KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jawaan Taylor is finding that playing for the Kansas City Chiefs is a little different -- a little more intense -- than for his previous team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. There are more eye on Taylor now, more attention given to some of his blocking techniques that can lead to penalties.
When Taylor, the Chiefs’ right tackle, gets out of his stance prematurely or isn’t on the line of scrimmage at the snap, he said he feels he’s going to be called more quickly for a penalty
“If you watch back the past four years, I did it in Jacksonville,” Taylor said. “But it definitely is being seen more, so I’ve definitely got to fix it.”
Taylor, the Chiefs’ biggest offseason free agent acquisition this year, was penalized five times in last week’s game against his former team. Twice he was called for a false start, twice for holding and once for lining up in the backfield instead of on the line.
Things got so bad at one point that the Chiefs took the unusual move of removing him from the game for a couple of plays to, as Taylor put it, “Just settle in, clear your head and then go back in and finish the game up.”
The penalties are eclipsing an important point: Taylor is otherwise playing well. He leads all offensive tackles in pass block win rate at 98.3% through the season’s first two games. He is also sixth among right tackles in run block win rate (79.3%).
“You take the penalties away from [Taylor and] he had a really good game,” coach Andy Reid said. “So it's a shame that happened. He's got to work on that.
“He works hard on getting off the snap on time. He does that, but he's just going to have to tame that down just a little bit where he doesn't get called on it and that's just working through it.”
Penalties are nothing new for Taylor. He’s the most penalized player in the NFL since he entered the league as a rookie with the Jaguars in 2019. But Sunday marked a new high in penalties. He once was penalized three times in a game, when he was a rookie.
Taylor’s tendency to move from his stance prematurely or line up off the line of scrimmage to be in better position to pass block were pointed out repeatedly by the NBC broadcast crew during the Chiefs’ season opening game against the Detroit Lions.
"You're going to have a lot of eyes on you when you [play for the Chiefs], first of all,” Reid said. "The week before on the Thursday game it was publicized and scrutinized and so now all of a sudden you put the officials on red alert, and rightly so.
"It wasn't like they were off on the calls that they had this week. It was the same crew that worked [Chiefs] training camp. They know they could see it and they saw it firsthand here. So, they were going to call it. Jawaan was aware of that. He knows and he tried to tame it down a little bit, but as the game went on, it got him there.”
Taylor occasionally visits with the officials before a game. Usually, they’ll warn him they will be watching him closely.
“But throughout the game, that's not on my mind,” Taylor said. “On my mind [are] just winning and doing my job, doing my part, but at the end of the day, I'm not here to hurt my team, so I just know I got to be better at it.
“Definitely just been working on it this week to clean it up. I definitely know that’s a problem that needs to be fixed. Good thing I have a great group of coaches around me to help me fix it. Also [it helps] just staying poised throughout the game, staying even-keeled, not letting it get the best of me.”
The Jaguars accepted each of Taylor’s penalties. The Chiefs were able to overcome two of the penalties and score points on those particular drives.
Otherwise, they were setbacks the Chiefs couldn’t get past. They’re looking at fixing mistakes like Taylor’s as they try to reestablish themselves and one of the NFL’s highest scoring teams.
“He knew some of this was going to get called,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “They're cracking down on some of the alignment stuff . . . but he's a great player. He'll continue to play and get comfortable. And it's hard when they're getting picked on a little bit to keep playing your game, but I have all the confidence in him in the world.”