As their roster stands now, the Kansas City Chiefs have one of the youngest offensive lines in the NFL. The oldest lineman on the roster is recent free agent addition Jeff Linkenbach (26). LT Eric Fisher (23), RT Donald Stephenson (25), G Jeff Allen (24) and C Rodney Hudson (24) are currently projected as starters.
The Chiefs have not said much about their plans for the remaining guard spot. They could make it a priority through the draft or free agency, or possibly stay in-house with guys like Linkenbach and Rishaw Johnson competing for the job. Regardless of the team’s plans at guard, they will be dependent on untapped potential for improvement from the line.
The Chiefs lost a lot of production when Branden Albert, Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah hit the road last March. This season, the offense will be counting on a group of less-than-proven players to protect Alex Smith and clear space for Jamaal Charles. Smith did a tremendous job of avoiding pressure with his feet last season, but running for his life hardly helped his production as a passer.
The offense has to put more points on the board this year. The defense carried the team to the 9-0 start in 2013, but it fell apart in the second half of the season. The offense will not likely be able to coast through nine early wins again. especially with the much tougher 2014 schedule. The offensive improvement will start with the offensive line, and it has plenty of room to grow.
Fisher had a terrible start to his rookie season, but finished the year strong. Stephenson, Hudson and Allen have all been solid thus far, but their sample sizes have been pretty small. In order to keep building on last season’s success, Kansas City will need the young offensive line to realize their potential. Bringing in some help certainly wouldn’t hurt either.
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