Mike Remmers Does It All…Mostly

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Dan reviews Vikings Free Agent offensive lineman Mike Remmers as a fit for the Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs offensive line was an area of, shall we say, discomfort at times last season and dealt with more injuries as the season went along. They decided that Cam Erving was going to be a cap casualty and didn’t pick up his team option for 2020. I’ve been asked multiple times if Remmers is an Erving replacement or if he’s a better Erving in general but let’s get one thing clear, Erving may be “able” to play everywhere on the offensive line but he is a guard. He is not a good center or a good tackle but is an average guard with an above-average ceiling. Erving was a guy who could fill in at T for a game, two at the max. More than that, well we saw the results. 

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Remmers is a lineman that can actually play both guard and tackle at an average level, but I think he’s better as a guard than a tackle. With his versatility across the offensive line, I think the Chiefs brought him in as a depth guy. They most likely have a plan with Allegretti, Rankin, Wylie, Reiter, and possibly LDT. We should hope Rankin will be healthy going into 2020, because he flashed some good guard play when he was asked to play early in the season and I assume he’s going to be vying for a starting role as the left guard. Remmers can come in behind the starters and be ready to go on a moment’s notice due to his experience.

In 2018, he started every game for the Minnesota Vikings at right guard and played nearly every offensive snap all season. That is where this begins, he’s a player you can count on to play when needed and he doesn’t miss many games due to injury. At 30 years old, we know what we are getting with Remmers, he’s an athletic guy that does well to protect the inside gaps when playing guard. As a guard where he’s at his best is in pass protection. He has good hands and uses them to keep defensive tackles at a distance.

Most defensive tackles in the NFL aren’t Aaron Donald or Chris Jones when it comes to speed and athleticism so you don’t have to be an extreme athlete on the inside to keep defenders in front. When one on one, he shows good hand fighting and constant footwork to move with the defender and keep them from getting their hands inside to gain control. Always wary of the quickest path to the quarterback being his inside gap and is quick to move with defenders toward the inside. His footwork is sufficient and shows enough speed to prevent getting beat when he’s at guard.

There is usually help to the inside as well, with interior play it’s less often one on one and centers will be tasked to help either side and vice versa when the guards don’t have an immediate threat. His patience in pass protection is excellent for playing guard, the best pass rushers are generally edge guys so when matched up against a tackle he can wait for them to make their move and shut down their attempt to get by him. He matched up well against DeForest Buckner and Erik Armstead in 2018 and shut down their attempts multiple times by being patient.

Unlike with playing tackle, Remmers doesn’t need to get extremely deep in his set to overcompensate for speed on the outside. He can set up where the defender is showing and then move with him thanks to his athleticism. Buckner and Armstead both attempt to set up Remmers with an outside fake to work back across his face and into the A gap but he is patient and waits for the move to come and works with them across to the A gap. He doesn’t give much ground with Buckner and then recovers well to keep him in front. He finished off Armstead to the ground after his attempt to get to the A gap leaves him off balance. 

Working in pass protection as a guard is where Remmers is best suited so it makes a ton of sense for the Chiefs to bring him in and allow him to back up multiple spots, they want to throw the ball a ton and he can provide good pass protection depth. The area he struggles the most is run blocking, and that’s due to his functional strength. He doesn’t get much push against defensive tackles and I have a feeling he gets confused about his responsibilities at times.

Remmers has some footwork issues in run blocking, in order to get good movement or get to your spot before a second level defender does you need to fire out and know where to go. False steps and hesitation will limit his ability to be effective and the false steps as seen in the clip above are common in his tape. They put him behind the proverbial eight ball and then he is left looking for his assignment and the linebacker gets to the line of scrimmage before Remmers can get to the second level to block him. Strength isn’t something he deals with very well.

If this sounds and looks a little familiar, that’s because it almost is. The Chiefs value pass protection and athleticism in offensive lineman and that is what Remmers is at this point. He’s not going to provide much in run blocking but can hold his own, and play pretty decently as a pass protection guard.

That being said, he can also play tackle and in 2019 he appeared in 15 games for the New York Giants as was their right tackle. The lesser of the two positions for Remmers, this wasn’t a great year for him and he was a contributor to the hits Daniel Jones took in his rookie season. He actually has a good pass protection drive-catch technique for a guy that plays guard better. It allows him to get to his spot before the edge rusher does most of the time.

It’s all about the footwork as a tackle; oftentimes you’re faced with the best pass rushers a team has to offer and that can put players at a disadvantage, especially if they have poor footwork. But Remmers’s drive-catch is seamless most of the time and allows him to work from a position of power, in being in his spot first allows him to read and react and not just recover. Most of playing tackle in pass protection is recovery and if you can get into a good pass set then there is a better chance to be successful. Handling Chandler Jones is no easy task and in both clips, he’s able to, at least, give Jones time to throw. 

The issue that presents itself in Remmers’s case is that when he’s at guard he has bodies on either side of him and he doesn’t need to get too deep in his pass set to block the defenders. With speed on the outside that has to be accounted for, Remmers tends to get too deep in his drop and that leads to edge guys that have speed being able to beat him inside and outside.

His recovery back inside is limited when playing tackle because he is on an island without a tight end there to chip and he has to account for a much wider space than he’s comfortable with. Speed around the edge is his enemy and when he attempts to compensate by getting a bit deeper, he is unable to recover to the inside. The same can be said for setting up too shallow, his recovery time is limited and makes him more susceptible as a tackle.

As I’ve stated previously, he is a great help blocker in both positions and this is an exceptional example of why. He is always looking for the threat when he doesn’t have a defender in his immediate area. His head is able to move side to side quickly and look for the place he is needed most. It comes in handy much more as a guard because there are more times where you don’t have a rusher in your face like you do when playing tackle. 

I showed you the clips against Jones because if he were to play in this division, he would have to go up against some of the best pass rushers in the NFL. Watching a tackle against some of the best gives you a better idea of how he would play overall against those that aren’t in the elite category. I think he can be a good back up level player for the Chiefs with starter upside if some of the younger guys take a step back. 

This was a move that made complete sense for the Chiefs because it brings in a player that has starting experience in the NFL and can immediately bolster the depth and experience of this offensive line that is full of younger guys on the interior. With all of the injuries the Chiefs had with the line last season, they didn’t want to have to look for a player that could come in like Wisnewski halfway through the year. They got lucky with Wis and likely wouldn’t be able to find that again. Remmers will provide another veteran to the room and help the younger guys take that next step. He makes for a good swing player that will be able to step in on the outside if Fisher or Schwartz went down. This is a good signing for the Chiefs and will help them be better prepared for an NFL season.

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HawaiiFiveOhDaniel Harms Recent comment authors
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Sounds like we got a good deal. A good Cam Irving replacement. How does he compare to Geoff Schwartz? Geoff was the last everyman on our line that was actually good.