One of the unfortunate trends that have followed the LA Chargers in recent history is bad offensive line play. Philip Rivers had to deal with a bad line almost every season toward the end of his career and the same can be said early on for Justin Herbert in his career.
That being said, things are starting to turn around for the Bolts. The team was able to re-sign Trey Pipkins to a team-friendly three-year deal that locks down the starting offensive line for the next several seasons. And it is a good one, too. This is something the Bolts have not had in over a decade.
Meanwhile, other teams in the AFC West are taking a step back with their offensive line — most notably the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City still has one of the best interior offensive lines in the sport but the team's decisions at both offensive tackle spots does raise an eyebrow. On Monday, Andy Reid confirmed that Donovan Smith would be starting at left tackle instead of new signing Jawaan Taylor.
Chargers fans should celebrate Chiefs' questionable offensive line decisions
The Chargers have one of the best edge-rushing duos in the entire sport with Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack and those two specifically should be celebrating the decisions that the Chiefs are making on the offensive line. As long as the two players are healthy, they are set to feast on Kansas City when they play.
Smith is a serviceable left tackle but he certainly is not on the better end of NFL left tackles and is a downgrade from Orlando Brown. His 13 penalties last season should be a legitimate concern for the Chiefs, especially considering he is one of the worst run-blocking tackles in the sport.
Pro Football Focus grades are far from being an end-all, say-all statistic but they can help compare players on the macro level. Smith had the second-worst run-blocking grade in the sport last season. The only person that had a worse grade than Smith was Taylor.
The Chiefs have the two worst run-blocking tackles in the NFL (per PFF) starting for them in 2023. Kansas City may not be a run-heavy team but that cannot be a recipe for success next season. Especially considering neither guy is elite in pass blocking. Taylor is better, but he still doesn't quite hit that elite threshold. If he did, he wouldn't be playing right tackle.
The Chiefs are the dragon that the Chargers have been trying to slain for years and they are still going to be one of the best teams in the NFL next season as a true Super Bowl contender. But at least in this specific matchup the Bolts will have a better chance to pressure Patrick Mahomes than last season.