The Kansas City Chiefs Lack Of Offensive Line Depth Is A Concern

Jul 27, 2013; St. Joseph, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Orie Lemon (52) works with tackle Dustin Waldron (68) during training camp at Missouri Western State University. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The latest news around the NFL is that former (and currently retired) Chief Ryan Lilja has drawn interest from the Denver Broncos after they lost their starting center Dan Koppen to injury. Some of these reports have also mentioned that Lilja has previously had some discussions with the Chiefs about coming back for another season. Trying to convince Lilja to come out of retirement to be a back up in KC will probably be a tough sell when compared to being Peyton Manning’s starting center on what many consider a Super Bowl caliber team. However, that is exactly what Chiefs general manager John Dorsey needs to do.

When I attended training camp on Sunday it appeared to me that the offensive line was by far the position group with the least depth. It probably gets overlooked because the combination of Branden Albert, Jon Asamoah, Rodney Hudson, Geoff Schwartz, Eric Fisher, Donald Stephenson, and Jeff Allen give the Chiefs 7 solid NFL caliber linemen. It would be GREAT if those were the only offensive linemen to see the field for KC this coming season. That would mean that the Chiefs avoided having a rash of injuries at the position. However, this is the NFL. As many teams have already learned since camps opened a week ago, injuries happen all the time. If the Chiefs were to have three offensive line injuries at the same time they would be in a world of hurt.

I don’t mean that to be disrespectful to the other offensive linemen on the roster, but there just isn’t ANYTHING there in terms of NFL experience. Here are the other lineman currently in camp with their NFL games played and games started.

Steven Baker – 6’8″ – 310 lbs – 0 games, 0 starts
Tommie Draheim – 6’4″ – 309 lbs – 0 games, 0 starts
Ryan Durand – 6’5″ – 301 lbs – 1 game, 0 starts
AJ Hawkins – 6’1″ – 310 lbs – 0 games, 0 starts
Colin Kelly – 6’5″ – 298 lbs – 0 games, 0 starts
Eric Kush – 6’4″ – 313 lbs – 0 games, 0 starts
Matt Reynolds – 6’4″ – 310 lbs – 0 games, 0 starts
Dustin Waldron – 6’5″ – 310 lbs – 0 games, 0 starts

So the 8 other offensive linemen in camp have appeared in 1 total regular season game and have ZERO starts at the NFL level. These are the kind of guys that have no profile picture or information available when you search for them on the NFL.com player database. Ryan Durand is the only one to dress for a regular season game. Matt Reynolds was on Andy Reid’s practice squad last year in Philly. Eric Kush was a 6th round draft pick. Maybe one of them turns out to be a good player. I’m all for developing young guys. I’d love it if one of them turns out to be a good NFL caliber player. I just don’t think they should count on it. This team needs another experienced interior offensive lineman.

Obviously, Ryan Lilja and his 111 games played with 104 starts would fit that bill. Here are a few other available free agents that have played some guard and center in their career.

Eugene Amano – 124 games, 68 starts
Rex Hadnot – 130 games, 96 starts
Kyle DeVan – 40 games, 26 starts

None of these guys would break the bank. Since Amano was a starter last season he may be hoping for a starting job, but Hadnot and DeVan would probably just be happy to get into a camp and compete for a roster spot (DeVan even started four games for Reid in Philadelphia in 2011). I would feel a LOT better if KC had another offensive lineman on the roster with some game experience. Maybe they will wait until other teams start making roster cuts but I just don’t feel comfortable with the offensive line depth on this team as it is now. So as the preseason games approach keep your eyes on the second and third string offensive line. Hopefully, they’ll prove me wrong. If they don’t, I hope that Ryan Lilja will pick his home town team over his old Indy buddy Manning and the dreaded Donkeys.

Topics: Kansas City Chiefs

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  • Eclipse

    This article would not have been written if John Dorsey wouldn’t have cut E. Winston. If one of our OL goes down.. then the blame will be on Dorsey….

    • Michael Shaw

      Knowing they were drafting Eric Fisher or the other LT, made the Winston cut smart since they didn’t need three starting tackles. Winston wouldn’t do anything to help us right now as we definitely need Fisher on the right side until BA leaves next year in free agency. So I don’t blame Dorsey for our lack of depth when we really only need one guy with game experience as a back up. That is just the luck of the draw in the NFL. Good linemen are hard to find and Winston was let go so that he could sign with a team that truly needed him at RT as we didn’t. Next year our line will likely be Fisher at LT, Allen at LG, Hudson at C, Asamoah at RG and Stephenson at RT. All we need is a couple of guys to back them up this year so that they are here for next year as well. I know injuries happen, but I am not as worried this year. Even though the guys on the roster right now don’t have a lot, hell ANY, experience, I think they might get that this year in relief duties only. The only way to build up a line is with guys who don’t have experience and the only way they get experience is by being given a chance………

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Winston doesn’t fit Reid’s power blocking scheme.

      • Tony Parker

        true, also we don’t need a cancer like Wilson on the team.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          Who ever said he was a cancer?

          • Tony Parker

            I was under the impression he had a bad attitude in the lockerroom. my apologies, didn’t mean to offend u

          • Stacy D. Smith

            I’m not personally offended. I was just wondering where that idea came from. I’ve heard that before.

        • micah stephenson

          Who is Wilson? If you are referring to Winston, he spoke up for his QB, that don’t make you a cancer. If Alex Smith got fucked up and J.Charles spoke up for him wud that make him a cancer too? People fucks me up with that Winston is a cancer. What was he spose to say “yea I’m glad Cassel is hurt, yea cheer louder”. Cmon man.

          • Tony Parker

            Micah, I was referring to Winston, I was under the impression he had a bad attitude in the lockerroom. had nothing to do with the cassle incident. if I was wrong then my apologies if I offended you.

      • Jim Harper

        Apparently he does not fit a lot of teams. He has had a hard time finding a new home.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    Good work, Graversen. Beyond Stephenson and Allen, there’s very little in the cupboard. Kush has struggled mightily. He’s not ready to contribute anything. They definitely need to keep a close eye on O-Line help over the next few weeks.

  • Tony Parker

    your not the only one thinking this Lyle. there is not much game experience on what is expected to be our starting O line.

  • John Guyer

    And also Winston gave up more sacks than any one else on our team last year… We don’t need that

  • micah stephenson

    If we got a least a good back up center then at least we got 1 back up LT/RT, G, & C.

  • Ryan A James

    I actually like to depth on the OL. As you mentioned in the article, with the depth of Schwartz and Stephenson, I feel that the Chiefs have the Tackles covered with Stephenson and the Guards covered with Schwartz (or Allen). The only position of question I have is Center…Dont know if Schwartz can play there, but I know that Kush has potential. I think if any positional group had 2 or more injuries at the same time, ANY team in the NFL would be hurting. 2 good backups and maybe 2 prospects is really good depth for an OL. That is my opinion.

  • Calchiefsfan

    This has been a concern of mine since the draft. I was hoping the Chiefs would draft Barrett Jones instead of Knile Davis. Jones might be a rookie but he definitely would have privided much better depth on the interior than what we have now. If Hudson goes down we’re in trouble!

  • BigNickMihalco

    Predicted Chiefs 2013 final record: 9-7. Just beat out of the playoffs by Miami.

  • Mike

    This is CORRECT and Accurate!! I have been to almost every training camp practice. Shwartz needs to stay at Tackle. This gives us just enough depth at tackle and this is the position he is best at. The 8th & 9th guy on the oline roster should be Durand at RG & Kush at Center. These guys are the best fit for the position and most athletic. They have also performed the best at practice every day. Followed by Reynolds on the practice squad or watkins on practice squad for the 4th string guard. This WILL be the BEST for the CHIEFS! I just hope Andy doesn’t put Reynolds as active just because he knew him from the eagles practice squad, but I have faith Andy will keep the Best players on the Active Roster! He is a great coach and will take the Chiefs to the playoffs this year!

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