West Coast offense, short passing game helping to set up the run, crossing patterns, backs catching passes out of the backfield, watch out for the trap or the counter in the run game... if that seems familiar it's because Andy Reid has been pulling that stuff on the Cowboys for years. And now he'll do it again, although with a new team in Kansas City. The Chiefs have been down and out for a while, but they weren't without talent, they just never found the right person to lead it, to make a whole out of a bunch of parts. They think they have that now with Reid and new QB Alex Smith, who looks like a good fit for this offense.
It's hard to decide which was the biggest factor in last week's 28-2 Chiefs blowout of the Jaguars. Have the Chiefs improved that much, or are the Jaguars really that bad? My guess would be a little of both. ([UPDATE]: Seems the guys at Arrowhead Pride agree). The Chiefs defense absolutely smothered the Jaguars offense while the Chiefs offense was efficient, but not a juggernaut. They didn't need to be, they only needed to protect a lead that they built early in the game.
The Chiefs run a 3-4 defense and have a trio of good linebackers, with the outside guys being excellent pass rushers. Tackles Tyron Smith and Doug Free will have their hands full all day. The run defense stuffed Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jaguars, although we're still not sure how much of a test that was because of the offensive line and lack of threat from a Jaguars passing game. The Cowboys offer up a much more dangerous offense, the Chiefs will have to stop the run and deal with a bevy of receiving options. The secondary is talented in Kansas City, this will be fun to watch.
On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs/Andy Reid's West Coast offense will be an interesting matchup against the Cowboys new 4-3. The Giants found success with intermediate to deep throws on the Cowboys secondary, a result of the linebackers vacating the middle zone in attacking the line and the secondary playing with too much cushion and suffering some bad communication. The Cowboys defense is built on speed, it's built to chase down ball-carriers. They don't mind giving up the short pass, Andy Reid doesn't mind taking it. Sure tackling will be a must this week, the
Eagles Chiefs will get the ball to their playmakers quickly and let them do the rest. This is a precise offense, the defense must be quick and sure-tackling to counter it.
We'll be breaking down all of this in more detail over the next few days, I just wanted to get a little introduction/discussion going about the Chiefs.
Some other tidbits about the Chiefs:
-- The Chiefs play a 3-4 with outside 'backers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston a pretty good duo. If you don't know who Houston is, get familiar.
-- Dontari Poe was a disappointment at NT last season, but the Chiefs think he's turned it around this year. We'll see how Travis Frederick's battle with Poe will go.
-- The Chiefs sacked Gabbert six times last week. The 3-4 the Chiefs are running this year is an attacking defense.
-- You might think of Alex Smith as a more stationary QB, but he had 4 rushes for 25 yards last week, the Cowboys will need to watch that.
-- Jamaal Charles is the man at RB, but he's got a quad injury that could limit him.
-- The Chiefs offensive line is no joke, the Cowboys defensive line has a big challenge this week, more than against the banged up Giants line.