If we know anything about Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach, Andy Reid, he covets versatile offensive lineman. He likes them tall, packing the girth and able to play multiple positions. For Guard, Jeff Allen, who is fighting back from a season ending injury a year ago, the veteran lineman understands his head coach isn’t going to give him anything.
“Competition never made anybody worse,” Jeff Allen said when meeting with the media on Thursday.
Since Allen was drafted back in 2002, he’s been a staple on the Chiefs offensive line ever since. At the University of Illinois, he played multiple positions that ultimately made him a second round draft pick.
Though he showed that versatility at the college level, he’s played mostly guard for the Chiefs. When he came out of college most people felt he would transition into a fine center. But the Chiefs were thin at guard and he settled in nicely.
In the season opener a year ago against the Tennessee Titans, he suffered an elbow injury that forced him to miss the entire season. Now healthy, Allen is ready to compete for a starting job.
Since his absence from the playing field, the Chiefs have added several players that he’s going to need to beat out to become a starter again.
“I don’t feel anyway about it besides me getting better and coming in and winning the job, whether it be right tackle, left guard, right guard, anywhere. I’m a versatile guy and I can play anything. Coach Reid’s motto is best five. My goal is to just be one of those best five,” Allen said about the prospects of starting this season.
The good news about the depth the Chiefs added in free agency and in the draft certainly offers the opportunity for this team to deliver the goods offensively. The play of the men up front has much to do with KC’s offensive woes in each of the last two years.
For that to change with Allen in the starting lineup, he’s had to endure a long off-season but appears to be in the best shape of his career.
“I am 100%. I feel about as good as I’ve felt my entire career. I’m stronger, faster, a little bit more lean, so it’ll be a good year for me,” he said.
If that’s the case, Allen will have a chance to earn a starting spot on Reid’s revamped offensive line. He understands that with the new bodies in camp that earning that starting spot won’t be easy but he doesn’t seem concerned about the competition.
“The way I’m taking it is competition is competition. It’s not going to make me any worse the only thing it’s going to do is propel me to a different level. I’m looking forward to it. So we will see,” Allen said.
It’s far too early to predict the Chiefs starting offensive line, but based on all the off-season moves this organization has made to date, Allen’s best chance to crack the starting line-up probably exists at right tackle. In training camp, he’ll compete with veteran, Donald Stephenson, to become one of Reid’s five best.
So is he worried about the battle ahead?
“Coach Reid knows what I can do,” he said.