Branden Albert: Kansas City Chiefs LT Proves Value vs. Dallas Cowboys
With the laundry list of personnel changes the Kansas City Chiefs have made since last January, it almost feels like there was no offseason for the team. KC seemed to stay in the news, making constant changes right up to the beginning of the regular season. On Sunday, we saw why one of the Chiefs’ best offseason moves was one they didn’t make ─ the decision not to trade Branden Albert.
The turbulence between Kansas City and Albert has been highly publicized since the team gave him the franchise tag in March. The standout offensive tackle was upset with the tag as he has been seeking a long-term contract, and the Chiefs were willing to listen to any trade offers.
Talks particularly heated up with the Miami Dolphins during the NFL Draft, but fell through when Miami traded their early second-round pick to the Oakland Raiders. KC was still open to offers right up until Albert reported for training camp, but fortunately for Chiefs fans, nothing materialized.
During Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City got a small taste of what life would be like without Albert when he was forced to miss two offensive series because of an injured left shoulder. Trailing 10-7 at the time, Donald Stephenson came in as a replacement and the offense immediately stalled.
Stephenson had the unenviable task of blocking DeMarcus Ware, and the seven-time All-Pro got an immediate sack and brought constant pressure to quarterback Alex Smith. KC squeaked by Dallas 17-16, and it’s very possible they would have lost if it weren’t for Albert’s return late in the second quarter. With Ware as a continual disruption, the Chiefs’ offense looked helpless.
Yes, Albert had some diva moments in the offseason when he didn’t show up to OTAs and his public refusal to move to the right tackle position, but let’s give credit where credit is due. Since joining the team in training camp, the Chiefs haven’t heard a peep and have seen nothing but commitment from him.
Albert is making a great case for his big contract, and if Kansas City doesn’t eventually give him a long-term deal, they better have a good backup plan in the works. Merely moving Eric Fisher from right tackle to left isn’t going to cut it if the franchise wants to maintain a return to prominence. The front office has done a great job addressing the team’s weaknesses thus far, and solidifying the offensive line should be next on their list of priorities.