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'Next Man Up' Approach for Offensive Line, Chiefs

Posted Nov 20, 2012

How many times have you started your car thinking more about how not to spill your coffee or which station was playing on the radio? While doing this, you never once gave thought about the vehicle’s engine – the critical piece that will get you from point A to point B without cause.

Just as an engine is to the car, so is an offensive line to the football team.

Both are very much overlooked until you realize that you’ve encountered something out of the ordinary. Going into the season, the Chiefs had a stout line that had seen change only through a bit of a youth movement with RG Jon Asamoah and C Rodney Hudson getting the start, while veterans LT Brandon Albert and LG Ryan Lilja were joined by free agent addition RT Eric Winston.

Not too shabby.

The course of half of a season and some unfortunate injuries forced new players into the fold however, and a line that had seen most of camp as a unified group was forced to learn some new steps.

“It all starts there. If we aren’t going, nothing’s going to go on offense,” said Asamoah, who is a key part of the Chiefs offensive line that has endured multiple changes. “It’s tough when you get thrown into positions that you haven’t played, or you’ve only seen other people do it. It’s an adjustment to actually go in physically, do the things yourself, and not even just in practice (but) in the games against the best players in the world. It’s the NFL, it’s always the next guy (who) always has to be ready to go out there and play. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for you, nobody’s going to take it easy on you, so you have to be ready to go.”

Chemistry is disrupted when changes go into effect, especially along the offensive line. However, you won’t hear any excuses coming from One Arrowhead Drive.

“When you have guys who don’t practice together on a consistent basis, it’s hard (for) everybody to be on the same page. But this is pro football, and you’re on the team and when you’re in there, you have to perform,” Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel noted.

Chiefs QB Brady Quinn agreed, “We really try not to allow those sorts of things (injuries) to impact the game plan. I know it’s hard to have a ‘next man up’ mentality, but I think in this league, in order to be successful, you have to. A guy goes down, someone’s got to come in and fill his place and he’s got to be up there at the same level.”

The next man up and his teammates will be preparing for the AFC West leading Broncos who visit Arrowhead Sunday, as the Chiefs still push towards their first home win of the 2012 campaign.

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