Chiefs Putting Faith in Albert

Several months ago, when the NFL Draft was the #1 topic of discussion, one of the biggest debates amongst Chiefs fans was whether or not the team should use their first pick on a left tackle to anchor the offensive line.

Of course, the team already had a left tackle in Branden Albert. But his versatility – combined with a disappointing sophomore season – had many arguing that the best move would be to draft a replacement and move Albert elsewhere on the line, ideally filling two holes at once.

As logical as that proposal may have sounded in theory, there were plenty of people against the idea. Included in their reasoning was the fact that Albert's apparent regression in 2009 could be blamed on a variety of factors that weren't likely to be repeated.

First, there was the fact that the Chiefs had changed offenses just before the season, installing a new system that involved far more protection schemes than Chan Gailey's offense had required.

Then, perhaps most notably, there was the weight loss that had been prompted by his head coach. Todd Haley wanted to see Albert become a more athletic tackle, the kind who could stop pass rushers with improved technique and leverage, not just one who threw his weight around. Learning to play with a new body had to have contributed to Albert's struggles, his supporters argued.

When the Chiefs selected Eric Berry with the fifth overall pick, we learned that despite all the speculation, a new left tackle wasn't in the team's plans after all. In the months since then, we've continued to gather insight on their decision to stick with Albert, and the answers aren't far off from what many had suspected.

When asked about Albert during his daily press conference, Haley was quick to deliver praise, telling reporters that the third-year tackle has been making progress.

"I've felt that about Branden going all the way back to last year," he said, referring to the improvement he's seen. "From the conditioning aspect to buying into that thought process of believing what he's being told – that he could be a better player if he were in better condition and at a certain weight."

As the head coach continued, he cited some of the same reasons that fans were bringing up months ago.

Albert ready to protect Cassel's blindside.
Getty Images



"I think he went through an adjustment period of dealing with his new body," Haley said. "He stayed in shape when the season ended, he came into this offseason at a baseline where he has to be, and then he built on it. He's gotten stronger, he's gotten quicker, he's gotten better stamina, all those things."

Albert also spoke to the media this week, but the Chiefs' tackle appears to have quickly mastered the art of saying nothing. With nearly all of his answers being a short and to-the-point variation on the themes of "working hard" and "getting better", his comments were only a few steps up from NBA star (and noted Chiefs fan) Rasheed Wallace and his infamous "both teams played hard" post-game interview.

Still, Albert's words aren't without meaning. His desire to keep getting better will be one of the keys to the Chiefs' offensive success this season. The team has put their faith in him, believing that he'll ultimately be an even better player than was indicated by the promise he showed in his rookie season.

If Albert can get back to fulfilling that promise, it will only mean good things for the offensive line and the unit as a whole. But if he can't, it probably means a whole new round of debates before next year's draft.

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\r\n\r\nOf course, the team already had a left tackle in Branden Albert. But his versatility – combined with a disappointing sophomore season – had many arguing that the best move would be to draft a replacement and move Albert elsewhere on the line, ideally filling two holes at once.\r\n\r\n

As logical as that proposal may have sounded in theory, there were plenty of people against the idea. Included in their reasoning was the fact that Albert's apparent regression in 2009 could be blamed on a variety of factors that weren't likely to be repeated.\r\n\r\n

First, there was the fact that the Chiefs had changed offenses just before the season, installing a new system that involved far more protection schemes than Chan Gailey's offense had required.\r\n\r\n

Then, perhaps most notably, there was the weight loss that had been prompted by his head coach. Todd Haley wanted to see Albert become a more athletic tackle, the kind who could stop pass rushers with improved technique and leverage, not just one who threw his weight around. Learning to play with a new body had to have contributed to Albert's struggles, his supporters argued.\r\n\r\n

When the Chiefs selected Eric Berry with the fifth overall pick, we learned that despite all the speculation, a new left tackle wasn't in the team's plans after all. In the months since then, we've continued to gather insight on their decision to stick with Albert, and the answers aren't far off from what many had suspected.\r\n\r\n

When asked about Albert during his daily press conference, Haley was quick to deliver praise, telling reporters that the third-year tackle has been making progress.\r\n\r\n

\"I've felt that about Branden going all the way back to last year,\" he said, referring to the improvement he's seen. \"From the conditioning aspect to buying into that thought process of believing what he's being told – that he could be a better player if he were in better condition and at a certain weight.\"\r\n\r\n

As the head coach continued, he cited some of the same reasons that fans were bringing up months ago.\r\n\r\n

Albert ready to protect Cassel's blindside.
Getty Images\r\n

\r\n\r\n

\"I think he went through an adjustment period of dealing with his new body,\" Haley said. \"He stayed in shape when the season ended, he came into this offseason at a baseline where he has to be, and then he built on it. He's gotten stronger, he's gotten quicker, he's gotten better stamina, all those things.\"\r\n\r\n

Albert also spoke to the media this week, but the Chiefs' tackle appears to have quickly mastered the art of saying nothing. With nearly all of his answers being a short and to-the-point variation on the themes of \"working hard\" and \"getting better\", his comments were only a few steps up from NBA star (and noted Chiefs fan) Rasheed Wallace and his infamous \"both teams played hard\" post-game interview.\r\n\r\n

Still, Albert's words aren't without meaning. His desire to keep getting better will be one of the keys to the Chiefs' offensive success this season. The team has put their faith in him, believing that he'll ultimately be an even better player than was indicated by the promise he showed in his rookie season.\r\n\r\n

If Albert can get back to fulfilling that promise, it will only mean good things for the offensive line and the unit as a whole. But if he can't, it probably means a whole new round of debates before next year's draft.\r\n","mobileBody":" Of course, the team already had a left tackle in Branden Albert. But his versatility – combined with a disappointing sophomore season – had many arguing that the best move would be to draft a replacement and move Albert elsewhere on the line, ideally filling two holes at once.

As logical as that proposal may have sounded in theory, there were plenty of people against the idea. Included in their reasoning was the fact that Albert's apparent regression in 2009 could be blamed on a variety of factors that weren't likely to be repeated.

First, there was the fact that the Chiefs had changed offenses just before the season, installing a new system that involved far more protection schemes than Chan Gailey's offense had required.

Then, perhaps most notably, there was the weight loss that had been prompted by his head coach. Todd Haley wanted to see Albert become a more athletic tackle, the kind who could stop pass rushers with improved technique and leverage, not just one who threw his weight around. Learning to play with a new body had to have contributed to Albert's struggles, his supporters argued.

When the Chiefs selected Eric Berry with the fifth overall pick, we learned that despite all the speculation, a new left tackle wasn't in the team's plans after all. In the months since then, we've continued to gather insight on their decision to stick with Albert, and the answers aren't far off from what many had suspected.

When asked about Albert during his daily press conference, Haley was quick to deliver praise, telling reporters that the third-year tackle has been making progress.

\"I've felt that about Branden going all the way back to last year,\" he said, referring to the improvement he's seen. \"From the conditioning aspect to buying into that thought process of believing what he's being told – that he could be a better player if he were in better condition and at a certain weight.\"

As the head coach continued, he cited some of the same reasons that fans were bringing up months ago.



\"I think he went through an adjustment period of dealing with his new body,\" Haley said. \"He stayed in shape when the season ended, he came into this offseason at a baseline where he has to be, and then he built on it. He's gotten stronger, he's gotten quicker, he's gotten better stamina, all those things.\"

Albert also spoke to the media this week, but the Chiefs' tackle appears to have quickly mastered the art of saying nothing. With nearly all of his answers being a short and to-the-point variation on the themes of \"working hard\" and \"getting better\", his comments were only a few steps up from NBA star (and noted Chiefs fan) Rasheed Wallace and his infamous \"both teams played hard\" post-game interview.

Still, Albert's words aren't without meaning. His desire to keep getting better will be one of the keys to the Chiefs' offensive success this season. The team has put their faith in him, believing that he'll ultimately be an even better player than was indicated by the promise he showed in his rookie season.

If Albert can get back to fulfilling that promise, it will only mean good things for the offensive line and the unit as a whole. But if he can't, it probably means a whole new round of debates before next year's draft. 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