The Chiefs will enter the 2010 version of training camp with the possibility of adding two new starters along the offensive line. Coming into the fold are right guard Ryan Lilja and center Casey Wiegmann.
You can pencil in Lilja at right guard. He lined up there throughout OTAs and there's no significant threat to take his job.
The Chiefs presumably didn't sign Weigmann to ride the bench so he'll get a fair shot to win the starting center job. That the Chiefs brought in a 37-year old center may not bode well for 2009's starter, Rudy Niswanger. The coaching staff likes Niswanger's work ethic so don't be that quick to write him off as the 2010 starter.
2010 draft pick Jon Asamoah and 2009 draft pick Colin Brown probably don't figure into the starting lineup unless there's an injury.
Staying the same
Branden Albert is probably the biggest question mark on the Chiefs offensive line only because he offers so much potential. By many accounts his rookie season was better than his second year so the Chiefs -- and his offensive line mates -- are interested in seeing how he comes along.
Brian Waters is Brian Waters. He'll be the man in 2010. However, the question for the Chiefs is becoming what will happen after 2010. It's not clear how long Waters continues to play -- or how long the Chiefs will keep him -- so it's important to note his replacement might be on the roster. Candidates for that job include Lilja moving over from the right side and rookie Jon Asamoah.
Right tackle is, for now, Ryan O'Callaghan. He ended the season as the starter and there are no indications anyone on the roster will take it from him in training camp.
Will the second half of the 2009 season matter?
The Chiefs ended the 2009 season on somewhat of a hot streak along the offensive line. Matt Cassel's sacks were down and Jamaal Charles was killing it in the run game so there are reasons to root for this unit to be kept intact.
At least three positions on the line appear secure. Lilja will be the right guard and center is the only true battle heading into camp.
For a position group that was criticized so much, the offensive line could potentially see four of the same starters. Like the defensive line, the Chiefs are hoping to see improvement from guys that are already in-house, like Albert, and O'Callaghan.
Here are a few questions for you to answer in the comments:
- What will be the Chiefs starting offensive line to open the season?
- What will be the Chiefs starting offensive line to end the season?
- Which offensive lineman will be the biggest surprise in 2010?