There are plenty of new faces on the Kansas City Chiefs as they begin organized team activities (OTAs) this week. No newcomer is catalyzing more excitement from fans than left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., who was acquired through a trade with the Baltimore Ravens in April.
The two-time Pro Bowler excelled for the Ravens as both a right and left tackle, paving the way for one of the league’s most dangerous rushing attacks. Needless to say, the Chiefs don’t play the same style of offense. Kansas City dropped back to pass as much as any NFL team in 2020, while the Ravens had the fewest pass attempts in the league.
The difference between the two offenses goes much deeper than that, and it will force Brown to re-do a lot of the things he’s been taught so far in his career.
“I’ve been in Baltimore the last three years, so I guess you could say I’m wired a certain way on certain things,” Brown told reporters during Thursday’s Zoom press conference. “I’m unwiring and learning [offensive line coach Andy Heck’s] new techniques and certain things he’s teaching. I think it’s going to be incredible for my game.”
The Ravens’ offense naturally protects their offensive tackles in pass protection with the run threat of both the running backs and the quarterback. Even when they do pass, they utilize a lot of play-action and roll-out passes to simplify the quarterback’s responsibility.
In Kansas City, he’ll experience more straight, five-step or seven-step drops that put a lot more pressure on the offensive tackles to seal their edge. Brown is well-aware of his new responsibility.
“With the adjustment to more true drop-back passes, I have to play an actual chess game out there on the edge,” he acknowledged. “I’m going to do my best to manipulate all of my blocks to the best of my abilities and keep Pat safe. It’s definitely a learning curve, a different system for sure, but football is football.”
Brown sounds confident, and so does his head coach. Andy Reid complimented his new left tackle on his ability to learn.
“He’s very coachable,” Reid shared with reporters in his own Zoom press conference. “Andy Heck is a phenomenal coach, so it’s great for Orlando fundamentally to work with Andy. There’s the initial footwork he has to take, he played half the season at left tackle so it’s not too big of a thing, but the things we do in our offense — little footwork things — he’ll get down and it’ll be second nature to him.”
The new offensive scheme won’t be the only difference for Brown in his transition to the Chiefs. He will officially switch from wearing number 78 — which has been retired by the Chiefs in honor of Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Bell — to number 57.
It’s not a very common number for an offensive tackle, but it has a lot of meaning behind it.
“I felt like 57 gave me the opportunity to represent two men that had an incredible impact on my life: Jamaal Brown wearing number 55, and my dad wearing 77 and 78,” Brown revealed. “I would’ve gotten 75 but Mike [Remmers] had it, and 57 was available. I definitely thought it was unique, but it gives me the chance to represent those two.”
Once he gets used to the new scheme — and his new jersey number — it will be business as usual for Brown. He has no doubts he’ll continue the positive career trajectory he was already on.
“At the end of the day, once I get it down, I know it’s over with.”