Projecting the Chiefs’ line of attack of 2021

For Kansas City Chiefs fans, figuring out what the team would do in the offensive line in 2021 was the main topic of off-season talks. There is no lack of opinions about this.

So it is very likely that you disagree with at least some of what I am about to say. But I think it’s important to remember that it is possible to overreact to the Chiefs’ loss in the Super Bowl. Certainly, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ line of defense completely dominated the championship trenches. But without the loss of Eric Fisher’s left tackle two weeks earlier, it was essentially the same line the team had been using since week 7 – and with which they had not lost a single game

So here’s how I think the line will shake – arranged from my belief most sure too least certainly.

Left guard: Joe Thuney

Photo by Wesley Hitt / Getty Images

This one could hardly be more obvious. The former New England Patriots guard is paid as a starter; he will certainly be one. I also have no doubt (and apparently anyone else) that he will play on the left. We will return to that thought.

Judge guard: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

AMFOOT-NFL-SUPERBOWL-LIV-CHIEFS-49ERS

Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP via Getty Images

Some assume that former All-Pro Kyle Long will replace the French-Canadian physician in the starting line-up. Not me.

Could it happens? Of course. Both players have been out of the game for a year. Either – or both – can easily come back rusty. But he always said Long intended coming back; Duvernay-Tardif was under contract return. On that basis, I am more willing to believe that Dr. Larry will be ready to go.

Besides … he is already familiar with the Chiefs’ system and has a good relationship with the team’s coaches. Then there’s the matter of his contract: he’s more expensive to release than to play – and was also banned from trading. I think it’s his job to lose.

Correct tackle: Mike Remmers

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Kansas City Chiefs

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I believe Remmers’ start at the Super Bowl left tackle unfairly influenced his perception by fans. After Mitchell Schwartz went down in week 6, he put in a solid performance like that of the team right suits – enough that the Chiefs not only wanted to bring him back, but also give him a raise. I don’t believe the Chiefs would have if they intended for him to become a backup player – so like Duvernay-Tardif, I think it’s his job to lose.

He will certainly face competition. Lucas Niang, Martinas Rankin, Yasir Durant and Prince Tega Wanogho will all fight for a starting chance. But if he’s outplayed and displaced in the camp – which certainly can happen – the Chiefs wouldn’t give him a contract for so much money that they would be. pay too much for a solid backup.

Middle: Austin Blythe

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals

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I think the Chiefs, who are coming out of 2020, were planning for this to be a battle between last year’s starter Austin Reiter and third-year player Nick Allegretti. Some have suggested that Thuney’s signing indicated dissatisfaction with Allegretti’s piece. Not me. To borrow a concept term, I think the Chiefs saw Thuney simply as the best player available in free agency. He was also young enough to make a long-term deal – and the signing had the added benefit of opening the camp battle in the middle.

I think they offered Reiter a contract in the same scope as the one they gave Remmers – a contract that could entice him to stay, but wouldn’t be too far for a backup. Then it was up to Allegretti – with two years to go for his rookie deal – to either win the job or become the backup. But Reiter probably said no – and now we have a very similar player (albeit with different strengths) to fight Allegretti for the starting gig.

I think Blythe’s experience will win – but only by a small margin.

Left Tackle: A player named later

The Chiefs went after the San Francisco 49ers to take on Trent Williams – then couldn’t bring him in. As with Thuney, I think the Chiefs just saw Williams as the Second best available player. But when faced with the prospect of guaranteeing three years of a 33-year-old’s contract – and paying a $ 30 million signing bonus, that would give the team no less than $ 7.5 million a year in prorated signing bonus. have cost. only – they walked away.

I think general manager Brett Veach did exactly what he should have done: find the best option to fix a major staffing problem before drafting it – and then rescue when the deal no longer fit his long-term plan. Sometimes the best a GM can do is simply say, “No.”

So that leaves us with Niang, Rankin, Durant and Wanogho – along with the offensive tackle that the team will almost certainly select in the first or second round – vying for the runway. I’m afraid to say who will win that match – although it would be difficult to bet against a tackle selected within a handful of places on either side of the 31st pick of the draft.

And I won’t blame you if the prospect of one of those players – even a first-round rookie – protecting quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ blind side fills you with dread. In fact, I share your concerns. But at some point you have to put young players on the field. Here, the Chiefs have even had a bit of luck: This situation occurs in a year when there are a lot of good tackles available – and it’s more than possible Kansas City could snag one of them by continuing to pat on 31.

I am not the man you should get draft predictions from. But personally, my money is on Texas tackling Samuel Cosmi with the 31st pick – or even better, somewhere around the mid-to-high 30s.

And to be clear, I now don’t believe the Chiefs will draw a veteran left tackle before the draft. While it would make it easier for all of us to breathe to have a seasoned stopgap solution available, the wait no longer has a downside; with each passing day, such a player costs less – not anymore. Plus, any veteran signed after draft won’t affect the team’s chances of landing compensatory draft picks in 2022. The Chiefs can still sign a vet to play left tackle – but if they do, the more likely that this will happen. after the design.


it comes down to

Ultimately, this is why I think the Chiefs considered Joe Thuney the best player available in free agency – and also why I think he will start at left guard: because the Chiefs knew there was a good chance it would turn out that way.

It is no coincidence that they immediately went after Thuney. Had they not been able to come to terms with him, they would have pushed harder to land Williams – and could have afforded itBut since she had signed Thuney, they knew he would man the left guard, making it easier for an inexperienced left-wing tackle to find his way. If they couldn’t come to terms with Williams then … well, no problem. It would probably be too expensive anyway.

I know some will argue that the left tackle is a place where you just can’t afford to put an inexperienced player. But I think that’s exactly why them tried to get Williams – and also why they drafted Lucas Niang a year ago. It wasn’t the team’s fault that the coronavirus pandemic disrupted their plan to replace one of their launch attacks in 2021 – or even 2022. Now that the plan has been overtaken by events, the only option is to make the most of it.

And loading the rest of the attack line with experienced veteran players – as I’ve described here – is exactly how do you do that.

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