Offseason Roster Review: Offensive Line

Posted Jan 19, 2012

Reviewing and previewing each position heading into the 2012 offseason

Chiefs Offensive Line Overview

Under Contract (9)

Branden Albert, Jon Asamoah, Rodney Hudson, Ryan Lilja, Steve Maneri, David Mims, Darryl Harris, Rob Bruggeman, Lucas Patterson

Free Agents (3)

Ryan O’Callaghan (Unrestricted), Barry Richardson (Unrestricted), Casey Wiegmann (Unrestricted)

End Of Season Depth Chart

Left Tackle: 1. Branden Albert, 2. David Mims

Left Guard: 1. Ryan Lilja, 2. Rodney Hudson

Center: 1. Casey Wiegmann, 2. Rodney Hudson

Right Guard: 1. Jon Asamoah, 2. Rodney Hudson

Right Tackle: 1. Barry Richardson, 2. Steve Maneri

Injured Reserve: Ryan O’Callaghan

Practice Squad: Darryl Harris, Rob Bruggeman, Lucas Patterson

What Happened: The only significant shakeup on the Chiefs offensive line from 2010 to 2011 was the decision to move on from veteran left guard Brian Waters. Ryan Lilja moved to the left side in place of Waters and second-year pro Jon Asamoah assumed starting duties at right guard.

The decision to part ways with Waters was met with debate from Chiefs fans throughout the 2011 season, especially when Waters went on to become a starter in New England, but the time had come to begin turning over the offensive line.

Outside of the ripples created from Waters’ release, not much changed on the line from a play-time perspective. However, the group as a whole looks set to see a plethora of new faces competing for play-time next season.

When it came to running the football, Kansas City saw its most success around the left edge behind Branden Albert. The Chiefs averaged 5.61 yards per carry running to the left, but just 3.25 yards per carry going right and 3.02 yards per attempt heading up the middle.

Kansas City’s success running to the left mirrored its 2010 totals (5.60 yards per carry) when the Chiefs led the NFL in rushing. However, there was a significant drop running to the right (4.50 yards per carry in 2010) and up the middle (4.06 yards per carry in 2010).

The Chiefs struggled with pass protection throughout the majority of the season until Kyle Orton took over as starting quarterback and was sacked just once during his three starts under center.

Offensive coordinator Bill Muir, who also served as the offensive line coach, credited Orton’s quick release for the decrease in sacks. Kansas City would finished the year with 34.0 sacks allowed, which was an increase of only 2.0 from the 2010 season. The NFL average in 2011 was 37.13 sacks allowed.

Chiefs quarterbacks were knocked down 73 times in both 2010 and 2011, but were hurried 18 fewer times last season.

Big Question

Where will the Chiefs focus their efforts on improving the offensive line?

What’s Next

An overhaul of the offensive line looks to be in store for 2012 with Casey Wiegmann likely to retire, Barry Richardson set to hit free agency and general manager Scott Pioli telling a local radio station last week that, “We have to improve our offensive line.”

So what’s next?

Rodney Hudson was an All-American guard at Florida State and started one game at left guard in place of an injured Ryan Lilja last season, but Hudson still looks like the leading candidate to take over as the team’s starting center next year.

Of course, if a proven center gains the Chiefs interest in free agency, it isn’t out of the question to think Hudson might find a home at guard next season.

The tackle situation could go a number of different directions. It’s worth nothing that Branden Albert never took a rep at right tackle last season, even with the signing of Jared Gaither. Of course, Gaither never made a true push for playing time at either tackle position.

We know there will be change. We’re just not sure where.

Story You Missed

It’s widely known that Rodney Hudson is viewed as the heir-apparent at center to Casey Wiegmann, but those plans were even more obvious inside the Chiefs locker room.

Hudson’s locker was strategically placed next to Wiegmann’s and the rookie often sat on his locker stool to pick the veteran’s football mind following practices. Wiegmann made it a point to pass on as much knowledge as he could to the promising rookie.

One Sentence Wraps

Branden Albert: Another offseason of speculation begins regarding Albert’s position for next year.

Ryan Lilja: Hometown kid had an up and down year after being the Chiefs best offensive lineman in 2010.

Casey Wiegmann:l Standing ovation for a remarkable career.

Jon Asamoah: Has all the tools to be a building block of the interior line for years.

Barry Richardson: The right tackle is the common scapegoat for most any NFL offensive line.

David Mims: Raw, small-school talent should only benefit from his first NFL offseason training program.

Rodney Hudson: Is a potential 2012 starter at any interior position.

Steve Maneri: Receiving ability makes him a perfect fit for tackle-over formations.

Ryan O’Callaghan: Will re-evaluate his football career after season-ending shoulder injury.

Darryl Harris: Showed promise each of last two camps prior to injury.

Rob Bruggeman: Short stay on practice squad, but earned contract for 2012.

Lucas Patterson: Former defensive lineman spent a year developing on practice squad.

Interesting Stat

Wiegmann’s consecutive snaps streak is likely to come to an end via retirement at 11,162 straight plays. The 16-year veteran started his 175th consecutive game Week 17 in Denver and didn’t miss a snap for more than a decade.

Wiegmann’s consecutive snaps streak began at Arrowhead Stadium on September 23, 2001 against the New York Giants.

^ TOP ^