Chiefs vs. Giants: Lessons Kansas City Can Use From Win Over Eagles

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the Kansas City Chiefs currently sit at 3-0 and on top of the AFC West, they are not a perfect team. There’s a lot of room for improvement, which is great news for a group that’s already getting excellent results. The Chiefs can benefit by learning from their Thursday night victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, and making adjustments that will only make the team better.

The best part is, they have time to do so. What’s great about a Thursday night victory is that the following week gives you extra days to prepare. Below are the top three things the Chiefs can take away from Thursday night’s game, and focus on improving as they prepare to face the New York Giants at Arrowhead next Sunday.

Reduce the penalties

The Chiefs committed 9 penalties on Thursday, costing them 65 yards. The most frustrating calls in football are the correctible ones, especially pure mental errors.

Here are the penalties from Thursday, the offending players, and how Kansas City will correct them:

  • Illegal Formation – Branden Albert (twice), Donnie Avery

    Illegal Formation penalties are the worst, because they are due to a lack of focus. Albert and Avery are both veteran players and should know how to line up. I expect this to be addressed, and would be willing to put money on zero Illegal Formation calls next Sunday.

  • False Start – Branden Albert

    Another focus penalty. Though these calls happen and are a part of the game, you have to know the snap count. This is another penalty that I expect Albert to avoid in Week 4.

  • Delay of Game – Alex Smith

    This was a strange one last night. There was a lot of confusion on the field, and things like this happen, but it’s also avoidable. Look for Andy Reid to get his calls in on time next week, and avoid unnecessary penalties like this.

  • Facemask – Dunta Robinson

    I never saw this penalty, and they didn’t show a replay. In the heat of the moment, a facemask sometimes gets grabbed. It happens. We’ll let this one slide.

  • Illegal Contact – Eric Berry

    This was a bogus call. Berry was simply run into by the Eagle’s receiver.

  • Holding – Eric Fisher (twice), Jon Asamoah

    All three of these calls happened in the 3rd quarter, and it was that very same quarter when the offensive line looked out-matched for a stretch. I attribute this to Reid temporarily abandoning the run game. At that time, the Eagles were thinking one thing: pass. Because of this, Fisher and Asamoah started to hold. These holds accounted for 30 of the Chiefs’ 65 yards of penalties. We’ll talk more about running the ball in the next two points, but I ‘ll say this: the holding calls will decrease, if defenses respect the run.

As you can see, a majority of these penalties are avoidable, and I expect them to be addressed by Andy Reid and his coaches this week.

Protect Alex Smith

Chiefs Kingdom was buzzing after Thursday night, with most fans drooling over the defense. After all, 6 sacks in a game is incredibly impressive, right?

It is. That’s why it’s a tad disconcerting that the Eagles sacked Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith 5 times.

Smith is pretty shifty in the pocket and is great at pulling the ball down and taking off. He’s also showing that he’d prefer to take a sack than throw a stupid pass. This is going to result in a few more sacks this year, and is something we’ll have accept with Smith at QB. What we shouldn’t accept is an offense that doesn’t run to at least keep a defense honest.

I know, I’m beating a dead horse here. But if the Chiefs intend on letting the Giant’s defensive line (one that’s much better than Philadelphia’s) attack Smith without respecting the run game, it’s going to be a long afternoon for the Chief’s line.

Can they keep Smith upright? Yes. However, I expect to see more max protection next week, and an added focus on the run game.

Run the ball, and run it downhill

Don’t get me wrong; Jamaal Charles had a great game on Thursday night. I love the way he’s being used, and think it’s incredibly effective. However when the Chiefs run the ball, the plays seem to be slow to develop and almost lateral in nature. Sure, Charles can beat most defenders to the edge, but we’ve also seen him excel on quick-hitting runs between the tackles. He hits the whole so fast, and so hard that it catches defenses off-guard and really let’s the offensive line attack, instead of react. By throwing in a few quick hitting, “downhill” running plays, the Chiefs can do the following:

  • Keep the Giant’s defenders on their heels
  • Keep the Giant’s defenders off of Alex Smith
  • Keep the Chief’s line from holding

That’s my take on what the Chiefs can learn from their Thursday night victory over the Eagles. Share your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Topics: Alex Smith, Andy Reid, Branden Albert, Donnie Avery, Dunta Robinson, Eric Berry, Eric Fisher, Jamaal Charles, Jon Asamoah, Kansas City Chiefs

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  • Calchiefsfan

    One of the things I have to keep reminding myself of is the fact that all of this is new to the Chiefs players. They’ve played together 3 games with a new system on both sides of the ball. The sloppiness on offense will correct itself over time. Penalties, better blocking, Smith getting sacked, longer throws etc. will improve as the season goes on. Reid is doing an awesome job.

    I think you’re right about running the ball more and earlier Paul. Reid has a history of being pass happy and hasn’t seemed to get away from that in KC. I’m hoping Childress can influence him more in that area. I heard that Childress is the reason the Chiefs do more running and less passing in the 4th quarter. Now if he can get him to do it in the 1st quarter. With a guy like Charles there is no limit to what he can do. Quick hits between the tackles is where Charles broke off a lot of his big runs. Add to that some quick counts and it will add one more dimension to the Chiefs offense

    • berttheclock

      Fisher had problems in the 3rd quarter against the pass rush. However, on that important time consuming drive both he and Albert made great run blocks and each of them helped Charles.

  • jpopejoy

    Born/raised KC. Lived in Philly the last 9 years…

    I hate to say, this is how Andy runs the ball, and always has. Very lateral. I like Reid as a coach, but don’t expect him all the sudden expect him to change to north/south in the run game.

    Same thing with 3rd and short. He’s not very good w those, but is amazing on 3rd and long. It’s crazy.

    I think this is a perfect team for coach Reid…if we can protect Alex Smith more.

    It’s nice to be excited for Chiefs football again!

    • cyberry

      Yes…but. Reid (the Chiefs/Dorsey) has hired several ex-head coaches “as analysts”..who he listens to for input.. Brad Childress stay’s up in the cord box…apparently during the Cowboy’s game..he told Reid..”we have one of the best running backs..use him and run out the clock”.. So obviously Reid knows that surrounding himself with smart people only makes the team stronger.. The fact that he changed his game plan (for that drive)..and listened and took advice impressed me..

    • berttheclock

      One other point about trying to run laterally. Dexter is quick, but, he is not as fast as many believe. His 40 at the combine was in the middle of the 4.5 range. Kendrick, the LB from Philly ran a 4.49 at the combine. That is very fast for a LB. Dexter had little chance trying to outrun him to the edge.

    • P Heitman

      Good point, and I don’t expect him to change his entire offensive philosophy. I do think that because they run some Pistol, they’re well-suited for a few dowhill-type of runs. Every coach has a few dives, and a few ice plays in their playbook. They just need to mix it into the play-calling.

      • Brennan Ransdell

        It’s JC, one of the best running backs in Chiefs history. Good runs open up good passing. WHY THE HELL aren’t we running the ball more? I don’t care what “philosophy” a coach has. The only philosophy should be whatever it takes to win, and win in the best fashion possible.

  • calciomoti

    JC runs better when he can attack the gaps as you said….hopefully Reid can watch some film of him running the ball from the last few seasons and see this to make adjustments, right after he wonders to himself ” how cone jamall’s ypc has gotten lower…I thought he was a 5.8 ypc back?”.

  • Arrowhead Magic

    I don’t blame that delay of game penalty on Alex, it seemed like Andy wanted to get a measurement but the refs were messing up and cost us five yards as a result. I could be wrong but that’s what it looked like to me.
    Also, while the protection from the o-line was shoddy last night, I must applaud Alex for not forcing anything that wasn’t there. I’ll take a sack over an turnover every day, though I’d prefer neither.

    • berttheclock

      Yeah, I thought he believed Reid was going to throw a flag for a spot review. Andy seemed to be concerned, but, he didn’t throw the flag and time ran off.

    • Daniel Alvarado

      but alex smith was trying to spike it on 3rd and 1 when were trying to get in field goal position…bad communication both ways

  • PunjabiPete

    Thanks for the penalty break down… it seemed like a lot more. The illegal formation penalties I think hurt the worst… we are always going to get hit with bad calls, but those were self inflicted wounds that I would like to think we will move on from now that the pressure of winning a big game for Coach is off (and make no mistake, that’s what this was… )

    • berttheclock

      One of the things which appeared to be very unnecessary was the second call against Albert. He was called for lining up too far back. The refs have made the same type of call in other games so far this season. That means there is a new emphasis placed on that by the league HQ. So, once warned, it made little sense to line up incorrectly the second time.

  • freshmeat62

    I’m glad you mentioned the run game. When they mix in the runs by Charles, or even Davis, the offense moves pretty well. The first 3 qtrs were maddening to me. Just pass after pass after pass, although a lot of those turned into tuck and runs.

    I have to disagree w/ you though on the lateral runs of Charles. I think he does an excellent job of being patient, reading his blocking and seeing holes developing, and then shoot thru them. It reminds me a lot of the way Priest Holmes gained so many yards, by being patient behind the line, then when he sees the slightest crease, bam go thru it. I noticed the other nite that what looked like quick hitters off center or guard, that is when Charles was stopped because the hole hadn’t been opened.

    • berttheclock

      Glad to see your comment. I have stopped commenting at the Star because I refuse to sign up with Face Book. I notice that has not stopped benny from commenting as he is using, so far, two new monikers from his various Face Book accounts (Benny Blanco and Joey Mael). However, my comment to you regarded your comment about Dexter not being as fast as he is quick. Diid you notice the Philly LB who caught him on that end run? Kendrick, who had a 4.49 Forty at the combine, is not someone many backs are going to out run to the edge.

      • freshmeat62

        Yeah I dropped my Facebook acct as has everyone in my family. I still read the Star (after AA and A-Pride) but there’s nobody left commenting over there, so to heck w/ them.

        I saw your comment on McCluster and I mentioned in another comment on AA about McCluster getting caught by an LB when trying to go around right end, I just couldn’t remember who. I don’t have your encyclopedia memory.

        • berttheclock

          It had more to do with Mayock mentioning his speed, so, I looked up his combine results.

        • berttheclock

          I spoke with an editor of the Star. He said it had to do more with political “discussions”. I told him I understood their position, but, I thought they were going too far and throwing the baby out with the bath water. I said they should have used the power of the moderators more. I remember one morning about a month ago when benny showed up here and Patrick Allen 86ed him after a couple of rude responses he had made to other posters.

          • freshmeat62

            I don’t understand what he means by “political discussions” unless he’s talking about people who oppose the Star’s stance on issues. That’s just freedom of speech, and if they have a problem w/ that then WOW. I don’t like it when people get personal, although I have done it a couple of times and regretted it later, but I try not to. Like the other nite I was getting very personal about who ever was calling those pass plays one after the other.

    • berttheclock

      Allen could also read his blocks very well. He showed that skill in his early days at USC, as well. But, the point about the center of the line has been the weakest link on the offensive line for several years. Asamoah blocks well when he moves to his right and combines with the RT in run blocking, but, he is not that good on straight ahead interior blocks. Jeff Allen and Hudson have not really combined into any type of interior line blocking force

      • Troy Utt

        I was just going to throw that name in the ring… JC, Priest, & Marcus all had/have vision. The ability to wait for their blocks, catch a seam, and then blow
        thru! I know many are high on Davis, & he could well wind up being the steal of the draft, as he is Reid’s camp reclamation project. But it just seems to me as though once he takes the hand-off he is already standing straight up trying to look down-field.(Rather than keying on his read) More often than not he seems to bounce off his blockers where he should be hitting a gap, & it usually appears 1/2 speed?
        Of course once he hits the corner he runs like a deer! Is it just me?

        • KCMikeG

          I think you are right. The holes aren’t as big nor do they stay open as long in the NFL but if Davis can stay healthy with the skills he has our RB coach will correct that.

      • freshmeat62

        I don’t know that Allen needed a hole to run thru. He’d run into a pile of humanity 3-4 yards deep, and some how come slipping out the other side.

    • P Heitman

      I was in no way trying to say Charles was not excelling in the offense. He is. His stat line from Thursday was very Holmes-like as well. I simply think the plays as they are drawn up are slow to develop.

      • freshmeat62

        Yeah I understand what you’re saying. I like Charles being involved more in the passing also. And both agree we’d like to see him run it more. You like the quick hitters, and I like the lateral movement. I don’t see it as being slow development so much as reading the blocks. Now Mizzou has what I would call a slow developing run game. I don’t like theirs at all.

        • P Heitman

          Haha so right about Mizzou!

  • freshmeat62

    Has anyone heard the condition of Flowers? Chiefs cannot afford to lose him.

  • ladner morse

    Excellent piece Paul. Nicely done.
    Love the points you made.

  • Suzi Conger

    Good breakdown Paul…enjoyed

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