The overhaul of the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive line this season wasn’t just about getting new faces into the building.
The players brought in are bringing an aggressive mentality; rookie Trey Smith has led the way with his comments on his love for the “violence” in football and the act of “beating people up.” On Monday, Orlando Brown Jr. echoed a similar sentiment when describing the rest of the group.
“We got a bunch of renegades up front,” Brown told reporters via Zoom. “They brought in a bunch of great guys who love the game of football and play this game very emotionally. We’re all emotionally invested in each other, the game, and this team. There isn’t any selfish guys on the offensive line that we have here in this group of 15, 16 men. I’m super excited to get to work, it’s definitely time to prove it as opposed to talking about it.”
All they’ve been able to do is talk about it. There aren’t full contact opportunities in the offseason; training camp will be the first chance for the linemen to display their aggressive mentality in a full-speed setting. Brown has been ready to turn it up a notch.
“Once we get the shoulder pads on, things will get rocking,” Brown assured. “That’s when the real ball players come out and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
Last season, it became evident that the Chiefs weren’t able to run the ball as effectively as they’ve had in the past — specifically in short-yardage scenarios. The unit just didn’t have the power or the strength to be a dominant group up front. Injuries may have been the cause of some of those problems, but Brown doesn’t think this unit will have similar issues either way.
“This will be a great group, I think we’ll definitely be able to run the ball,” Brown declared. “I don’t want to speak on years past cause I wasn’t here and they had some great players here, but we got some great players here now and we’re excited for the opportunity to do whatever coach asks us to do. Obviously, you talk to any offensive lineman and they’ll tell you they enjoy running the ball more than passing it — but at the end of the day, I’m here to do my job at the highest level and I don’t care what they call.”
Brown isn’t just an aggressive, physical brute. He takes the mental side of the game seriously, and he’s been grinding the tape this offseason to get himself as prepared as possible to play in head coach Andy Reid’s offense.
“I studied a lot more film of guys that I was a little bit unfamiliar with, like Tra Thomas, King Dunlap, guys that coach Reid has worked with,” Brown shared. “Going back and looking at Jonathan Ogden film too; Jon Runyan as well from back in Philadelphia. It was a lot of things to take from those different players, obviously we got a lot of similarities in size and height, and just how coach Reid was able to use them in his offense.”
That preparation speaks to the chip that Brown has on his shoulder. He went in the third round of the 2018 draft primarily because he didn’t test well athletically at the NFL Scouting Combine. He knows he has to work harder than a player that may have more athleticism than he does, but the motivation is something that he has always carried with him.
“Personally, I’ve taken it upon myself throughout my life to really feel like I got something to prove,” Brown admitted. “I’m a very limited athlete as a player and a person, I’m not the shortest of guys obviously so I don’t often win the leverage battle. So I’ve always felt like I got a lot to prove, and I’m attacking this year just like every other year to get better, and be the best player I can be to put this team in Super Bowl contention.”
Fortunately, Brown hasn’t needed to be the most athletic offensive tackle in the league to play like one of the best. He made the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons, starting all 16 games each year with stretches at both right tackle and left tackle.
He’s earned the respect that he didn’t necessarily receive coming out of the University of Oklahoma — but it wasn’t easy. In fact, it’s never easy in the trenches.
“We play a position that’s hard,” Brown emphasized. “That’s very different I feel like from a lot of positions and sometimes all you have are the guys on that offensive line of scrimmage with you to lean on, and man I think we’ve got a really good group going into this.”
Most football fans agree with Brown; the Chiefs have stockpiled their offensive line, and it looks to be an imposing five-man unit — but we haven’t even seen them in shoulder pads yet.
That will change on Wednesday when the team holds its first full-team practice. The coaching staff and fans will see this offensive line in action — and the linemen will have their first chance to prove the hype is real.