Let's play "What if?" for a second. The Steelers just lot their starting right tackle for the season with the recent news of Willie Colon's torn right Achilles tendon getting out. Not that there's ever a good moment for news like this, but there are certainly levels of bad timing and this is one of them. While getting news like this heading into the regular season would be even worse, this still comes at a key moment: most player acquisitions are finished.
The draft is over. Few free agents are left. The ability to pick-up a starting caliber player really doesn't exist outside of a trade at this point, or else you believe in the remaining free agents at the position like Flozell Adams or Levi Jones. While those might be able to fill in just fine, it leaves me wondering if the Chiefs could saddle such a loss. What is the ability of the current Chiefs roster to handle a (probable) injury of some sort -- and specifically along the offensive line?
It's here that I'm quite pleased as a Chiefs fan. This off-season has been a fine one, indeed, in terms of restoring confidence along the line. Sure, it doesn't match the glory days of a few years ago when we seemingly had Pro Bowlers at every position along the front five. But given the recent state of things, the Chiefs are actually sitting fairly pretty.
If a center were to go down to injury, we have two guys in house with lots of starting experience from last year alone in Casey Wiegmann and Rudy Niswanger. The guard position could similarly handle the loss of a starter -- to Ryan Lilja or Brian Waters for example -- since Jon Asamoah should be a nice young talent in camp to go alongside holdover vets like Ike Ndukwe and Colin Brown. The tackle position is the most limited with starters Branden Albert and Ryan O'Callaghan entrenched while Ndukwe and Barry Richardson can also fill in.
If the Chiefs experience an injury like Colon's, it seems the area most ready to handle it would be along the interior of the line and especially the center position. If a tackle goes down, it might be something the team would have to address from the outside.