Kansas City Chiefs fans have been spoiled with great offensive lines over the past twenty years. We have grown to love a solid offensive line. It is almost something the people of KC can relate to, hard work and little recognition. Some of that might have been from previous GM Carl Peterson, he made the offensive line a priority when he was in charge.
Carl did bring in some fantastic linemen during his tenure, though. Names like Tim Grunhard, Will Shields, Brian Waters and Willie Roaf were all his doing. He made some mistakes along the way, too. Trezelle Jenkins and Victor Riley (both first round picks) were bad selections. Fast forward to the Scott Pioli era, and we are in damn good shape, again.
The 2012 Chiefs have a solid offensive line with few question marks, the exception being experience. Let’s take a look at the starters and depth, and how each player fits into the mix now and in the future.
Branden Albert is entering the final year of his contract. He has lived up to the first round selection the Chiefs used on him. Many are wondering if the 3rd round selection of Donald Stephenson signals the end of the Albert era at left tackle, me included. Stephenson is far from being NFL ready, but has the talent to become a mainstay at LT for the Chiefs, if Albert signs elsewhere.
When it’s all said and done, I believe Albert will be a Kansas City Chief in 2013. Whether that is with a new contract or under the franchise tag is up for debate.
The Chiefs have some decisions to make in camp at left guard. The battle is between a veteran (Ryan Lilja) and a rookie (Jeff Allen). The vet should have the upper hand, but he struggled mightily last year. The rookie is making a position change from left tackle and hasn’t experienced the NFL yet.
Ryan Lilja is the veteran, and the new blocking scheme might be a good fit for his talents. He is quicker than most and getting to spots is an important part of the system. He struggles to get any push when he is locked on to a defender. The ZBS should mask that as well, with pulling and more double teams.
Jeff Allen is the future at the position. So, even if Lilja beats him out, expect to see Allen in the game from time to time. This year will be important for Allen and Stephenson both, as they are possibly the future of the left side of the offensive line.
Read about the rest of the Chiefs offensive line on page 2.