From the FanPosts. Outstanding. -Joel
Welcome to the first edition of Chiefs play of the week!
I had stated before the season that I wanted to take a moment from each week during the season to discuss a key play on either side of the ball and analyze it. In the pre-season in particular, I will try and emphasize themes of what can expect from our team-- a preview of sorts. This can also give you a look at how our coach's view our players rather than relying nebulous coach speak. The player of the week from last week was arguably Jamaal Charles. The reason for the excitement is emergence of a second dimension to Jamaal, both internally and externally. Here is what I mean:
CHIEFS PLAY OF THE WEEK
Here is a look at Charles with his receiving skills. I can't recall seeing these kind of plays from Charles ever. It is not that he can't, it is that he was never asked to. He would normally just run out of the side of the backfield and catch easy ones if the play broke down. This is a delayed run into the backfield for Charles. However, this play was more than a checkdown. It was a designed route by Charles to match him up with an inside linebacker in space as a secondary or possibly tertiary read. Anthony Fasano and Dwayne Bowe are running towards the left. From my view, it looks like Bowe is the primary read.
First, notice at the start of the GIF that Charles and Alex Smith are communicating about the defensive coverage. Normally, QBs communicate with RBs on protection but here Charles is communicating for pass coverage it looks like. There is a clear effort here to allow Charles to be more than a secondary option. Calling out soft parts of the defense and using Charles to shoot in there and exploit it.
Notice the left side of the field will occupy the primary red zone targets of Fasano and Bowe. In theory, this will be the strong side of the offense where the attention of the defense should be stronger. There is no access to All-22 for pre-season so I can't confirm this. However, the play design is interesting. Charles will run towards the "weak" side of the field. The way this play is opened up is by Dexter McCluster running a specific route that will draw the double coverage of the defense early before Charles is able to get upfield.
You will see here Charles does a little juke and fake to the left and then moves inside. These are really good skills as a receiver that Charles has never displayed before. The pass is right where Charles can get it and his ability to generate yards after the catch is sublime. You see him move like a fish out of water here before someone can get his hands on him. Charles will get into space here in this offense. This route was designed to get Charles matched up on linebackers in space.
In summary, the play design for this red zone sequence was likely Bowe as a primary read with Charles as the secondary read with a one-on-one matchup with a linebacker up field and in stride.
Now for Smith on this play, something you will just not notice watching casually on the TV is the phenomenal ball placement. Both Charles and Smith know exactly where to be.
Closer examination shows how difficult of a pass it was to complete:
Notice that the fingers of the D-linemen are perhaps centimeters from the ball. Smith has to throw it low in order to hit Charles in stride. He also has to throw it quick after the read, since the D-linemen often look at the QB's head.
It appears we will see Charles as more than running out of the backfield. Here we see him on another play in a bunch formation:
THE USE OF FASANO AND THE TIGHT ENDS
This is a play action pass with a fake towards the left side. You will see it is a 2-TE set here. Tony Moaeki is on the left side and Fasano on the right. Alex uses his mobility to create some space and make the pass to Fasano.
It should stick out here that Fasano is a good route runner and was the first read on the play. He fakes inward then moves outward. Moeaki also trails as a likely second read on the play. These are great plays to run on first and second down.
THE USE OF BALDWIN
Jon Baldwin was used in a number of different ways in this offense. As what was discussed earlier this season, Baldwin will be used more on slants and post-ups. We also saw in the play of the week where Baldwin served as red zone target, although not seriously targeted.
Here we see Baldwin with a post-up scenario.
I noticed Baldwin go a lot on deep routes but he never seemed to do it when there was a serious target for him there. From the small sample size, I think that Baldwin will probably be used more in the short passing game. Too early to tell though.
It is always hard to look at special teams without All-22 and even harder to do it live. You can see the key blocks here. The one that sticks out is Travis Kelce, No. 87, who levels the other guy in the ground. The design of this play appears to fake an inside block for McCluster but he quickly changes direction and cuts outside. This play all starts with McCluster beating his first man. I wouldn't get too excited though, the Saints had a poor special teams group last year.