And Will KC BBQ Survive these Hog Molly’s?
Jake White @jakewhite58 Chiefs Focus @Chiefsfocus
ESPN just released their Offensive Line rankings, and of course, the Chiefs are right where we think they would be. Number 1 baby! None of us had any doubt, right? None of us were concerned about our traded for but not yet signed to a long-term contract Left Tackle, or our seemingly revolving door at Right Tackle. The least of our concerns were the two rookies manning the middle of the line. Nah, no worries. Well, let me break down each line position and explain why I think we have the best Hog Mollys in the NFL and we will only get better.
Left Tackle - Orlando Brown Jr. is a franchise cornerstone left tackle, and the Chiefs want to pay him as such. A player who can anchor their offensive line and protect the franchise best player in Patrick Mahomes is worth a long-term contract. Problem is, last season he wasn't the best LT in the league. His adjustment from RT (where he played while with the Ravens) to LT was painful at times. Not entirely OBJ’s fault, Patrick tended to drift in the pocket. But by season’s end, OBJ was a lock down LT. Patrick had confidence in his blindside tackle and was able to make more plays in the pocket. The contract situation is a pause for concern but at the end of the day, I think the Chiefs and OBJ’s team want the deal to be done and it will get done after this season.
Left Guard - Guard isn't a sexy position, but when you have a machine like Joe Thuney manning that sport you tend to change your mind. Remember when Will Shields was our Left Guard and we didn't talk about him much because he was consistent and never failed at his job? That's Joe Thuney, Mr. Consistent, the Tim Duncan of Left Guards. No highlight reels, but just solid play through and through. You heard about Quentin Nelson and Zach Martin, but Thuney is the guy I want to rely on. The guy broke his hand last year and DIDN'T MISS A SNAP. The guy is tough, reliable, and a leader.
Center - I want to know who last year thought when we drafted Creed Humphrey he would be the highest-rated Center in the NFL, and become a fan favorite. I knew fan favorites but he quickly ascended to the top of the NFL charts as a Center. And to be as dominant as he was last season was ridiculous. Second-round pick-man-handling NFL players like he did. I can understand why Patrick struggled in the first half of last season. When he didn't see anyone coming up the middle he knew something must be wrong, only he was being protected by a future league great. Also, if we don't get Creed in a Head and Shoulders commercial with Patrick and Troy Polamalu soon, the world will have suffered a tragedy.
Right Guard - Trey Smith is a monster. There was a block last season where Patrick rolled out and Trey Smith DEMOLISHED the player chasing him. Factor in that he was a 6th-round selection, another rookie, and he played at that level, he was THE steal of the draft last season. He had the most snaps at guard, was rated only behind Creed Humphrey for the best rookie lineman, and demolished players all over the field. Right Guard is going to be a position that Chiefs fans won't have to worry about for many years.
Right Tackle - The only position not locked down. As of writing, this article Andrew Wylie is holding it down in training camp. And honestly, when he became the starter the position was solidified. Lucas Niang, unfortunately, suffered a torn patellae tendon and will miss the opportunity to fight for the starting job this offseason. The Chiefs did draft another “Trey Smith” type of player in Darian Kinnard, another mauler who was overlooked but fell into the Chiefs' laps. While he has struggled in training camp thus far, he still can be a long-term answer at RT when and if the Chiefs move on from Wylie. Unfortunately, Wylie will be a constant reminder of the slaughtering that happened when the Chiefs played the Buccaneers in Super Bowl 55. Wylie has since overcome that game and made himself a valuable member of the Chiefs' dominant offensive line.
Last season it took until the halfway point for the Chiefs' offensive line to mesh and Patrick Mahomes to be comfortable behind them. Once Andy Reid and Co. made the adjustments, the big Hog Molly’s upfront put in work. Once Patrick wasn’t running for his life we got to see a new more methodical side of our QB. We also got to see our running backs march down the field. With a whole offseason, more maturity, and dare I say, a year's worth of Kansas City BBQ for these guys, I can't wait to see what we have in store for them next.