The Chiefs offensive line will be an interesting position to keep track of this season because it is a work in progress. The coaching staff has done a good job of getting the ball out quickly with short passes and limiting their exposure with the run game. The offensive line is going to take time to develop. They are still learning how to properly pass off stunts, blitzes and pick up the correct defenders.
I graded the Chiefs five starters from the Dolphins game where they gave up five sacks.
The Chiefs need to work on their pass protection. Teams will see the following sacks on tape and will try to duplicate those stunts/blitzes. Here is what the Chiefs have to correct.
The First Sack
The first sack is against a four man front. Dolphins lineman Randy Starks bull rushes Mike McGlynn back to Alex Smith's spot in the pocket.
Smith is forced to step up in the pocket but is tripped by Starks and avoids a massive his from Derrick Shelby.
The Second Sack
The Dolphins bring a delayed blitz on the second sack. Cameron Wake beats Anthony Fasano on the right side to get upfield. Harris turns his back from the pass rush and attempts to help.
Dolphins' Jelani Jenkins sees Harris turning his back. He comes on the delayed blitz. Smith has already had to get off his spot by the time his back foot hits on his drop. He is flushed up into the pocket because of Wake's pass rush. Smith spins away from Jenkins but is hit by Olivier Vernon on the left side. So that is three separate pass protection breakdowns in a six on four advantage.
The Third Sack
Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon contain on the play. Anthony Johnson and Jared Odrick are going to crash down to their right on the stunt. Jelani Jenkins -- the blitzing backer a shade outside of Fulton -- is going to shoot the B gap and force Knile Davis to pick him up. Jason Trusnik is going to run all the way over to Ryan Harris.
Davis doesn't step up into the vacated B gap quickly enough and earhole Jenkins. Smith sees Davis getting beat and an additional free blitz coming off his right side. So he is flushed out to his left and brought down.
The Fourth Sack
This sack was a blitz fiesta with the Dolphins bringing eight on the play. The ideal rule in pass protection is inside out. You take the first guy who can cause damage (inside) instead of the outside. Knile Davis hesitates in diagnosing which player to block. He identifies the right guy and does his best. Hudson moves his defender out to give himself an alley.
Fisher needs to take Olivier Vernon inside first. The risk he runs is giving Will Davis a free shot at Smith on his blind side. Ideally, you would want to slide protection to the left so the rushers coming free are where Smith can see them. Mike McGlynn attempts to block Jared Odrick and Olivier Vernon. Smith is flushed out of the pocket again and is stripped of the ball by Odrick when he takes off.
The Fifth Sack
The final sack is a safety. There is a lot of risk in running play-action passes out of the endzone. The Chiefs fake a 22 dive. Ideally, Fulton takes Randy Starks on the play since the fake is through the two hole. Anthony Sherman should take Jelani Jenkins for an easy block and Fulton rides Starks outside.
Fulton takes the backer and forces Sherman into a tough block against Starks. Davis attempts to help Fulton on Jenkins. Starks and Jenkins fight through their blocks to get the safety. The Chiefs will need to clean up these protection issues before they head to San Francisco.
The Patriots will give the Chiefs a great test to see if they are improving in their ability to recognize the blitz, taking the proper assignment and passing off stunts.