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Tribal Warfare
08-16-2010, 08:30 PM
O-Line in Focus (http://www.kcchiefs.com/news/article-2/O-Line-in-Focus/84270887-d5e2-4910-8518-787aac47704d)

By Josh Looney

Posted 11 minutes ago
Injuries have brought the o-line into focus during recent practice sessions, but the group has positional versatility from top to bottom

When the Chiefs hit the practice field on Monday afternoon, depth along a banged up offensive line came into focus. For the second consecutive day, Kansas City was missing three offensive linemen from practice and, as a result, a regular starter over the past two seasons was repping at a different position.

Ryan Lilja was held out of practice this afternoon and Rudy Niswanger took over right guard duties in Lilja’s place with the first-team offense. Though Niswanger has never started at a position besides center for the Chiefs, he does have experience in playing other positions along the offensive line.

The fifth-year player saw action as a reserve right guard in four games for the Chiefs during November of 2007 and started at least one game at all five offensive line positions during his career at LSU from 2002-2005. He’s also still locked in a position battle for the starting center position with veteran iron man Casey Wiegmann.

Niswanger was the starting center vs. Atlanta, though it appears that it will be Wiegmann’s turn to start this weekend in Tampa.

Although the Chiefs gained a body along the offensive front with Jon Asamoah returning to practice today, both Darryl Harris and Barry Richardson joined Lilja in the bike area to give the line 11 active members for the workout. That number actually dropped down to 10 for a brief moment when Ryan O’Callaghan appeared to suffer a leg injury of some type, but he would eventually return to action.

It seems like the offensive line has been in constant motion since the first day of training camp when Ikechuku Ndukwe and Brian Waters were both held out of camp’s first session. In total, eight of the Chiefs 14 offensive linemen have missed some sort of practice time over the course of camp. The high amount of bumps and bruises, however, doesn’t mean that the group isn’t working through them.

“Jon was out there today, and I know that he was a little hurt, but he was out there giving it his best effort,” Waters said.

Waters’ early days in the league were groomed by playing alongside consistent performers that rarely missed a snap. Players like Wiegmann, Willie Roaf and Will Shields played injured throughout their careers in Kansas City, but came together to form one of the most reliable and talented offensive lines that pro football has ever seen. It’s an upbringing that Waters is hoping to pass on to younger members of the Chiefs front five.

“They really battled through some nicks and dings to make sure that they were there every Sunday,” Waters said. “That’s who I learned from and hopefully it’s something that I’ll be able to pass down to some of these guys.”

Though Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has taken notice of the missing offensive linemen, he isn’t concerned about the health of Kansas City’s big bodies at this point in time.

“This is training camp,” Weis said. “In training camp, if you don’t bang each other a lot, then physically you’re not ready to go. I’m confident that we’ll have everyone here geared up and ready to go as the preseason goes on and as we get into the season.

“But this is training camp,” Weis re-iterated. “People get banged up in training camp. It’s what happens.”

The good thing for the Chiefs is that almost every member of the offensive line has experience playing multiple positions. That aspect of the Chiefs depth was obviously demonstrated when Niswanger worked at right guard today.

Branden Albert : Played left and right guard in college; plays left tackle in NFL

Jon Asamoah: Can play left or right guard; practiced as a center in college

Colin Brown: Has played both guard and tackle since being drafted in 2009

Tyler Eastman: Listed by the Chiefs as both a guard and tackle

Darryl Harris: Primarily a guard, but has experience as a center as well

Lemuel Jeanpierre: Started college games at both guard posts and center

Ryan Lilja: Played left guard in Indianapolis; plays right guard for Chiefs

Ikechuku Ndukwe: Started three games at right tackle in 2009; primary position is guard

Rudy Niswanger: NFL experience at both center and guard

Barry Richardson: Can play either tackle position

Dan Santucci: Played as a center in Cincinnati; reps at guard in Kansas City

Brian Waters: All pro guard, but played as a center in Chiefs debut

The days of the early 2000s when the Chiefs went to battle with the same five offensive linemen nearly each and every week is rare. The Chiefs were truly blessed across the line during that stretch of time. In today’s NFL, positional versatility is of the upmost importance.

“The thing about this league now is that you’ve got to have at least eight or nine guys to be prepared to play,” G Brian Waters said. “It’s a tough season and it’s hard to have five guys play the whole season , so you’ve got to have as a many bodies as you can ready.”

The more you can do, the beter.

boogblaster
08-16-2010, 08:35 PM
we need someone who can block

TEX
08-16-2010, 08:47 PM
This is getting old. The Chiefs O-line has sucked @$$ since Herm Year 2.
Oh - And Brandon Albert is no big deal at LT. He will be average at best.

DaneMcCloud
08-16-2010, 09:47 PM
This is getting old. The Chiefs O-line has sucked @$$ since Herm Year 2.
Oh - And Brandon Albert is no big deal at LT. He will be average at best.

The Chiefs offensive line was going downhill in 2005. Roaf left in 2006 and Shields in 2007. The front office essentially ignored the offensive line throughout this decade, with the exception of a few 6th & 7th round scrubs.

notorious
08-16-2010, 09:51 PM
Translation: We have a collection of linemen that can play a lot of different positions but not one lineman that can play a specific position well.

jspchief
08-16-2010, 09:56 PM
The Chiefs offensive line was going downhill in 2005. Roaf left in 2006 and Shields in 2007. The front office essentially ignored the offensive line throughout this decade, with the exception of a few 6th & 7th round scrubs.Why would we need O-line with Kris Wilson?


"positional versatility"? Is that the nice way of saying none of them are good enough at one thing to actually stay at that spot?

2bikemike
08-16-2010, 10:33 PM
Translation: We have a collection of linemen that can play a lot of different positions but not one lineman that can play a specific position well.

Jacks of all trades masters of none. Sounds about right.

DaneMcCloud
08-16-2010, 10:35 PM
Jacks of all trades masters of none. Sounds about right.

Right now, I think the Chiefs best offensive line would be Richardson/Albert/Harris/Asamoah/Brown.

Get all the young guys on the field NOW so that can grow together and form a nucleus for years to come. The Chiefs aren't winning jackshit this year, so get the young guys out there under fire and set it up for 2011.

chiefzilla1501
08-16-2010, 10:45 PM
Right now, I think the Chiefs best offensive line would be Richardson/Albert/Harris/Asamoah/Brown.

Get all the young guys on the field NOW so that can grow together and form a nucleus for years to come. The Chiefs aren't winning jackshit this year, so get the young guys out there under fire and set it up for 2011.

Absolutely no reason to put your Left Tackle of the future at Left Guard. Lilja can handle the position fine. And I think Harris is injured, isn't he?

I think Albert-Lilja-Niswanger-Asamoah-O'Callaghan is fine (assuming O'Callaghan isn't out for extended time). I think Colin Brown is way too raw right now to consider him an option at RT.

But based on a lot of pass plays I've seen in game 1, the worst player on the offensive line is Matt Cassel.

RustShack
08-16-2010, 10:51 PM
I would go Albert-Lilja(if not Waters)-Harris-Asomoah(if not Lilja)-Richardson

DaneMcCloud
08-16-2010, 11:08 PM
Absolutely no reason to put your Left Tackle of the future at Left Guard. Lilja can handle the position fine. And I think Harris is injured, isn't he?

I think Albert-Lilja-Niswanger-Asamoah-O'Callaghan is fine (assuming O'Callaghan isn't out for extended time). I think Colin Brown is way too raw right now to consider him an option at RT.


And I think you're smoking crack.

I haven't seen Albert do anything more than Richardson at left tackle. I haven't given up on him completely, but I'm beginning to think he isn't the long term solution at tackle and may very well be better suited for guard.

It's all about getting your best players on the field, especially when you're as shallow as the Chiefs.

DaneMcCloud
08-16-2010, 11:09 PM
I would go Albert-Lilja(if not Waters)-Harris-Asomoah(if not Lilja)-Richardson

Lilja has no business at right guard and like I said when he was signed, if he's one of your five best offensive lineman, your offensive line sucks ass.

Richardson is not a natural right tackle and never will be a natural right tackle.

He belongs on the left side.

chiefzilla1501
08-16-2010, 11:19 PM
And I think you're smoking crack.

I haven't seen Albert do anything more than Richardson at left tackle. I haven't given up on him completely, but I'm beginning to think he isn't the long term solution at tackle and may very well be better suited for guard.

It's all about getting your best players on the field, especially when you're as shallow as the Chiefs.

I don't think I'm even close to the only one who thinks Albert is a lot better today than Richardson and has a mile more upside than Richardson. You put your best o-line athlete at LT, period. Albert as a pro bowl Guard isn't as valuable as Albert as he would be as a solid but unspectacular LT.

DaneMcCloud
08-16-2010, 11:22 PM
I don't think I'm even close to the only one who thinks Albert is a lot better today than Richardson and has a mile more upside than Richardson. You put your best o-line athlete at LT, period. Albert as a pro bowl Guard isn't as valuable as Albert as he would be as a solid but unspectacular LT.

I completely disagree.

During the 2008 season, I felt that Albert was most certainly the left tackle of the future. His poor performance for most of 2009 worried me some, but I thought he'd be fine.

Flash forward to Friday's game and he's still making the same mental errors as early last season. It's been a fucking year. He went #15 overall.

I just don't think he's going to get it. And Richardson has been just as effective on the left as Albert, which is saying something, IMO.

beach tribe
08-17-2010, 07:52 AM
I completely disagree.

During the 2008 season, I felt that Albert was most certainly the left tackle of the future. His poor performance for most of 2009 worried me some, but I thought he'd be fine.

Flash forward to Friday's game and he's still making the same mental errors as early last season. It's been a ****ing year. He went #15 overall.

I just don't think he's going to get it. And Richardson has been just as effective on the left as Albert, which is saying something, IMO.

So you thought he would be fine after the 2009 season, buuuuuuuut you're ready to give up on him after a half games worth of pre-season snaps?

Gotcha.

Count Alex's Losses
08-17-2010, 08:08 AM
Albert wasn't horrible Friday. He had a couple of bad plays but that was really it. Jeez.

It's not like he was being flagged for holding, either.

You can't really judge Richardson as a left tackle either, he's barely had a handful of snaps at that position.

MOhillbilly
08-17-2010, 09:03 AM
The Chiefs offensive line was going downhill in 2005. Roaf left in 2006 and Shields in 2007. The front office essentially ignored the offensive line throughout this decade, with the exception of a few 6th & 7th round scrubs.

I dont give a shit. I will go to my grave thinking carl sold our future to win Mr. Hunt one last lombardi.
But in the end carls ego after 03 was this teams kiss of death.

Mr. Laz
08-17-2010, 11:26 AM
the reason they have so much exp playing multiple line positions is because nobody can find a place where they are "great"

wasi
08-17-2010, 11:33 AM
the reason they have so much exp playing multiple line positions is because nobody can find a place where they are "great"

It makes sense too because of the 48 man game-day roster and the fact the roster overall is filled with holes. If they can open up spots on the o-line they can fit other players onto the roster that possibly mask some of the other positional deficiencies.

Mr. Laz
08-17-2010, 11:53 AM
i'm glad this has moved niswanger to guard for awhile though ... maybe they will see a flash and realize he's better there permanently.

DaneMcCloud
08-17-2010, 11:57 AM
Albert wasn't horrible Friday. He had a couple of bad plays but that was really it. Jeez.

It's not like he was being flagged for holding, either.

You can't really judge Richardson as a left tackle either, he's barely had a handful of snaps at that position.

Albert wasn't "horrible" but wouldn't it be nice, you know, for once, to see someone's play elevated from one season to the next?

I'm really tired of the excuses made each and every preseason as to why the Chiefs suck ("Vanilla" offense and defense, etc.).

For ONCE, I'd like them to look like a polished football team in August, not a collection of bumbling idiots that continue to make high school mistakes.

wasi
08-17-2010, 12:28 PM
For ONCE, I'd like them to look like a polished football team in August, not a collection of bumbling idiots that continue to make high school mistakes.

I agree entirely. I had to temper my initial feelings of anger and disappointment Friday night by repeatedly telling myself preseason doesn't mean a thing.

DaneMcCloud
08-17-2010, 12:34 PM
I agree entirely. I had to temper my initial feelings of anger and disappointment Friday night by repeatedly telling myself preseason doesn't mean a thing.

Except it does.

If your team is as sloppy as the Chiefs, then your team is in trouble.

I watched nearly every preseason game and I can't think of a team that looked as poor as the Chiefs. The Broncos, much to my dismay, came out firing on all cylinders, offensively and defensively in Cincinnati. The Patriots, Saints, 49ers and San Diego picked up right where they left off last year and surprisingly, the Browns looked very good as well.

It may mean "nothing" in terms of record, but I think that it's been a good indicator for the Chiefs in regards to overall play and record. It's not like the Chiefs are like the Colts, so loaded, experience and ready for the season, that they can just look like shit, all the while knowing that they're holding back.

It may only be *one* preseason game but I expected MUCH more progress. It'll be interesting to see how they respond against a very young Tampa Bay team. Unfortunately, it won't be broadcast on the NFL Network until early Monday morning.