both Grubbs and Allen. To me, that group is excellent if arranged that way. However, if Allen is not an option, give me Fulton.
My Take: Right guard is also at the top of my list for position battles to watch. You can put me among those that believe the Chiefs should be going after Evan Mathis. I don’t feel comfortable with the options currently on the roster. Fulton showed some ability, but I believe that he is going to be better suited as a backup in the NFL. Paul Fanaika is a journeyman that we should really hope doesn’t win the job. And Jeff Allen is the guy that has already been replaced by Ben Grubbs. He’s also one of only two players on this line that is a holdover from the previous regime.
That’s all from me, Addicts. Special thanks to all my fellow writers who helped out. If you aren’t following them on Twitter, be sure to do so! They’re constantly providing great takes!