Nobody Shields them better

Offensive guards don't often - or ever - get requests to be the subject of conference calls with NFL writers, but 14th-year veteran Will Shields is a different breed altogether. The 11-time Pro Bowler, a certain Hall of Famer, will start his 210th consecutive game this week, and here he talks Chiefs and 49ers and gives his takes on several issues surrounding the two teams entering Sunday's game.

On if he was surprised at being asked to do a conference call: "That is strange, but it's a good thing. I've heard you guys have some good linemen down there too, so I expect you guys to be able to call for the good people of the team."

On going against Bryant Young: "We've played against each other quite a few times and he's a good athlete. Bryant and I know each other pretty well and we've spent some time together. He's a good guy and a good player who always gives us a challenge and he makes it tough on us. We have tough games and it's going to be a tough battle. It's a lot of fun to be able to play somebody you've actually played over and over again."

On if they have spent time together in the off-season: "We've been at the pro bowl at the same time, and we were over for NFLPA meetings at the same time. We know each other in passing like that. We were both at the JB awards and we got a chance to talk to each other. That was really cool, and that was where we really got a chance to speak. He's a very nice guy."

On if there is more motivation in going against a long standing opponent then a rookie: "I don't think that's the way it works motivation wise. I think you try to play hard every week regardless of who you play against. That's how it goes. That's what our job is and you know you are going to be hit every down so you try and make the best of it."

On the advantage of playing at Arrowhead with the crowd noise: "We always hope that our crowd, our 12th man will be here. That makes a difference in the game and it gives us a little bit more energy and gusto being at home. Any team would say that they play better on the road would be tough to find that their fans are not backing them up to a point to keep them motivated at the end of the game. It's a good thing to be able to say that we have a game here at home."

On Arrowhead's overall atmosphere: "I think we have a good crowd. One thing I like about it is that they are true Chiefs fans. They love their team, they love the sport, and they support us. One thing that we enjoy about it is the simple fact of having good support and hopefully we can get this going and get these guys rolling this weekend and try to have a good game."

On why the Chiefs have been one of the top running teams for years with different running backs: "I think if you look at teams like Denver and the Chiefs, you try to focus on things like that, and try to make that a staple of what you do. It has been a tradition here, as far as trying to have good lineman to do different things. One thing we like to do is run block and it just so happens to have worked out that way that we've been fortunate enough to have good backs to come in and do great things. It's also a lineman tradition to try and do your best whether you are running or throwing the ball."

On if it helps having a long time offensive line coach as your offensive coordinator in Gunther Cunningham: "It makes it a little easier because you can go and talk to the offensive coordinator because you know him so well. You don't have to worry about him second guessing where your heart is at because you've been there together for eight, almost nine years. It makes it easier and it also gets your communication back and forth as far as knowing where this offense needs to go."

On if he has any memories of the last two times the 49ers came into Arrowhead in 1994 and 1997: "No, I don't think there is one thing that stands out from the other. I know there were always good games and good challenges that we had. I think one game they were either undefeated or pretty close to undefeated. It was a good game and we ended up winning. That's about it as far as I remember. That's what happens when you get old, you get hit in the head so many times you forget some things."

On Larry Allen and if there is a competition between guards:"No, you don't have competitions with each other. You actually go and admire their work. That's one thing about watching Larry, you get a chance to go and see what he does, and then take something that he does and try to add it to your repertoire. For us, we use it to analyze. You go and watch those guys who are doing great things and a man of his stature and size who can run and hit people the way he does. It's amazing to watch."

On the loss of QB Trent Green: "We're still doing the same things we've done in our offense. Damon has been here for a few years so he's got some time under his belt. We're basically going to run the offense the best we can and I think he'll do a good job."

On how close QB Brodie Croyle is to playing: "I have no idea. Brodie spent much of his time up and down in the off-season, just like me. As far as a learning curve goes I think he's done very well in practice. I'm impressed with him, he has a great arm, and he can throw the ball and put it in different places. I think he's going to be very good once he gets the opportunity to play here. You never know what's going to happen, but I don't want it to happen any time soon because we need to keep Damon healthy. Then we can work our way to get Trent back into the lineup."

On if there situation makes it more important to pound the ball at the 49ers on the ground: "No, I don't think so. I think we have to do what we do as an offense. If we do what we do best, then everything else will come where it needs to go."

On what he is most proud of with all the records and streaks: "I'm more proud of the simple fact of just saying I've had a career. I think that is very special and unique to say that you've had a career in the NFL. It's a unique thing. It's not like a guy saying I've been there or I played a couple of years. I think you can look back and say that I've done the things that I needed to do to stay around and have a little longevity."

On if he will go to the Hall of Fame: "I don't worry about that. There is nothing I can do about that stuff. Right now I'm worried about getting ready for this game this weekend."

On how much longer he can play: "I don't know. I take it week-to-week, month-to-month, day-to-day. One day you wake up and you feel like your bones are about to fall off, and the next day you feel like you could do this for a while longer. It goes up and down like anything else."

On if offensive guards are finally getting their just do: "I think a lot of people are taking notice that there are guys who have to line up and block the guys on the other side. As far as offensive linemen go, we don't worry about that because we like being under the radar. We don't have to worry about most of the other things that most people do. What we like to do is do our job and make sure every body stays up and running."

On if his name is appropriate for blocking: "I think it works pretty well. I don't think my Mom or Dad thought about it that way since I am named after my Dad. It sort of worked that way for me to be an offensive lineman."


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