New Grantland: Are Alex Smith and Andy Reid a Good Match in Kansas City?

It’s now up:

But there are lingering questions about both Smith and Reid. I’ll let others address whether the Chiefs overpaid for Smith, but I’m still not so sure that the fit is as good as it would seem. As is West Coast offense tradition, when Reid’s offense was at its best, it was as much about throwing vertically — with deep passes to Terrell Owens or DeSean Jackson breaking open a game — as it was about short passes underneath. Smith has never been known for his ability to throw the ball down the field. And of course, one of the biggest knocks on Reid in Philadelphia was that he would never stick with the run; much of Smith’s success in San Francisco came when supported by Harbaugh’s deep commitment to a power running game.

This is the specter that hangs over this trade and the marriage of Smith and Reid: the specter of, well, Jim Harbaugh (scary thought).

Read the whole thing.

  • plumbee

    You obviously know way more about football than I, but as a fan i always thought that Reid and McNabb’s success in Philly was based off the defense being extraordinary. After Jim Johnson, the defense was average to terrible and the offence (and Reid) went down with it. I haven’t seen much of Smith compared to the Eagles, but i thought it was a similar issue with the 49ers having a great defense and running game leaving the passing offense to not lose the game.

    If the KC defense isn’t top 5, Reid and Smith will have short stays in KC.

  • I expect Reid to do just fine. The components of the run game are already there and the defense has talent to play well, they just need to play in a scheme that fits the personnel and they need to play with emotion and passion….something lacking in recent years. The biggest problem is going to be the team overcoming the psychological stigma of being a perennial doormat, being labeled “losers”. If a team does not believe they can win, does not believe in the owners, coaches, management, leaders of the organization, their teammates, they have very little chance of turning around the franchise.Reid has a better chance than any of his predecessors because he has so much control, but he’s got his work cut out for him.

  • Biggest problem last year was KC simply quit on their coach. Not certain how you turn it on from there and don’t do the same thing when it gets too tough. That was what troubled me with their offseason so far, Bowe needs to be back but with Albert they went big money and kept the vets intact. Sometimes you need to shake it up there. They have more high draft picks on the D line some of the best players of their draft classes from respective years. Thought the O line needs more future and immediate help.
    Think KC should have looked at Charles Woodson, some kind of difference maker, any kind of difference maker, no matter how much or little tread is left on their tires. He wouldn’t be the quick fix-all, but it is improvement you look for first. They have money issues in the cap though, some of their best guys were brought in on the verge of the new agreement, don’t know how much they can float around on cap.
    They are a model small market franchise in many aspects. They play in one of the traditionally toughest divisions as well. How they respond to each opponent there is also part of their challenge. If it was won only on talent the Chargers would own the West often enough. Peyton changed the entire balance of power to help Denver(that team hid a lot of talent problems through the past two seasons).The Raiders have been relegated to farm team status. Ironically the biggest KC addition last offseason was Routte, a former Raider. Not sure how to work that team out, they were never good as the headlines, but shouldn’t believe what everyone else says to the negative.
    None of those are reasons to give up on seasons. Talk more about the system coming up….

  • Most of the West Coast Offense was predicated on the run game, although it was a complement to the pass game. Especially timed routes, quicks, and screens that could come from run formation or mirror those backfield actions.
    How they initially scripted plays was what evey team now copies. That way you know what to look for in how a defense adjusts. This mostly came through placement and formation, and these days teams include groupings with that. That was where the WCO could really get into another team’s design and begin to attack with concept passing.
    Once a WCO gets the feel for how you will align to a given set in terms of the front fit(for stopping runs) and coverage, they begin to dial in staple calls and concepts. For pass coverage it changes given down and distance as well, early focus is mostly in terms of indivudual technique since few teams play two deep all the time.
    If they can get motion to allow formational leverage, or changing splits, they begin to get a feel for calling sweeps, screens, or slants. If they split tight and you stay outside then they can go to inside breaking routes, and crossing concepts. If you play on them from tight splits they will try to outflank you with sweeps and halfback catches. If you play well off and switch duties with safeties or outside backers they can try quick outs, play passes or run a wideout at the force man and get him enough to spring runs.
    Inside breaking concepts time better. They also protect the ball from the defender most likely facing the throw. They compliment running by making alley defenders read for a step or two as the usual force men for run support, since that player has either curl or slant window cover duty. If you play too loose they will get outs on you, if you stay with outside leverage they will slant all day, if you tighten inside leverage to press cover they will outflank it.
    The Chiefs also have the big thing in today’s WCO, the dynamic one on one player. When Reid’s team played its top ball he got great play out Terrel Owens. A susperstar who could line up alone to one side of the field and always catch against a solo defender based on what the wideout brough physically. If you had to help with him the offense gained huge numbers to the other side of the field and formation. That gave him effeciency, the numbers, and the talent. He had the chalk in every instance, offensively. Bowe can bring that kind of matchup to the solo side. Reid can matchup with numbers(concepts) to the other side, and he has a feature back work from so if you try to just get physical and stay inside shoulder to rough up their big target and take away timed plays, he can get outside of you and do major damage with the back.
    Look at Niners earliest days, often getting the backs free on wide runs(the Dallas game where Dwight Clark made “The Catch” was fueled by runs against nickle defense in the winning drive). When the team was in its prime, guys like Wendell Tyler, Rodger Craig, Garrison Hearst and Ricky Watters were running with style and power to end drives and close games out like Dynasties deserve. Often they went off tackle, because you’d thrown so much that the alley defender had to read extra, or stay deeper so nobody got behind his head.
    Learning to throw in ways that remove run defenders from their assignment is what made the WCO so effective. The first step or two an alley defender who has force takes and the way his teammates use technique in that instance ends up offering an attack avenue for WCO timed routes or run actions.

  • Reid can make any QB look good!