No, Andy Reid is not a player, but after last week’s loss to the San Diego Chargers, the spotlight needs to shine on the head coach a little bit this week. The Kansas City Chiefs prepare for their rematch against the Denver Broncos, and Reid is coming under scrutiny.
It was easy to overlook some of the faults and issues with this team when they were undefeated but now that Kansas City has dropped two games in a row, all the blemishes are coming to the surface. This team has some problems, not only with personnel on the field, but with some of the game plans and decision making on the sideline.
Things really bubbled to the top last week in the final two minutes of the game against the Chargers. The Chiefs, down by 3, were in easy field goal range and driving for a touchdown, and the win. In that final two minutes, well within field goal range, the Chiefs called timeout with 15 seconds to go on the play clock. If the Chiefs were to score, it wasn’t smart to leave much time on the clock, especially the way the Chiefs had played defense that game.
So, right there, about 13 seconds were given away.
The Chiefs had the ball first-and-ten on the 6 yard line with a minute and a half to go. The smart play would have been to run the ball. If Jamaal Charles would have busted through for a touchdown, that would have been all right. You have to try to score. If Charles would have picked up, say 3 yards, San Diego would had to call a timeout. The Chiefs could have even run 2 running plays – either they would have scored or the Chargers would have had to burn the rest of their timeouts.
Instead, Reid chose to pass the ball on first down. Kansas City scored a touchdown on that first down play, leaving 1:22 on the clock, and the Chargers with 2 timeouts. The rest is history.
Philip Rivers marched down field almost unimpeded for a touchdown because he had nearly a minute and a half and two timeouts. If he would have had those 13 seconds burned, and even one less timeout, there is a good chance Rivers couldn’t have gotten his team down the field in time.
Reid’s lack of love for the running game must be addressed. Some people criticize Reid for running Jamaal Charles too much and others criticize him for using him too little. In truth, Charles hasn’t really been over worked in any one game. There have only been 4 games where Charles has had 20 or more carries, and never more than 22. In three of those, Charles had 86 or more yards. In five game, Charles has less than 18 carries.
Now, it is true that Charles does catch quite a few balls in the passing game, but since week three, he has had more than 5 receptions only once – 6 against Buffalo.
Ideally, it would be great if Charles could get 25 total touches a game, either in the ground game or passing a game, and Knile Davis receive 5-7 touches. The problem is, Andy Reid rarely shows any commitment to the run. He has used the run late in games in which the Chiefs hold the lead in the fourth quarter but there have been few game when he has used the run during the course of the game in general.
Of course, Reid uses his version of the West Coast offense, which holds that the short passing game is just an extension of the running game. Believe that or not, but if Jamaal Charles carried the ball a few more times , maybe it would loosen up the defense for the passing game.
Regardless, the lack of commitment to the running game can be frustrating, like last week for instance. Charles had just 14 carries and Davis had but one. Yes, the Chiefs were playing from behind some in the second half but it was never so pressing as to abandon the run like that.
Let’s get one thing clear. Andy Reid is the best coach this team has had in quite some time. Let’s not run him out of town or anything crazy like that. There are some irritating things about his coaching style though, that can really irk armchair quarterbacks.
If the Chiefs are going to beat the Broncos Sunday, with their defense banged up and short handed, then Andy Reid is going to have to call more running plays, for both Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis. They have got to keep Peyton Manning off the field as much as possible and you do that by running the football.
The spotlight will be pointed directly on Andy Reid this week. His staff has to come up a defensive game plan to stop Manning, without Justin Houston, and maybe with Tamba Hali being less than 100%. He also has to call plays that keep Manning on the bench. Clock management has also come into question with Reid.
There will be a lot of eyes paying closer attention to Reid this week. Let’s see how he does under the spotlight.