We all have hobbies. Some people golf. Some people fish. Some people hunt. Some people collect stamps. Some people cook (a GREAT hobby to have in my opinion. Sometimes I wish I had time to take that up. Be entertained AND get delicious food? That's just a win for everyone).
What's my hobby? I go back and re-watch old Chiefs games, both broadcast version and All-22. Sometimes I take notes. It's a ball, I'm telling you.
Why that as a hobby? It's cheap, it's easy, and it's something I can do while still at least pretending to help my wife with the kids (or pretending to work when I'm supposed to be ... well, working). Really, when you've got four kids and a wife you like hanging out with, hobbies kind of fly out the window. You need something quick and easy. Watching the Chiefs is exactly that.
It also helps with this gig, which just so happens to be my OTHER hobby. Life is symmetrical, no?
So I was sitting around watching the Chiefs play the Chargers and one of the plays was an Alex Smith sack in the first quarter. It was the type of sack where the pressure came almost immediately and Eric Fisher appeared to simply whiff.
I have no doubt in my mind that Fisher was blamed by many Chiefs fans for giving up a sack. And why wouldn't they? I mean LOOK at this...
Smith is completely cornered and there's just nothing to be done but try and salvage what he can at this point. For what it's worth, Smith somehow made it back to nearly the line of scrimmage. Yay, I guess?
This play is one I've seen referenced by people when talking about Eric Fisher's struggles at left tackle. And their overall point (that Fisher hasn't been all that good so far as a Chief) is one I'm very on board with. However, this play gets misused by people to an extent.
This play DOES represent a struggle Fisher dealt with in 2014. But that struggle has very little to do with Eric Fisher.
Let's show the play from the coach's film angle. This is immediately after the snap, as the blitzer is about to take off.
All right, there are a few things going on right here. But the most important thing is how one issue on the offensive line created a problem that Eric Fisher couldn't possibly solve.
You see the circle? Within it are Rodney Hudson and Mike McGlynn. Hudson isn't really engaging the rusher, because McGlynn is. Hey, nice, good job Mike!
Of course, the problem is that McGlynn isn't even looking at the blitzing linebacker. Nor does he ever at any point of the play.
I'm not here to get into a discussion about whose job it is to call out protections or identify blitzers. Generally speaking, that falls on the center and the quarterback, respectively. However, it most certainly does NOT fall on the left tackle to make such distinctions.
The blitz was slightly delayed, so it's understandable for Hudson, Smith, or McGlynn to have not seen it coming prior to the snap. That said, there's just no way the play call was "everyone ignore the linebacker if he blitzes and Fisher will block two people."
Fisher ends up on an island with two pass rushers coming his way. He attempts to block both, one at a time, taking on the guy I've labeled No. 1 for a brief second before (unsuccessfully) attempting to engage No. 2. In theory, after he engages defender No. 1 for a half second he should be passing him off to McGlynn. Except McGlynn wasn't there. Predictably, Fisher didn't have much luck with either and ended up looking rather foolish. And fans called him out.
However, this play doesn't appear to lie at the feet of Fisher. An offensive lineman should never be put in a position like this, blocking two guys when his help (McGlynn) SHOULD have been free to take on one of the rushers. It's putting him in a position to fail.
Frankly, the more games of the Chiefs I watch with a focus on the offensive line, the more plays like this I see; where McGlynn's failure (whether it's due to a failure by Hudson / Smith or McGlynn's own fault) to do his job results in Fisher being put in a no win situation.
But we don't see that when we're watching the game full of emotion and with the broadcast view. All we see is Alex Smith go down and an offensive failure. All we see is the left side of the line collapsing and Eric Fisher stumbling backward like a boxer who just took a hard right to the face.
Eric Fisher needs to be better this season. But it'll be interesting to see how he does with Ben Grubbs next to him instead of Mike McGlynn. Because the "Fisher was made to look worse by McGlynn" isn't some kind of excuse, it's a very real fact. Here's hoping Fisher being put in a position to succeed more often results in... well, success.