When the Chiefs hit the practice field on Monday afternoon, depth along a banged up offensive line came into focus. For the second consecutive day, Kansas City was missing three offensive linemen from practice and, as a result, a regular starter over the past two seasons was repping at a different position.
The fifth-year player saw action as a reserve right guard in four games for the Chiefs during November of 2007 and started at least one game at all five offensive line positions during his career at LSU from 2002-2005. He’s also still locked in a position battle for the starting center position with veteran iron man
Niswanger was the starting center vs. Atlanta, though it appears that it will be Wiegmann’s turn to start this weekend in Tampa.
Although the Chiefs gained a body along the offensive front with
It seems like the offensive line has been in constant motion since the first day of training camp when
“Jon was out there today, and I know that he was a little hurt, but he was out there giving it his best effort,” Waters said.
Waters’ early days in the league were groomed by playing alongside consistent performers that rarely missed a snap. Players like Wiegmann, Willie Roaf and Will Shields played injured throughout their careers in Kansas City, but came together to form one of the most reliable and talented offensive lines that pro football has ever seen. It’s an upbringing that Waters is hoping to pass on to younger members of the Chiefs front five.
“They really battled through some nicks and dings to make sure that they were there every Sunday,” Waters said. “That’s who I learned from and hopefully it’s something that I’ll be able to pass down to some of these guys.”
Though Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has taken notice of the missing offensive linemen, he isn’t concerned about the health of Kansas City’s big bodies at this point in time.
“This is training camp,” Weis said. “In training camp, if you don’t bang each other a lot, then physically you’re not ready to go. I’m confident that we’ll have everyone here geared up and ready to go as the preseason goes on and as we get into the season.
“But this is training camp,” Weis re-iterated. “People get banged up in training camp. It’s what happens.”
The good thing for the Chiefs is that almost every member of the offensive line has experience playing multiple positions. That aspect of the Chiefs depth was obviously demonstrated when Niswanger worked at right guard today.
Jon Asamoah: Can play left or right guard; practiced as a center in college
Darryl Harris: Primarily a guard, but has experience as a center as well
Ryan Lilja: Played left guard in Indianapolis; plays right guard for Chiefs
Ikechuku Ndukwe: Started three games at right tackle in 2009; primary position is guard
Rudy Niswanger: NFL experience at both center and guard
Barry Richardson: Can play either tackle position
Brian Waters: All pro guard, but played as a center in Chiefs debut
The days of the early 2000s when the Chiefs went to battle with the same five offensive linemen nearly each and every week is rare. The Chiefs were truly blessed across the line during that stretch of time. In today’s NFL, positional versatility is of the upmost importance.
“The thing about this league now is that you’ve got to have at least eight or nine guys to be prepared to play,” G Brian Waters said. “It’s a tough season and it’s hard to have five guys play the whole season , so you’ve got to have as a many bodies as you can ready.”
The more you can do, the better.