With training camp set to get underway in St.Joe, the competition will heat up as soon as the pads go on. The most important individual matchup will involve two large men playing in different places. What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
The offseason is finally over, thank goodness. There is only so much speculation and clickbait that a guy can take so personally I’m glad that it is just back to football. Talk is cheap and so is seven on seven. It’s time to put the pads on and play football.
Skill players have all year to practice seven on seven, but there is only so much that the linemen can do to simulate the game during the offseason. When the pads come on it is like Christmas, especially when they get to start the full contact periods, and one on one drills.
The entire Chiefs offensive line will be worth watching as almost every spot will be up for grabs, but it seems certain that Orlando Brown Jr. will be the starter at left tackle for the season. Camp will be especially important for Brown as he will have to transition from the ground and pound system he played in while in Baltimore, to the Chiefs’ pass-heavy sets. It’s going to be important for him to get comfortable with the vertical pass setting, something he didn’t do much of in Baltimore.
Vertical pass sets like the one shown above are what Brown is going to have to do a lot of in KC. He didn’t do much vertical setting in Baltimore, but more jump sets, which he excelled at.
The jump set was used in Baltimore due to the nature of Baltimore’s offense, which relied on running the ball to open up RPO looks. The Chiefs will use RPO looks at times, and with an improved offensive line it will be effective if they can establish a solid ground attack.
But the name of the game in Kansas City is to protect Patrick Mahomes, and that is going to fall on Brown’s shoulders. This season he will face a gauntlet of pass rushers including Myles Garrett, Joey Bosa, TJ Watt, Za’Darius Smith, and Von Miller. That will be his competition on the field, but it will be competition from his own team that could help him to get better.
Chris Jones has been one of the most dominant defensive tackles in the NFL for the past four seasons. He’s been to the Pro Bowl, has been an All-Pro, and made a huge impact in helping the Chiefs make back-to-back Super Bowls, winning in 2020, and coming up short in 2021. This season he will face his toughest test yet, as according to reports, coaches, and Jones himself he is going to be spending time at defensive end this upcoming season.
We have seen Jones play some at the end during the past couple of seasons in Kansas City, and dating back to his time at Mississippi State he played some. At Mississippi State, it was a 3-4 defense so he was basically a defensive tackle, but the past couple of seasons we have seen him out at end in the Chiefs 4-3 defense. He had been mostly used in that spot when the Chiefs were playing against run-heavy opponents, notably the Cleveland Browns in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. We also saw Jones at the defensive end in the 2019 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, whose offensive coordinator at the time was Kevin Stefanski, the current head coach of the Browns.
In both of these games, Jones was utilized at the defensive end position to help against the run game. He is much larger than a prototypical defensive end, which helped out with play-side double teams from offensive tackles and tight ends. I would expect to see this during the opener against the Browns since it was successful in the playoffs. Where the grey area comes in will be in pass-rushing situations.
Jones is a top three pass-rushing DT in the NFL, and moving him out of there could be disadvantageous to Kansas City, but it will be the case in some situations. The Chiefs will be going defensive end by committee this year. With Frank Clark’s legal issues pending it will be even more interesting to see the combinations that the Chiefs use on the edge. The team added Jarran Reed in free agency, which should help out on the interior, but it seems that it will move Jones to the edge for early downs. Taking Jones off the interior will hurt, but the addition of Reed can take some of the blow away since he is a more than capable pass rusher. For the move from tackle to end to make a difference for Jones he will have to find a way to effectively rush the passer from both spots.
This is where facing Orlando Brown in camp will help him. This is also where facing Chris Jones will help Orlando Brown.
Competition breeds winners, and winners breed championships.
Brown is a dominant run blocker, but the questions remain on if he can be the every-down pass protector that can block for Mahomes play in and play out.
Jones is a force on the inside and has been a huge key to the Chiefs Super Bowl teams, but we have yet to see him find that same success on the outside as a pass rusher.
Both players are established, but this season each will have to grow and learn how to adapt their games for the better of the team. They will find each other matched up against one another once camp begins, and this will give both of them a chance to not only compete but grow from one another. These are two of the premier players at their positions in the NFL, and they find themselves on a team with a large target on their backs. For the Chiefs to return to their third consecutive Super Bowl and take back the Lombardi Trophy, both Jones and Brown will need to have dominant seasons. That will all start with battles in the trenches up in St.Joe. Football is back.