The Kansas City Chiefs & The Absence Of Fear


Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a new day in Kansas City. A day where fear is no longer the common thread that runs through the fabric of this franchise. The Kansas City Chiefs are daring to dream big. Words like “championship” are openly being used by players in their daily exchanges with the media. In fact, that word has become the boisterous battle cry of the Chiefs’ offseason program. Those four huddle-breaking syllables were heard echoing from the hallowed walls of the Chiefs’ training facility last week (during Kansas City’s mandatory minicamp).

Previous regimes were hellbent on using language designed to manage the expectations of Chiefs Kingdom. In those administrations past, we were beaten over the head with words like “process” and “rebuilding.” This football team clearly expects to win. Here’s what linebacker Derrick Johnson had to say when asked if 2013 was a rebuilding year for the Chiefs:

"You never look at it as a rebuilding year, that’s college talk. You always reload. Even though we didn’t win a lot of games last year, this team that we have, already has some good core players here. Some we can build off of. Some we can reload with (I should say). By bringing Alex Smith in and bringing a few other guys in – to help us win."

There’s more to creating a winning culture than having championship expectations. The approach a team takes to winning is equally as important. New head coach Andy Reid has bold offensive and defensive ideas for his football team. Reid will run the West Coast offense in Kansas City, but with the additions of Brad Childress (Spread Game Analyst) and creator of the Pistol formation Chris Ault (Offensive Consultant), it appears the offensive scheme will have different layers.

Reid’s WCO places emphasis on short and intermediate routes, but he still plans to be aggressive and challenge defenses vertically. Last week, in a conversation with Adam Teicher, Reid had this to say about his quarterbacks:

"You want to get a feel for the offense now, particularly when you’re new at it (and) if there are close throws, challenge it, see what you can get away with. If it ends up being an interception, OK, it’s an interception. You learn from it. These are smart guys so they learn from it and once they get into the season, they’re not experimenting with it on game day and they know what they can get away with and know what they can’t.It’s a new offense. I would tell any quarterback that comes in new that that’s what you need to do. I’ve told them all that. Go ahead and take your shots and see what you can get away with, within reason. But if it’s a close throw, there are going to be a few of those in the National Football League on game day so you need to know what you can get away with on each route."

This is quite the departure from a Brian Daboll-led offense in 2012, that seemed to be utterly terrified by the idea of a big play passing game. While Alex Smith won’t sling the ball around the yard “Air Coryell” style, Reid will give him the freedom to throw the ball deep (when the opportunity presents itself).

In January, Andy Reid decided his defense would stick with the 3-4 scheme, but abandon Romeo Crennel’s 2-gap, bend-but-don’t break philosophy. Former New York Jets assistant coach Bob Sutton was hired as the Chiefs’ new defensive coordinator and it was announced that the team would switch to a 1-gapping system. Under Sutton, the Kansas City defense will put constant pressure on the quarterback. The new scheme, which has been an offseason hit with several Chiefs defenders, will feature lots of defensive movement and disguised blitzing.

The Kansas City Chiefs are taking control of their future and setting the fear that’s crippled the organization for years aside. The new-look Chiefs are interested in dictating rather than being dictated to. None of us knows yet what effect any of the aforementioned philosophies will have on the win-loss column, but it’s refreshing to see an organization resolved to being more aggressive both on the field and in the front office.

Do you think the new attitude at One Arrowhead Drive will make a contender of the Chiefs? Use the comment section below to weigh in. Let’s chat again next week.

Until then, Addicts!