When the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Washington Football Team 31-13 on Sunday, the offensive line featured a new starter at right tackle: veteran offensive lineman Mike Remmers, who came in for second-year rookie Lucas Niang.
“You see, he battles,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes said of Remmers when he spoke to reporters on Wednesday. “I think that’s the biggest thing. He’s played a lot of different spots for us — but for other teams as well — and been in a lot of big games. So he knows what it takes.
“He knows how to get in there and battle, help bring those young guys along as well, and be a leader on that side of the line for us. He’s definitely a guy I’m glad we have on our team — and we have that depth where he can just step right in and play really good football.”
In 2020, Remmers started eight games (and the first two rounds of the playoffs) at right tackle in place of injured starter Mitchell Schwartz — before further injuries forced a disastrous move to left tackle for Super Bowl LV. After re-signing with the Chiefs, he entered camp as the starting right tackle — that is, until injuries of his own created an opening for Niang.
“I was just banged up during training camp,” Remmers admitted. “They have a great staff here that got me ready. Been practicing on the scout team and stuff like that. Just trying to stay ready for the opportunity — and happy to be back out there.”
Niang had started the team’s first five games — one of three rookie starters on a remade offensive line. After the rookie received treatment last week for a hamstring injury, the Chiefs decided to reinsert Remmers into the lineup. While we didn’t know about the change until pregame reports on Sunday, the Chiefs had decided to make the change days before.
“They informed me on Wednesday,” recalled Remmers. “But I knew I had to go out and have a great practice. If I didn’t practice well — they’re not going to be confident in me going out and doing my job.
“It brings me so much joy and happiness being out on that field. Just being out there with my teammates — it’s an amazing feeling. [But I’m] not taking anything for granted — and enjoying every game I get.”
Though his poor play at left tackle in the Super Bowl will not be forgotten, Pro Football Focus gave Remmers earned a respectable grade of 70.1 for his work on the right side in 2020 — which is where he prefers to play.
“I have the most experience at right tackle — so it just comes a little more naturally for me,” he noted. “I feel comfortable at the left side — it just takes a little more work, and I have to think a little more. Right tackle — it’s just you tell me what to do, and I just do it. And I feel a lot more confident.”
With a decade of experience in the league, Remmers understands the reality that starting comes at the expense of another player. He took the time to touch on continuing to work with Niang.
“It’s incredibly difficult to be playing in the league — especially as a rookie,” he said of Niang’s situation. “That’s not an easy task. He’s been doing great. He’s improved a lot through the season — I’ve seen it. His technique has gotten a lot better. He’s a fighter, for sure. I know he’s always there supporting me — and I’m there supporting him. We bounce ideas and thoughts on the opponent each week. He’s a great teammate.”
Since the Chiefs made him available to reporters on Wednesday, we should expect Remmers to once again get the start for Sunday’s road game against the Tennessee Titans. Remmers hopes that the confidence the offense displayed in its dominant second half against Washington continues in Nashville.
“It felt like the whole offense — everything — was just clicking,” he said of the how his teammates played after halftime. “You can definitely feel it when it’s third and whatever — and you’re picking up first downs and not punting. You can feel the momentum shift. You can feel the defenses feeling it as well. The guys we are playing against — I feel like you can kind of tell that they are like, ‘They’re starting to click now.’ So we’re just trying to do that every snap now. That’s our goal.”