Red Zone

May 13, 2013

Breaking down Chiefs’ key issues as they prepare for offseason practice

The offseason practice schedule picks up for the Chiefs starting on Tuesday, when they’ll hold the first of three full-squad sessions this week. The Star’s Adam Teicher breaks down some of the more important issues they’ll need to sort through, including Branden Albert’s mindset as he’s set to report.

Red Zone

The Chiefs and NFL by beat writer Terez Paylor

The offseason practice schedule picks up for the Chiefs starting on Tuesday. That’s when they’ll hold the first of three full-squad sessions this week, with three to follow next week, four the week after that and then a three-day mandatory mini-camp the first week of June.

So they’ll be able to cover a lot of ground over 13 practices. Here are some of the more important issues they’ll need to begin to sort through:

• Branden Albert has told the Chiefs he will report to practice for the first time and they in turn have told him he is their left tackle. So far, so good. But is Albert really over his hard feelings that the Chiefs gave long-term contracts to Dwayne Bowe and Dustin Colquitt but not to him? He recently indicated via his Instagram account that he’s fired up to be back, another positive sign.

• The arrangement of the offensive line will be different from the lineup used by the Chiefs at their April mini-camp. At that time, Albert was absent and Eric Fisher wasn’t a Chief. They’re now the starting tackles, Albert on the left side and Fisher on the right. So Donald Stephenson becomes a backup and Geoff Schwartz and Jeff Allen, who rotated at right tackle during mini-camp, are guards. But the Chiefs also have Jon Asamoah at guard and Rodney Hudson at center, so there’s a crowd in the middle. The Chiefs need to settle on a lineup and let those five players get to work.

• Job one for the Chiefs at quarterback is to get Alex Smith comfortable as the starter. Job two is to get Chase Daniel ready to play. But Tyler Bray showed well enough at the weekend rookie camp that the Chiefs need to find a way to get him some snaps, too.

• Derrick Johnson is the starter at one inside linebacker spot but the other position is currently occupied by veteran Akeem Jordan, a part-time starter for Andy Reid in Philadelphia the past six seasons. But fourth-round draft pick Nico Johnson of Alabama might have more potential to make the Chiefs better defensively, at least on running downs. So the Chiefs need to find a way to get him enough snaps that Johnson is at least a viable option when the regular season begins.

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