Who Had The Best “First Drives” In The AFC West?

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Kansas City Chiefs @ New Orleans Saints


Chiefs Offense vs. Saints Defense

I won’t bore you with the play-by-play but, it’s enough to say the Chiefs engineered a 14 play drive ending in a touchdown.

One play that stands out is an 8 yards pass in the flat to FB Anthony Sherman. It’s not so much what the play ended up becoming but, how it was executed.

You can see the clean pocket provided for Alex Smith whose eyes are clearly downfield searching for an open receiver. Whether it was the design of the play to go downfield or not, Smith does a good job of perusing the possibilities.

Because Smith keeps his attention down field until the last possible moment, when he turns to pass the ball to Anthony Sherman in the right flat, Sherman is wide open. Smith delivers the ball perfectly leading him and Sherman is able to put a move on the first tackler and make him miss.

Excellent execution all the way around.

I also want to point out that the pocket may have looked so clean because 5 KC linemen were blocking only 3 NO defensive linemen pursuing Smith. Which also mean the Saints had dropped 8 players down field in coverage.

Since the design of the west coast system is to initially draw defenders in, the early running and passes in the flat helps to achieve this goal. I’m more certain the design of that play was a pass in the flat instead of pass downfield given what stage in the game they were in (early 1st quarter).

On Monday morning, Andy Reid was interviewed on WHB 810 radio and around the 7:00 minute mark of that interview, he had this to say about throwing to the Fullback on a regular basis,

(In Philadelphia) we used our fullback in the passing game and…you want to be able to present a defense with no extra offensive linemen…. It’s important that all the guys that are out there are viable threats to a defense. Then you’re going to get your receivers singled up… (then) it’s important that your quarterback can see that and pick out the guy that’s singled and make the defense pay.

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  • Mark Bustamante

    So ‘Captain Checkdown’ takes us 80 yards for an opening drive TD. I can handle that. Hell that’s more than what we got last season. I’ll take checksown TD’S all season long. Keeps our defense fresh and keeps their offense on the sidelines

  • chiefridgy

    Nice breakdown of the AFC west first drives and their D. Go Chiefs!!!

  • Chris Tarrants

    Dink and dunk offense means a fresh defense is standing on the sideline chomping at the bit

    • Brody Hall


      • chiefridgy

        Here comes the Boom!

        • Chris Tarrants

          Correction, it’s not the boom that I want to see! I want to see the HAMMER being put down!

  • Andrew Kulha

    Good work here Laddie.

  • kcpauly

    that was quite entertaining there Laddie, good job.
    Go Chiefs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Calchiefsfan

    I think we’ll have a real test for our offense on Friday against a stellar D. Then we will be able to compare apples to apples with Denver.
    Defensively against Dree Brees is a job well done.

    • ladner morse

      Friday will b interesting for sure… then again Alex is used to going against that defense having done so everyday in practice for years.

  • scomstock55

    I dont give a rats butt if he is captain checkdown…if we can get down the field with that type of efficiency using checkdowns, then I dont care if we do it every drive of the season…just like in Madden…use the piss out of it until the d adjusts…in fact, I prefer a long drawn out drive that ends in a TD…it gives the defense plenty of time to rest! But..(this would be a great problem to have) if the D forces a lot of 3 and outs, then it will be the offense that will be tired…lol

  • CaliChief83

    It was good to see our starters play so well but I’ll try to curb my excitement until we start winning the games that count. Remember how awesome the team looked against the Cardinals in the preseason last year?

    • ladner morse

      I thought the exact same thing when the Chiefs had their first drive end up in he end zone. However, everything else feels different about this year’s team.

  • RepOurChiefs

    Great breakdown. Capt Check-d..lol who cares, the end result is points (I’d like to call him Capt Well Rounded) but regardless ive bought in not only just cause I believe he’s good enough to utilize the weapons afforded to him but because HE is our QB. Period. AS11 is A Chief…the starter..the leader. Dont matter what opinions vary..lol..fact is he is leading our beloved Red&Gold. Go Chiefs! #youaintseennothingyet

  • jimfromkcj

    I think we should look at the teams and what they faced before picking who had the best of anything. The Chiefs were going against the Saints defence which was the last rated defence in the NFL. The Chargers were going against the 4th rated defence. The Broncos were going against the 3rd rated defence. The Raiders were going against the 19th rated defence. So isn’t it just a little cherry picking to compare the AFC West in that manner? I know you are always looking for a way to put the Chiefs in the best light, but when you build everyone up it makes for an even harder fall if things don’t go according to hopes?

    • ladner morse

      Maybe you missed the part where I said, “I don’t find evaluating the first drive of the season as being any tell-tale sign about the season to come, do you?”

      • jimfromkcj

        Laddie,I just find that teams don’t really change much from one year to the next. Sometimes because of their schedule being weak, think Chiefs 2010, they seem to improve a lot in a year, but because of cap restraints, and the way the draft works, it is hard for a team to change all that much from year to year. I still think if the Chiefs go 8 and 8 I will be very happy. If they go 4or 5 wins, I won’t think it is a big disaster. It is going to take a while to cover up the mischief that Pioli did.

        • ladner morse

          Jim, A lot of people think the worst thing Pioli did was not add the necessary depth that it takes to win consistently and while I wouldn’t disagree that he did the organization no favors in that arena… I think the worst “things” he did was to not identify players who could be stars. Now, I know Poe may work out to be one but as of this moment Eric Berry is the only player he drafted high in the draft who was worth his salt. Pioli passed up players like: B.J. Raji, Brain Orakpo, Brain Cushing, Clay Matthews, Kyle Rudolph, Andy Dalton, Gabe Carimi, and COLIN KAEPERNICK… and instead he drafted Tyson Jackson and Jon Baldwin. Now, the Chiefs players may yet pan out… but look what those players have done already.

          • jimfromkcj

            Laddie, Pioli has to get the greatest blame for the shape the chief’s cap is in. Here we have only 82 and a half thousand dollars in cap money and we don’t have a franchise QB that we are paying big bucks for. We do have an OLB who is deficient in most phases of the game, except some talent as a sack artist. We also have a DE who has never come close to his pick in the draft and even Berry hasn’t lived up to his pick either. Today if it wasn’t for Peterson and Herm we would be worse than the Raiders, Hey, even as bad as the Raiders were last year Didn’t they win more than 2 games? Two players I was high on as well as a couple you named were Taylor NT and Weeden QB. I liked Baldwin, but I would never have drafted him ahead of Taylor. I have always used the Browns as a team with the same problems as the Chiefs to compare and judge how well the chiefs are doing, and up until Pioli I thought they were neck and neck, but Pioli set us back about 3 years in our quest to a Super bowl.

          • ladner morse

            Yes, Cassel’s contract is the greatest work of fantasy and Pioli probably still thinks he would be somebodies great QB of the future. However, it is still hurting he Chiefs cap situation now. That was as big and as stupid a gamble as any that has transpired in Chiefs history when the contract itself could have easily been structured based on performance incentives which we now know would never have been paid.

    • steve james

      I see your point. That said truthfully no team is first rated anything yet IMHO. Every team goes through so much change every year that it really is a guess as to how they will be until they take the field. This artical looked at what each team actually did. I like the format & wouldn’t mind that quick breakdown after every game:) There is an assignment for ya!