Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Chiefs are no fluke

I’ve seen enough of the Chiefs to know this team is for real, and I’m crediting much of their success to the offensive line.

The Chiefs will always be able to run the ball with two very good backs in Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones. The offensive line knows how to control the line of scrimmage, they protect QB Matt Cassel and no one has been able to shut them down yet.

The first guy I look at on the line is Casey Wiegmann, who is in his 17th season and is ageless. He still plays at a very high level. They picked up Ryan Lilja from the Colts, who is a very good player at right guard. The left side is Brian Waters and Brandon Albert. The Chiefs also went out and found young right tackle Barry Richardson, a 6th-round pick out of Clemson in 2008, and he’s playing well.

Most people have talked about the pass-catching skills of rookie TE Tony Moeaki, who was leading the team in receiving, but he’s also a blue-chip run blocker right now. He totally gets it. I’ve never seen a rookie tight end come in and block like he has in this league. Moeaki blows people off the ball, understands every type of blocking and does well in space. He’s very good.

When you watch Charles and Jones run the ball, the Chiefs control the line of scrimmage every week. I’ve been high on Charles for two years, and I never understood why Herm Edwards didn’t play him, or why Todd Haley didn’t start him at the beginning of last season. The kid’s talent is unbelievable, and as soon as I see him run he reminds me of Charlie Garner in his prime. His cuts are full speed in any direction, sees things very quickly, and can make yards when there’s nothing there.

Jones isn’t the same type of back, but give him a hole and he’ll get every single blade of grass that’s there. He’s a fighter for everything. Charles and Jones are a winning combination.

The Chiefs are winning games behind the offensive line, and they’ll try to shove the ball down your throat behind offensive line coach Billy Muir, who is about as good as there is in the NFL. This team isn’t a fluke, and anyone who wants to go into Arrowhead and beat them, they’ll have to earn it. I believe they can give everyone in the AFC West a run for their money.

– Brian Baldinger

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