Offensive Line Review: Kirk Chambers

With the jettisoning of Derrick Dockery prior to the start of free agency, the Buffalo Bills opened a gaping hole (Dock was a big dude) at left guard. My theory is that the Bills will swing Brad Butler over to left guard, meaning the open hole will shift to right guard. Quite a few people have wondered if the Bills will plug Kirk Chambers into this position, never mind that he's been the swing reserve tackle. Perhaps taking a look at his numbers for the season (mostly at tackle but a little at right guard as well) will help with the discussion. Chambers saw action in ten games, with significant playing time in four - Seattle, first Patriots (at right guard), Denver and the second Patriots game. He also filled in at guard during the Chiefs game.

So as not to hog up front page space, all of the nerdy numbers are after the jump.

Passing Downs
On passing downs, Chambers had 2 good pass plays, 128 decent ones, 11 bad ones and 6 killed plays which grades out as a respectable 73.8% overall. He gave up one sack in the Seattle game, one (at right guard) in the first Patriots tilt and one in the second Miami contest for a total of three. He was assisted (by a TE or RB) on three pass plays. That's not bad at all for a guy coming in off the bench, so his re-signing was a good move by the folks at One Bills Drive.

Because the talk revolving around Chambers involves plugging him in at guard, it's not a bad idea to separate his numbers based on his play at guard in order to compare them to his play at tackle. Chambers had no good pass plays at guard, 30 decent ones, 2 bad ones and 1 killed play (a sack) for a grade of 73.8%, right at his overall score. He had 2 good pass plays at tackle, 98 decent ones, 9 bad ones and 5 killed plays for a score of 73.8%, again right at his overall level. Bear in mind that my grading system makes it virtually impossible to do better than 75% on passing downs over the long haul.

In terms of pass protection, Chambers did as well at guard as he did at tackle, which is to say he did a good job at both.

Running Downs
On running downs, Chambers had 13 good plays, 99 decent ones, 5 bad ones and zero killed plays (did I mention he was a good re-sign?) for a grade of 76.4%. The zero killed plays is amazing, even though he was only on the field for 117 total rushes.

Again, let's take a look at how Chambers did at guard versus tackle. He was in for 23 total rushing plays at guard. He had 4 good run plays, 19 decent ones, no bad ones and no killed plays for a grade of 78.5%. All of his good run plays, by the way, came against the vaunted Patriots' defensive line. In Foxboro. At tackle, Chambers had 9 good run plays, 80 decent ones, 5 bad ones and no killed plays for a grade of 75.9%.

In terms of run blocking, Chambers did better at guard than he did at tackle. However, we are looking at a very small sample (23 snaps), so that doesn't mean that he should be moved to guard. It does suggest, however, that such a move is feasible and worthy of serious consideration.

Think of him as the anti-Duke Preston. Instead of merely taking up space on the pine, Chambers is capable of starting in this league. No, he's not terrific but he's a solid, dependable guy who isn't going to allow himself to be embarrassed on the field. Chambers keeps his head in the game and sticks with his assignment. I wouldn't feel bad about putting him in at guard, though Demetrius Bell had better be as adept as Chambers when it comes to filling the swing tackle role.

Just for comparison, here are the overall numbers for the linemen I've completed so far.

                    Running Plays                                               Passing Plays

NAME      Good Decent Bad Killed     Grade   Good Decent Bad Killed Sacks  Grade

Peters          95    171      31     4        79.0%     10      404    21    14       9*       74.5%

Preston        24    148      97    19       69.6%      3       344    26      9       3         73.7%

Chambers    13     99        5      0        76.4%      2       128    11      6       3         73.8%

*The NFL officially charged Peters with 11.5 sacks. If a QB could have gotten rid of it (i.e. had an open receiver and time to get the ball out of his hand and/or 4+ seconds) before being sacked and wasn't absolutely blindsided (a la J.P. Losman in the second Jets game), I charge the sack to the QB. Still, 9 sacks is a lot to give up. It's no surprise that most of Peters' killed plays were sacks, given that he plays left tackle and Trent Edwards is a right handed QB.

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