Righting The Ship: Norman And Walker Can Fill Key Holes On O-Line

Russell FikeCorrespondent ISeptember 9, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 14:  Langston Walker #68  of The Buffalo Bills in action against the New York Jets during their game on December 14, 2008 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

If a ship’s sinking it’s probably because of a hole in the hull. 

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that if there’s a hole in the ship, you plug it. 

If there’s a hole in the offensive line, you fill it.

There is some relative stability on the left side of the Chief’s offensive line with second year player Branden Albert playing tackle beside a familiar face to the Pro Bowl in guard Brian Waters. 

However, anyone watching Kansas City preseason games has seen the right side of our line overpowered through the middle and run around on the outside.

Starting right tackle Damion McIntosh was cut by the Chiefs when they named their 53 man roster. 

His inability to kick his leg out and move with the snap of the ball to seal the edge rusher off and create a pocket led to multiple quarterback sacks. 

The new man listed as starter at right tackle is Ikechuku Ndukwe, acquired via a trade with the Miami Dolphins.

The Chiefs will be Ndukwe’s fifth team since entering the league in 2005, but he has also started 15 of the 21 games he’s played. 

Playing guard for much of his career, there will be a transition to tackle, but the Northwestern education he received implies he may have the mental capacity to pick up the new position swiftly. 

Veteran Mike Goff, who spent recent seasons with the Chargers is facing the effects of age at 33, but can fill in at right guard in the short term.

Center Rudy Niswanger returns to the starting lineup after replacing Casey Wiegman last year, but he hasn’t proven the anchor one hopes for in a center.

There was limited potential for immediate improvement after the Saturday cuts to reduce rosters to 53. 

Of greatest interest was Tony Pashos, a starting tackle for the Jaguars a year ago who was moved inside to guard and was released after refusing to renegotiate his contract. 

However, just recently additional cuts were made by the Jaguars and Bills that provide more intrigue.

The Buffalo Bills parted ways with 30 year old Langston Walker. 

The Bill’s starting right tackle of a year ago was expected to start at left tackle with the trade of two-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters to the Philadelphia Eagles

Walker’s release seems rather abrupt and could provide immediate improvement on the offensive line for the Chiefs. 

At 30 years of age he is not a long term solution, and is not the temporary force that Willie Roaf provided a few years back, but Walker can be an asset.

The Jaguars parted ways with Dennis Norman a guard/center who has 24 starts in 64 games split between the Seattle Seahawks, and most recently the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Dennis Norman is a Princeton grad, which appeals in terms of character and ability to handle a steep learning curve. 

Norman, who is 29, started 14 games last year and could provide competition for Niswanger at center, Goff at guard, or provide a strong backup should some offensive line rotation be required.

There may be too many holes to fill, but the Chiefs still have a chance to right the ship, keep their quarterbacks upright, and take on water a little more slowly.