KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor has been known since entering the NFL for his kick-step, a maneuver that can at least make it appear he’s releasing from his pre-snap stance early.
But Taylor has never had a game like he had on Sunday, when he was penalized five times against his former team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. As a result, Chiefs coach Andy Reid suggested Taylor will have to change his methods.
“He’s naturally quick without having to cheat on that thing or get caught on it, and he’s strong, so he doesn’t need to do that,” Reid said. “He’s a smart kid. We can fix it. He’s been doing this for a number of years, and he works extremely hard at it, but once you’ve had three of them in a row or so and they don’t get called and you have a … new crew coming in, they’re going to have an eye on you and so you’ve got to back up. He’s got to back up and start over on this and just slow it down.”
Taylor is the NFL’s most penalized player since entering the league in 2019. He has 49 penalties in that time, according to TruMedia, six more than the second-most penalized player, Donovan Smith, who is the Chiefs’ other starting tackle.
But Taylor was never penalized more than three times in a game in his four seasons with the Jaguars, and that was just one time, as a rookie in 2019. He was penalized once in the Chiefs’ first game of the season against the Detroit Lions.
But against the Jaguars, Taylor had two penalties for false starts, one for illegal procedure for lining up in the backfield and twice for holding when he was apparently trying to adjust to the previous calls.
Five penalties is the most for any Chiefs player in one game in at least 20 years. The Jaguars accepted all five penalties, the most in any NFL game since 2016.
Taylor was the Chiefs’ major offseason acquisition in free agency, but they briefly removed him from the game in Jacksonville to settle him down. During his break, Taylor talked with offensive line coach Andy Heck on the sideline.
“This is home,” Reid said of Taylor, who grew up in Cocoa, Florida, about 150 miles from Jacksonville. “Not only home, but it’s also where he played, and [the Chiefs told him] ‘Just step back, and let’s get you back out there.’ He had some big blocks down later in the game there, so he did a nice job finishing.”
Reid didn’t dispute the calls the officiating crew made against Taylor.
“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 there, 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.”
Tight end Travis Kelce was also penalized twice against the Jaguars, once for unnecessary roughness and once for unsportsmanlike conduct. He missed the Lions game after injuring his knee in practice and seemed frustrated that he was slow to get into the flow of the game.
Kelce did score a touchdown in the third quarter but immediately afterward punted the ball into the stands.
“Travis was fighting Travis,” Reid said. “It was hot. He was getting butched, as we call it, where they try to bang you up there one way or another and he is trying to get back in the flow, and so he is a perfectionist, this guy. If he feels he’s off a tick, then he’s going to try to battle through and get himself in the right mindset to keep fighting through it and he did.
“You got to give him credit. He battled through the thing, made some big catches for us, and he made it through the game after missing the first one. And I’m sure his leg probably didn’t feel 100%, but he’s not going to let you know that and he’s going to work through it. That’s what he did.”