Chiefs OL coach Andy Heck evaluates play of Orlando Brown Jr., Andrew Wylie

Heading into the 2022 NFL season, the Kansas City Chiefs offensive line was expected to be one of the league’s best. The group had five returning starters from 2021, leading analysts to believe they would build on their success in the ground game and the passing game.

Through eight weeks, the clear weakness on the offensive line has been the tackle position, especially in the passing game. Among players with at least 400 snaps this season, Orlando Brown Jr. has given up the third-most pressures in the NFL (24) and Andrew Wylie the ninth-most (20) according to PFF.

Asked to assess the performance of his two starters at offensive tackle, Chiefs OL Andy Heck chose to highlight their strengths and emphasize that they’re continuing to work to improve their game.

“I love both of these players and both of them have their different strengths,” Heck said on Thursday. “Andrew (Wylie) is a tenacious guy (and) he uses nice technique. Orlando (Brown) has got that great length, (and has) terrific leadership in our (offensive line) room – he’s a ‘football smart’ guy. Just like everybody in that room, those guys have things that they’re working on every day, and I like the way that they approach their work. They come with something to work on every day.”

As for whether there could be changes coming to the offensive tackle position in the future, the team did welcome former third-round draft pick Lucas Niang back to practice on Wednesday. Niang suffered a torn patellar tendon in Week 17 last season and began the year on the Reserve/PUP list. He could be activated to the 53-man roster as early as this week, but the team has a 21-day window from Wednesday to choose whether to activate him to the roster.

After watching him practice for the first time in several months on Wednesday, Heck gave an update on the offensive tackle.

“Lucas (Niang) has been working really hard with our training staff and the nutritionist and doing all the right things that way,” Heck said of Niang. “Yesterday was the first time we got to see him out there on the field. It was a great start for him, I’m excited to see how he progresses – there will be a lot to evaluate here in the coming days and weeks.”

At the very worst, it seems Niang will soon be able to provide some key depth for the team.

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Story originally appeared on Chiefs Wire