It has been several days since the Kansas City Chiefs visited the Los Angeles Rams in the second week of the NFL preseason. This has given me a chance to re-watch the game multiple times and see what the Chiefs can take from an uneven performance. The easy thing to do right after the game is jump on Parker Ehinger and the rookie defensive backs for a poor showing. Also upon initial viewing, the Chiefs struggled to stop the run with bad positioning.
But maybe we should pump the brakes on these reactions and look at what the Chiefs have to build on moving forward.
Parker Ehinger’s issues will be addressed quickly.
Most of what I saw when looking specifically at Ehinger on the offense was technique that is coachable and eventually fixable. When lined up against some of the best defensive linemen in the NFL, Ehinger kept his pad level too high and allowed opponents into his chest. When a defensive lineman gets into your chest you are beat regardless of how strong or big you are. Once he gets just how fast NFL linemen can get off the ball he will be able to keep his pad level low and do better in pass protection.
Before each snap Alex Smith and Mitch Morse take a look at the defense and call out a protection. This can be a tough thing for a rookie offensive lineman to learn quickly as defenses in the NFL change fast. On a play in the first quarter Ehinger got confused on who to block and ended up late on his double team with Morse on the noseguard. This results in heavy pressure on Smith. Luckily, Smith kept cool and delivered the ball to Maclin for a first down.
This occurred throughout the first team’s time on the field but should not limit Ehinger’s development as a left guard, only increase it. He showed often during run plays where he wasn’t required to pull that he has the strength and ability to drive people off the ball. As long as he continues to work against tough competition he will get better.
Next: March and trade bait