When we’re not blaming Matt Cassel or Scott Pioli for this team’s woes, we’re blaming the offensive line. But take a close look at the stats before you jump to unfair conclusions... Generally, most offensive linemen love run-blocking, and our O-line has certainly been doing that. The Chiefs are 6th in the league in rushing yards per game (127.4) and 9th in yards per carry (4.6). That doesn’t happen without a good O-line, especially considering the Chiefs currently don’t have a good running back to speak of. Also, Matt Cassel rarely gets sacked. He's been sacked 10 times this year, and there are 20 QBs that have been sacked more. In the last few games especially, Cassel has had more than enough time in the pocket, and his stats are starting to reflect that.
I try to observe one O-lineman per series while I watch Chiefs games, and here is a brief description of what I’ve observed from our starters...
LT Branden Albert - He looks amped up when the Chiefs run to his side, and he moves defenders off of the ball very nicely on most running plays. However, he still struggles mightily in pass protection. When he’s not allowing the sack, he’s holding. He doesn’t always get called for it, but watch him on Sunday. He holds a LOT. For the first 3rd of the season, Albert gets a C grade from me.
LG Jon Asamoah - He’s getting a lot of playing time, and its paying off. He still makes some mistakes due to inexperience (holding calls), but those are minor growing pains. He looks good all around. He gets a B through the first five games.
C Casey Wiegmann - He had a terrible start to the year, and he just looks tired and slow. Unfortunately for Wiegmann, I think his age is catching up to him, and I doubt he’ll finish the year as the starter. Time for Rodney Hudson! Wiegmann gets a D.
RG Ryan Lilja - Lilja is solid all around. You never see him commit penalties, and he’s been our best O-lineman this year so far. He gets a great push off of the point of attack, and he stands his ground during the pass rush. I don’t think Lilja has allowed a sack all year. Lilja gets an A.
RT Barry Richardson - Barry has improved a lot this season. He has struggled a bit in the run game, which is odd for him, but he has done an okay job of protecting Cassel. C For B-Rich.
Overall, the O-line deserves a B grade through the first five games, and there’s no reason to believe that will drop, especially with Jared Gaither and Rodney Hudson starting to get some playing time. Statistically speaking, the Chiefs have a top 10 O-line.