When new of Ryan Lilja’s broken thumb started to circulate, the focus on the offensive line shifted to rookie Jon Asamoah. The backup is poised to start the first game of his career today against Buffalo in place of the inactive Lilja, but Haley said earlier this week that he isn’t worried about any of the backups, including Asamoah.
“Jon has gotten a bunch of reps through the preseason and even the regular season. He gets consistent reps along with other guys that are not in there right now in a front-line role like Ryan O’Callaghan and Rudy Niswanger who are all getting reps throughout practice, even regular first team front-line reps too. Hopefully whoever is playing should be prepared, that is our job.”
I don’t think any of us expect Haley to come out and say “Well, crap. We’re screwed without Lilja!” but he does have a point here. This isn’t a third string quarterback being forced into duty after a month of watching on the sidelines.
Asamoah was able to get a lot of reps throughout training camp as the Chiefs struggled with injuries and obviously this past week he took all of the first team snaps.
The most rudimentary way to tell how much confidence Haley and Charlie Weis have in the rookie is to keep an eye on just how many times they run the ball to the right side or ask him to pull. The more work they put on his plate, the more it says about Asamoah’s standing with the coaching staff.