The Kansas City Chiefs' biggest offseason storyline was the complete and total overhaul of their offensive line. After an injury-plagued 2020 season across the line, the Chiefs added two Pro Bowlers and a handful of high-upside young players in hopes of building a line that looks more like the Chiefs' unit from the early 2000s than the end of 2020.
Who better to discuss the new-look Chiefs line than 12-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro and Pro Football Hall of Famer Will Shields? I had a chance to talk to Shields about his playing days and what the Chiefs can accomplish with a new front-five in 2021.
Shields said he liked the job the Chiefs did this offseason, finding replacements for departing tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz and bolstering the interior, adding Pro Bowlers like Orlando Brown Jr. and Joe Thuney and getting Laurent Duvernay-Tardif back after a season away from the game. Now, Shields says, they've added starting-caliber pieces as well as depth across the line.
"I think they've done a good job," Shields said. "I mean, it's one of those things where you say, 'Well, what's the issue? What are they trying to build?' And then they come back and go, 'Well, we're going to add a guy that's a Pro Bowl talent where a guy was a Pro Bowl talent or All-Pro talent.'"
Shields said he's optimistic about what the end result will be for the new-look line as they hope to accentuate the talent that the offense already boasts, specifically with the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill.
"Can they mesh? Can they pull it together? I think, because of the talent that's around them, that you can't help but to get better," Shields said. "I think that's what's going to be the cohesiveness that they're going to have to build right now during the offseason to get them to where they want to go."
Shields continued to discuss the developing chemistry of the new line in connection with another element of the game that he has a special expertise with: staying healthy.
Shields spent his entire career in Kansas City, playing in all 16 games every year from his first season in 1993 through his last year in 2006. Shields's quality of play paired with his incomparable consistency is what ultimately earned him a gold jacket and a bust in Canton, Ohio.
Though he still has a long way to go before he reaches Shields's level, new Chiefs guard Joe Thuney hasn't missed a game yet in his five-year career. I asked Shields about the ability for a player to stay healthy for years on end and if that's a tangible trait to keep in mind when teams acquire players
"I think so," Shields said. "I mean, because the simple fact of it is, the more you play, the better you get. The more consistent you are, the more little nuances that you know what to do to try to stay healthy. And that's the cool thing about it, it's 'have you seen how many games he's played in a row?' That means he knows how to take care of his body. He knows when to shut it down when he needs to, and he knows what he needs to have to happen to be productive, but also to be available every week. And that's one of those things that's very hard to do, to be available week-in and week-out."
Shields joined us on behalf of the Ford Proud to Honor Hall of Heroes, a program created by Ford Motor Company and the Pro Football Hall of Fame to recognize members of the military. Shields delivered the news to U.S. Army Capt. Kevin Bubolz of Minneapolis and Ford will donate $10,000 to the Pat Tillman Foundation in Bubolz's honor. For more information about the Ford Proud to Honor Hall of Heroes, go to FordProudToHonor.com and watch the video below.
For my full conversation with Shields, listen below or click here!