FanPost

Breaking Down the O-Line - Season Review

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At one point in the season the Chiefs offense was so bad fans didn't know what to think.  Some laid blame at the feet of the QB, others the RB, and yet others the Receivers.  The offensive line received the worst ridicule.

That's when I decided to start reviewing the offensive line tapes and grade them.  Why not?  It seemed like I did it 24/7 when I was a football coach.  I think I used to get some sadistic pleasure out of breaking down film.  Maybe that is why I found pleasure in doing it again.  Hope those of you at AP have gotten some value out of it.

In general I am confident when I say that the Kansas City Chiefs offensive line got better as the year went along.  In addition to each of the starters making progress, the line as a whole was more of one cohesive unit.  Is it good enough?  No, and I think Haley would agree.

In this post I have gone back and reviewed all the notes I took after reviewing film.  The result is my 2009 season review of each lineman.

Here are the reviews for the Kansas City Chiefs starting lineman...

 

Branden Albert
LINE AWARD Game Grades After a Review of the Tape
Branden_albert_medium

 

 

1

 

Jags Raiders Steelers Chargers Broncos Bills Bronocs
Run Block 80%
70%
64%
82%
90%
91%
87%
Pass Block 90%
95%
82%
90%
93%
85%
98%

Strength after reviewing the tape:  Very athletic.  Has potential to be a complete player.  Has ability to zone block (reach block), make second level blocks (blocks on linebackers), pass block, and zone block during run plays (as apposed to a mauler).    If he does not end up at left tackle...has all the abilities to be a great guard in a zone blocking scheme.

Weakness after reviewing the tape:  May or may not be a left tackle.  Looked awkward with footwork and punch in first 2/3 of the season.  Is not a road grater that some teams want out of their tackle.  He is to inconsistent at this point to be considered a lock at left tackle. 

Reviewer's Summery:  Albert is defiantly an NFL starter.  It remains to be seen  whether that is at left tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs or left guard.  There was a lot of improvement with his footwork, balance, and punch the last few games.  If the Chiefs draft a lineman with the number one pick in the NFL draft then Albert could remain at left tackle or may move to left guard. 

Brian Waters LINE AWARD Game Grades After a Review of the Tape
Brian_waters_medium

 

 

4

 

Jags Raiders Steelers Chargers Broncos Bills Bronocs
Run Block 94% 92% 68% 73% 90% 85% 87%
Pass Block 100% 93% 77% 95% 98% 95% 90%

Strength after reviewing the tape:  Veteran leadership.  One thing most Chief fans know is that Brian Waters is very loyal.  Add his experience with playing with some of the best lineman in NFL history and you have a great teacher.  Waters may be in the last quarter of his career but he still knows how to get the job done.

Weakness after reviewing the tape:  Waters was beat a lot more than his percentages indicate.  But being the veteran he is...he found a way to hold, sling, punch, cut, or anything else he could do to get the job done.  Veterans do that.   Zone blocking and pulling into space may come into question as Waters gets older.  As it did in the last couple of games this year.

Reviewer's Summery:  Waters still has a few years left in him.  His abilities as a veteran to guide younger players and promote line continuity is priceless.  Former KC center Tim Grunhard suggested on a popular radio broadcast that Waters might look good if moved to center...I might agree.  If the Chiefs take an offensive lineman in the first round of the NFL draft then we might see Waters move back to the position he came into the league playing, center.

Rudy Niswanger
LINE AWARD Game Grades After a Review of the Tape
Rudy_niswanger_medium

 

 

0

 

Jags Raiders Steelers Chargers Broncos Bills Bronocs
Run Block 91%
75%
50%
67%
78%
75%
87%
Pass Block 84%
93%
75%
95%
93%
93%
98%

Strength after reviewing the tape:  Versatile lineman.  Rudy can play center or guard.  The more a player can do the more valuable he is to a team.  He is athletic enough to zone block and pull (if he played guard).

Weakness after reviewing the tape:  Niswanger has trouble with the big nose tackles, but who doesn't.  He was "driven" the most out of all the lineman this season.   Sometimes plays to high for a center which allows those defensive beasts, the NTs, to get under his pads.  Still needs work sealing the deal with blocks at the second level.

Reviewer's Summery:  Niswanger has made himself into a valuable asset.  He continued to improve during the season so if he does end up playing center next year he will come in better than he did this year.  He played very good in the last game against Denver.  If things shake up due to the drafting of some lineman...then look for Rudy fight for a starting job or be a quality backup. 

Wade Smith
LINE AWARD Game Grades After a Review of the Tape
Wade_smith_medium

 

 

0

 

Jags Raiders Steelers Chargers Broncos Bills Bronocs
Run Block --
--
67%
91%
78%
70%
80%
Pass Block --
--
88%
84%
86%
93%
95%

Strength after reviewing the tape:  Versatile lineman.  Smith played left tackle and center before settling in at right guard.  Like Niswanger, Wade is a valuable asset with his ability to play multiple positions.  He has a good understanding of when to pass defenders off and good vision when picking up loop stunts.  He is athletic, can zone block, and can get to the second level.

Weakness after reviewing the tape:  Has trouble in the run game.   This is not really a surprise because his trouble in pass protection, which is his strength, is the bull rush.  Not sure Wade has enough "mauler" in him to be a multiple year starter...we will see.

Reviewer's Summery:  Wade Smith made good strides at the end of the season.  If he continues to start at right guard next year he will have to continue to get better.  If there is a shake up in the line through the draft or free agency...look for Smith to be another valuable Chiefs backup. 


LINE AWARD Game Grades After a Review of the Tape
Ryan_ocallaghan_medium

 

 

3

 

Jags Raiders Steelers Chargers Broncos Bills Bronocs
Run Block 92%
92%
67%
91%
78%
97%
91%
Pass Block 92%
88%
77%
83%
89%
90%
85%

Strength after reviewing the tape:  Might be the only mauler type out of all the starters (Waters is no longer a mauler).  O'Callaghan has flashes of being a mainstay right tackle:  received three top lineman awards.  Since coming to the Chiefs he has improved his footwork and continues to get better as a pass blocker.    

Weakness after reviewing the tape:  Does not give the appearance of being very athletic.  Sometimes has trouble with second level blocks when the play is going away from him (those are very hard blocks though).  Is the worst cut blocker on the team...this might be due to his lack of athleticism.  Would like to see him seal the edge a little more often in the run game.  Not quite the person you think of when looking for zone blockers.    

Reviewer's Summery:  To the Chiefs fan, O'Callaghan was a god send.  Ryan was able to hold down the right tackle spot when the Chiefs really needed it.  If he continues to improve he may be the right tackle for a few years.  If the Chiefs bring in someone for more competition...then look for Ryan O'Callaghan to give them a fight. 

 

Later, I will be coming out with a review on the zone blocking scheme and how the line-play grew more complicated as the season went along.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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