While most of the offseason talk has been about the questions surrounding the Kansas City Chiefs’ wide receivers, the team also came into the offseason with holes to fill on each end of the offensive line.
After former Jacksonville Jaguars tackle Jawaan Taylor was signed to a big four-year contract in the early days of free agency, it was widely assumed that he would be starting on the left side.
But once former Tampa Bay Buccaneers left tackle Donovan Smith was signed to a one-year contract in early May, it became clear that the Chiefs then intended for Taylor to stay on the right side, while Smith took the spot on the left.
That’s how they consistently lined up during this past week’s mandatory minicamp at the team’s practice facility. And while we can’t put too much stock in what we see from offensive linemen during these no-pads, non-contact practices, early returns from their teammates have still been positive.
“Yeah, they’ve been great,” said veteran left guard Joe Thuney on Wednesday. “They’re digging into their playbooks. They’re great guys to be around — obviously really good football players, too. They’re doing a great job and it’s been fun to play with them. Nothing but great things to say.”
“[They’re] really good players — both of them,” said quarterback Patrick Mahomes on Thursday. “I mean, they’ve had success in other places, so you know that they can play at a very high, Pro-Bowl caliber level. And so now, it’s just about incorporating them into our system.”
Mahomes appreciates that in Kansas City’s practice sessions, the offensive line faces a difficult challenge from defensive coordinator Steve Spanguolo’s unit.
“I think the best thing for [them] is we go against Spags,” noted the quarterback. “He does a lot of different blitzes, [so] they’re having to communicate — and use that communication.
“Whenever they’re blocking one-on-one, I have the full trust in the world. But utilizing that communication — [blocking] the right guy at the right time — [is] stuff that we work through.
“But I think if you can get through OTAs and minicamp and training camp with Spags — and [then] get to the season — it’ll be a lot easier.”
Of course, the team already had offensive tackles Lucas Niang and Prince Tega Wanogho on the roster — and in the NFL Draft, added Oklahoma tackle Wanya Morris in the third round. Offensive line coach Andy Heck will have a lot of talent to work through as the team decides which tackles will make September’s opening roster.
“I like him,” said head coach Andy Reid of Morris on Thursday. “I like his ability. I think [he] was a good pick.
“So we’ll just see how it all works out once we get going — but [Morris] held his own; he rotated in a little bit with the ‘ones.’ And as Andy does, he kind of gets everybody going.”
But Reid understands that the true test will come when the pads come on during training camp — which is still a month away.
“I’m curious to see how [Morris] does once we get going — and he’s tired, mentally and physically. Let’s see what happens then.”
And so we shall.