Chan Ball Not So Boring
Aug 09, 2008, 7:51:12 AM by Bob Gretz - FAQ
RIVER FALLS, WI – Some observers came here to the northwoods and reported back to Kansas City that the Chiefs offense was going to be a pretty boring attack this year. The Vermeil/Saunders Flying Circus was history and now under new coordinator Chan Gailey, the Chiefs supposedly were basic and not very flashy when they had the ball.
After Thursday night’s pre-season opener in Chicago, hopefully every fan of the Chiefs got to see there’s nothing about this offense that screams boring. Certainly it shouldn’t be considered boring after producing three touchdowns against one of the better defenses in the NFL.
Yes, it was a single game, and a pre-season game at that. But because Gailey’s offense is new and so many of the players operating in it are also new, there will not be a complete camouflage of this attack in these games that do not count.
The Chiefs cannot afford that. They must expose their players to as many snaps in the scheme, with as many plays possible. This must happen in front of everyone, including the fans, media and yes even their future opponents.
So what you saw is what you are going to get. Yet even against the Bears, Gailey didn’t pull out all the plays in his book. There’s more to come from the Chiefs offense.
What we saw at Soldier Field was a ball-handler’s offensive scheme. In this attack, you will not often see the quarterback simply hand the ball off to a running back after taking the snap. There are a lot of fakes by the quarterback. One of the most frequent comes on a play where the quarterback will fake a short handoff to the halfback, and then he’ll fake a pitch to the same halfback running to the left. The quarterback will then bootleg to the right, away from his running back and throw on the run.
Quarterback movement is big in this offense. There are the bootlegs (quarterback rolls out to the strong side of the formation) and nakeds (p***er rolls out to the weak side of the formation.) Some of that comes because of unknown production from a newly created offensive line. Some of that is to keep the defense on its toes.
There are end-around runs, sometimes incorrectly called reverses by broadcasters, where a wide receiver takes the handoff from the quarterback. There are direct snaps to running backs, with the quarterback lined up as a wide receiver. There are throw- back screens, where everyone heads right, while the receiver and a group of blockers is setting up left. There are short screens, p***es that travel sometimes no more than a yard.
Always there is the theme of trying to keep the defense off-balance, faking this way, to make something happen the other way.
That’s what has been happening since the first day of the off-season program. Nothing is being kept under wraps. Some unsophisticated football pundits may have declared it boring and basic, but that would have been after only watching the first week of work, when the players were doing more thinking than playing. Now, every practice the offense gets better, the execution is more efficient and the productivity has gone up.
Yes, the Chiefs have gotten better here in the land of beer and cheese.
They are doing just what Herm Edwards said they would do with this slimmer and trimmer playbook. They would work the plays and work the plays and work the plays so that the success of the system will be based on execution. In the past, the Vermeil/Saunders offense was based on the volume of plays and the different looks they presented to a defense with shifting, motion and formations.
After five-plus seasons, all the shifting and motion was no longer fooling anybody. Defenses eventually got to the point where they stood there and said, “go-ahead do all your movement, we’ll wait until your done.” With so many plays, there was less chance to practice them. That might work with a veteran offense that’s been together for some time. But with new people and new faces in new places, volume would be a disaster.
Without the volume, there must be execution.
That started in Chicago. Funny, it didn’t look boring to me.