Full disclosure: I was initially opposed to general manager John Dorsey acquiring free agent guard Evan Mathis. That time has come and gone. It’s clear to me now that signing him is a moral imperative for this football team. Okay, perhaps it’s of no moral consequence, but it’s really important.
Midway through the 2015 preseason, there’s concern that offensive line woes might continue for the Kansas City Chiefs. Honest question: With Eric Fisher and Jeff Allen injured, what offensive lineman–not named Ben Grubbs–do you have confidence in heading into the regular season? If I could hazard a guess, that question conjured up the image of Donald Stephenson for a third of my readers. For the rest of you, I’m not sure any other name qualifies (if you’re being honest). Is Kansas City on the business end of another series of unfortunate events along their offensive line?
Friday night’s home preseason opener may have provided real insight into that question. Offensive production, this preseason for the Chiefs, has to be taken with a grain of salt. Jamaal Charles has been a limited participant thus far, and without his contribution, it’s impossible to qualify what we’ve seen from the first team offense. That said, I think the first few offensive series of Friday’s exhibition were telling. Seattle’s defense could’ve written an early book on how to defend Kansas City.
Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Without reliable pass protection, you can cheat up, corral the Chiefs’ ground game, and squat on the passing lanes underneath. Remember the Bobby Wagner pick-6 of Alex Smith? It was excellent recognition on the part of the Pro Bowl middle linebacker, but it might also be the by-product of an offense without sufficient time to set anything else up down the field. Alex Smith’s limitations are amplified under duress. He’s not the kind of quarterback who’ll regularly slide his feet to avoid pressure and later make a throw. He’s also unlikely to force a throw into tight coverage. If you can’t keep a defense honest in the NFL, they’ll smother you.
Enter Evan Mathis.
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