The Front Five

ST. JOSEPH, MO - Many in the national media have focused on the Chiefs' offensive line as the one area that's holding the offense back. And after four days of camp, there still seem to be more questions than answers.

Though they finished the 2009 season on a high note, the offensive line was a point of emphasis for the Chiefs brass and coaching staff. The signings of veterans Ryan Lilja and Casey Wiegmann, along with the addition of Jon Asamoha in the draft, seemed to help paint the picture of what the 2010 line would look like. The coaching staff, however, is not yet sold on which lineup gives them the best opportunity for success.

The process is not aided by former Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters still working the stationary bike. Waters appears to have suffered a lower leg injury during conditioning drills, but so far the Chiefs are remaining mum on the topic.

Darryl Harris is filling in for Waters.
Getty Images



Filling in for the injured Waters is second-year guard Darryl Harris. As a rookie, Harris spent 13 games on the Chiefs' practice squad, but the Mississippi native did see action in a one game last season. That's one game more than his possible replacements, Asamoah and Colin Brown.

Both Brown and Asamoah have had a tough camp so far, so there still seems a learning curve that both players need to go through. Both players have been running with the third team and not drawing much praise from offensive line coach Bill Muir.

Asamoah and Brown aside, the Chiefs have an experienced lineman in Ikechuku Ndukwe running with the second team. Ndukwe could be a good fit on the left side, but with the bulk of his experience on the right, the Chiefs probably don't want to risk leaving a major hole in their offensive line if Lilja goes down with an injury.

A possible option would be to move Rudy Niswanger to guard with Wiegmann taking over as the starting center. But the incumbent center seems to have other plans in mind.

Rudy Niswanger is in a battle with Casey Wiegmann for a starters role this season.
Getty Images



Niswanger is large and can move, and since his arrival in K.C. in 2007, I have always believed the former SEC College Athlete of the Year would make a much better guard than a center. But the new regime doesn't see him as a guard, which prior to camp seemed to hurt his chances of making the 53-man roster. So far, though, Niswanger has been dynamic and powerful in camp, often drawing praise from Muir.

But the addition of Wiegmann still seems to be paying off for the Chiefs and the rest of the line.

"You can always learn a lot from a guy like Casey." Niswanger said of Wiegmann's return. "The guy's got a lot of tricks up his sleeve and has a lot of talent".

The rest of the starting lineup appears to be shaking out the way many anticipated, with Branden Albert as the left tackle, Lilja at right guard, and Ryan O'Callaghan holding down the right tackle spot.

At least for now.

Third-year tackle Barry Richardson is having a very impressive camp and could push O'Callaghan for a starting job. When drafted in the sixth round back in 2008, Richardson was considered a project. But now is the time for the developing player to ascend.

Last season, the Chiefs' coaching staff was reluctant to give Richardson work on the right side of the line, viewing him as a valuable backup to Albert baring an injury. But with experience comes responsibility, and the coaching staff appears to be showing faith in the young tackle to take on more roles. If Richardson can continue to grasp both positions he will not only be a valuable swingman, but could help the Chiefs' right side as a starter.

WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories

\r\n\r\nThough they finished the 2009 season on a high note, the offensive line was a point of emphasis for the Chiefs brass and coaching staff. The signings of veterans Ryan Lilja and Casey Wiegmann, along with the addition of Jon Asamoha in the draft, seemed to help paint the picture of what the 2010 line would look like. The coaching staff, however, is not yet sold on which lineup gives them the best opportunity for success.\r\n\r\n

The process is not aided by former Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters still working the stationary bike. Waters appears to have suffered a lower leg injury during conditioning drills, but so far the Chiefs are remaining mum on the topic.\r\n\r\n

Darryl Harris is filling in for Waters.
Getty Images\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Filling in for the injured Waters is second-year guard Darryl Harris. As a rookie, Harris spent 13 games on the Chiefs' practice squad, but the Mississippi native did see action in a one game last season. That's one game more than his possible replacements, Asamoah and Colin Brown.\r\n\r\n

Both Brown and Asamoah have had a tough camp so far, so there still seems a learning curve that both players need to go through. Both players have been running with the third team and not drawing much praise from offensive line coach Bill Muir.\r\n\r\n

Asamoah and Brown aside, the Chiefs have an experienced lineman in Ikechuku Ndukwe running with the second team. Ndukwe could be a good fit on the left side, but with the bulk of his experience on the right, the Chiefs probably don't want to risk leaving a major hole in their offensive line if Lilja goes down with an injury. \r\n\r\n

A possible option would be to move Rudy Niswanger to guard with Wiegmann taking over as the starting center. But the incumbent center seems to have other plans in mind. \r\n\r\n

Rudy Niswanger is in a battle with Casey Wiegmann for a starters role this season.
Getty Images\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Niswanger is large and can move, and since his arrival in K.C. in 2007, I have always believed the former SEC College Athlete of the Year would make a much better guard than a center. But the new regime doesn't see him as a guard, which prior to camp seemed to hurt his chances of making the 53-man roster. So far, though, Niswanger has been dynamic and powerful in camp, often drawing praise from Muir.\r\n\r\n

But the addition of Wiegmann still seems to be paying off for the Chiefs and the rest of the line.\r\n\r\n

\"You can always learn a lot from a guy like Casey.\" Niswanger said of Wiegmann's return. \"The guy's got a lot of tricks up his sleeve and has a lot of talent\".\r\n\r\n

The rest of the starting lineup appears to be shaking out the way many anticipated, with Branden Albert as the left tackle, Lilja at right guard, and Ryan O'Callaghan holding down the right tackle spot. \r\n\r\n

At least for now.\r\n\r\n

Third-year tackle Barry Richardson is having a very impressive camp and could push O'Callaghan for a starting job. When drafted in the sixth round back in 2008, Richardson was considered a project. But now is the time for the developing player to ascend. \r\n\r\n

Last season, the Chiefs' coaching staff was reluctant to give Richardson work on the right side of the line, viewing him as a valuable backup to Albert baring an injury. But with experience comes responsibility, and the coaching staff appears to be showing faith in the young tackle to take on more roles. If Richardson can continue to grasp both positions he will not only be a valuable swingman, but could help the Chiefs' right side as a starter.\r\n","mobileBody":" Though they finished the 2009 season on a high note, the offensive line was a point of emphasis for the Chiefs brass and coaching staff. The signings of veterans Ryan Lilja and Casey Wiegmann, along with the addition of Jon Asamoha in the draft, seemed to help paint the picture of what the 2010 line would look like. The coaching staff, however, is not yet sold on which lineup gives them the best opportunity for success.

The process is not aided by former Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters still working the stationary bike. Waters appears to have suffered a lower leg injury during conditioning drills, but so far the Chiefs are remaining mum on the topic.



Filling in for the injured Waters is second-year guard Darryl Harris. As a rookie, Harris spent 13 games on the Chiefs' practice squad, but the Mississippi native did see action in a one game last season. That's one game more than his possible replacements, Asamoah and Colin Brown.

Both Brown and Asamoah have had a tough camp so far, so there still seems a learning curve that both players need to go through. Both players have been running with the third team and not drawing much praise from offensive line coach Bill Muir.

Asamoah and Brown aside, the Chiefs have an experienced lineman in Ikechuku Ndukwe running with the second team. Ndukwe could be a good fit on the left side, but with the bulk of his experience on the right, the Chiefs probably don't want to risk leaving a major hole in their offensive line if Lilja goes down with an injury.

A possible option would be to move Rudy Niswanger to guard with Wiegmann taking over as the starting center. But the incumbent center seems to have other plans in mind.



Niswanger is large and can move, and since his arrival in K.C. in 2007, I have always believed the former SEC College Athlete of the Year would make a much better guard than a center. But the new regime doesn't see him as a guard, which prior to camp seemed to hurt his chances of making the 53-man roster. So far, though, Niswanger has been dynamic and powerful in camp, often drawing praise from Muir.

But the addition of Wiegmann still seems to be paying off for the Chiefs and the rest of the line.

\"You can always learn a lot from a guy like Casey.\" Niswanger said of Wiegmann's return. \"The guy's got a lot of tricks up his sleeve and has a lot of talent\".

The rest of the starting lineup appears to be shaking out the way many anticipated, with Branden Albert as the left tackle, Lilja at right guard, and Ryan O'Callaghan holding down the right tackle spot.

At least for now.

Third-year tackle Barry Richardson is having a very impressive camp and could push O'Callaghan for a starting job. When drafted in the sixth round back in 2008, Richardson was considered a project. But now is the time for the developing player to ascend.

Last season, the Chiefs' coaching staff was reluctant to give Richardson work on the right side of the line, viewing him as a valuable backup to Albert baring an injury. But with experience comes responsibility, and the coaching staff appears to be showing faith in the young tackle to take on more roles. If Richardson can continue to grasp both positions he will not only be a valuable swingman, but could help the Chiefs' right side as a starter. 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