KANSAS CITY MO - SEPTEMBER 26: Tony Moeaki #81 of the Kansas City Chiefs makes a one-handed 18-yard touchdown catch behind NaVorro Bowman #53 of the San Francisco 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium on September 26 2010 in Kansas City Missouri. The Chiefs won 31-10. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Upon the conclusion of the 2010 NFL draft many annalists were touting Eric Berry as that one flexible piece in a 3-4 scheme that would allow Kansas City to be much more versatile. Eric, they said, would end up being that one cog that would help the KC defensive machine be much more versatile.
But who was going to be that cog for the offensive machine?
It wouldn't take much of an argument to assert that Jamaal Charles is a vital component in the KC offense. It also goes without saying that without Thomas Jones, Dwayne Bowe, Dexter McCluster, and Chris Chambers the Chiefs might have stumbled in one of their first three wins.
But none of the Chief's players are affecting the play calling habits of Weis more than Tony Moeaki. Moeaki is the cog that is helping this 2010 Chiefs offensive machine run.
To be labeled a "cog" a player must not only be successful in his own right, not only contribute toward his fellow teammates success by his presence, but alter the very schemes around him. Cogs are pieces that are utilized as tactical tools, strategic weapons that actually allow tacticians the ability to formulate creative attack plans.
Tony Moeaki has become that cog for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Charlie Weis appears to be using Tony Moeaki in a similar way that Joe Gibbs used the H-back in the 90's. In the Washington Redskins offensive system, the H-back was asked to line up on the line, in the backfield, or put into various motions. The H-back was a receiver, a blocking tight end, a fullback, and a general jack of all trades from multiple formations.
That description fits Tony Moeaki to a tee.
Take the Ace Trey formation (illustration to right ) that Charlie Weis seemed so found of for the past two games. Generally, in the Ace Trey formation there is one running back, one tight end, and three receivers. But Charlie Weis has frequently tweaked that formation and inserted his versatile new cog in place of one of the wide receivers.
A dilemma for many defensive units becomes just how to classify this package. Is it a run package or a passing package? Well... the answer is, both. And that's the beauty of it.
Against the San Francisco 49ers the Chiefs ran the ball 4 times and passed it 3 out of this formation. Moeaki's versatility allows the Chiefs to do many different things out of the Ace Trey formation. He stays in the trips formation and goes into his route like a receiver, he goes into motion and becomes a fullback for a lead block, he goes in motion as a fullback and goes out for a pass.
The problem that many teams will come to find out is that Tony Moeaki is not only a pretty good receiver but he is a pretty good lead blocker as well. That in a nutshell is an offensive coordinators dream.
When most teams come out in the Ace Doubles formation (illustration to right) they think passing threat with some running ability. They don't think run heavy formation.
Insert the new KC cog into one of the receiver positions and put him in motion and you get...well...a run heavy formation: The Pro Strong set (illustration below).
Tony Moeaki is giving Charlie Weis the opportunity to take advantage of defensive schemes by using his cog to create advantages with formations. Some of the fortunate recipients of this creativity are versatile players in their own right: Charles, Jones, McCluster, Bowe, and Chambers.
Fans are noticing Tony Moeaki for his great pass catching abilities and seeing his contribution in the run game...but that is only scratching the surface as to how much this KC cog is contributing to his team.
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