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The Chiefs’ revamped offensive line dominates in Arizona (again)

Kansas City general manager Brett Veach has built another great offensive line.

NFL: Preseason-Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona Cardinals Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Just over six months ago, the Kansas City Chiefs offensive line set foot on the (questionable) sod of State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl LVII. That version of Kansas City’s offensive line famously gave up no sacks to the vaunted Philadelphia Eagles’ pass rush.

A few months later — after left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., and right tackle Andrew Wylie had left in free agency — the Chiefs replaced them with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers left tackle Donovan Smith and former Jacksonville Jaguars right tackle Jawaan Taylor.

Despite the line’s previous success, is it possible that this offensive line — the one that started Saturday night’s 39-10 preseason victory over the Arizona Cardinals — is better? Has Brett Veach really done it again?

Depending on how you want to count it, the Chiefs are on their second or third offensive line rebuild since Veach took over during 2017’s offseason. It is the second time the team has replaced both starting tackles at once; in 2021, the team replaced left tackle Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz.

It’s still early, of course... but the reviews on the latest edition of Kansas City’s offensive line are promising.

This time around, Veach had a built-in advantage: he already had a talented interior offensive line after investing in left guard Joe Thuney, center Creed Humphrey and right guard Trey Smith. With this kind of talent on the inside, the Chiefs could have chosen to go cheap on their tackles — but the major investment the team made to acquire Taylor clearly demonstrated the dedication Kansas City has shown toward protecting quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

The 30-year-old Smith can be seen as more of a placeholder — he has only a one-year contract with the team — but the Chiefs also drafted Oklahoma tackle Wanya Morris in the third round of the 2023 draft. Bringing in Smith accomplished two things: it raised the unit’s floor — and also bought the time needed for Morris to develop.

Both of the veterans have looked really sharp in pass protection. Taylor’s quick feet seem to explode out of every pass set. His ability to catch edge rushers around the arc — and be quick enough to protect his inside shoulder — are a welcome sight on the right side.

Smith has looked healthy (and physical) in both the running and passing game. While Smith isn’t a strong athlete like Taylor, he possesses both the technique and playing strength to make him tough to beat.

The starters played 25 snaps during Saturday’s win, playing an important role in touchdown drives for both Mahomes and Shane Buechele, giving each of them clean pockets and plenty of time to throw. Both passed for 105 yards.

We might not see any of these linemen in the final preseason game against the Cleveland Browns on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium next Saturday; we may not see them again until the season opener on Thursday, September 7 against the Detroit Lions.

But don’t worry. As the team begins its title defense, Chiefs fans should feel very comfortable with the latest edition of the offensive line.

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