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StcChief
09-16-2004, 11:47 AM
(Sept. 14, 2004) -- Glamour visits Philadelphia on Monday night, when Pro Bowl wide receivers Randy Moss and Terrell Owens meet.


Grunts visit Kansas City on Sunday, when the Panthers' ballyhooed defensive line and the Chiefs' superb offensive line clash.

We will watch Moss' acrobatics and Owens' antics in high definition, in slow motion, from angles our brains could not imagine but TV producers can.

Less likely, there will be few replays and little attention for a Panthers defensive line and a Chiefs offensive line that are to their units what Moss and Owens are to theirs.

We will read about the Eagles defensive backs trying to contain Moss and the Vikings defensive backs trying to contain Owens, and those stories will be valid, every last one of them.

But not nearly as many trees will be killed to produce paper for the stories about a Panthers defensive line that needs this game as much as the Chiefs offensive line.

The lights, cameras and action will shine on Moss and Owens. They are leaders on their respective teams, not to mention leaders on fantasy football boards across the country.

There will be no lights and cameras surrounding the Panthers defensive line and the Chiefs offensive line, but there might be as much action on one play as Moss and Owens will have all game.
The Chiefs' offense has to deal with this kind of dominant defense.
The Chiefs' offense has to deal with this kind of dominant defense.
This is the nature of their positions, the nature of this game. Linemen live in a world of grunts, not glamour. But for one Sunday, this is a line matchup as glamorous as any can be.

Carolina versus Kansas City, with it all on the lines.

For Carolina, it's defensive ends Julius Peppers and Mike Rucker, and defensive tackles Kris Jenkins and Brentson Buckner.

"Probably the best defensive line in football," John Madden said about the Panthers front four before Monday Night Football's telecast.

They're certainly paid like the best. The Panthers have $127.55 million tied up in the contracts of their starting front four. Throw in about another $6.5 million for backup defensive end Al Wallace, and Charlotte has even more reason to be known as a city of banking.

But then, in head coach John Fox's scheme, the Panthers demand their money's worth. They ask the Panthers front four to not just dominate the running game, or just the passing game. They ask them to dominate both.

Peppers is the line's best athlete, a player on a mission to reach Hawaii and his first Pro Bowl. Jenkins is regarded as the game's best defensive tackle and a guard's worst nightmare. Buckner is the wily veteran, cut by none other than Kansas City in 1997. Rucker is one of the game's most underrated players with two straight seasons of double-digit sacks.

And after Monday night's drubbing at the hands of Ahman Green and the Green Bay Packers, the Panthers do not figure to be in the most jovial of moods. But what makes it even worse is that the Chiefs offensive line is similar in talent and scheme to the Packers offensive line that outplayed the Panthers defensive line on Monday night.

Now the Chiefs will be aiming to do just what the Packers did -- taking the play right to the Panthers defensive line, trying to exert its will on them and striving to control the line just like Green Bay's line did.

For Kansas City, it's offensive tackles Willie Roaf and John Welbourn, guards Will Shields and Brian Waters, and center Casey Wiegmann.

"It is the best offensive line in football," said Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, whose defense took on Kansas City's unit and survived.

Roaf is brute strength, a veteran capable of steering defensive ends with his upper body. Shields is the all-around goods, an anchor with his strength in the passing game and a weapon with his quickness in the running game. Wiegmann has smarts and instincts, as quick with his hands as he is with his feet. Waters is similar to the more publicized Shields, one of the league's more underrated players. And Welbourn is the scrapper, similar to former New York Giants offensive tackle Glenn Parker, a player who used his brain as much as his hands.

This is the weekend's undercard -- the Panthers defensive line versus the Chiefs offensive line. It lacks the glamour of Moss vs. Owens, but this matchup isn't about that.

This one's for the grunts.