Overreaction #3: The left tackle spot needs to be up for grabs
Injuries affected the outcome of Sunday's game. Drue Tranquill exiting with a concussion and Bryan Cook exiting with a lower-leg injury put the defense under pressure. Jack Cochrane and Chamarri Conner both stepped up in their absences with varying degrees of success. But a Donovan Smith injury limited him to 21 offensive snaps on Sunday. Rookie Wanya Morris saw most of the action at left tackle that day, and his performance should make the starting job an open competition.
Morris played in 46 snaps after Smith's exit, 30 pass-blocking snaps, and 17 run-blocking snaps. Morris' bread and butter are run-blocking, and he shined in those limited opportunities. What makes his performance Sunday even better is how well he did in pass blocking.
Was he perfect? No. PFF says Morris only surrendered one pressure, but Packers rookie Lukas Van Ness worked Morris for a red-zone sack here.
Morris was pretty solid outside of that rep though. He looked like he belonged on the offensive line in a primetime game, rather than a flustered rookie. This game should mark the beginning of Smith and Morris being equals, regarding competing for the starting left tackle job.
Smith may be a marginally better immediate option; Morris offers a multi-year solution on a cheap rookie contract. Matt Conner pointed out the financial implications of Morris replacing Smith: "If Morris is capable of taking over in 2024 from Smith, the Chiefs have a potential three-year starter for around $4.3 million—or 1/6 the cost of right tackle Jawaan Taylor for a single season."
I am not saying Kansas City should start Morris next week simply because of the implications in 2024 and beyond. This team is still in the postseason hunt and shouldn't bench the experienced Smith for financial reasons. But, the coaches need to evaluate who offers the best blocking option for Patrick Mahomes.