I don’t know for sure, but I think Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid understands how to make a good barbecue sandwich. You start with a base layer of white bread, slop on a layer of sauce, lay some melt-in-your-mouth brisket down and then finish with another layer of sauce. The secret is great ingredients, and, well, layering.
Reid is building the Chiefs’ 2013 season one layer of great ingredients at a time. In the season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, we saw the foundation – a vastly improved and powerful Dontari Poe. In last Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, Poe continued his personal vendetta against opposing centers and quarterbacks, but then we also got to see, firsthand and up-close, the second layer – the running skills and clutch play of quarterback Alex Smith.
When the Chiefs line up tonight to take on the Philadelphia Eagles, you can bet a plate of burnt ends that Reid will take special care against his former team to unveil a third layer, something opponents have not yet seen this season. And not only will this third layer be shocking to opponents, it will flat knock the socks off of Addicts. Our new secret sauce, the third layer, is going to be….
Our wide receivers.
You’re probably asking, “Do you mean the same crew that has just 19 catches and three touchdowns this year?” You might also be asking, “Shouldn’t we just run the ball and keep Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense off the field?” These are all good questions but mark my words: the difference maker tonight will be wide receivers Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, Junior Hemingway and Dexter McCluster.
The Eagles gave up 413 yards in the air to the San Diego Chargers last week. Here are the Eagles’ current starters in the secondary:
Left Cornerback: Bradley Fletcher (third round draft pick, 2nd NFL team)
Right Cornerback: Cary Williams (seventh rounder, 3rd NFL team)
Strong Safety: Nate Allen (second rounder, 1st NFL team)
Free Safety: Patrick Chung (second rounder, 2nd NFL team)
This secondary, not spectacular to begin with, is also banged up. Starting left cornerback Bradley Fletcher missed the Chargers game with a concussion (although he will likely be back tonight), forcing second year player Brandon Boykin into the starting lineup. Strong safety Nate Allen was burned more often than the fat end of rib that’s dropped under the grill.
We already know that Alex Smith is a deadly accurate short yardage thrower, can get by on medium range tosses and is probably weakest when throwing the bomb. Fair enough. In this third Chiefs game, I think Andy Reid adds in several plays designed to give his wide receivers opportunities for Yards After the Catch. I can see McCluster and Avery on quick slants and Bowe and Hemingway on some mid-to-long range passes – posts, fades and double moves. Both Bowe and Hemingway have slight height advantages over the 6’1” Cary Williams and the 6’0” Fletcher. Boykin will play a lot, and he stands at 5’10”.
Reid’s version of the West Coast Offense is ball control, via passing. With the Eagles keyed on Jamaal Charles and short passes to running backs and tight ends, tonight is the perfect time to introduce a new element into the game. Yes, Poe and the defense will be beastly. Yes, Alex Smith will move the chains with his legs and short, accurate throws. But tonight, look out for our wide receivers to come alive.
Addicts, are you ready for tonight? What do you think will be Andy Reid’s new layer?!!!