KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Even though he missed almost all of training camp, rookie Branden Albert may start at left tackle Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs open their season as 16 1/2-point underdogs at New England.
Compounding the challenge for the first-round pick out of Virginia, Albert played guard almost his entire college career.
But coach Herm Edwards said not giving the 6-foot-5, 316-pounder the start would appear to be a betrayal of the commitment he's made to turning the roster over to young, developing players.
"He's just another young one who's going to have to play. That's OK. That's what we said we were going to do," Edwards said Tuesday. "We stuck to our guns on this whole process and now it's time to go play. You can't start questioning what you're doing when it's time to go play. You have a certain way you're going to do things around here now and I think it's good for the organization. I think we will reap the benefits."
A sprained foot caused Albert to miss all but the first five days of training camp. The Chiefs have been bringing him along slowly. He was in uniform for the last exhibition game against St. Louis but did not play.
"He's going to practice. He's good to go. He's been working," said Edwards. "He's excited, has a big smile on his face."
Other rookies expected to start against the reigning AFC champs are cornerback Brandon Flowers, defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and fullback Mike Cox.
"It all starts somewhere," Edwards said. "It starts this year with the direction we're headed. I think it's good. These young players will play. There's no doubt in my mind they're going to play. I don't have any question about that at all."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press