The offensive line has always been a focal point regarding the Kansas City Chiefs’ success. The revamp of the unit before the 2021 season saw a significant change in how Patrick Mahomes was protected, but also in the team’s run-blocking effectiveness.
Trey Smith was drafted in 2021 and has already become a signature starter on the offensive line. He has seen a few different running backs come through the Chiefs backfield, including rookie Isiah Pacheco. Pacheco has impressed many on the team, and Smith shared his thoughts on the rookie following the Week 10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“He’s tough,” Smith said. “The kid is resilient; he’s extremely tough. I love playing with him. The energy he brings on a daily basis, it’s infectious. All the running backs, Clyde (Edwards-Helaire), Jerick (McKinnon), every running back that we have, they’re infectious – their behavior, their energy. It’s something that definitely affects us. When you see a guy working their butt off, working for that extra yard, it makes you want to block harder. It’s definitely something that inspires us.”
Pacheco ran into trouble early in Sunday’s game as he fumbled away a promising possesion on the Chiefs’ opening drive. Smith recalled the team’s message to the rookie after the turnover to help keep him on track.
“Obviously, it’s something that he didn’t want to happen, but just telling him, ‘Hey, man, don’t worry about it. Go on to the next play. We know you’re going to go out there and ball.’ I think he’s extremely resilient, and he showed it today,” Smith said. “He came out, something bad happened, and he responded. He brought a lot of good and a lot of good energy to help us get this win today. It really speaks volumes to his character and how he is as a competitor.”
Pacheco would rebound strongly with an outstanding performance for the rest of the game. He closed Sunday’s contest with a rugged first-down run, much to the appreciation of the offensive line.
“Absolutely. You want to close that game out. It’s what you take pride in,” Smith explained. “When we first got to the Chiefs, (C) Creed (Humphrey) and I, watched various games for a minute, watching guys close them out – that’s one of those things, you want to be on that tape, you want to be one of those guys that’s able to do that.”
The rookie running back appears to have the full support of the offensive line while continuing to grow together heading into the season’s second half. Pacheco’s style appears to fit what they’re trying to accomplish in the ground game, leading to his starting role.