John Dorsey and Andy Reid bet a lot on the development of their young tackles, Eric Fisher and Donald Stephenson.
We are now only a short 2 weeks away from kickoff of REAL football. This offseason Dorsey allowed Branden Albert to sign with the Miami Dolphins for a massive contract and in doing so he put all of his offense’s eggs in Fisher and Stephenson’s baskets.
Through 2 preseason games Eric Fisher has shown little improvement for the 1st overall pick in the 2013 draft to build upon, at times being a big liability. I’m not one to jump to conclusions on young players, especially this early in one’s career…BUT the alarms in the back of my head are starting to sound. Fisher has now had a full offseason to put weight on his 23-year-old frame and still has been inconsistent. This doesn’t mean E-Fish can’t develop, some of you should vividly remember Branden Albert’s early career struggles.
Donald Stephenson has played the swing-tackle role previously and earned himself the starting right-tackle job for 2014. After this morning, however, the general consensus is that the Chief’s offensive line is shaky at best. This morning Adam Schefter reported that Donald Stephenson would be banned for the first 4 games to open the season, due to unknowingly taking a banned substance. Stephenson has already released a statement on the ban.
“I’m extremely sorry that I failed to check with the NFL, NFLPA, or Chiefs medical team before I took a medication that requires a therapeutic use exemption. The rules are strict, and without a TUE, the consequence is a four game suspension. I apologize to the Hunt family, John Dorsey, Coach Reid and his staff, my teammates, and our awesome Chiefs fans. It is not a mistake I will ever make again. I will train extremely hard during my time away from the team, and I will be ready to contribute to my team’s effort to win a Super Bowl as soon as I return.”
With the Chief’s schedule includes facing the NFC-West this news could spell doom for the Chief’s hopes of carrying over the last half of last season’s offensive success. This could mean many things: Jeff Allen could kick out to tackle and we could replace him at guard for those 4 games. Ryan Harris, Jeff Linkenbach, or a mystery tackle via trade/waivers could also replace the hole at tackle.