Matt Cassel was 'pretty scared' when Ryan Lilja went to center

Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Chiefs' Matt Cassel says he was "pretty scared" when Rodney Hudson went down and Ryan Lilja took over at center.

After Rodney Hudson went down, the first person affected was Ryan Lilja, who took his spot. The next was Jeff Allen, who took Lilja's guard spot.

And then there was Matt Cassel, the other half of the center-quarterback exchange. Cassel called Lilja "a hero of the game" for stepping in -- after never taking a live snap before -- and doing a solid job.

"I'm not going to lie, I was pretty scared," Cassel said on Monday, via comments sent out by the Chiefs, "because you take so many snaps, you get a comfort level with somebody. But, Ryan and I have taken snaps every day during practice, and like I said, once you get in there, you never know how it's going to go, but Ryan did a great job. The balls were right there, and we were excited after the game to say the least."

For Lilja's part, he says the mental aspect of the position is one of the hardest parts of the transition.

"Yeah, there's a lot more thinking and communicating and you're communicating with the other guys on the line," Lilja said, "you're communicating with the quarterback and you've obviously got to be on it with the snaps. So there's some mental stuff that I didn't have to worry about at guard."

The center touches the ball on every snap, which means there's an opportunity to turn it over on every snap. Left tackle may be the more premiere position but the center-quarterback exchange is such a basic part of the game that we take for granted, probably because we're used to seeing actual centers play the position.

Next week against the Chargers is test No. 2 for Lilja.

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