The familiar refrain says the game of American football is won and lost in the trenches. Some people might believe that’s a staple of the older model, of power run formations and dated football schemes. But just remember how whipped the Chiefs looked in Super Bowl LV for a good reason to believe the maxim is every bit as true in 2021 as ever.
When the Chiefs hit the offseason, it seems as if there was one primary agenda on the whiteboard (or whatever general manager Brett Veach uses to prioritize things): the offensive line. Not only was he ready to clear the deck, so to speak, along the offensive front, but he was ready to also swing for the fences (wrong sport, I know) in order to rebuild the unit.
Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz were set aside well before free agency could even begin. Austin Reiter was allowed to walk. Lucas Niang and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif were welcomed back after an opt-out season, but the Chiefs hardly rested on those returnees to make things right.
Instead, Veach went to town in free agency and aimed for the biggest prizes of all in tackle Trent Williams and Joe Thuney. He only came out with the latter, but a blockbuster draft trade for Orlando Brown Jr. set up the left side for years to come (assuming he signs an extension). Along the interior, exemplary draft assets like Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith have turned into Week 1 starters for a championship contender.
Just like that, the Chiefs have starting-caliber players behind each starter along the offensive line. Yep, that means Andrew Wylie, Austin Blythe, LDT, Mike Remmers, and more are just waiting in the wings for a chance to earn reps. That’s a stout offensive front. But Veach didn’t stop there.
When Jarran Reed somehow wiggled loose from the mouth of the Seattle Seahawks, Veach grabbed him on a cheap(er) one-year deal that gave the defensive front more flexibility than any season since Bob Sutton left. Just like that, Chris Jones could be flexed outside at the same time that young players like Turk Wharton, Mike Danna, and Khalen Saunders were taking big leaps forward in their own development.
That means the Chiefs look as deep and as talented as ever on both lines since Veach took over. If the game is won/lost here, the Chiefs look like they’re ready to contend just on the quality of these positions alone. Incredible.