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Old 08-04-2005, 02:58 AM  
Chiefs Pantalones Chiefs Pantalones is offline
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Teicher: Offensive front becomes a concern

Worry line

Offensive front becomes a concern

By ADAM TEICHER

The Kansas City Star


RIVER FALLS, Wis. — The source of Dick Vermeil’s greatest anxiety at training camp is, for the Chiefs, a most unusual one.

The offensive line suddenly is, if not in turmoil, facing some transition. Will Shields, the longtime foundation of the Chiefs’ line, hasn’t been on the practice field because of a bad back since camp started last week. The Chiefs have no solid information as to when he will return.

They will also have a new starter at right tackle, though Vermeil is more confident that situation will resolve itself favorably. The Chiefs are happy with Kevin Sampson, who will probably win the job over Jordan Black.

Still, there is uncertainty. That, combined with the Shields situation, is keeping the line at the top of Vermeil’s worry list.

“I always have a little concern about Will being ready to go and getting his stamina and getting ready to play,” Vermeil said. “When he lines up and plays against the Jets (in the Sept. 11 season-opener), you’ve got to be ready.

“It doesn’t matter how many training camps you’ve been to or how many Pro Bowls you’ve been to or how many years you’ve played. You’ve still got to be ready that day and we’ve got to get him ready.”

The Chiefs line has generally been considered the best in football. It was so dependable that Vermeil was able to spend his energies elsewhere. That the Chiefs have soared to offensive heights the last three seasons is due in large part to their line.

That includes last season, when the Chiefs fielded three Pro Bowl linemen in Shields, guard Brian Waters and tackle Willie Roaf. This year, Shields isn’t practicing and Roaf is working only half the time as a concession to his advancing age, leaving the Chiefs with two backups plus a right tackle they’re trying to break in.

At some point, the Chiefs will hit critical mass. That point would likely arrive if Shields, their right guard and a 10-time Pro Bowler, misses a significant part of the season.

“I am going to come back this year and do the best I can,” Shields said. “There is a lot of camp left. It is not like I am sitting around not doing anything. There is a lot of work I am doing. I am pretty sure I will be OK.”

If he sounded less than certain, he’s echoing the thoughts of the Chiefs. They plugged Chris Bober into Shields’ spot for most of camp so far, but John Welbourn and Brett Williams also had a chance.

The Chiefs signed Bober as a free agent last year because they liked his ability to play most of the line positions. That versatility prevented him from mastering any one spot.

“It’s difficult to be really good at a position when you don’t get a lot of practice time there,” Bober said. “Whatever position they put me at, if I get enough practice there I feel like I can go out and play well.”

The Chiefs are less stressed about right tackle because Sampson has handled himself well in camp. They are still diving into the unknown because Sampson is only in his second year and was drafted in the seventh round.

They are still eager to see Sampson and Black in the preseason opener a week from Friday at Minnesota.

“We’re pleased right now with the young kids we have out there,” Vermeil said. “But we haven’t scrimmaged anybody or played a preseason game.”

The Chiefs have made changes on their line before without losing offensive production. They added Roaf three years ago and started three different new right tackles last year.

That’s why it’s not much of an issue to quarterback Trent Green.

“A couple of guys have shuffled around a little bit,” Green said. “Willie Roaf wasn’t brought in until the second year. John Tait went from the left side to the right side. So there has been some shuffling going on, and it seems like they maintained a good, solid unit now for three solid years. Whoever is going to be the person at right tackle will have that tradition pretty much pounded in their heads.”

Sampson knows the tradition now. But he knew little about the Chiefs when he joined them. Sampson isn’t much of a football fan and confessed that he didn’t know who longtime Pro Bowlers Roaf and Shields were.

“I had to come here to find out who they are,” Sampson said. “But once I got here, I learned what kind of opportunity this was. Who better to learn from than the best offensive line in football? I can see how the best prepare, how they study, how they work out, how they work together.”
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Old 08-04-2005, 02:59 AM   #2
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Old 08-04-2005, 03:44 AM   #3
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Will Shields practiced today individually.
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Old 08-04-2005, 05:16 AM   #4
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Old 08-04-2005, 05:41 AM   #5
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I think it's safe to say at this point, that this will be the reason why KC doesnt win the SB this year.
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Old 08-04-2005, 05:49 AM   #6
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so our 7th round draft pick is now our starting RT...guess that was a good pick?
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Old 08-04-2005, 06:01 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by DaKCMan AP
the sky is falling!
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Old 08-04-2005, 06:04 AM   #8
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8/3 Afternoon Team notes:

Coach Dick Vermeil said that the team did not wear pads this afternoon because they were working on goal line short yardage situations. He also said that last night it started to get too hot, and today's temperature was even worse. Also from last night, running back Priest Holmes had a mild concussion, but is fine and will be back playing this weekend. Running back Larry Johnson couldn't practice this morning, due to the heat, so that was another pivotal reason why full pads were not worn. Vermeil also speculated that there will be an increase in tempo in guard Will Shields' workout pattern starting on Monday. Wide receiver Freddie Mitchell is speculated to be back practicing on Friday. Vermeil stated that Mitchell should be back in town now.

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Old 08-04-2005, 06:08 AM   #9
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Sampson isn’t much of a football fan and confessed that he didn’t know who longtime Pro Bowlers Roaf and Shields were.
Huh? I find it kind of funny that a pro football player "isn't much of a football fan".
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Old 08-04-2005, 06:11 AM   #10
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so our 7th round draft pick is now our starting RT...guess that was a good pick?
No, lucky. Good would have been not wasting a 7th rounder on him and picking him up as an UDFA.
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Old 08-04-2005, 06:13 AM   #11
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No, lucky. Good would have been not wasting a 7th rounder on him and picking him up as an UDFA.
lol...right....
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Old 08-04-2005, 06:32 AM   #12
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I think Titless makes the situation sound a bit more dire than it really is. You have to consider that these guys have to write an article EVERY DAY. Instead of searching for a story, Always Positive Adam chose to make a mountain out of a mole hill (my opinion) as it was the easier play.

Until either Vermiel or Shields indicates a serious possibility that he (Will) can't go, I'm not going to worry all that much.
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Old 08-04-2005, 06:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomahawk kid
I think Titless makes the situation sound a bit more dire than it really is. You have to consider that these guys have to write an article EVERY DAY. Instead of searching for a story, Always Positive Adam chose to make a mountain out of a mole hill (my opinion) as it was the easier play.

Until either Vermiel or Shields indicates a serious possibility that he (Will) can't go, I'm not going to worry all that much.
Didn’t Shields sit out the first week or so of TC last year with a similar problem? Back spasms or something like that?
Shields is, as stated in the article, a 10 time Probowler that knows this offense probably as well as Trent, Priest or even Saunders. It’s not like he needs the reps. I’d call this just an excuse not to sweat his ass off if the article didn’t mention give’n Roaf time off because of his age.
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Old 08-04-2005, 07:12 AM   #14
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Oline worry.
This guy is trying to make a story.
I'm not worried about the depth or any real part of it.

A solid unit, still the best in NFL
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Old 08-04-2005, 09:56 AM   #15
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A couple of things surprise me about the O-line depth.

Sampson leads Black in the battle for the RT spot. Sampson was promising last year, but Black looked really solid in games. I guess it's a good problem to have.

Bober gets more PT at RG than Welbourn. This strikes me as odd. Welbourn is a beast with his nasty attitude and work ethic. I figured he'd be a lock at RG behind Shields. Bober has never really impressed me.

I guess a Welbourn-Black right side of the line sounds stronger to me than a Bober-Sampson???
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