Chiefs focused on explosive offense despite injuries
By Ryan Tracy
It’s going to be tough for Andy Reid to maintain balance.
Injuries to the Chiefs Jamaal Charles and Spencer Ware mean more passing is likely, despite what is working best for this team. The running game has been crucial in turning the team around.
“I’m not going to have Alex up at all. He’s going to be down. We’ll let time take care of that part.” – Reid on Smith
The Charles injury is deflating, but it’s not the end of the world. The team said Wednesday that Dr. Andrews will explore the joint and inspect a possible meniscus tear. If that turns out to be the issue, it could be a lot worse. The bigger worry would be if the repaired ACL was having structural problems.
Charles has reportedly had pain in both knees since the Oakland game. That would point to something other than the ACL. If it is a meniscus or soft tissue problem, Charles could return yet this season. Only time will tell.
Spencer Ware is a bigger concern. Ware has not passed the second phase of the NFL’s concussion protocol. The team has blatantly stated he has not been ruled out, but that may be wishful thinking. They made the move to bring in Bishop Sankey, who appears to be the backup for Charcandrick West. Sankey is an above average athlete, but hasn’t been able to put it together in the NFL. Sankey catches the ball well and may be able to flourish in the Reid system. West was banged up last week, so the team may need him to.
Chiefs Passing offense is nearing ‘explosive’
The bye week fixed a lot of issues with this Chiefs team, the offense in particular. We talked about the running game getting more emphasis last week, but that’s not all. Alex Smith and Andy Reid have this offense going downfield at an increasing rate.
One aspect that stands out as to how well a quarterback is moving an offense is their yards per completion. It’s preferable to the yards per attempt that is so widely touted because it reflects what is working in a passing game. This team has had a well-earned reputation for playing small-ball. The bye week changed that. Here’s the progression over 2016.
After the bye, starting with game 5, two things have changed. The running game has been featured more prevalently and Andy Reid has taken the reigns off. The downfield passing game has improved consistently since the bye. It has taken a step forward each week.
Alex Smith has been at the helm for the majority of it. For those that think Nick Foles is the shot in the arm, see below
Smith versus Foles
On Wednesday, the team announced that Foles will be the starter in week 9 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. All-in-all its not a bad team to get your first start of the season against. The perception is that Foles moves the offense downfield better than Alex Smith does. That could prove true, but was not the case in Indianapolis.
Elite quarterbacks in the NFL throw for average yards per completion above 12 yards per completion (courtesy of ProfootballReference.com). Matt Ryan leads the league this season at 13.7 yards per completion. Yes, he has Julio Jones to throw to, but the fact remains.
Against the Colts, both Alex Smith and Nick Foles surpassed that performance. Foles had roughly twice the completions as Smtih, but they both produced well. Foles has only played one partial game, but threw nearly 14 yards per completion. Smith was a bit better at 14.1 yards per completion. Continuing this trend could put them among the top group of passing offenses in the league.
Since the bye week, Alex Smith has improved to 12.56 yards per completion. Over the season to this point, that would be good for 5th best in the NFL.
Foles will get a chance to improve his performance this week against a Jaguars defense that gives up 9.5 yards per completion. He will not have to worry about being replaced by or having Alex Smith looking over his shoulder figuratively.
Smith will not be active on Sunday according to Andy Reid who stated “I’m not going to have Alex up at all. Not at all. He’s going to be down. We’ll let time take care of that part.” Smith will reportedly run the scout team this week and it would be expected that he’ll be on the sideline with a headset in ear to help Nick Foles on gameday.
How will Nick Foles do? Enjoy the game Addicts!