Chiefs offensive line shows potential In preseason opener

6 of 7

Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Chiefs guard Zach Fulton (73) blocks against Arizona Cardinals defensive end Frostee Rucker (98) at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Chiefs 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Grubbs – After the debacle at left guard last season it’s a good thing that the average fan watching the game probably never noticed Grubbs. While I never saw Grubbs make any “wow” plays, that’s not really what KC needs. Grubbs did his job, every play. He blocked his man. Even if he never returns to his Pro Bowl-caliber play from a few years ago, if he just does his job and stabilizes the left guard spot he’ll be well worth the fifth-round pick they gave up for him.

Mitch Morse – Morse was the lineman that Arizona attacked on the Alex Smith interception. They blitzed both inside linebackers at him, one of each side. Morse picked up one and unfortunately Knile Davis went to that same side leaving one linebacker coming unblocked right up the middle at Smith. Smith then made a horrible throw (assuming Avant ran the correct route).

To an outsider, it looks like Davis made the wrong call on the blitz pickup, but we have no way of knowing what the assignment was. Maybe Morse was supposed to pick up the guy on his left since there was a back behind him on the right. However, the rest of the night was really solid for the rookie getting first-team action in his first NFL game.

I felt like he held his ground against bull rushes a little better than Kush does and he also showed his athleticism on the long draw play run by Davis. Morse was way down the field leading the way for Davis. All in all a promising debut for the rookie.

Zach Fulton – I’m encouraged by Fulton’s play. He looked like he might be coming around at the end of last season and that seemed to carry over to Saturday night. If we once again sat someone down who didn’t know the Chiefs at all and told them one of our guards is a guy that has made multiple Pro Bowls and one is a second-year, sixth-round draft pick that is fighting for a starting job, I don’t know if they would have been able to tell which one was which.

That’s not a knock on Grubbs, it’s just that like Grubbs, Fulton did his job in this game. It wasn’t flashy, but there also weren’t any real issues. If Saturday night was an indication of how Grubbs, Morse, and Fulton will play all season then the interior of KC’s line will be much improved despite the loss of Rodney Hudson.

Jeff Allen – I feel bad for Allen for having to leave with an injury in his first action after coming back from his injury last season. I haven’t been the biggest fan of Allen the player, but Allen the person seems like a great guy. Five plays isn’t much to go off in terms of evaluating Allen. On the three pass plays Allen did fine. He didn’t get any real push on one running play and he fell down (possibly when the injury occurred?) that led to a stuffed run on another. Hopefully he’ll be back to 100 percent soon enough to compete for the right tackle job and show what he can do.

Donald Stephenson – Stephenson came in on the second series in relief of Allen and played pretty well. He just looks a lot more natural in pass protection than Allen. While I like Allen’s effort more than Stephenson who sometimes looks like he might not be giving 100 percent all the time, there is no denying that he has the natural ability to be really good.

If he’ll just seize the opportunity that Allen’s injury is giving him and make the most of it, it would probably be the best-case scenario for KC. His ceiling is just higher than Allen’s. There was one run play where he almost looked disinterested in blocking and then another where he and Fulton combo blocked a guy completely out of the way and opened a nice hole for Davis. Consistency is the key.

That brings us to the second-string line. One thing that I think is worth noting is that for Chase Daniel’s first series Stephenson stayed in the game and moved over to left tackle. I was expecting Derek Sherrod to then be at right tackle, but for that first series of the second string KC used Jarrod Pughsley at right tackle. Then the next series Stephenson was done for the day, Pughsley moved to left tackle and Sherrod came in at right. To me, that insinuates that Pughsley is ahead of Sherrod right now. Maybe I am reading too much into things, but I thought it was at least worth mentioning.

Next: Moving onto the second-string OL