Assailing Andy Reid

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Pessimism has befallen the Kingdom. On Sunday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs fell to the Tennessee Titans 26-10 in their home opener. Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito are headed to the season-ending injured reserve list. The confidence of this football team appears to be shaken. Fans aren’t quite as optimistic as they were 72 hours ago. Things have fallen apart in Kansas City. Worst of all is the amount of forensic evidence that suggests head coach Andy Reid is the culprit. His fingerprints were all over the crime scene at Arrowhead Stadium over the weekend.

In fairness to Reid, he wasn’t solely responsible for Sunday’s loss. Alex Smith, fresh off of a contract extension, played his worst game as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. At least two players made mental mistakes that produced points for Tennessee. The Chiefs were also missing seven starters by the second half of the game. It’d be tough for any team in the NFL to overcome losing roughly a third of its starters. That’s all the more reason why your head coach can’t afford to have the worst tactical performance of his tenure in a critical Week 1 game.

Here are my specific gripes with Reid’s coaching on Sunday. This list is in no particular order, though if it were, No. 1 would definitely be No. 1:

1. A paltry 11 touches for Jamaal Charles. 

I’ll probably be asking myself why Reid kept Charles from contributing for the next four days. I’m still baffled by the thought of Kansas City’s best offensive weapon having his hands tied by his head coach. Especially, when the team’s second-best offensive weapon was serving a Week 1 suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. It’s almost like Reid forgot that Charles represented 43% of this team’s offensive touches in 2013.

At one point in the first half, while the Chiefs were still in striking distance, Charles touched the ball just two times in three consecutive second quarter drives. Sure, Reid’s taken responsibility for his “negligence”, but you have to wonder what inspired his offensive strategy in the first place. Did he put the game into Alex Smith’s hands to prove to the world that he deserved an extension? Even if that were somehow true, he couldn’t have expected Smith to thrive without the contribution of the offense’s best player. He’s normally not the kind of quarterback who can regularly have success in spite of a dearth of offensive talent.

Big Red’s playcalling on Sunday is even more baffling when you consider the fact that 7 of Charles’ 11 touches came in the first half. So as the game got farther away from the Chiefs, Reid became less inclined to call Charles’ number. The larger the deficit, the less likely a team is to run the ball, but we all know Charles isn’t limited to running the football. He’s as versatile an offensive player as there is in the league. Failure to use him as such is completely unacceptable.

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