Chiefs pleased with offensive line’s performance in debut vs. Browns
The Kansas City Chiefs’ new-look offensive line was unveiled to the world on Sunday.
They faced the daunting task of going up against one of the strongest defensive line groups in the league. Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney, Malik Jackson and Malik McDowell make up an extremely talented group against the run, but especially so when it comes to rushing the passer.
Speaking to reporters following the game, Andy Reid’s fire-from-the-hip reaction was to say that his group held their own for four quarters on Sunday.
“That’s a good front seven,” Reid said. “I thought they held their own and really did a nice job. To get the run game going like that against that crew I thought was big. We had the one sack at the end, but that shouldn’t ruin the rest of what they did. I was pretty impressed. (Lucas) Niang had probably the toughest job of all of them and he beared down and pushed through. These are young, young guys in there and a veteran group of defensive linemen.”
The Chiefs’ rebuilt offensive line unit allowed 12 pressures as a whole, including two sacks according to PFF. The lone offensive lineman who didn’t allow a single pressure was Chiefs rookie C Creed Humphrey. Tackles Orlando Brown Jr. and Lucas Niang both allowed sacks, but even Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes came away impressed with what they accomplished in Week 1.
“Yeah, I thought they did a great job,” Mahomes said. “There were times where I drifted to the back just a bit too far and they were kind of getting those guys around the 10-yard area so I had to step up pretty quickly, but we’ll continue to work on that. They’re doing a great job of being firm in the front and kind of edging those guys so I can still be in the pocket. They did a great job today against like you said a really good defensive line.”
There are still some things that the group can work on in the passing game to help make Mahomes more comfortable in the pocket. There was a decisive effort to work Baltimore’s edge rushers around the arc and provide Mahomes with space to step up in the pocket. Sometimes that was executed flawlessly, other times it looked uncomfortable for the star quarterback. It’s all about finding the right balance there.
One area where it was clear they needed a lot of work was in the running game. Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire managed just 43 yards on 14 attempts. Reid told reporters on Monday that it felt the offensive line needs to have a better idea of what Edwards-Helaire was trying to accomplish on each called running play.
“I thought we came off and had bodies on bodies,” Reid said. “I thought we did a pretty good job with that and then I think we just have to coordinate a little bit more with the line and with the running back and how they’re going about their business together. I think that becomes important. The runners can set things up better or the O-Line needs to have a better idea of what the running back’s trying to get done with his part. I’ve got to make sure I get that straightened out as we go. Between Andy Heck and EB (Eric Bieniemy) and Greg (Lewis), I mean that group right there has a pretty good understanding.”
After the team gets a few kinks worked out, it sounds like this rebuilt unit should be firing on all cylinders in both the running and passing game. Given the difficulty of their early schedule, it’s vital that this unit get off to a solid start.