The saying goes, “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying,” and during the Chiefs’ matchup against the Lions on Thursday night, one of the most significant storylines revolved around a Chiefs player seemingly getting away with blatant rule bending.
Chiefs’ lineman Jawaan Taylor appeared to line up in a seemingly illegal position throughout the game. The veteran right tackle for Kansas City positioned himself behind the rest of the Chiefs’ offensive line, yet for most of the game, this went unnoticed by the officials.
It wasn’t until he was flagged for a false start that commentator Collinsworth couldn’t help but comment on it. He criticized Taylor for straying so far from his designated position that he resembled a slot wide receiver.
Collinsworth remarked, “There you see Jawaan Taylor playing slot receiver and finally got busted on one.”
Taylor, who spent the first four years of his career with the Jaguars, has managed to forge a successful career by exploiting rules that provide him with slight advantages. This includes his apparent slight movement before the center snaps the ball.
However, unlike his time in Jacksonville, his tactics are no longer going unnoticed, and it remains to be seen how this will impact his future.
The Chiefs made a substantial investment to acquire right tackle Jawaan Taylor this year, and he is performing his duties, albeit amidst accusations of bending the rules.
Taylor has also been observed engaging in pre-snap movement, consistently shifting his right leg before the snap.
If other offensive linemen follow suit with similar tactics, referees may find it challenging to penalize them when they do not penalize Taylor.
Despite the advantage of avoiding penalties, the Chiefs faced difficulties on the offensive front Thursday, ultimately losing 21-20 as star tight end Travis Kelce was sidelined due to injury.
Kelce’s absence was particularly notable as Kadarius Toney dropped three crucial passes, including one that resulted in a game-deciding pick-six.