Kansas City Chiefs tackle Jawaan Taylor sparked controversy in the season opener against the Detroit Lions when he was seen getting an early jump on several plays and lining up deep in what rules experts said was an illegal formation.
But a new video suggests that Taylor’s early jumps may have actually benefitted the Lions, giving them a hint of what plays were coming next in what turned out to be a 21-20 Lions victory on September 7. The sports site Jomboy Media posted a video compilation showing that Taylor may have been tipping whether the Chiefs were running or passing based on where he was lined up.
Unexpected Help for the Lions
The video, which was originally shared on Twitter by user Justin Penik, showed that Taylor took a different stance depending on whether the Chiefs had called a run or a pass. Taylor’s right foot took a wide stance in plays when the Chiefs were passing, and was more narrow and still when the Chiefs were running.
Charles Curtis of USA Today’s For The Win also noticed what appeared to be play-tipping by Taylor, noting that the Chiefs will likely need to address the issue before the next game.
“If he was in a wide stance without his hand in the dirt and his back foot tapped, it was a pass. If he was in a three-point stance and he was less spread out? He was preparing to block for a run,” Curtis wrote.
“Whoops. That’ll be something the Chiefs’ coaching staff will show him on tape before their next game.”
The Lions kept the Chiefs offense mostly in check, with Patrick Mahomes completing 21-of-39 passes for 226 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, which Lions defensive back Brian Branch for a touchdown.
The Lions clamped down even more defensively in the second half, allowing only six points from the Chiefs and stopping their final drive after Detroit scored the go-ahead touchdown.
Jawaan Taylor’s False Stars Stirred Controversy
Many Lions fans expressed frustration during the game that Taylor appeared to be getting away with false starts as he came out of his stance early and lined up too far off the ball.
“If one of those happens, you call it right away,” he said. “Usually there’s a warning, you have a conversation with the huddle, a coach. But [Taylor] was egregiously off… Once [he] started getting away with it, he became even more off.”
NBC Sports rules analyst Terry McAulay also called out officials during the game, saying they were allowing him to start too far behind the line of scrimmage and handing a big disadvantage to the Lions.
“To be on the line, his helmet has to break the waistline of the center. And to be honest, we’ve watched him the whole game, he’s really not remotely close,” McAulay said to NBC’s Mike Tirico, via SI.com. “And it’s really putting the defender at a tremendous disadvantage when he can be that far back.”
Nathan Dougherty is a sports reporter covering the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions for Heavy. Previously he wrote for the Rochester Business Journal and served as the assistant editor of athletic trade magazines Coaching Management, Athletic Management and Training & Conditioning. He is based out of Rochester, New York, and loves everything football. More about Nathan Dougherty