Why KC Chiefs fans shouldn't panic about Jawaan Taylor

Despite his struggles with penalties, KC Chiefs fans shouldn't panic about right tackle Jawaan Taylor.
Detroit Lions v Kansas City Chiefs
Detroit Lions v Kansas City Chiefs / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

For many fans of the Kansas City Chiefs, right tackle Jawaan Taylor's name is synonymous with Voldemort right now. He committed a staggering six penalties in the first two games, including five in Week 2 alone. He had seven in 2022. Against Jacksonville, two false starts, two holdings, and an illegal formation were called against him—two of which happened in under three plays. Given the $40M in guaranteed money that Kansas City gave him last March, which will turn into $60M this March, he needs to be more disciplined.

Between the second and fourth quarters of Sunday's game, my father texted me "74 needs to be benched", "74 still stinks", "Stay on the bench" (after he was briefly removed from the game), and "74 GET OFF THE FIELD". It's safe to say that Taylor is not popular in my household, or Chiefs Kingdom, at the moment.

Taylor was a marked man heading into Week 2. We should have known that Week 2 wasn't going to go well. He's being forced to adjust many habits that he had grown accustomed to in his NFL career. Any former lineman will tell you that you can't expect to change habits without significant growing pains. Offensive line is a very technique-driven position and asking a veteran to adjust his style on the fly is not fair.

Will Jawaan Taylor eventually figure it out?

I will reiterate that five penalties in under 35 minutes of game time absolutely is excessive and this doesn't excuse every penalty he was charged with. My overarching point is that we need to be patient. Offensive line coach Andy Heck will do everything in his power to help limit those penalties in the future. It's frustrating right now, but Taylor is not the Chiefs' biggest problem at the moment. That would be a largely unproven and inconsistent wide receiver room, in my opinion.

Putting the penalties aside, which I admit is difficult to do, Taylor is playing very well. He gave up zero pressures in 46 pass-blocking snaps on Sunday. He's surrendered just two pressures in 94 pass-blocking snaps in 2023. That's a pass-blocking efficiency of 98.9% (12th out of 70 tackles with at least 30 pass-block snaps), according to Pro Football Focus. For reference, Andrew Wylie was at 96.1% in 2022 (tied-45th among 64 tackles with at least 300 pass-block snaps), per PFF.

The penalties need to end. No one will dispute that. My overall argument is that patience will be necessary in this case. Taylor is being forced to adjust his play style and it will take some time. Also, it's better that he's going through this now rather than later in the regular season or postseason. The Chiefs won on Sunday, plus they have the pitiful Chicago Bears and Zach Wilson-led New York Jets on the horizon. A few penalties by a right tackle will not be the main difference in whether the team wins or loses those games. If these issues persist into November and December against teams like Philadelphia, Buffalo, and Cincinnati, then we can maybe hit the panic button.

Jawaan Taylor has been a very good player in the NFL for several years, he didn't forget how to play football. He's done a great job keeping Patrick Mahomes clean and will continue to do so. The penalties are frustrating but they won't last forever. Patience needs to be exercised here.