So over the course of the last couple of weeks, roughly 4,953 different combinations of players have been tried at center, right guard, and right tackle for the Chiefs.
Now, I'm a fan of trying new things, but this all seems excessive. Of course, it doesn't help that a slew of untimely injuries and some poor play by an incumbent right guard have forced Andy Reid's hand in taking a look at anyone and everyone.
Most recently, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (also known as "Moose," or "Doctor," Or "LDT," Or "That One Guy With A Ton Of Nicknames Who Is Probably Really Smart Because He's Like A Doctor Or Something") has been given reps in practice with the first team offensive line at right guard.
On the surface, this seems a little out there. After all, LDT (that's the nickname I'm sticking with. I'm not normally a fan of nicknames, but I'm not typing out a hyphenated name over and over) hasn't seen any real playing time in his very short pro career. Really, his biggest claim to fame at this point has been the whole med school angle, and maybe the fact that people call him "Moose" and that's fun.
But we don't really know anything about LDT. We know he's got the measurables, but that's about it. And if you'll pardon me for saying so ... not knowing anything about a guy who is getting reps as a starter on the offensive line is a bit terrifying for me. And so, like so many offensive linemen before him, I had to examine LDT's tape against the Cardinals and see what there is to see.
We'll do this the same way we have with other OL; tracking "wins" and losses" when pass and run blocking, as well as "neutral" plays (where there isn't enough done to chalk it up as a win or a loss). Then we'll talk a little bit about his tape.
One caveat to keep in mind with LDT; his snaps came exclusively against second teamers and third teamers. That doesn't mean that the film isn't helpful, but it's important to remember he was not playing against starter material.
That said... well, let's start with the numbers.
|Pass Block Wins||Pass Block Losses||Run Block Wins||Run Block Losses||Neutral|
Now, again, this was not against starters. But one has to note that LDT put up some pretty decent numbers while in the game. Anyone watching the game saw the Chiefs backups winning consistently at the line of scrimmage, and LDT was a big part of that.
And really, the Pass Block numbers looked a little more impressive on tape than the numbers themselves are. LDT had three of his four "losses" in the second quarter, struggling initially with being taken off balance. I believe (though I could be wrong) that it was a footwork issue, and LDT overcame a rough start to play well in that area.
Speaking of footwork, it's fairly clear that LDT isn't a veteran. He has some lapses with his feet and hands that come with being a raw prospect. I believe the majority of his losses came on plays he wasn't quite set up correctly and had it taken advantage of by the defender.
But despite some technique issues, LDT did a lot to like against the Cardinals. He stuck out as having the upper hand against fellow "scrubs" the vast majority of the night. Here's one example.
LDT had a really nice reach block on West's big run. Liking what I'm seeing so far for the most part. pic.twitter.com/ebb5dyTfiN— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) August 19, 2015
LDT did good work as a run blocker. He's noticeably aggressive, even for an offensive lineman. He's constantly looking for someone to hit and plays to the whistle (or even a little after it). I love that mentality in a lineman.
LDT also demonstrates the ability to move in space very well for a guy listed at 6'5 and 315 pounds. He's fast and relatively agile. This has become something of a theme with the offensive linemen for the Chiefs. If you can't move in space, Reid doesn't seem to have a lot of use for you (and no, I can't explain how Fanaika fits into that theory. I bet your theories aren't perfect either, jerk!).
There didn't seem to be too much of an issue with LDT missing on the stunts that were sent his way. He was in the right place and didn't seem overwhelmed by having to think on his feet (which you'd hope would figure for a guy in med school).
He also seems to have more than enough strength to hold his own and then some. In fact, I'd put him right up there with Mitch Morse as having some of the best upper body strength of the OL I've reviewed. That strength got demonstrated on a few plays in particular, including this one.
Love this play by LDT. absorbs the big hit by the blitzing LB, keeps low(ish), anchors, then DRIVES him backward. pic.twitter.com/35iQikfeCY— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) August 19, 2015
Look, there are a lot of unanswered questions about LDT, and you have to take into account quality of competition during preseason. BUT ... if a guy is playing against scrubs and looks like a borderline star, it makes you at least wonder if he'll be able to look at least competent against starters.
Of course, that's mere projection. The fortunate thing (well, kinda unfortunate when you consider the injuries that have brought it about, but I digress) is that we're going to be able to see LDT in action against a physical, aggressive, first string Seahawks front four on Friday.
Here's hoping he's up to the task. I'll absolutely be reviewing his film and keeping "score" of his wins and losses following the game. He was legitimately impressive against the Cardinals second and third string guys, so I'm not willing to rule out the possibility he's a diamond in the rough.
We all saw last year what can happen when an offense has glaring weaknesses on the offensive line. LDT developing into someone at least competent would be a gigantic step toward the offense going from average to dangerous.