The Offensive Line Looks Promising
If you were going to summarize the Chiefs offseason plan this year in one compact sentence it would likely be: “They overhauled the offensive line.” At this point, all Chiefs fans know what went into this. They released both their starting tackles from last season. They signed Joe Thuney to a huge deal. They traded for Orlando Brown Jr. They drafted Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith. When you mix in Lucas Niang playing his first season after sitting out because of COVID concerns last year, the Chiefs are poised to have all five offensive line starters that weren’t on the roster last season.
The good news for Chiefs Kingdom is that it looks like that investment is paying off. The buzz during training camp around this unit has continued into the preseason. Thuney probably gets the least attention, but he appears to be as reliable as advertised. The tackles (Brown and Niang) haven’t been perfect, but overall it’s been very promising. They both have the ability to be more physical than K.C.’s tackles in the past. The concern was if they were up to the job in pass protection. While they may ultimately end up a little more susceptible to speed rushers on the outside, they still have done a good job in pass protection overall.
The most exciting development on the offensive line has been just how good the rookies Humphrey and Smith look. Humphrey gets overshadowed by Smith because of how far Smith fell in the draft, but Humphrey has looked fantastic in the preseason. He’s making calls at the line as a rookie. He gets downfield blocking as well as anyone K.C. has had in recent years, but has the power at the point of attack to go with it. He looks like an All-Pro caliber center in the making. As for Smith, he continues to look like the steal of the draft. He’s as physical of a rookie guard as K.C. has ever seen, but what has been really encouraging is that his athleticism and technique have also been solid.
I’m sure that a completely overhauled offensive line will make its mistakes at times. There will be communication breakdowns. The rookies will look like rookies. The bigger and stronger tackles will probably get beat by great speed rushers now and then. Overall, however, this looks like a really good offensive line that should only get stronger over time. With the talented skill players that K.C. has on offense, if their line becomes a top ten unit, this offense will be almost unstoppable when everyone is healthy.
Finally, let’s talk about a positive development for the defense.