Former Kansas City Chiefs guard Will Shields called in to Soren Petro’s weekly Red Zone Podcast today on KCChiefs.com.
Listen to the show via the player below or check out my notes on the interview after the jump.
Shileds talked about everything from what fans should expect from Matt Cassel this season to the best defender he ever faced. Check it out.
All of Petro’s questions and Shields’ comments are paraphrased.
On his coaching aspirations, since he will be helping the Jets during training camp this year:
I want to be around it and hopefully can do more every year. I love being around the young guys and adding to what they think they already know from college. It would be something that would be a lot of fun for me.
On all the changes to the Chiefs this season:
If you are going to make a change, you have to do it all the way. You never want to see anyone leave, it’s like your home away from home. You like walking in and knowing the people that are there, it’s like coming home to see mom. So it’s been a little different going back and seeing different faces and getting a lot of “What are you doing here?” looks.
What did you think when Tony Gonzalez was traded?
We always used to talk about how Tony would never leave the organization because he is the cornerstone of what the Chiefs are doing as an organization. But if you are going to move on then you have to cut times with whomever needs to move on.
You and TG were always putting in extra time after practice, how important is that?
That’s something you want to pass on to the young kids. Even though it’s not a mandatory practice, you need to go out and do something on your own. Find your weaknesses and work on it. If you’re only doing it when it’s mandatory, you’re not going to get better.
What do you think about Cassel getting locked up — not so much the money — but the six year commitment by the team?
They are committing to him, saying “you are our guy.” If you look at the history of the Kansas City Chiefs, it hasn’t happened much where you knew a player year in and year out was going to be the guy. This is a way to get the team to rally around Cassel because he’s our guy and we are going to win, lose or draw with him.
How important are the “intangibles” for quarterbacks?
Very important. If you don’t have a guy that the players can trust, it’s hard to play for a guy like that because he’s not giving everything he has to make the team better. He has to make all the crucial decisions during crunch time. Is he the guy that has the leadership to go against the grain every so often to get the job done? That will be the toughest question. He had a year of doing it, but that was on a team that was very polished. Now it’s his chance to build from scratch.
Having been part of a Chiefs transition year in 2001, what advice would you give to Cassel, Gailey and Haley for this season?
Keep the team tight, that’s the hardest thing. You have a lot of youth and even though they come from some great organizations/colleges, you have to get them all on the same page. They’ll do a great job, because so far I’ve noticed everything is tight knight and kept in house.
How fast can the current Chiefs offensive line get better?
It all depends on health and believing in the system. The line is key to whatever you have to do. If you fail, it’s their fault and if the running back picks up a lot of yards it was a good run. Last year so many guys were in and out and the Chiefs haven’t had a cohesive unit for some time. If you have 5 or 6 guys that think “this is my job and no one is taking it” that goes a long way.
Do you hold yourself responsible for the Chiefs only winning 6 games the past two seasons?
No, I retired for a reason. I don’t see it that way… I blame it on Willie Roaf.
Who was the best defensive lineman you ever faced?
Howie Long was good when I was a rookie. He took me to school a lot. And John Randall.
Another solid job by Petro. Though I have to say, even though it was said somewhat in jest, I’m surprised he opened his “four quick questions” segment with asking if he felt responsible for the Chiefs losing the last two years. Think about it though, this team lost Willie Roaf and Will Shields… How often does a team lose two HOF caliber offensive lineman that are still playing at a high level on back-to-back years?
Out of the whole interview, what I was most amazed by was when Petro started reading off names of all the offensive linemen taken in and around Shields in the 1993 draft. I didn’t remember most of the guys, let alone know anything about them and Shields was rattling off info on every single one, it was amazing and simply too much to transcribe. Make sure you check out the audio using the player above to hear it. Amazing stuff.
I know he will be pushing 38 on opening day, but I am 100% confident that Will Shields could step on the field Week 1 in Baltimore and start for this team. He was an amazing talent and right now I wish he would at least sit Brian Waters down and help put his head back on straight.