During the preseason — and the early part of the regular season — one of the new Kansas City Chiefs players that observers will be watching most closely is left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. The trade the Chiefs made to bring him to Kansas City is widely regarded as one of the offseason’s biggest moves.
And on his first play from scrimmage against the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night, Brown and his new teammates helped running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire run free for a 10-yard gain. After the game, Brown said that such a play has been a point of emphasis for offensive line coach Andy Heck.
“That’s something we’re definitely priding ourselves on — really just setting the tone,” Brown told reporters. “Up front, (offensive line) coach (Andy) Heck has emphasized that; me, I’ve emphasized that; Joe Thuney and all the other guys. That’s really just been the mindset: being able to set the tone — especially in the run game — when they’re calling on our number.”
As it was only the first preseason game of the season, Brown and his fellow starting linemen only had Patrick Mahomes behind them for four snaps. It seemed clear that Brown would have liked to have more live-action snaps with the starting quarterback.
“I’m really just getting a feel for it,” he said of his relationship with Mahomes. “As a left tackle — and an offensive lineman period — it’s always good to know where your quarterback wants to be — what he wants to do, what he’s thinking in certain situations. That can help me react — or put my player wherever I need to put [them] — so he can do what he needs to do best.”
But as head coach Andy Reid noted after the game, keeping the starting linemen in the game through the end of the first quarter allowed them to get some live-action experience with backup Chad Henne — something they will need if Mahomes misses any time this season.
Now beginning his fourth NFL season, Brown said that he understood what Saturday night’s game was really all about.
“I just take it as an opportunity to go against different people in a new situation — a different defensive scheme than we’ve seen in practice... different players,” he explained. “So I just use it as an opportunity — especially now, learning the system — [for] mixing certain things in and see how people react.”
He — and the rest of the Chiefs — will get another opportunity to do just that against the Arizona Cardinals this Friday night.