Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 Chiefs Offense: As Bad As 2012?


Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve taken it easy on the offense. I’m not sure if it’s because the Chiefs have been winning, or that they haven’t turned the ball over 8 times a game, or that they seem to come through with scores when they need them, or if it’s all of the above – but I’ve let the Chiefs off the hook for mediocre performances. I’ve given them a pass, and you can see it as broad as day in my last two sets of post-game grades (maybe more). I’ve caught flack from the Addicts because of it, and deservedly so.

I think I’ve been subconsciously grading on a curve. The way I was looking at it was like this: if you get shut out and lose the game, you get an F. If you’re held to a field goal and barely move the ball, you get a D. If you score a touchdown, and move the ball okay, you get a C. If your running-back dominates a game, and you score in key moments during the game, you get a B – and so on.

But that’s not fair. Now that the Chiefs are 6-0, and look like contenders in this league, it’s time to hold this team to a higher standard. I think 6-0 blinded my objective eye, and I’m not ashamed to admit it, or too prideful to admit that many of the points made in my column from last week were spot on, and I was off the mark.

This got me thinking: how do we compare to last year’s team? To answer that, I did some digging, and what I found was frightening. Let me preface this by saying, I am comparing a 16-game season, to a 6-game season. I know this, and I’m sure that when the season is over, the numbers will be different. But still – the basic, surface-level numbers I looked at were pretty shocking. Let’s take a look at Yards Per Game, Points Per Game, and 3rd-down Percentage. I’ve put 2012’s full-season numbers against 2013 through 6 games in the chart below:

 

Year 2012 2013
YPG 319.2 (24th) 326.3 (25th)
PPG 13.2 (32nd) 25.3 (8th)
3rd PCT 33 (27th) 33 (27th)

 

As you can see, the Chiefs have improved in both YPG and PPG, but haven’t gotten any better on 3rd down so far. Additionally, this year they’ve scored on special teams and/or defense in 5 of their 6 games in 2013. If you take those scores away, their PPG average drops from 25.3 to 19.5, thus dropping them from 8th in the NFL, all the way to 25th (just barely a notch over the Cleveland Browns). As Andrew Kulha wrote in his piece on Monday, Eric Fisher looked awful against Oakland. For that matter, the offensive line as a group has been underwhelming. Additionally, the ball-control offense that the Chiefs are currently running doesn’t scare anyone. So what’s the difference then? Why have I been so accepting of such mediocre offensive football?

I think it’s because of the Chiefs have drastically reduced the turnovers. In his first 6 games in 2012, Matt Cassel had thrown 10 interceptions and lost 6 fumbles. That’s right, 16 turnovers in 6 games. Alex Smith? Through six games this season he’s thrown 3 interceptions and lost only 1 fumble for a total of 4 turnovers. That’s pretty drastic, and is a huge reason (in addition to the dramatic defensive turnaround) that the Chiefs are 6-0. Smith is exactly as advertised, which is both good and bad depending on who you ask. He’s not going to throw the ball deep and he’s not going dominate a game, but he’s also not going to turn the ball over, and he will not lose the game.

As far as the offense goes, it’s time to put it together. We’re nearing the halfway point, and there’s a good chance that the defense will not continue to bail the offense out every game. Now that the team is 6-0, it’s time to raise the bar. If you want to play with the big boys, you’ve got to score points.

So – is this the best the offense will be? What do they need to do to wake up? More Bowe? A healthy tight end? Changes on the O-line? Sound off below, Addicts.

Tags: Alex Smith Andy Reid Kansas City Chiefs

  • Chris Tarrants

    A healthy Fasano will really help in blocking for the line as well as give Smith another quick hitter with good hands. I agree that Smith needs to man up and learn to play with some guts but at the same time if doing so equals losing then he can stay status quo for all I care. I’m digging this new concept of winning football games and even being considered the second best team in the league! It’s a far cry from drafting number one overall

    • BWrangler

      Fasano back in the game will significantly up the offense’s production. That being said, I think Andy Reid is doing exactly what, and not an iota more than, this team needs to do to win. There’s no doubt that the defense is the backbone of this team and I believe Reid wants it and needs it to be. The few times that the Chiefs have been behind in the score this year, what did they do? Within two possessions, they got back on top and rode that defense to victory. The offense contributed when they had to. I honestly think that Reid is feathering the throttle a little bit and not tipping his hand as to what the O is fully capable of doing because he hasn’t needed to show it yet.

      I know AS11 has looked really shaky on quite a few plays, but then, during those plays, did he really HAVE to make a play, or would it have been more comfortable for us as fans to see them pull it off? He’s not throwing INT’s, he’s not fumbling. Maybe they’re using this softer front of the schedule to get some timing down, D scheme looks, experience for this O-line, etc. I don’t know what all they’re thinking, but I know they’re winning.

      • KCMikeG

        Thanks for speaking the truth. I think you are spot on about Reid holding his best cards for later in the season. Why wouldn’t he want to have something the donkeys aren’t ready for? The best is yet to come.

        • EditorMan

          Oh lord I want to believe that in the worst way.

          • micah stephenson

            If you believe that I got a goose that lays solid gold eggs for sale.

          • KCMikeG

            Believe brother. Our time has come.

        • micah stephenson

          Yea right. 6 games in and he is not showing his playbook yet. Yea right. Let me guess he saving the good stuff for the broncos.

          • KCMikeG

            Wait and see ye of little faith. Wait and see. And please remember to savor the moments.

        • micah stephenson

          On offense the best has to b yet to come becuase it can’t get much worse. Well I guess we cud have Romeo and Cassel back.

          • KCMikeG

            With a new system, new QB, new HC, new OC, new RT, WR, TE’s, young OL and injuries we are scoring an additional TD EVERY WEEK over last year and are + 28 in turnovers. It can get a whole lot worse Micah. It is only going to get better so take a deep breath and enjoy the ride. And give me my damn goose back!

      • njew84

        I hope you’re right man. I do think Fasano will help but I still think we are still going to have to depend heavily on our defense and special teams.

      • Bosco Cletus

        I agree about “Alex having to make a play”. When they were down last week against the Titans he hit Avery on the long pass that he got dinged on, that was making a play when he needed to in my book.

        • Andy

          Smith’s pass was under thrown. That is why Avery got hurt.

      • toperspective

        Fasano will help but it’s not like the guy is Gronkowski, Davis or Graham.

        • micah stephenson

          I’m hip. I’ve never like Fasano. Fasano is not that good anyway.

          • toperspective

            Fasano is ok. He’s a good blocker and an asset in the red zone but he’s hardly the offensive savoir that many are hoping he will be.

        • BWrangler

          Never said he was a savior, but he’s a reliable pass catcher, deadly in the red zone, and an above par blocker. He won’t hurt the team when he gets back.

          • toperspective

            We have the same opinion of Fasano. You said his return will significantly up the offense’s production. I’m a bit less optimistic but it will help. This offense has many other problems besides the TE position. I just hope the defense/special teams can keep getting TO’s and continue to score. The league has already learned that they only need to defense 15 yards past the line.

          • BWrangler

            “The league has already learned that they only need to defense 15 yards past the line.” That’s kind of what I’m trying to say about Reid not showing his cards. The Chiefs are winning with teams having this mentality already. Somebody’s going to get cute and stack 8 in the box and Bowe’s going to go off. Or Avery, or whoever’s not covered over top.

          • micah stephenson

            Yea right. Lmao x 1, 000, 000,000, 000!!!!! That’s is too funny. Nobody is going “OFF” over the top with Alex at QB. They might go off with yards after catches a few games but not over top. The 1st few game the teams played cover 2 and alex cudnt do anything, now every team only gon play 1 safety high because they no alex has no deep ball.

          • BWrangler

            You’re right, Micah. Smith sucks, this team sucks. Like you, I hope they go 0-10 for the rest of the year. Why do you come to this site?

          • micah stephenson

            Smith don’t totally suck. He is better than Cassel even tho I don’t know if that’s saying much. The team is actually pretty good, they just need a big time QB. I actually hoping we go 10-0 & win the superbowl but with this offense I rightfully have my doubts.

      • Andy

        I think our coaches are pretty smart, but “feathering the throttle” is a little too much credit. Our O line is the issue pure and simple. It must get better.

        • BWrangler

          You’re right. Go Chiefs.

    • Dfrey87

      He needs to man up really? How much more guts does he have to show when he runs?

      • Chris Tarrants

        Honestly I would prefer to see Jamaal running the ball and my qb throwing it. Smith needs to have more guts in the aspect of taking chances with a few long passes. He needs to have faith that his receivers are going to come down with the ball. If he keeps running the ball as often as he does none of this will matter because we will be seeing chase Daniel at qb with Smith on IR

  • Mark Bustamante

    More draw plays and play action fakes. Get McCluster more involved out of the slot more quick slants. Mix it up!! Run when we should pass and pass when we should run. Go deep every once in a while.

    • 44WinMag

      McCluster is over rated. Need a big TE or 2 for Captain Check Down, he needs big targets because his accuracy can be less than ideal even on short passes. They should use Bowe more like a TE with Smith at QB..

      • Dfrey87

        Yep your still an idiot. No he hasn’t been as accurate as he can be but he’s running for his life the entire game and he’s throwing it away a lot cuz no WR can get separation. Most of the reason his comp % is down is throw a ways to avoid sacks and drops. It’s obvious when you watch the game. Yes he has had some bad throws every QB does but come on. We all know on here how bad you want him to fail because u wanted to be right and you can’t get off Geno’s di**. By the way how’s he and his team doing? Really he can’t throw the deep ball huh? Cuz he hasn’t this year? Do you even watch the games or do you just look at stats and come on here and comment and not know what your talking about.

        • DoubleD

          No need to get personal here.

          In fact, I think 44WinMag makes some pretty valid points. Smith does tend to overthrow his targets even when he’s not pressured. I also like the idea of using Bowe more like TE. I also kind of agree that McCluster is a bit over-rated as a slot receiver. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when McCluster returns a kick/punt for 6 but as a receiver, he’s been almost a total non-factor this season.

          So far, with a couple of anecdotal exceptions, Jamaal Charles has been the entire offense this team. I’m getting a little concerned that he is being over-used. If Jamaal gets hurt, this offense will be in a world of hurt.

          The Chiefs offense does have a lot shortcomings, in part due to injuries, in part due to a soft OL, in part due to WRs not getting open, and in part due to Alex Smith’s apparent inability to throw the ball deep.

          • DoubleD

            I do believe Smith has some talent as a play action passer however so I would like to see a little more of that.

        • micah stephenson

          Our wrs get seperation. This is the NFL. The wrs are only open a slpit second. The wrs ain’t gon b running around all day with nobody close to them. Alex is too slow with reading the defense. He is also scared to throw once he makes the read cus he know the d can close on his weak slow passes and intercept it.

        • micah stephenson

          That’s dumb people accusing me and you being on Genos jock. Just becuase we rather the Chiefs draft a QB rather than waste time with Alex Smith. Well be b ready to start saying I’m on next yrs rookie QBs jock too!

          • 44WinMag

            So this other kid at Baylor is intriguing to me as a Pro Prospect. Smith is a good place holder until Dorsey finds his man, as I have confidence that this new management team is thinking more like you and I. Time will tell.

        • 44WinMag

          I may be an idiot, but you’re some kind of Alex Smith Groupie who can’t handle the truth so you attack the messenger. Get a life Moron.

  • njew84

    I knew this was going to be how the Chiefs were going to be this year. I actually predicted us winning a TOTAL of 6-7 games. I said IF we are going to win more than that it was going to have to be because of defense and special teams.

    Our offense just doesn’t have the weapons to put up big numbers. We are going to make the playoffs and we might even win a game or two but unless our defense can continue to make big time plays we aren’t going to the Super Bowl.

    The ONLY way I see us getting that far is if we somehow beat Denver out for the best record in the AFC and earn the #1 seed and get home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

    Arrowhead is definitely back and better than ever! I would love to win a Super Bowl but I would be ecstatic if we just won a damn playoff game! Peyton Manning can’t play at this level forever, our team is young and we will be good for a long time. I say 1-2 years with a few more pieces and we will bring home our 2nd Championship.

  • sdansmith

    He works best with short passes, so let’s give him more options short. I know Bowe is a deep threat, but maybe some mid-crossing routes. Obviously, more Avery as well.

  • Fernando Garci-Crespo C

    A lot of those PPG come from the D and short fields. We still need an explosive WR.

  • Kyle

    When you compare this year to last year you have to understand that they were playing against quite a few prevent defenses in the second half.

    • EditorMan

      Speaking of last year comparisons, one reason Cassel had so many more turnovers is he was trying to come from behindmuch more often.
      That’s also partly why our D this year gets so many interceptions.

    • ArrowFan

      Allot of Bowe’s yards and TD’s where in garbage time.

  • Danny W

    Paul
    Good write up here. I get where your coming from on your grades now.

  • KCMikeG

    IF you take away the defensive & ST’s scores – which by the way why would you want to take them out any way? Oh that’s right there’s NO WAY they continue because……WHY? Just because we know they won’t! No reason why they won’t but we just know they won’t. WTH? The only difference is turnovers? Yes +10 vs -16 will win you games which is exactly what AS11 and our offense is doing. Anyway back to IF you take those scores away we are only scoring 19-20 points per game. How AWFUL! Except for TWO very important facts. #1 that is a whole TD MORE every game than last year while our offense is developing in a new system and dealing with a depleted TE position (critical in Reid’s WCO) and OL injuries. Most importantly FACT #2 – we are scoring TWICE as much as our defense is giving up – WITHOUT THE DEFENSIVE AND ST TD’S. Relax – savor the sweet moments our beloved Chiefs are sharing with us.

    • Davé

      The point Mike is we could be a much more formidable opponent if we had some better performance out of Alex Smith. I have watched his tapes, highlight reels and stuff and seen a QB capable of much better throws than he has shown to date. He simply needs to step up his game if we want to take a real shot at winning a super bowl

      • ArrowFan

        Last I checked we are already more formidable than Dumbver is. I understand there is room for improvement out of our O. That is the truly scary part of it all. What is going to happen when the O line starts holding up better.

        • Davé

          There is a ton of room for improvement, the question is will the improvement happen. As a realist I do not just take for granted our O line will get better, Alex will improve his play, or that everyone will stay healthy. I want all those to happen of course but we have to be honest. Can we make a super bowl run with a QB that has a QBR below 80? Can a defense carry a team to a title any more or do you need a at least a really good (see Flacco) QB?

      • KCMikeG

        Agreed. Not claiming he is tearing it up or that he can’t perform better. Just that he is helping us win and is much better than what we had before. We haven’t seen the best of what he will bring to us yet.

        • Davé

          He is not letting us lose. A few scrambles and third down throws aside, he is not doing much to help us win. If a team were to ever score thirty on us, I do not think an Alex Smith led offense could score 31.

  • DTVTechGuy

    Think we need a few more screens and sit down routes… If Smith can pinpoint it short… Let’s use hooks, curls, in and stops, underneaths…. Play to the strengths… So far Smith is being asked to throw to receivers in stride… Set em down and see what happens.

  • Dfrey87

    The YPG isn’t as bad as it seems, we are playing with a short field quite a bit. Not saying we can’t drive the length of the field, cuz we have but more times than not we have great starting field position. We are not as productive as any of us would like but we have a new QB, new HC, new system ect. It’s going to take time to grow, that being said, this is a much better offense than last year and anyone can see that. When points are needed, we drive the ball and get points, when we need to kill the clock and control the ball we do. Our QB is clutch.

  • Pessimisticchiefsfan

    Alex smith is ok for now but we still need to be aggressively searching for a qb of the future.

    • freshmeat62

      I want to see what Bray can turn into. He can sling it. After a couple of years of coaching, he may be the future. I think the physical talent is there, they just need to coach him between the ears.

      • micah stephenson

        I’m starting to wonder can bray move the chains better than Alex.

    • micah stephenson

      We shuda drafted somebody this yr to groom for next yr.

  • Bosco Cletus

    Charles does everything else, bring back the halfback pass!! A healthy Fasano would help a lot I think, anyone remember the first pass play of the year? A play action pass to him 30 yards down field that was just overthrown. If Fischer continues to get beat and give up sacks, he could be pulled although I don’t want to see that. Big thing I saw after actually being at the game last sunday and seeing the whole field is……guys just aren’t getting separation like they should and Alex isn’t gonna force a bad throw. He’s not missing open receivers, they just aren’t there, at least not last week.

    • micah stephenson

      O yes they are open. Yall just making excuses for Alex. If this was Cassel yalled b ready to run him out of town.

  • freshmeat62

    I don’t know that the Chiefs are going to be able to get much better
    this year. They’re just not that talented on that side of the ball.
    The only way I see the offense improving this year is by the coaching
    staff getting creative – some smoke and mirrors, and the o-line improving.

    I really didn’t expect much from the so called skilled positions this
    year anyway, but I did expect more from this o-line. I believe all of
    them were high draft picks, 1st 3 rounds, so I was expecting them to do
    better. To their detriment there have been a lot of injuries, so they
    haven’t been able to get a cohesive unit built, so hopefully, as the
    season progresses,they’ll be able to ‘jell’.

    So much depends on the o-line doing it’s job and creating a pocket. If they do
    then they can release one more into the pass pattern, instead of leaving
    him to block.

    Hit the weights!!!

  • Davé

    Smith is lucky the defense is so solid. If we had a mediocre defense and him at the helm we would be a .500 team. Sure he isn’t Cassel by any means because he is not a complete idiot, but throwing wise he isn’t much different: he is not accurate at long distances, misses wide open receivers, overthrows A LOT, scared to air it out, LOVES the check down. The one thing Cassel did better than Smith is trust Bowe.

    • toperspective

      And he’s not even very good at the check down.

    • micah stephenson

      Uh oooo. Looks like yall coming around. I said by week 8 or ten they will b tired of Alex Smith and looking at the rookie QBs coming out next yr.

      • Kisersosay

        Yea if we could have only gotten the other Smith maybe we would be just as good as the Jets are…….

        • micah stephenson

          It wudnt hurt to have Geno or EJ on the bench, I hate to say learning from Alex, but learning from the QB guri Ried, getting ready for next yr or at least threating to take Alex’s starting to spot if he don’t step it up.

          • BWrangler

            Your mom hangs meat around your neck so the dog will pay attention to you, right?

          • micah stephenson

            I don’t need the dogs attention, becuase when I wrap my meat around yo mommas neck she gives me plenty of attention. Lol.

      • Davé

        Na man Tyler Bray is our QB of the Future. Tall, Big Accurate Arm.

    • ArrowFan

      I don’t think Cassel trusted Bowe more, I think when Cassel went into panic mode he just threw to Bowe. Smith doesn’t panic he looks for the open guy.

  • toperspective

    Good write-up. It’s ok Paul, you can criticize the Chiefs. Even if they are 6-0 you can still be honest about this poor offense. They may be scoring more points but they have also been the benefactor of the defense’s many turnovers. Often with great field position. The defense completely dominated in the NYG and Phil games and gave the offense great field position after turnovers, yet the games were in doubt until late. The only positives about this offense has been Charles, low turnovers and a couple of late clock eating drives. How many Chiefs fans are going to be happy if the team gives Smith a long term extension? Smith is a fine placeholder but this team still needs a franchise QB, an improved OL and some more offensive weapons.

    • micah stephenson

      Whaaaaaaaaat! starting to realize Alex ain’t shit huh? Cuda had EJ or Geno on the bench getting ready to step n next yr.

      • toperspective

        I never thought he was a franchise QB. I was fine with bringing him in as a placeholder but I thought the price was way too steep. I can’t believe they needed to give up 2 second rounders. They were bidding against themselves. I just hope they don’t give him an extension. I’m not on the Geno bandwagon and I’m not sure too many people though EJ was going to look so good. I guarantee the Chiefs wouldn’t be 6-0 with Geno. There are a lot of good QB’s next year but without that 2nd round pick there’s not a chance they’ll be able to move up.

        • micah stephenson

          No 2nd rd pick sucks. If it looks like a franchise QB wont fall to us, we must trade 1st, 3rd, next yrs 1st and Mayby more to move up and get a really really good QB.

  • ArrowFan

    When you look at the 6 games we have had so far I say our team has had the best QB on the field in 4 of the 6. Arguably you could say 5 or even 6. My point is 75% of NFL teams would love have AS11 at QB. I’m glad he is our QB, he was hands down the best choice for a QB upgrade we had. Our O line is struggling and anyone could have seen that coming based on camp and preseason. Our O (as the rest of the leagues does) is going to live and dye by our O line. I was hopping for more improvement at this point but it is still early lets revisit them at the bye week. If and when our O line settles down and starts holding their own we will see drastic O production improvements. Unfortunately I don’t think it is going to happen this week.

  • JDInOregon

    It’s a tall order in a way, and this is hardly original, but finding ways to pick up five yards or more on first down is key. Short passes can be highly effective at this, until the D decides to jam those. Then going down field would be great, except Smith doesn’t get that much time to let those develop.

    Charles gives another option to pick up those first down yards, as he can run for it or catch a pass and get it. There is no overstating how valuable he is.

    I do like how Smith spreads the ball around. Keep ‘em guessing. And yeah, I’m waiting for Smith to go nuts too. The line has to protect him, it’s that simple (and difficult!)

  • redchiefs

    It’s the offensive line. Smith has no time to see downfield 3/4 of the time, Jamaal Charles is being hit at the line and sometimes in the backfield 3/4 of the time. Smith wouldn’t be 2nd leading rusher if he wasn’t scrambling to avoid sack. We know the skill players are there………it’s the O Line.

  • Andy

    All the comments about Fasano returning, are correct. The TE position is very important to Smith. Look at how many times he targets the TE position…no matter who is in there. We should see a little better offensive production this week with Fasano in.