It was clear last season that the Washington Commanders needed help at guard and tackle, and now they have someone who could provide help in both areas.
Former Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Andrew Wylie was one of the first players the Commanders reached out to when the legal tampering period opened up on Monday at noon. Part of that comes from his familiarity with Eric Bieniemy’s system, but the position flexibility he has put on display over the past six seasons was too much for Washington to pass on.
Wherever he ends up playing, Wylie is ready to compete.
"Anything it needs to be," Wylie said when asked about his role on the team. "Anywhere on the offensive line...and just be that supportive veteran role on this offensive line."
It was not a quick transition for Wylie to go from guard to tackle. After signing with the Chiefs in 2017 as an undrafted free agent, Wylie spent the majority of his first three seasons at right and left guard. With his blend of quickness and physicality, he was able to quickly establish himself as one of the Chiefs' best offensive linemen with 35 starts at guard in 41 games.
The transition to tackle started all the way back in 2020, when the Chiefs ran out of tackles because of injury to Mitchell Schwartz and Mike Remmers. The Chiefs decided to bump Wylie out to the position, and he ended up staying at the position all the way through the team's playoff run. He was put in the same position the following season, when Lucas Niang was sidelined with a knee injury, and ended up starting seven games in 2021.
Wylie earned the role as the starting right tackle outright in 2022 and kept it for the entire season. He feels much more comfortable at the position now than he did three years ago, and he can credit some of that to learning from Schwartz, who received positive grades from Pro Football Focus in run- and pass-blocking for his entire nine-year career.
"He's one of the most talented guys I've seen play at the position," Wylie said. "I relied a lot on his coaching, his friendship."
It was also a plus to have an offensive line coach like Andy Heck, who helped players like Eric Fisher, Orlando Brown and Branden Albert reach the Pro Bowl.
"He really essentially taught me how to play football at this high level," Wylie said. "I owe a lot of success to Coach Heck and the offensive line room and the culture that he built there."
Wylie had the benefit of having Bieniemy as his offensive coordinator. Bieniemy knows how to help offensive linemen highlight their skill set through play action or chip blocks from tight ends, and Wylie credits that to how much attention he gives to the offensive line in practice.
"He just has an incredible mind for the game from all aspects and all positions," Wylie said. "He spends a lot of time watching the O-line, so he gets it."
Playing for Bieniemy again was a "driving factor" for Wylie choosing Washington as his next team. Bieniemy is intense and wants things done his way, and Wylie is looking forward to being in that culture again.
"It's a good offense," Wylie said. "It scores a lot of points, and EB is really the driving factor behind it. It's just an incredible opportunity to be here and play under him. I'm just really excited to get after it."