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Monday, November 18, 2013
Don't look for offense to emphasize the run

By Adam Teicher

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs put their wobbly passing game on display on Sunday night against the Broncos in Denver and again were disappointed with the results. The Chiefs had little to show for the 45 passes from quarterback Alex Smith and were defeated for the first time this season.

Meanwhile, the one offensive thing the Chiefs did better than the Broncos is the one thing they generally do better than their opponents. They outgained the Broncos in rushing yardage, making seven times in 10 games they've topped their opponent in that category.

The solution would seem to be for the Chiefs to accept their offensive limitations, realize what it is they do best and then play to those strengths.

But Chiefs coach Andy Reid indicated Monday he had no plans to take the offense in a different direction.

"We try to do that, play to our strengths," Reid said. "We’ve been hovering around that 50-50 [run-pass] area. I think that’s probably where we’re at our best, right in that area, where you can still keep defenses off balance."

He makes a good point and the Chiefs shouldn’t become one-dimensional. But they’re a better team when the play-call balance tips more toward the run. The Chiefs need to feed Jamaal Charles, the AFC’s leading rusher, and when he gets tired, make use of rookie Knile Davis. Offensive coordinator Doug Pederson and running backs coach Eric Bieniemy have said Davis has made progress to the point where he’s ready to play. Well, then, let’s see more of Davis.

The Chiefs’ play-calling hasn’t been a 50-50 mix. They’ve thrown 360 passes and attempted 280 runs, a ratio that is very close to the league average.

But the Chiefs aren’t average. The passing game is delivering precious little for the Chiefs. Quarterback Alex Smith is completing about 58 percent of his passes, below the league average of 61 percent. The Chiefs are at or near the bottom of the league in yards per game and yards per attempt.

Clearly, their offense isn’t working the way it’s going. It’s time to make the change.

“We’ve been seeing a lot of man coverage," Reid said. "They’re packing the box in. Obviously they know we’ve got a pretty good runner. There’s a point where you’ve got to do some things throwing the ball. You try to mix and match it as best as you can.

“You’ve got to be able to throw the football in this league. We’re working on that. We’re working on getting better at both [running and passing]"