The young Chiefs offensive line played just their second game together in a late loss to Baltimore. This is where they stood out and here is what they need to work on.
In a game that was as heartbreaking as they come, the Kansas City Chiefs had a bright spot for their team. A very large physical bright spot.
The Chiefs’ offensive line came to play, and they dominated the trenches for large portions of the game, opening up holes for the run game, as well as keeping Patrick Mahomes clean.
The unit had shown promise in week one despite some struggles, but it was clear from early on that they were ready to play. This was one of the best offensive line performances the Chiefs have had in a long time despite the team losing.
Baltimore didn’t blitz Mahomes as much as we have seen in prior matchups, but their three and four-man pass rushes were largely ineffective vs Kansas City. Patrick Mahomes had all day to throw the ball, and the Chiefs even ventured into some empty sets toward the end of the game as Andy Reid got more comfortable with how the unit up front was playing.
Despite not having great numbers in the run game, when watching the film the improvement is clear. There is movement off the ball, and it isn’t the positional blocking we have seen the last few seasons for the Chiefs. It is an all-out effort to drive defensive linemen off the ball and finish them up to the echo of the whistle.
My final grades were high for all players, with Trey Smith taking home the best game of the day.
Orlando Brown Jr 86%
A week after most of Chiefs Kingdom largely overreacted to Brown’s performance vs the Browns he came out and dominated from the left tackle position. Baltimore didn’t generate any pressure off the edge all night long, and Brown used a variety of traditional vertical sets and jump sets to win. He created massive amounts of movement in the run game. One area he can work on is cutting off the backside three-technique on zone plays away from him.
Joe Thuney 84%
Thuney didn’t have a bad game and looked good through most of the game, but his worst rep of the day lead to the game losing a fumble. Due to Thuneys contract fans are going to be harsh on his performance no matter how well he plays but this seemed like the same Thuney I saw on film for the New England Patriots. Consistent, reliable, smart, and tough. He will play a huge role moving forward.
Creed Humphrey 82%
At times Humphrey looks like a ten-year veteran on the field, and at times he reminds us that this was only his second professional football game. The bad snap is an obvious must-fix, and something he will have to be conscious of moving forward. That being said Humphrey plays the game all-out 100 MPH. He did a good job of uprooting one technique in the run game and showed a great anchor and base in pass protection. He was nasty, and he finished a good amount of plays. Working on body control at the second level will come with time, but another solid game for the man in the middle.
Trey Smith 90%
The Trey Smith draft pick looks like it might end up being considered the best of the Brett Veach era. He is as advertised, and looks just as he did on his film from Tennesee, but even more athletic now. At some point in his career, Smith is going to have a chance to be the best player on the Chiefs not named Patrick Mahomes. He is that good. He played nearly a perfect game, dominating Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams all game. The Chiefs struck gold with him, and it won’t be long before he gets the recognition on a national stage.
Lucas Niang 86%
Long gone are the days of people speculating about how Niang looked in his shorts and t-shirts, and now are the days of watching him grind out run blocks to the whistle and erase pass rushers. Niang has looked tremendous in the run game, but this week we saw his feet in action on the edge. This is the best I have seen him pass block. None of the hitches or false steps we saw last week or even at TCU. This week he made a concentrated effort to stay tight and vertical in his set, and it paid off. We even got to see his hands in action. He looks like a guy who took a year off to work his game, and he has picked up a few new skills since we saw him in college.