After starting left guard Andrew Wylie suffered an ankle injury in Week 5, the Chiefs moved quickly two days later by signing veteran offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski.
Conventional thought had Wisniewski potentially starting in Week 6 against the Houston Texans.
Martinas Rankin, however, kept a secret the entire week because he knew all along he would be the next man up after being told so by the coaching staff.
“Tuesday, I want to say,” Rankin said this week.
While Chiefs coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy fielded question about Wisniewski last week, Rankin quietly went about his way behind the scenes preparing for his first start in a Chiefs uniform.
He provided the first glimpse of his role during pregame warmups Sunday morning by lining up with the starters. Then, he played all of the Chiefs’ 58 offensive snaps and contributed five snaps on special teams.
“I thought he had some good spots,” Bieniemy said Monday. “Obviously, with him starting with the group for the first time, there was a little rough patch area. But I will say this, he played hard and he gave us an opportunity.
After the game, Rankin’s honest evaluation of his performance echoed the Chiefs offensive coordinator’s stance.
“I had some good plays, had some bad plays,” Rankin said. “There’s some stuff that can be corrected, but overall, I feel as a group we did great. We came out and knew we had to be physical. I feel like as a group we came out and were physical.”
The 6-foot-5, 311-pound Rankin entered the league in 2018 out of Mississippi State as a third-round pick by Houston, where he started four games last season before being sent to the Chiefs in late August in exchange for running back Carlos Hyde.
Rankin, who can play guard and tackle, was inactive the first four games of this season, then saw limited action in Week 5 with one offensive snap and three special teams snaps leading to Week 6’s start.
Whether Rankin remains in the starting lineup at left guard while Wylie remains out is still to be determined: The Chiefs might eventually decide to give Wisniewski a look.
But for now, Rankin is enjoying the opportunity to have drawn his first career start for Kansas City against his former team.
“It was good to kind of see some old faces,” Rankin said. “That was cool, but I wanted to get the win. That was the tough part.”