John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Making the Right Reid

Last week, I posted my reservations about hiring Andy Reid. A lot of good that did! Despite all of my focused and repeated ESP messages, Clark Hunt pulled off a major coup for our Chiefs!

I hope upon hope that Reid proves me wrong and brings back that perennial playoff feeling back to Kansas City. A key issue that will go along way towards our climb back to the top of the NFL, and one that is now consuming our attention and imagination, is what offensive and defensive mindset Reid will bring to town, and related, what assistant coaches he will call upon to lead us to victory (and thankfully, there’s been no talk of Reid pulling double duty as a coordinator and coach!).

In the great debate between “the system” and “the players,” I’m a firm believer in the players. As Reid selects offensive and defensive coordinators, I hope Reid will pick coordinators who will align their respective systems to fit the strengths of our best players. I’ve never understood coaches who believe their system is the best one, regardless of who their talent is. If you have Tamba Hali, use the defense that best allows him to rush the quarterback. If you have Jamaal Charles, design an offense to let him run free. To do otherwise strikes me as either egotistical or lazy. If there was a magical defense, whether it’s the 3-4, the 4-3, the Tampa 2 or the Wide 9, then every team would be using it.

Another way to tackle this issue is to analyze the ease of adaption. That is, can players or coaches more easily adapt to a new scheme?

Here again, I’d side with making coaches adapt. Players do best when their play is instinctual, born from years, not months, of practice. Malcolm Gladwell writes about a common trait of true experts, regardless of their field – they have each acquired over 10,000 hours of effort in their chosen craft.

That’s about 4 years of work at 8 hours a day. Players, in the heat of a battle, have a fraction of a second to make a decision. Coaches make game plans well in advance of the season and even during a game, they have 20-40 seconds to make adjustments. Players are the ones that need to act instinctually, not coaches, so ideally, you want a system that is intuitive for players and not new.

To be clear, I’m not arguing to keep players in a bad system just because that’s what they’ve been in before. I am arguing though, that a coach’s real gift is to pick a system and a set of coordinators and assistant coaches that can maximize the strengths of our superstars and minimize having players learn something new. Our playmakers, give or take a few, are:

Offense

  • Jamaal Charles
  • Dwayne Bowe (Please Clark, just re-sign Bowe. We’ve seen this story before – A.J. Smith letting Vincent Jackson go in San Diego, or the Broncos letting Brandon Marshall go, or, oh yeah, Pioli letting Tony Gonzales walk)
  • Brandon Albert

Defense

  • Tamba Hali
  • Derrick Johnson
  • Brandon Flowers
  • Justin Houston

I’ll leave the decision on which particular systems best match our playmakers to those with a higher football IQ than me. So Addicts, what do you think are the best offensive and defensive systems to maximize the talents of our playmakers?!!!

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