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The Chiefs offensive line was really good. Here's how we graded them

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The Chiefs offense could be good this year.

Not just competent. Not just decent. Not even just efficient. There's a legitimate chance that (barring injuries) the Chiefs field a genuinely good offense.

Jamaal Charles, Jeremy Maclin, Travis Kelce, Spencer Ware and a plethora of secondary receivers (Rod Streater????? Chris Conley???? Albert Wilson????) who can do a little something to help out present a group of difficult guys to face for any defense. Alex Smith is a quarterback who is more than capable of facilitating the offense (if you haven't seen it, I wrote about 5,000 words on that here).

The one potential fly in the ointment (as it often seems) is the offensive line. While Eric Fisher, Mitch Schwartz, and Mitch Morse are all players I'm comfortable with (as most are), there's been some question as to whether the line as a whole will be good enough to help the offense this season.

Saturday we got our first chance to get a look at the line Andy Reid has used throughout training camp as the first string: Fisher / Parker Ehinger / Morse / LDT / Schwartz.

If LDT really has started to fulfill his potential, four of the five offensive linemen the Chiefs trot out could lean into the very good category.

One of the few things you can get a feel for during preseason play is offensive line vs. defensive line. One reason for this is that things are relatively vanilla, so it's a lot more about whether Player A can beat Player B individually. Another reason is that OL and DL isn't really a place where players can go half speed when there's full contact, even in basically a glorified scrimmage. You go halfway on the line, you look STUPID.

And hey, what do you know, the Chiefs were facing a solid defensive front in the Seattle Seahawks. Which means we can take a look and see how the first team did. We'll review each player tracking wins and losses. If you haven't read one of the offensive line articles I've written, look here for an explanation of the way I do it.

Let's take a look at how they did by the numbers. After that, I'll give some details on what I saw on film from each. Keep in mind that this is based on broadcast view, where it's tougher to gauge things than the "Madden" camera view. But, it's what we've got. Let's do this.

Eric Fisher

Pass block win: 4

Pass block loss: 0

Run block win: 2

Run block loss: 0

Neutral: 6

Loss %: 0

Win %: 50

This is the first look we've gotten at Big Fish since he got p-a-i-d. He did not disappoint. My notes on him are fairly brief, but the numbers speak for themselves in this case and are an accurate representation of how he played. Not only did he not get beat once, he didn't look like he MIGHT get beat. The only time his guy got pressure was after about six seconds, when Smith had left the pocket (the near-TD to Maclin). And even then Fish didn't really let his guy get a real shot at the QB.

Fisher looked stronger and smoother out there. His kick slide looked, well, fresh. He picked up the one stunt he saw beautifully. The strength issue will be the thing to watch. He looks a little bulkier out there, and is playing like it to without losing his athleticism. If Fisher's play Saturday is a preview of things to come, I don't think Chiefs fans will regret that contract at all.

Parker Ehinger

Pass block win: 1

Pass block loss: 1

Run block win: 2

Run block loss: 1

Neutral: 7

Loss %: 16.7

Win %: 25

Look, being a rookie offensive lineman in the NFL is hard. Going up against the Seahawks and their athletic, talented defensive front is hard. It's early, and we'll see what happens.

That said, Ehinger was the weak spot on a line that (as you'll see) was almost flawless otherwise. On his very first snap he got moved backward several yards by a bull rushing defender. Now, he was trying to re-anchor and his base looked fine. But all the same, had the throw not gotten out quickly it's tough to say Smith would've been safe.

And that's my issue with Ehinger. He just doesn't look to have the strength right now to hang out there with NFL defenders at this point.

The rest of his game seems solid enough His footwork is decent, his hands are fine, and he seems technically sound (though he got caught by a swim move due to leaning, which will happen when you lack strength). He also moves better in space than I thought he would (he had a really nice pull block and looks fluid out there). It wasn't all bad, and really could have been much worse.

Again, this was Ehinger's first shot against a real NFL defense. I'm not surprised it wasn't all roses. BUT... he didn't completely crap the bed out there, which is a start when you're dealing with a rookie on the line. We'll see. But I don't know how you compensate for a lack of functional strength without knowing all the veteran tricks of the trade. Ehinger either needs to get those tricks down FAST, or he needs to get stronger FAST. Hope he makes me look foolish and is plowing guys over next week.

Mitch Morse

Pass block win: 4

Pass block loss: 0

Run block win: 3

Run block loss: 0

Neutral: 5

Loss %: 0

Win %: 58.3

I genuinely don't have much to say here. Morse was what I remembered from last season: really, really, really good. He got out in space well, held his ground in pass pro, got some movement up front (maybe he and Fish are working out together), and was just... good.

Even when things started out poorly for Morse they went fine. He had a running play where he got stood up and off balance, but recovered his footing and was able to flatten the defender as he tried to move left (to Morse's right) to get to the ball. Even when he started out losing, he won.

Oh, one interesting note (well, interesting if you're like me and have issues dissecting everything about the Chiefs)... Morse's head twitch prior to the snap? Didn't see it. I might have missed it on a snap or two, but I know it wasn't there most of the time. I kinda missed it, to be honest. You don't know what you've got til it's gone, clearly.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

Pass block win: 1

Pass block loss: 0

Run block win: 5

Run block loss: 0

Neutral: 6

Loss %: 0

Win %: 50

So I may have to learn to spell LDT's name accurately (and not just fall back to LDT).

After an entire summer where I fretted about the idea of LDT playing guard, he went out and pitched a shutout his first game on the field. Really, it was close to a perfect game, in that I couldn't really find a negative thing to say about his performance.

He didn't get caught lunging or leaning once (and APPEARED to be punching with a base under him instead), picked up a stunt perfectly with Mitch Schwartz, and was a freaking bulldozer in the running game.

I've been pretty vocal about my concerns regarding LDT. I don't like trotting guys out there just because they have potential, and I think he hurt the offense more than he helped it last year.

That said, every time I've written about LDT I've tried to bring up the fact that he's got a great strength-to-athleticism ratio, and if could just get down some of the nuances of the game he could have a very high ceiling. Well, like I said, he picked up the only stunt that came his way, made a very veteran shoulder block on an rusher who had the angle on him (rather than holding), and made the above play (which I PROMISE you is harder than he made it look), which required some vet-level recognition in order to pick up the linebacker.

I've said in the past that if LDT could improve to just decent it would be a huge bonus for the offensive line. Well, LDT was better than decent against the Seahawks, he was downright good. That could be a big, big deal. If LDT really has started to fulfill his potential, four of the five offensive linemen the Chiefs trot out could lean into the very good category. My, wouldn't that be a sight to see.

Mitch Schwartz

Pass block win: 2

Pass block loss: 0

Run block win: 2

Run block loss: 1

Neutral: 7

Loss %: 8.3

Win %: 33.3

Watching Mitch Schwartz is kinda boring.

I don't mean that as a slight on him. It's just that everything he does looks so effortless. His kick slide, his handfighting... it all looks like he's bored. By all accounts, this is due to the fact that Schwartz believes in the old adage work smarter, not harder. He does everything right. His hand placement and footwork are generally great, as are the angles he takes on defenders. When you're in the right place with the right technique, OL looks easy. It just does.

Schwartz's only loss came on a play where he lost his footing after the runner made a few cuts that changed the angle of Schwartz's block. Other than that he had no issues whatsoever. He looks as advertised: smooth, technical, strong (he looks like he can really help the run game). These are all projections, of course, based on an incredibly small sample size. But Schwartz looks like he was a great pickup.

Takeaway

If the Chiefs offensive line plays the way it does against the Seahawks (even with Ehinger having some rookie growing pains and strength issues), this offense could make some serious noise. Again, it's just preseason. They could come out next week and look horrific. All of this is pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

BUT... when you come out and dominate against a very, very tough defense, that says a little something. Even in the preseason.