May 14, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) runs drills during organized team activities at the University of Kansas Hospital Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Football for Dummies - The 2013 Kansas City Chiefs Edition


I just want to say, for the record, I had every intention of writing a very different article this week. I generally don’t know what I’m going to write about week to week, but this week I had it all planned out. But, as often happens in life, something sparked my attention and diverted my interests. Our good friend here at Arrowhead Addict, Lyle Graverson, wrote an excellent piece earlier this week titled: “Could Alex Smith be the Chiefs’ Version of Drew Brees.” If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend that you do. It’s cool. Just click the link and go read it. Then come back here. I’ll wait. Okay, you’re back? Good.

The piece itself echoed comments I’ve made about the Kansas City Chiefs’ new quarterback, Alex Smith. It also mirrored my feelings on the circumstances that brought him to the BBQ City. However, that’s not what this is about. This article has risen from the ashes of the the conversation in the 140-plus comments that followed that article. The tone of those comments were generally positive, however, there are still those nay-sayers out there. So for you all, I offer: “Football for Dummies – The 2013 Kansas City Chiefs Edition.”

There is a dissenting, minority opinion in Chiefs’ Kingdom that despite the strides made by head coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey to increase the talent level of this team, the 2013 Chiefs will still under-perform because Alex Smith is not an “elite” quarterback. There are a few (not many, mind you, but a few) “fans” out there that believe the only statistic that defines “eliteness” in a quarterback is the ability to throw for 4000 – 5000 yards per season. They look past the other stats that matter like completion percentage, touchdown to interception ratio and yards per attempt, and only concentrate on this stat in particular. I’d first like to address this mentality with a quote from the Chiefs’ new on-field leader, himself, Alex Smith.

“I could absolutely care less on yards per game. I think that is a totally overblown stat because if you’re losing games in the second half, guess what, you’re like the Carolina Panthers and you’re going no-huddle the entire second half. Yeah, Cam Newton threw for a lot of 300-yard games. That’s great. You’re not winning, though.”

When Smith originally made this comment to reporters last season, it raised the ire of quite a few sports writers, players and fans. It’s a true story, though. If you pass for 500 yards but lose the game, what difference does it make? However, the question remains, how many yards does a quarterback need to have in order to be productive in an offense, by helping his team win? I would say that the answer lies in the offense itself. Here’s what I mean.

Last season, like many seasons before, the New England Patriots were the owners of the #1 offense in the NFL. Their yards per game (YPG) was quite solid at 427.9. Their passing game netted them 291.4 YPG, and the rushing game made up the other 136.5 YPG. Tom Brady threw for 4,827 yards, 34 TDs and 8 INTs. There is no questioning that Brady is an elite quarterback in one of the most prolific offensive systems in the NFL. But, Kansas City is not New England West anymore, so how does this all translate to the Chiefs? Let’s quickly rewind to last season.

The average team scored 22.4 points per game in the 2012 season. That number in and of itself is misleading as there were several blowouts like the Seattle Seahawks running up 58 points on the hapless St. Louis Rams who scored zilch. However, using that number as a baseline, we can attempt to determine what the Chiefs offense will have to do in 2013 to be competitive. Being that 22.4 made you an average professional football team, 28 points would put you above that average. Going back to our “best offense in the NFL” example in the Patriots, they averaged 34.8 points per game, so obviously quite a bit above that baseline. For the sake of argument, we’ll call that five touchdowns per game. Using the fact that they averaged 428 yards of offense per game, that works out to 86 yards of offense produced for every touchdown scored.

So, what does the Chiefs’ offense need to produce in order to be successful in the 2013 season, based on this formula? The team the franchise fielded last year, while pretty bad, still had some shining spots. One of those, as in years past, was the running game. Specifically, of course, I’m referring to Jamaal Charles. Behind #25, the Chiefs were the best rushing team in the AFC and ranked fifth overall in the NFL with 2,395 total yards, averaging 149.7 YPG. Charles was responsible for 1,509 yards of that himself, with the supporting cast of Shaun Draughn, Cyrus Gray and Peyton Hillis carrying for the remaining 800 and change. The Chiefs were able to amass these yards despite the absolute lack of a passing game, any real coaching, or truly, any game plan to speak of. In the interest of not inflating anything for the purposes of this exercise, we’ll stick with 2,400 team rushing yards for the 2013 season for right now. But wait, we’re not dun yet.

With the running side of the offensive prediction on the table, let’s turn to the passing game. Andy Reid’s offense is a passing scheme, so it would make sense that Chiefs fans are in for a bit more of the aerial attack. There’s no surprise in this, but how does that scheme translate to Reid’s quarterbacks? That’s the real question. What will Alex Smith’s numbers look like? While we can only guess at this point, to give us some clues, we turn to some Reid history.

In 2010, Andy Reid named Michael Vick the starter in his system with the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick played in 12 games that season and threw for 3,018 total yards, which averaged to 251.5 YPG. If you work that average out to a full season (he was hurt for four games) that puts his total at 4,024 total yards on the season. In 2011, it was much the same with slightly higher results (3,303 total yards, 254.1 YPG with 13 games played) and then last year was a slight decline with an average YPG of only 236.2. These numbers are respectable, and if Vick could have stayed upright, would have all been in the 4,000 yard club. Vick is far from what I would consider an “elite” quarterback.

Going back to Vick’s predecessor, Donovan McNabb was not what many would consider an elite player either. However, in every season McNabb played a full 16-game season (2000, 2001, 2003, 2008 and 2009) he amassed at least 3,200 yards in every season, with his best season coming in 2008 with 3,916 yards. In the seasons he didn’t play every game, he was on track to put up those same numbers.

The point here is, if you think McNabb or Vick are better quarterbacks than Alex Smith, you should probably relocate yourself to another FanSided location. I think Just Blog Baby is looking for readers.

I’ve said before that I believe Alex Smith will put up numbers in the neighborhood of 3,500 on the season. Based on the previous two starting quarterbacks that have worked under Reid and watching Smith’s tape and checking his previous numbers, I think that’s reasonable.

After looking at the rushing and passing attack, I believe the Chiefs’ total rushing attempts may go down by 15 percent, only because Reid’s offense is more pass happy than previous offenses. That drops the total rushing on the season to 2040 yards. If we add 3,500 to the 2,040 total team rushing yards that the Chiefs should get this year that gives the team a total offensive production of 5,540 yards. This is the final number I think the Chiefs could be looking at this year.

But, how does that translate to scoring? Going back to our original example, every 86 yards of offense produced resulted in a touchdown. If we apply that same math to the Chiefs’ projected numbers (5,540) that puts them at roughly 28 points a game. If you factor in a field goal instead of a touchdown now and then, I think 26 points per game is a good prediction for the Chiefs’ offensive performance this year. But, earlier we said 24 was average; is 26 points per game really enough to get it done?

Again, going back to last season and looking at the Chiefs’ 2013 opponents, they clearly fall into three tiers in regards to their scoring ability: 26 points and over, 21-26 and under 21.

Teams on the Chiefs’ 2013 schedule who are in the under 21 club are the Jacksonville Jaguars (16), the Philadelphia Eagles (18), the Oakland Raiders (18), and the Cleveland Browns (19). Scoring 26 points a game will easily defeat these opponents. Considering they play the Raiders twice, that equates to five wins.

The next tier, 21-26 PPG, contains the largest cross section of the Chiefs’ 2013 opponents. They are the Dallas Cowboys (24), the Tennessee Titans (21), the Houston Texans (26), the Buffalo Bills (22), the Indianapolis Colts (22) and the San Diego Chargers (22). Again, 26 points per game should make short work of these opponents as well, but there is that unknown factor thrown in. The Texans are on the border at 26 PPG and the Cowboys are close at 24. With two games against the Chargers, based on the numbers, I predict five to six wins over these teams.

The final tier scored over 26 points per game last year and make up the most competition on the Chiefs’ schedule this season. They are the New York Giants (27), the Denver Broncos (30) and the Washington Redskins (28).  While only the Broncos and Redskins are at or over the Chiefs’ predicted 2013 PPG, I predict losses to these teams, based on the numbers we have previously discussed.

Overall, that would put the Chiefs record at 11-5 or 10-6, depending on which way the games went. Again, that is with Alex Smith only throwing 3,500 yards in the season. These numbers that won’t raise the eyebrows of any fantasy football owners, but when the team is winning, what difference does it make?

Obviously this is all conjecture until the players put on pads, and the pigskins start flying in September. But the point is, I think I’ve proven with the numbers that Smith doesn’t have to be Brady in order to perform well on this team and take them to the playoffs, and beyond.

Am I wrong? I’m sure there are some Addicts out there who think I am. Let me know in the comments section below. I’d love to hear your take on my math and predictions. Thanks for reading, and GO CHIEFS!!!


Next Chiefs Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Sep 77 Sep12:00Tennessee TitansBuy Tickets
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • Kurt Rauch

    Well, beside the fact that football isn’t math and predictions don’t mean a damn–I’m right there with you! :) My bottom line: barring injury, there is absolutely no reason why the Alex Smith and Andy Reid ‘marriage’ can’t be a very good one–perhaps even excellent–I can’t wait to see it in action. Keeping my excitement level for the upcoming season to a reasonable level has been harder this summer than in recent years.

    • Jason Seibel

      I agree with you about predictions. My point here is Smith doesn’t have to throw 5K a season to be successful.

      • KCMikeG

        Couldn’t agree with you more. Watch though. If AS throws for 4,000+ then the dummies will all complain about how much of it was screens or swing passes to Charles, Dexter & company.

    • Jim Harper

      Amen to that Kurt!

  • Pessimisticchiefsfan

    This would be a good article for Stacy smith to read considering he thinks the chiefs have a better receiving corps than the niners and Detroit

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I’m shocked you think this is even open for debate.

      Let’s compare, shall we?

      We’ll have to make a few adjustments as there are players for Both San Francisco and Detroit who are either hurt or have defected.

      I’ve selected a trio of receivers from each team mostly likely to make the roster and contribute in 2013. Let’s look at what these players did in 2012.

      KC: Bowe/Avery/McCluster | 2,034 receiving yards, 7 TD’s
      DET: Johnson/Burleson/Broyles | 2,514 receiving yards, 9 TD’s
      SF: Boldin/Manningham/Williams | 1,582 receiving yards, 6 TD’s

      In the Detroit case, more than three-quarters of their passing yardage came from ONE guy. Megatron accounted for 78% of all of their passing yards. Detroit had the most productive trio, but the workhorse of their mostly one-dimensional passing game put nearly 80% of those numbers up himself. After Johnson, the next four highest receiving yard totals in 2012 came from runningbacks and tight ends. Mind you, Titus Young won’t return for the ’13 campaign. Detroit’s receivers, save Johnson, are TRASH.

      In the San Francisco case, Crabtree is out for the year. Moss is gone. Boldin’s your starter and there’s a severe dropoff from there. Aside from Crabtree and Davis (who is not a receiver) the next highest WR yardage total was 449 (Manningham). After that? Kyle Williams checks in at 6th on that list. Patton should be a good NFL receiver, but he’s an unproven commodity at this point.

      From what we know of players who we’ve seen contribute at the NFL level, Kansas City has the best receiver group of those three teams.

      • Pessimisticchiefsfan

        Even though tide ends are apart of the receiving core because they are a significant part of the passing game I wont argue that point for this debate. I will say that if we did the numbers you used above for the top three receivers on the lions totals would be Johnson, Pettigrew, Scheffler for 3,035 and 9 TDs.

        As for the lions, why does it matter if the majority of the catches and yards came from one person? If its more productive why would they stop throwing to the guy that can always get the yards. I’m sure even you couldn’t argue (I’m not sure at this point) that we would gladly trade bowe and Avery for Johnson and our corps would be improved. Also even with Detroit working mostly to target Johnson and there tide ends Broyles had similar numbers to Mccluster, who at this point in his career has shown nothing other than, to use your words, a trash receiver.

        Moving onto the Niners, i’m not sure how its fair to totally throw out Crabtree’s numbers when comparing the corps. Using his numbers the top three receivers numbers would be Crabtree, boldin, manningham for 2475 and 14 TDs. These numbers could go down but obviously a reasonable person could predict other players numbers going up as they will be taking the targets that would have been going crabtrees way. Even without crabtree, boldin and bowes statistically are extremely similar receivers, Outside of avery having only 282 more yards than manninham last year, Mario throughout his career has proven to be a better receiver. Lastly with injury the third will be unknown for now. Its pretty easy to assume they will be just as good as mcclusters 400 yards a year and fumbles the ball every time he touches it. (if we were using tide ends like we should be this argument wouldent be close with davis)
        To end the argument I will add that I am a chiefs fan, I do though see no reason to accept the mediocrity of talent they have placed on the field for the past 4 years. Things seem to be getting better but we shouldn’t sit here and trick ourselves into believing that the players we have are in some way better than the teams that have continually out performed us for years. In no way does a 2 win team have a better core that the NFC champions and the group that has the best receiver in the NFL.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          The argument was always over who had the better receiving corps. Tight ends do not fall under that group.

          Neither was the argument about which team had the best #1 receiver. We’re talking about the receiving corps here.

          Crabtree will not play in 2013. Including his numbers to talk about the current state of each team’s wide receiver affairs serves only to benefit your argument.

          You can’t assume anything about San Francisco’s WR3. Or I guess you could, but then I could do the same for McCluster.

          You’ve moved the goalposts about 4 times in your latest post. That misdirection doesn’t change anything though. My points still stand.

          We won’t even mention the part about both teams having had significantly better quarterback play in 2012.

          • Pessimisticchiefsfan

            To everything that you just responded with explicitly addressed in my first comment so I won’t bother copying and pasting.
            I guess moving forward writers like you can continue to allow Chiefs executives to continue to put players on the field that cant compete with the rest of the league, while they make 100 of thousands of dollars. Then you still can tell all of the fans that we really have some of the best talent in the NFL, to play into their hands. For me I will hold my congratulation of the chiefs moves until they can put a team on the field that we can be proud of.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            You’re welcome to be unhappy with the personnel moves they’ve made. That’s beauty of it all.

            I think you tend to be unreasonably pessimistic about the roster, but that’s neither here nor there.

            They went out and re-signed their #1 receiver. They brought in a solid #2 guy in Donnie Avery, they signed a highly regarded starting-caliber offensive lineman in Geoff Schwartz, they added a solid tight end in Fasano, and they gave us the best NFL option available at quarterback. And that’s just what happened in Free Agency (they did even more in the draft and brought in three well respected offensive minds).

            Will that be enough? I’m not sure yet, but I know the talking heads and experts were overwhelmingly impressed with what the front office did this offseason.

            You can take the “wait and see” approach or you can pretend you know today that the new regime is doomed to failure. Your choice.

          • Jim Harper

            It’s sad that you live in such negativity. You must hate waking up every day because you already know your day is going to suck.

          • KCMikeG

            Bravo. Funny how the facts are the facts but opinions being so subjective can be so easily manipulated. Part I don’t get is why being a Chief’s fan anyone would want to spend time on a Chiefs blog trying so hard to prove we are bad?? You never said we had the best ever WR corps. Just that there plenty out there that weren’t as good supported by the statistics.

      • KCMikeG

        Man I love the facts! Thanks again Stacy for your homework. So much more enjoyable than knee-jerk opinions lacking any base in reality.

      • Jim Harper

        Give em hell Stacy!

      • jimfromkcj

        Why would you use teams that are either out of our conference and that we will never play more then once? It would be more honest if you compared our receiving core to the teams in our division who we will play at least twice every season.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          He and I had a prior conversation where I suggested the Chiefs had a better receiving corps than more than a dozen teams in the NFL. He zeroed in on these two teams (in objection). You’ll have to ask him that question.

    • Jason Seibel

      The bottom line is…the numbers are the numbers and they don’t lie. You can’t argue or smoke and mirrors your way out of that…

      • KCMikeG

        Funny thing is some of these guys actually believe they can. They have developed a persistent case haterism. Hopefully a winning season will help to start their recovery.

      • Pessimisticchiefsfan

        Here’s some numbers for you. We had the WORST record in the NFL and we ranked LAST in passing yards.

        I’m sorry that I didn’t realize that even though we were the worst team in the league we really did have the best players.

        I wouldn’t have to be such a hater if people were a little more realistic on here.

  • KCMikeG

    I liked your post and think you are close for our offense to produce around 24-26 points per game. The issue I see with your math is that you are using 86 yards per TD produced by NE ( one of the most effective and efficient offenses) and extrapolating that into our potential production. While I do believe our offense will be better with Reid, AS and the other new additions it is a little optimistic to expect us to perform at the level that NE did. What I believe will lead us to 10-6 or 11-5 will be our defense being able to limit the scoring of our opponents due to the more aggressive style Sutton brings and that our offense will keep them off the field more, not turn over the ball as much and not put them in poor field position with their backs against the wall. This will create more wins for us even if we end up in the 21-24 points per game range IMO. Thanks Jason for your post.

    • Jason Seibel

      I understand your tentative feelings, given I used the Pats and the 86 yards per score as a baseline. However, with this offense and given the fact that Smith is a stud in the red zone, I really do think it’s a fair assesment of the possibilities of this team.

      • KCMikeG

        I have NO doubt our offense will be light years better than it has been the last couple of years. I’m aware of him being better than KP in the red zone in SF and believe that it will make us much more successful in putting up 7 vs 3 points. I think it is very realistic to expect us to be in the mid to upper 20′s in points per game. The defense will make life better for the offense and vice-a-versa.

      • Jim Harper

        Also the Pats offense was based on the pass only for the most part. Jamaal makes the Chiefs way more dangerous. This Chiefs team is going to be something totally new to the Kansas City faithful. Although we are a long shot for the Super Bowl this year I would certainly not bet against them.

  • berttheclock

    Great breakdown, but, what intrigues me are the comments from Charles about being really pumped to play for Reid. Pumped because he expects more carries? Nah. He is pumped because he expects to catch more passes coming out of the backfield. Plus, the new regime, I understand, really knows how to teach screen passes, something sorely lacking in the past.

    • KCMikeG

      With the skills Charles has getting the ball in space more often instead of always having to fight though the line will lead to his greatest year yet. No wonder he is excited! Reid knows exactly how to best utilize Charles and watch out for Dexter this year too!

      • Jim Harper

        Having been a fan for over 50 years I truly cannot recall an upcoming season I was this pumped about.
        Too bad others can’t see it Mike!

  • berttheclock

    I realize this was only one game, but, consider the stats for a game played on Jan 20, 2013.
    One QB threw 54 passes with 29 completions, racked up 324 yards, threw one TD pass, but, had two picked off. His QBR was 46.1, while, his passing rating was 62.3.
    The other QB only threw 36 passes and completed 21 of them for a measly 240 yards. However, 3 went for TDs and none were picked. His QBR was 80.2 and his passing rating was 106.2
    BTW, that second QB was Flacco and the great Tom Brady was the first.

  • Suzi Conger

    Thanks for the great article Jason

  • Jim Harper

    Way to tell it Jason. As usual you are right on target. We have a number of naysayers on here that I hope read your excellent post. I won’t name names. They know who they are. I came up with the same guesstimate of either 10-6 or 11-5. If this team can stay healthy they will be a force to be dealt with. Alex can definitely get us to where we want to go.

  • Michael Shaw

    Despite the fact that we have some completely negative nancy’s posting on this site, I think this was a great article flyboy!!!! Hope it works out just like you have outlined, so that we can thumb our noses at the pundits around the country!!!

    • jimfromkcj

      2 to 4 win seasons make negative Nancy’s over time.

  • Jim Butler

    The only real stat that matters is win-loss, nothing else makes any difference, GO CHIEFS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!