Chiefs Undecided On Left Tackle Situation

Kansas City's offensive line has taken a lot of heat this season, and deservedly so. It is a major reason the Chiefs rank 30th in total yards, 26th in rushing average and are tied for 30th in sacks allowed with 17.

It's not a stretch to say KC's offensive line is the worst in the league. Of the three teams that have either given up as many or more sacks, all have better yards per carry averages.

This offseason, one of head coach Todd Haley's highest priorities was carving dead weight off his roster, in the attempt to get players to utilize proper technique with their athleticism. That's fine and dandy for position players, but conventional wisdom says the players in the trenches need more weight.

"There's different sizes for different folks," said Haley. "In Dallas, they always loved big offensive linemen. You could go all the way back to my roots watching the Steelers' linemen, which were the smallest in the league, but the quickest, fastest, pullers, trappers, and pretty effective."

If Kansas City's offensive line continues to struggle as mightily as it has, people will continue to second guess Haley's trim and fit theory. But Wednesday he urged onlookers to give the plan more time.

"That is a part of the process," said Haley. "Branden Albert, take for instance, when he's at 340 pounds, you play a completely different game. You're not going to be nearly as athletic, or you're not going to be able to use your athletic ability, so you're going to get away with a lot of poor technique, in my opinion, when you're heavy like that, so you can lean on defenders. You're not going to move your feet."

"All of a sudden, you're at 305 or 308, or whatever (Albert) is today, he can't cheat the way he was able to cheat. It is a process of relearning or being coached to use your feet the way you have to use your feet and use proper technique, and then once you're doing that, then you can start to utilize this better condition to be quicker, faster in different areas of the game. I do think it's part of the process. When somebody changes size, that significantly changes how they play, and eventually it'll be to the better, which is my belief, and why we want to be in a certain condition and size."

After going down with an ankle injury Sunday, Albert's process of perfecting technique and becoming a force while playing at a lower weight may take a little longer. He did not practice Wednesday, but it's still possible he'll suit up Sunday when the Chiefs take on the Redskins.

"His mindset is right and he wants to make it back," said Haley. "He's doing everything in his power to be back, and I wouldn't bet against him."

With Albert out of the lineup, the Chiefs' struggling offensive line looks even more inept at first glance, but Haley has a better feeling about the depth of his line after last week's game-tying drive against the Cowboys.

"(I'm) Encouraged from the standpoint of that final drive Sunday with Wade (Smith) out at left tackle," he said. "We had a little bit of a patchwork deal there in the game and were probably able to have one of our best drives of the game. I'm encouraged that we'll find a way, and if Brandon can't make it back, we'll have to figure out a way."

Who will start at left tackle in D.C. if Albert can't go? Haley hasn‘t decided.

"We've got multiple options," he said. "Since he was in there and did it, (Wade's) probably at the top of the list if Brandon can't go. We've really made progress offensive line-wise from the depth standpoint as we go forward. I think that's an area you have to be very good at to be a good team. It's a work in progress, but at least I feel like we have some options."

Smith is leading the race to spell Albert, despite his history as an interior lineman.

"I just think that Wade knows his role," Haley said. "He knows he's across the board backup in a lot of these games we've gone into. So, he puts excellent preparation into all spots understanding that at any time he could be playing any one of those positions."

Smith, Ike Ndukwe and practice squad lineman Barry Richardson all received reps at left tackle Wednesday, and Haley said Richardson moving to the active roster wasn't outside the realm of possibility. One way to make room for him would be deactivating guard Andy Alleman, who stepped in for Mike Goff when he went down with an injury Sunday. Alleman sat out Wednesday's practice with a shoulder injury. Top Stories