Up to this point, the reigning world champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, have been relatively quiet in free agency.
There have been no splash signings, no surprise or expected major cuts and no significant deals re-worked or extended — unless we count shifting five-million dollars on Frank Clark’s contract around.
What we do is that in the wake of losing swing offensive lineman Cameron Erving, the Chiefs have gone out and signed Mike Remmers. It sounds like Remmers did have some form of market for his services and the Chiefs were able to woo him to the squad.
We’ve seen the Chiefs having to dip into their offensive line reserves over the past few seasons. Last year, Erving was the first player off the bench, and it didn’t look great. Remmers could very well be seen as a cheaper version of Erving and maybe even more? Before I follow up on that fun little tease, let’s start at the top and work through this Remmers signing.
Mike Remmers | OL | 6’5” | 303 lbs.
Remmers started as a walk-on at Oregon State. He redshirted his first season before going on to start and eventually be named first-team All-Pac 12 as a junior. Despite Remmers’ success, he went undrafted and originally signed with the Denver Broncos only to be cut after the preseason. Then began a carousel of signings and cuts from 2012-14 until he eventually found himself with the Carolina Panthers. After winning the right tackle job in 2015, Remmers went on to start there the rest of the year, which led to arguably his worst game ever in the Super Bowl against Von Miller. The following year, Remmers was forced into playing left tackle when injuries struck and hit free agency after the season.
Remmers then signed with the Minnesota Vikings — his second stint with the team — and started at right tackle in 2017 and then right guard in 2018. The Vikings didn’t re-sign him, and he went on to sign a one year deal with the New York Giants where he started at RT again before they let him walk in free agency after the 2019 season.
The initial thing that jumps out on Remmers’ film is simply his intelligence and veteran savviness at the position. He understands proper angles to the second level, when to help and how, and he shows good timing on leaving his combo blocks.
Remmers showing the experience:— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) March 24, 2020
- ID the DE crash
- Overlap OG to close the gap
- Pass off using hip
- Climb to seal off second level that crept up too far pic.twitter.com/5HBARf3fv5
Plays like this make it seem as Remmers does very little, but that’s the beauty of reading the defense properly and doing the little things right. He knows he has to move to the second level and engage the linebacker. Rather than firing and trying to make that contact immediately, he sees the inside crash coming from the defensive end. He takes an in-step to get hip to hip with his offensive guard — shutting down the gap — before passing off the defender and then working to the second level.
The linebacker then makes it easy for him by creeping too far forward, but Remmers still identifies him and doesn’t overrun him. He instead makes sure he gets a body on him. The play doesn’t seem vastly impressive but that’s part of his veteran experience.
One can’t begin to play offensive line for the Chiefs and without his zone blocking placed under a microscope because it’s the staple of the rushing attack.
Staple of the Chiefs run game is being able to reach DTs and DEs as an OG and Remmers has just enough quickness out of the blocks to frame them on the move.— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) March 25, 2020
Catches the DE getting high while trying to mirror and puts them in ground showing good core strength/rotational power. pic.twitter.com/kG5otrVwVx
Remmers may not have the most explosive jump off the line of scrimmage, and that deep-bucket step will come back up later. But he has the requisite agility and power to make the blocks. On the front side of this zone run, he knows he has to get wide and gets hands on the defensive tackle and then just reads his leverage. Since Remmers wins out of his stance, he gets out in front of the defensive tackle. When the defense’s pads raise even slightly, Remmers has the core strength to dump him on the ground.
Difficult reach block here asked of Remmers w/ no OT help— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) March 24, 2020
- Needs a gather step to get the width
- Big club to soften the outside and create leverage
- Tries to ride the outside shoulder but can't pin and pull the long reach
- Good job riding the block out pic.twitter.com/tGFeXJ52DI
This is a little more difficult, and Remmers knows that. Once again, reading the leverage, he loads up a big club with his outside hand to help gain the corner of the defender. While unable to fully capitalize and turn his hips around the defender, he has softened the edge so that there is a lane off his outside hip. The only play for the defender would be to make a tackle in reverse. That deep bucket step — the first step out of his stance — is still present and it’s used to give him more space and time to make these reach blocks. He’s smart enough with his hands and reading leverage to make these play-side reaches.
On the backside of zone runs, especially on longer reaches, there is some signs of limited athleticism. On the front side of a zone run, riding the def to the SL works offering a cutback. On the backside, you'd like to see an ability to work his hips around the DT to seal him off pic.twitter.com/6hM5v3cjld— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) March 25, 2020
This is where things get a little dicier for Remmers in zone run concepts — on the back side of the play or when running wide zone. There will be times he really needs to work his hips around a defender and not just drive them down the line of scrimmage toward the sideline and he struggles to make that happen.
Even with that deep bucket step off the snap, he just can’t get wide early enough to pin a defender and pull his hips around them. On the front side of a play, just riding a defender outside works as you offer a cutback lane off your back hip. When you are on the back side of play, you are risking running the defensive tackle directly into the running back’s cutback lane or forcing the running back to make an extremely difficult cut, usually into the back-side contain player.
Remmers has started more as a tackle than he has a guard and thus been challenged a lot more in space because of it.
Remmers is definitely serviceable at OT - maybe even an upgrade over the swing OT last year - but not my favorite spot for him.— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) March 24, 2020
Explosion out of his stance is a little lackluster and the pacing on his slide is high/looks labored. Not ready to strike, has to gather feet first. pic.twitter.com/G5x5rpCJn5
Remmers was never the most fleet of foot player, but that’s highlighted when stuck on an island against speed on the edge. His explosion out of his stance is moderate and there is noticeable labor in his entire body when sliding to mirror good speed. He has to come to balance and gather himself — wasting time and space — in order to fire his at the rusher, which gives him a chance to win with his hands.
Remmers is trying to work the defensive end of the arch, but because he has to gather himself before punching, it allows the defensive end to rip under him with ease.
It's really the speed that gives Remmers an issue on the outside.— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) March 24, 2020
Forces him into an overset to remain balanced and use his hands up the arc and he can't recover vs the inside move. Some tightness in his hips and moderate foot speed make it hard to mirror speed on the edge. pic.twitter.com/8Jwk3fQlxO
It’s a relatively common occurrence to see his pads rise and his feet get picked high up off the ground. With this off-balance pass set, he is wide open to inside moves struggling to come to balance and move his feet to match the rusher.
Where Remmers wins in pass protection is with his hand technique and upper body power.
Remmers hands are good when he's balanced. Varied punches, uses both hands equally, good low->high strike, feints, etc..— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) March 24, 2020
- Patient set, stays balanced
- Lands first stab w/ outside hand
- Gets hand back/not slapped of bal
- Inside hand under long-arm and forklift up pic.twitter.com/ooyH15Uf38
Working at guard, he does a good job getting his hand on the defensive tackle first but doesn’t sacrifice balance to do so. After the quick stab, he anchors and prepares for the counter rush with a low base. As the defensive tackle tries to transition into a long-arm rush, Remmers keeps his pads low and uses his inside hand to control the hands of the rusher stalling out the rush.
Hand tech when balanced ++— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) March 24, 2020
- Good quick set and frame
- Hands have enough pop to redirect DE
- Doesn't lean/lunge when removed, kicks back again (Re-frame)
- Hop to anchor vs bull
- Re-fit hand low & inside once initial momentum is slowed pic.twitter.com/Qpie2ekGYi
When balanced, he can bring the same technique and power to the outside. Being covered up by the tight end, Remmers can assume a pure speed rush isn’t coming, which allows him to smoothly drop into his set and be balanced at the top of the arc.
Once again, he lands his hands first and has enough pop that the defensive end’s rush path is entirely thrown off. To counter that initial punch, the defensive end has to resort to a bull rush that Remmers handles perfectly by hopping backward to drop his hips while working for constant inside hand control.
Because this is an Andy Reid-led football team, it’s mandatory we include a screen play.
Mike Remmers OL— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) March 24, 2020
Remmers has OT and OG versatility which and worked as the Giant's RT in 2019. Plays with veteran savvy in his hands and IQ while flashing some ability to get into space.
We all know how the Chiefs love their screen game & Remmers shows effective range pic.twitter.com/eG7O6yab6J
The bottom line
Remmers has a ton of starting experience at both tackle and guard, and that experience shows all over his film.
Whether it’s his blocking angles, rush plan identification or hand technique, he is a smart player along the offensive line and likely contributes to his ability to play both positions. He’s definitely a step back from what we’ve grown accustomed too as an athlete along the line, which may be the new normal as Martinas Rankin, Nick Allegretti, Austin Reiter, Jackson Barton and Greg Senat all fall into this category too.
He’s capable of performing in both zone and gap schemes but there will be times that blocks can’t be completed due to some stiffness in his hips.
Remmers looks more comfortable when playing in limited space than he does out in space. He is more than competent as a swing tackle — maybe even an improvement over 2019 — but his best position is at guard. It may not even be a huge reach to say he’d bring more consistent and savvy play at guard compared to what the Chiefs saw last year. Whether competing for the starting job at guard or steadily set as the swing tackle, Remmers provides a good veteran presence to the offensive line room that has a ton of experience.
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