The Kansas City Chiefs made huge splashes this offseason in an effort to rebuild their offensive line, but for the first time all season, it appears that the team will make a lineup change among their starting five.
At left guard, newcomer Joe Thuney suffered a hand fracture against the Bills, but managed to finish the game. Thuney did not practice until Friday during this week’s preparation, and his status is up in the air for Sunday’s must-win game at Washington. He is officially listed as “questionable.”
The Chiefs have five veteran backups who could potentially fill in at left guard. Mike Remmers, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Andrew Wylie, Nick Allegretti, and Austin Blythe are all experienced at the position. Remmers and Allegretti each started at least one game at left guard for the Chiefs in 2020, and Wylie has played there plenty as well. But we expect Wylie to get the first crack at replacing Thuney in the starting lineup based on this photo of projected RB1 Darrel Williams taking a rep during Thursday’s practice.
But look at the photo again. Remmers is lined up at right tackle next to starting right guard Trey Smith. In another photo, we see current starting right tackle Lucas Niang taking reps with Duvernay-Tardif and reserve tight end Noah Gray:
Having Remmers and Wylie in the lineup could give the team an opportunity to showcase them for a game or two in an effort to make a trade before the upcoming trade deadline on Tuesday, November 2nd.
Niang has had his ups and downs in his first NFL season. According to Pro Football Focus, the former TCU Horned Frog has a 62.4 player grade in his first five NFL games, while allowing just one sack. But he’s also committed three penalties in that span. Replacing Niang doesn’t seem like the grand solution to repairing the Chiefs’ woes, but it is encouraging to see the offensive staff willing to make adjustments to the starting lineup when they feel it is necessary. This won’t be a long-term demotion for Niang, as he is a part of the long-term plan on the line.
Remmers would certainly be up for the challenge to face his former head coach in his first start since Super Bowl LV. Until now, the Chiefs have rostered Remmers and Wylie as their reserve offensive tackles in 2021, with only Remmers receiving any snaps (just two). Seeing them both in the starting lineup would mean that only Niang would be available to play tackle off the bench. That explains why the club announced on Tuesday that it had waived wide receiver Daurice Fountain in order to elevate 23-year-old offensive tackle Prince Tega Wanogho to the active roster.
The Chiefs have no shortage of capable veteran help on the offensive line. Besides the players currently on the active roster, the team expects to have veteran Kyle Long (who is on PUP list with a leg injury suffered in June) available soon.