Right now, the Kansas City Chiefs are in a good position at their bye week. At the midpoint of the schedule, the team is 7-2 with a multiple-game lead in the AFC West. They're also in control of their own destiny in the conference, where an all-important first-round bye remains up for grabs for one lucky contender.
The schedule from here on out gets tougher for the Chiefs, and most of their highly anticipated matchups are yet to come. In the season's second half, they'll face Joe Burrow and the Bengals, Josh Allen and the Bills, Jalen Hurts and the Eagles, and more. As the races tighten, the competition will get more aggressive as well. In short, this season still has a long road ahead.
Because of the second-half slate, we'd like to see the Chiefs give a handful of players more playing time and/or opportunities if they want to shore up some concerns. It would also help them scout their long-term needs or assets a bit more clearly.
This last offseason, the Chiefs went all-in on the offensive tackle position and came out with brand new competitors on the depth chart from top to bottom. It was the sort of positional overhaul that Brett Veach has become known for from time to time, deciding to completely tear apart a position in order to gain new ground in an accelerated manner rather than take a more measured approach (which he has also done at times).
On the other side of this spring, Andrew Wylie, Geron Christian, and Orlando Brown were shown the door. The resulting imports included veteran free agent signings Jawaan Taylor (the big-ticket item) and Donovan Smith (a one-year flyer) to go with a new third-round rookie, Oklahoma tackle Wanya Morris.
From day one, Smith and Taylor locked down the left and right tackle positions, respectively, and they've held onto those spots (for better or worse) for the first nine games of the year. But the results have been mixed by most standards/metrics. From penalties to pressures allowed, Smith has been fine or fair while Taylor has been better albeit at a much higher price tag. Together, no one is quite sure whether Veach would make the same signings if given a mulligan.
If Smith is making enough mistakes, why not allow a rookie to make them instead? At the very least, the Chiefs would have a much better idea of the floor and ceiling with a prospect like Morris. If he's ready to hold down a blindside protector for Mahomes, the savings could be tremendous down the road and it would certainly help in the planning phases to know heading into another winter and spring.
If the Chiefs like Smith enough at left tackle, then leave him. That's why they signed him. But if the job is left wanting, Morris could at least show what he's capable of after sitting and watching for the first half of the year.