Chiefs Offense Centered Around Alex Smith or Jamaal Charles?


Aug 9, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid talks to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) after a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Twitter is a funny place. You can really get to know a person through their “tweets.” For some reason, people like to talk about everything from what movie they’re seeing to what they had for dinner to the size of their…well, you get the point. At its core, the social networking site is a great tool that can really connect fans from all formats with the celebreties they idolize…140 characters at a time. It’s also good for fans to find each other and discuss whatever fandom has brought them together.

The 382 people that follow me on Twitter likely know that I tweet about one thing, the Kansas City Chiefs. They also know I like the hashtags #AS11 and #youhaventseenanythingyet. I got into a bit of a back and forth with another fan last night that inspired my column this morning. Here’s how it went down.

I happened to see a conversation between two people I follow who were arguing with a Broncos fan about Andy Reid vs. John Fox.

To which I responded:

And then this guy comes back with:

The whole conversation was dozens of tweets back and forth, and was really pointless. At about one in the morning, I turned my phone off and finally went to bed. The conversation got me thinking. Who is more important to the Chiefs’ offense?

The Chiefs lost Jamaal Charles to injury in 2011 in the first game of the season. That year with roller coaster coaching, several different running backs and three different quarterbacks (including Tyler Palko, but not Ricky Stanzi) the Chiefs managed to go 7-9 and were a Ryan Succop field goal from the AFC West championship and the playoffs.

Last season, a healthy Charles amassed over 1,500 yards and would have probably been a candidate for “Comeback Player of the Year” had old #18 from the Denver Broncos not had the season he did. Yet, the Chiefs were only able to scrape together two wins. Is Jamaal really the lynchpin of this team?  Did new Chiefs head coach, Andy Reid, build the offense around him?

My answer is obviously an emphatic “NO.” Running backs are not the centerpieces to NFL offenses. Although one Chiefs fan disagreed with me.

The Jacksonville Jaguars aside (and I don’t believe it’s really the case with them either…because the Jags don’t even have an NFL offense) NFL offenses are built around the strengths of the quarterback, not the running back. Take last night’s preseason game against the New Orleans Saints as an example.

Alex Smith led the first team offense on one series of play. During that, while the play calling was as vanilla as we’d expect from a first year (with the team) head coach, first year (with the team) quarterback and first preseason game, Smith was nearly perfect, completing seven of eight passes. The only miss he had was an intentional throw away to avoid the rush, only after he went through his progression and saw he had no options.

Predictably, fans saw Smith complete passes to short and medium routes, spreading his targets around. Not surprising was the fact that Charles was responsible for over half of the production on that one and only first team drive, catching the ball out of the back field and running for a combined 40 yards. My point here is, was that Charles, was that Smith or was that the system?

If you believe Mr. Caron, it was Charles. According to him, if Charles were to be replaced with rookie Kniles Davis or even Dexter McCluster, the team would fall apart because the offense is built around JC.

Why is that?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, Charles is one hell of a running back who I think could usurp Priest Holmes in Chiefs history. He is clearly one of the most talented backs in the league. But he doesn’t play the most important position on the field. So why would this thought of a JC-centered offense permeate itself into the “Twittersphere?” My guess is it’s because Alex Smith (cue the Rodney Dangerfield schtick) “can’t get no respect.”

Until next time, Addicts!