Albert Ready for Next Step

Albert Ready for Next Step

Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Brandon Albert could be in store for his most important season of his five-year NFL career. Not only will his rookie contract expire at the end of the season, but he may be forced into new roles with heavier expectations in 2012.

There has been quit the maturation process for Brandon Albert since entering the NFL as the Chiefs second of two first round draft selections that year (Glenn Dorsey was the other).

Albert was drafted as a guard, his playing position at Virginia, and was quickly converted to the tackle position. Subsequently Albert battled injuries and weight issues leading many to question his first round talents.

But Albert has shaken off any doubts about his ability to play the most important position on the offensive line and is poised to have his best season as a pro in 2012.

Despite having a carousel of head coaches and offensive coordinators throughout his relatively short NFL career very little will be new to the already savvy veteran tackle.

But unlike previous years, Albert will play an unfamiliar role as a leader of a talented yet very young group of offensive lineman.

At the moment, the Chiefs have Ryan Lilja penciled in as the starter next to Albert at guard but after investing back-to-back second round selections on guards the past two NFL Draft's it appears the Chiefs are preparing to move on from Lilja sooner rather than later.

So what will Albert have to say to incoming rookies like Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson?

"Basically come in, work hard, and come in with the mindset that you want to learn and get better every day", says Albert. "You're going to have your struggles here and there and you're going to go through hard times, you're going to hit a rookie wall but keep fighting and go to the right people for the right advice and keep striving to be the best player you can be."

But more than just helping to nurture along a young group of lineman, Albert says he is feeling more comfortable in his own skin. So much so in fact that Albert says he gets more freedom when it comes to making decisions on his playing weight.

"Now I'm so comfortable with myself and being the player that I am that I can dictate where {my weight should} be, where I want to be. I think this year, I feel like I want to play a little bit lighter just because of being older and as you get old, things start to creek and start hurting a little bit."

Despite the added pressures of a contract season looming and the new found leadership role, Albert seems high on the decisions the Chiefs brass has made during the offseason.

"I know we have a good nucleus of guys that know the system", says Albert "know the way of life around here and hopefully at the end of the day, we come together and we do something special."

Will KC's starting left tackle rise to the occasion in a contract year?

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