KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Of the 53 less-than-glowing adjectives one could use to describe the Kansas City Chiefs’ passing game under The Pioli Dynasty — that’s how many synonyms Thesaurus.com churns out when you type in the word “feeble” — FAST is not among them.
Impotent, yes. Egregious, yes. Fast, no.
In fact, according to TeamRankings.com, the Chiefs ranked 16th in the NFL, right smack dab in the middle, in terms of offensive plays per game in 2012; they checked in at 13th in 2011. Point of comparison: New England and Detroit ranked 1-2 in ’12; New Orleans and the Patriots topped the charts the year before that. (As a general rule, the more confident — and efficient — your respective trigger man is under center, the more plays you tend to run.)
That brings us neatly around to the present and, more specifically, new Chiefs coach Andy Reid. In Philadelphia, Reid’s Eagles ranked sixth and ninth, respectively, in terms of plays per game, over the past two autumns. Considering that one of those Top 10s came last fall, while Gang Green was in somewhat chaotic straits at quarterback, it has to say something about the system itself, you’d think.
Which might explain the goofy grin on Chase Daniel’s face early Thursday afternoon as he tried to explain it all to a circle of television cameras.
“Get up and down, get on the ball, compete,” Daniel, the Chiefs’ new No. 2 signal-caller and former Missouri star, said after Tuesday’s Organized Team Activity (OTA) drew to a close. “Run our play. Don’t worry about what the defense is doing and just really press them.”
Wait. Press them? Our Chieftains?
Surely, you jest.
“You know, we like to press the defense but getting a lot of formations, and a lot of shifting and motion,” said Daniel, who did this sort of hurry-up stuff all the time with the Saints as Drew Brees’ backup. “Our tempo and stuff like that, that’s really what we’ve been working on right now.”
On the NFL calendar, spring is about tweakage. Much has been written and said about the Chiefs’ defense going after the other kids’ lunch money, but Reid is trying to impart a new offensive mantra, too, piece by piece.
To oversimplify things somewhat, whimpering and rolling into a fetal position is out; reaching for the jugular is in.
“I think the tempo wears down the defense,” Daniel said. “Let us get our breath and then — SNAP! — back into our tempo phases. It really just gives us a way to blitz the defense.”
Wait. Blitz the defense? Our Chieftains?
“Anyone, on any given play, can catch the football,” Daniel said. “There are five true options on the field at all times. … This offense, it reminds me a little bit of my Mizzou ones. You never know (who) is going to get the ball. All the receivers are running their hearts out, running great routes anby expecting the football. Which they should.”
He ain’t jesting, either. You can add the no-huddle to the list of 2013 OTA experiments — along with the option game, the Pistol formation, and Reid’s heavy-metal mix tapes to simulate crowd noise. If it’s Tuesday, it must be AC/DC.
“We have different tempos,” Daniel said. “And some tempos, we want the right play. And some tempos, we just want to get up and run a play.”
Because even speed for speed’s sake has teeth. The Patriots and Broncos ranked No. 1 and No. 4 in plays per game last fall; they ranked 1-2 in points per game. The Saints and Pats were 1-2 in plays per game in ’11, and were No. 1 and No. 3 in scoring, respectively. Done right, fast is fun. Straight nasty, too.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at email@example.com.