ST. JOSEPH, Missouri. Last year, the Kansas City Chiefs had high hopes for their offensive line after they invested heavily in a positional group following a Super Bowl LV loss in which the division was shattered. They spent free agent dollars on left guard Joe Tooney, traded draft picks to acquire left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. from the Baltimore Ravens, and then drafted center Creed Humphrey and right guard Trey Smith in the 2021 draft.
They may have exceeded those expectations.
“It worked better because, on the one hand, we had confidence in Orlando and Tuni,” said general manager Brett Wych. “On the other hand, we had high hopes for Trey and Creed, but those guys playing at the level they played at were definitely a pleasant surprise.
“These are the hopes you have for all the guys you drafted. Sometimes it happens like this. And sometimes it takes time, and sometimes it doesn’t. cool for us.”
Last season, the Chiefs were second in most successful bans (67.8%) and third in most successful bans (74.0%). Individually among regular starters, Oklahoma’s second-round pick Humphrey was the top pass-blocking center (97.7%). Tooney, who signed a five-year, $80 million contract after spending five seasons with the New England Patriots, was first among defensemen in the PBWR (96.6%), followed by Smith (96.0%), a sixth-round pick from Tennessee. .
The Chiefs want more this season.
“We want to be known this year as one of the most physically dominant lines in the league,” Humphrey said. “We have parts. We have guys who will do it. This is our general point of view to be physical, for the physicality to shine through and let the teams know when they play with us that they will play against the offensive line, which plays through the whistle, ends the game and the like.
“Everyone came with a desire to work and a desire to become better together. Everyone worked very well together. what is in this camp.
Tooney added: “It all started at the very beginning [offseason practice], just talk about it, watch the movie, see what we can do to improve, run the game, pass the game, the whole aspect of the offensive line. You always want to be the physical offensive line. All five guys are required. It starts there and keeps building and building. Training camp is a great place to grow it even more.
“It was a great year under our belt. Obviously this is an early training camp and there are a lot of things to get better at. But so far so good.”
Last year’s restructuring of the offensive line was belated. In the late 2010s, the Chiefs spent very little on free agents or early draft picks in their offensive line. The line broke in the 2020 season and collapsed completely as a result of the Super Bowl LV loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes spent most of that 31-9 loss running from a relentless pass.
Picking up Brown in the left tackle was an important step in recovery. The Chiefs sent their 2021 first-round pick along with three other picks to the Ravens to acquire a 6-foot-8, 340-pound tackle. But Brown was 42nd in blocking success (87.1%) among tackles who played at least 100 snaps last season. So the left tackle is where the Chiefs offensive line can improve.
“I want to progress in almost every way, shape or form,” said Brown, who played right tackle in Baltimore for three seasons before moving to left tackle with the Chiefs. “I want to be the best jerk blocker, the best pass blocker, the best leader… let them count on me when they need me most. This was something I struggled with a bit last year. didn’t put myself in a better position as the games were close to some third downs or in close games against certain talents.”