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Brett Veach’s Offensive Line Rebuild Is Being Put To the Test

The Chiefs' new-and-improved unit has depth, and it's time to show it.

Last season, the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive line was torn apart by injuries and didn't have enough depth to cover up for that fact. Losing multiple offensive linemen is hard to overcome, and Patrick Mahomes's second Super Bowl appearance was doomed before it even began. During the offseason, general manager Brett Veach completely rebuilt the unit in an effort to avoid something similar happening again.

While the current version of the Chiefs' offensive line is far from depleted, injuries are starting to take a toll. Niang suffered a torn patellar tendon in the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals and will be out for the rest of the season. Brown's calf injury that caused him to leave pregame warmups and not return thereafter is described as "minor." Mike Remmers is still on the injured reserve list. The team is getting a glimpse of what life without its starting tackles and its top swing tackle looks like.

Honestly, on Sunday, it didn't look that bad. Mark Van Sickle of Arrowhead Report joined me on Monday's Roughing the Kicker podcast to talk about how despite the Chiefs' loss, their front five played quite well under the circumstances it faced.

Stepping in at right tackle for Niang to start the game was Andrew Wylie. Subbing in for Niang at left tackle in the first quarter was... left guard Joe Thuney. Coming off the bench for Thuney was Nick Allegretti, who factored into the guard picture last year. All things considered, no one was at a clear disadvantage throughout the afternoon. Thuney was borderline excellent at tackle, which was far from a guarantee when the Chiefs moved him out there. Allegretti and Wylie were proficient in pass protection and worked with rookie standouts Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith to make a massive difference collectively in the run game. All five linemen jelled on remarkably short notice.

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Allegretti, Wylie and the injured Remmers were on the 2020 Chiefs, but no one else mentioned thus far (outside of Niang, who opted out of the season) was a member of the team. Thuney was a free agent signing, Brown was a trade acquisition and both Humphrey and Smith were draft picks. Even veteran Kyle Long, who has been activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list but has yet to play, was lured out of retirement to sign with Kansas City in March of 2021. The name Austin Blythe hasn't been brought up much this season, but he's another offseason signing who has experience at multiple positions. 

It remains to be seen whether Brown will miss any time or how Remmers will recover from his injury. Who knows how Long will look once he steps onto an NFL field again. One thing has been made clear, though: This isn't the 2020 Chiefs' offensive line. This version has versatility. It has depth. It has plenty of youth, but also a few key veteran presences to balance everything out. The odds of a 2020-like disaster striking are extremely low, so the Chiefs don't have to treat this bump in the road like a pop quiz they didn't prepare for. It's more of a midterm for a class they've already taken once — and this time around, they're ready for it.

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Read More: Four Takeaways From the Chiefs' 34-31 Loss to the Bengals