The K.C. Chiefs‘ revamped offensive line has been the biggest subject of conversation in the Kingdom going into the 2021 season. If you watched any of the NFL pregame shows on Sunday morning or the start of the Chiefs vs. Cleveland Browns telecast on CBS, every sports broadcaster quickly brought up the new offensive line when talking about the Chiefs going into this season after the poor pass-blocking in last season’s Super Bowl.
Kansas City’s biggest offseason acquisition was offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. Coming from the Baltimore Ravens in a trade, Brown was voted to the Pro Bowl in each of the past two seasons and has been tabbed as the best young offensive tackle in the NFL. Brown turned 25-years-old in May and is replacing Eric Fisher at the left tackle spot for the Chiefs.
It was a rough game for Orlando Brown Jr. in his Chiefs debut.
However, Brown had a rough afternoon against the Cleveland Browns defense. According to Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus, Brown allowed five quarterback pressures. According to PFF’s Renner, that ties for the most pressures Brown has ever allowed in a game.
Obviously, that is a bad first impression considering his resume coming to Kansas City. Why did Brown struggle so much in his Chiefs debut? There are two reasons that come to mind right away.
Was it because it was his first game as a Chief? Maybe. Think about Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who Brown played with and blocked for in Baltimore. Jackson and Patrick Mahomes are two very different quarterbacks. Maybe Brown is still trying to adjust, which is understandable considering the style difference between the two quarterbacks.
Could it be that he faced Myles Garrett? That’s likely. Garrett is a two-time All-Pro player and a two-time Pro Bowler. But one could argue that Brown is also a two-time Pro Bowler and therefore it shouldn’t have been so one-sided with Garrett dominating Brown on Sunday.
Both of these can be true, in addition to other variables that led to Brown struggling on Sunday in his Chiefs debut.
While big things are expected from Brown, he’s not the first player in NFL history to struggle in his first game with a new team. He certainly won’t be the last. Therefore, it is important that Chiefs fans don’t judge him right away and label him as a disappointment or even a bust. Remember, it is Week 1. We have 16 more weeks left in the regular season. If he continues to struggle and consistently allows Mahomes to be pressured through the next few games, then there should be some discussion.
Pass blocking for Jackson and Mahomes can be different and that adjustment can take time. Yes, he has been with the Chiefs since late April, so someone might bring up that he has had the past four months to learn and adjust. While that is true, learning how to make this kind of adjustment in practice can be much different compared to a live game.
For now, Chiefs fans should be optimistic considering what Brown has accomplished individually. It’s just one bad game. Every elite player has had a bad game here and there. As the season progresses, Brown should get better, especially with head coach Andy Reid, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and offensive line coach Andy Heck guiding him.