Nov 9, 2014; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tackle Eric Fisher (72) during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Then: Branden Albert, Jeff Allen, Ryan Lilja, Jon Asamoah, Eric Winston, Donald Stephenson, Rodney Hudson, Russ Hochstein
Now: Eric Fisher, Ben Grubbs, Mitch Morse, Donald Stephenson, Jeff Allen, Zach Fulton, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Paul Fanaika, Jah Reid
(Note: as of writing this the Chiefs haven’t announced who they are dropping to make room for Jah Reid)
If there is one position that fans could question in John Dorsey’s tenure, its the offensive line. While the line MAY be upgraded over last season I don’t know if you can say it is better than it was in 2012. The five main starters that season were Albert, Allen, Lilja, Asamoah, and Winston. As a point of reference, those five combined for a Pro Football Focus grade of +40.0 with Jeff Allen’s -18.0 being the only negative grade.
The combined grade of Fisher, McGlynn, Hudson, Fulton, and Harris last season was a -53.3 with Rodney Hudson’s +13.0 being the only positive grade. That’s an overall grade swing of 93.3 points in the wrong direction. Now, PFF’s grades are not the end all be all of evaluation, but they do at least give you a general idea of how players are doing and in this case the difference is clear and not very promising.
Thankfully, the Chiefs added a quality starter in Ben Grubbs during the offseason to fill the biggest hole on the line (left guard) and while they lost their one good player (Hudson) it appears the guy they drafted to replace him (Morse) is going to be a solid starter as a rookie. The offensive line will hopefully take a step forward this season but I don’t feel confident it will be enough to say it’s better than it was when Dorsey arrived.
Even though I may not love the state of the Chiefs offensive line, its not that I have issues with the players that John Dorsey has let go. Yes, Branden Albert was a good left tackle, but his price tag and injury problems made letting him walk the right thing to do. Likewise, Hudson’s price tag just got too steep to make bringing him back realistic. Eric Winston wasn’t a great fit in KC for numerous reasons that some might call “sickening and disgusting”. About the only guy I wish KC had held onto was Asamoah who would have been an upgrade at right guard both last year and this year (although he’s hurt right now too).
Regardless, my beef with the offensive line is less about who he’s let leave and more about the lack of guys he’s brought in. He’s basically had to rebuild the entire offensive line but has really only gone out and invested anything in three players (Eric Fisher, Mitch Morse, and Ben Grubbs). He’s tried to fill the remaining holes with holdovers and castaways and it just hasn’t cut it thus far. After giving Dorsey clear wins for the first four positions I’m afraid he’s going to have to take the “L” on this one.
Next up, the defensive line….
Next: Defensive Line