The 2014 Kansas City Chiefs: How To Stop The Bleeding
Aug 17, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) runs after catching a pass during the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Step Two: Make The Focus Of The Passing Game Getting The Ball To Your Playmakers
This is really an extension of Step One (or maybe Step One is an extension of Step Two, I don’t know), but Jamaal Charles is special enough to get his own step. This step is strictly about the game plan of Andy Reid’s passing attack.
Against the Titans Alex Smith targeted Donnie Avery on something like 97% of his pass attempts (again, not sure that’s the actual percentage, but it was high). I understand that Dwayne Bowe was suspended, but that’s still inexcusable. Donnie Avery is a role player. He is not someone that you make a focal point in your offense, at least not if you want your offense to be any good.
(I’m now going to go on a small Alex Smith tangent, but I promise I’ll bring things back around)
Alex Smith is not a QB that will single handedly beat opposing teams (save your contract whining for another post, that’s not what I’m getting at here). Alex Smith is a QB that can effectively distribute the football to the right guys and avoid costly mistakes. You can win games with a guy that does that. I believe you can win a Super Bowl with a guy that does that. You just have to surround him with players that can make plays and implement the appropriate game plan.
Sunday against the Titans the Kansas City Chiefs didn’t do that.
As I look over the Chiefs offensive players I see four guys that I believe are a serious threat when they have the ball in their hands. I would consider these four to be KC’s top potential playmakers: Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Travis Kelce, and DeAnthony Thomas. The rest of KC’s offensive players are guys that can fill a role and help contribute to the offense, but they aren’t guys that are going to consistently make game changing big plays. Now, on Sunday, two of those four guys weren’t available (Bowe and Thomas). So what KC should have done (in my humble opinion) is make the focus of the game plan getting the ball in the hands of Charles and Kelce as much as possible.
Instead, the Chiefs repeatedly dialed up plays where Donnie Avery, Frankie Hammond Jr., Junior Hemingway, AJ Jenkins, and Anthony Fasano made up Alex Smith’s primary targets.
BUT WAIT, there’s more.
They did this while it was clear that the offensive line was STRUG-GA-LING (think drunk Joe Namath when you read that).
So what makes more sense, running routes with Avery, Hammond, and Hemingway and hoping that they actually get open AND that the STRUG-GA-LING offensive line holds up long enough for Smith to find one of them, OR………..
Run plays designed to get the ball out fast to Kelce and Charles to negate the bad OL and let the playmakers try to break something open?
The Chiefs chose option one as they repeatedly took Kelce off the field for waiver wire caliber wideouts and didn’t give Jamaal the ball (as we already discussed).
Jamaal Charles and Travis Kelce ended the day with 14 combined touches. The Chiefs had a total of 36 offensive touches (rushes plus receptions). The fact that Charles and Kelce only accounted for 39% of them is stupid.
Dwayne Bowe will be back from his one game suspension next week and hopefully DAT will be available too. Andy Reid must make getting the ball in his playmakers hands the focus of his game plan. Period. If the offensive line is struggling, he needs to call up plays that account for that.
Speaking of the OL, that brings us to step three…..