Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. arrived in Kansas City last season via a trade with the Baltimore Ravens. His 2021 play received mixed reviews — although he showed notable improvement as the season went on.
Speaking to reporters after Friday’s practice, Brown claimed he is ready to begin this season the way he finished the last: by continuing to improve.
“Yeah, just the comfortability within the system,” he explained as the reason to expect it. “You know: understanding the expectation of how I’m supposed to make certain blocks or put myself in a certain position just within my second year within the system.”
The great offensive lines tend to get better as key players stay together longer. Brown believes his chemistry with his teammates — particularly with left guard Joe Thuney — will show early in the season.
“[I’m] so much more comfortable,” he said. “I spoke about it before: just about offensive line play, period. Gelling with the group, having the comfortability of knowing the guy next to you, seeing what you’re seeing. Sometimes [it’s] without communicating, sometimes [it’s] just by making eye contact — or whatever those things are.
“But me and Joe have just continued to grow. We’ve played a lot of football together since last year — since I got traded in April. We’re looking forward to the opportunity [of] getting out here in some of these live situations.”
Brown and the Chiefs did not come to contract terms after he was placed on the franchise tag. Though he became a polarizing figure among Chiefs fans during a short training camp holdout, quarterback Patrick Mahomes publicly supported Brown, expressing confidence that he would be ready for the season.
Brown appreciated the best player in the league going to bat for him.
“Pat obviously has my back in those situations — for whatever reason or whatever those things are — and [is] very understanding,” he remarked. “Pat’s an amazing teammate, amazing person and an amazing friend. I’m very thankful to have him in my corner.”
He also confirmed Mahomes’ earlier assertion that their relationship extends off the field. He said that it was built upon he and the quarterback playing similar college opponents while Mahomes was at Texas Tech and Brown was at Oklahoma.
“My relationship with him has just continued to grow since my time here,” Brown observed. “I think [that with] the natural connection of the Big XII and the coaching staffs, I just feel like we’ve intertwined with all those different things.
“So, I kind of had a familiarity with his personality already before I even got here. But this offseason, just getting around him [and] talking ball — which is what we both love to do. Anybody that knows me knows I love the game of football. He’s a great mind [and] somebody that I enjoy talking about ball with.”
Now locked into a one-year franchise tag contract, Brown knows he is betting on himself to play himself into a more lucrative offer next offseason. He has taken steps to make sure his situation is not a distraction.
“There’s insurance policies and all those different things,” he noted. “I’m just focused on developing myself into the best player that I can be — putting myself and this team in position to win Super Bowls. That’s really where my mindset is.
“As far as the contract, it’s unfortunate. I hate that things weren’t able to get done, but that’s part of the business. I’m just really looking forward to getting out here and being able to prove to myself — most importantly — what I can do.”