Over the course of the offseason, the Kansas City Chiefs completely revamped their offensive line. The early returns from their Week 1 win over the Cleveland Browns were mixed, with both positive and negative moments taking place during the game.
In the 33-29 Chiefs victory, quarterback Patrick Mahomes was sacked twice. For the most part, he had ample time within the pocket and was able to navigate cleanly. Sure, there were a few instances in which he was pressured or running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire had nowhere to run. That's bound to happen with a new group up front. With that said, Mahomes told the media postgame that he was pleased with the performance of his new-look line.
“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.”
Mahomes' point about drifting too far in the pocket is valid. That has always been a slight issue with him, and it comes and goes depending on things like injuries and matchups. Speaking of matchups, the group of Orlando Brown Jr., Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith and Lucas Niang had their work cut out for them against the Browns' front four.
Brown, in particular, struggled against defensive end Myles Garrett. In all, the Chiefs' two-time Pro Bowl left tackle tied his career-high with five pressures allowed. Continuing to adapt to the Chiefs' scheme was already a legitimate challenge for Brown — and will require a learning curve as the season goes on. Garrett's strength and athleticism made his day even more difficult.
Other than Brown, the offensive line was solid. Thuney, Humphrey and Smith played well on the interior and Niang handled the Browns' speed around the edge relatively well, although he certainly had some moments in which he struggled. The unit faced a tall task in slowing down Joe Woods' defense, and it did enough for the Chiefs to win. That's a start.
While there were certainly some rough reps on tape, the fact that Mahomes is happy speaks volumes. His offensive line let him down in Super Bowl LV, and the Chiefs organization made a concerted effort to ensure that won't happen for the foreseeable future. The new and improved line was far from perfect in Week 1 but luckily for everyone involved, it's a long season.