Hello, APers. NN went down to Chiefs camp today by himself with no friends or anything because my doctor says I have this thing called agoraphobia which I personally think was made up by commies and probably doesn't even exist.
It was nice not having to worry about dragging friends around whenever I wanted to go to a certain drill or something and it also allowed me to focus in on the practice and not feel like such a weirdo when I'm on my phone taking notes in the middle of a massive group of people thinking they're hot stuff because they knew how to pronounce Tyler Bray from that little pamphlet they give you while I silently obsess over who wins the number 2 fullback battle (I seriously need to take a break).
I was able to hone in on the beauty of our offense this morning, while the focus of my last trip was looking at Sutton's new and shiny defense. And let me tell you, I love what I see. And as you may be able to imply from my title and that picture of Cam Newton, they did tons of work with one of my favorite things to watch in all of football.
THE TRIPLE OPTION!
You can run the triple option out of all of these formations, and more. The beauty of the triple option is it's versatility. At worst, you give the first read guy the ball and he takes it for what basically has the same chances that a dive play would have. If the DE or OLB crashes down, however, then this gets more interesting. Now you have two guys in space hopefully against one person, and if your quarterback is smart and goes through his reads properly, this kind of play can lead to MASSIVE yardage.
It can be our secret weapon, it won't be a focal point of the offense but pull it out once or twice a game, and we have a ton of guys who run sub 4.4 40 yard dashes who defenses just gave a LOT of open field to. And not only is Alex a capable runner who could tuck it and take it 25 yards if he were to call his own number, he's a very smart and cerebral player who calmly goes through his reads and almost always makes the proper decision. This could be something special, that new wrinkle that puts this running game over the top. Reid has been talking a lot about getting playmakers in space, but that doesn't only apply to the passing game.
Reid has said that option won't be a huge part of this offense, but considering how much they practice it in camp you gotta think it will have it's role in Kansas City. In 9-on-7, pistol has been a more focused on area the last few days. And boy, are there some fun formations. It's legitimately like they took my custom playbook from Madden 06 and put it on the field (They seriously need to put that back in, btw).
TRIPLE OPTION FROM THE SPLIT OFFSET SHOTGUN WITH A MOTION GUY ON THE KICK OUT BLOCK
This was the first option play I saw, but It had a few wrinkles, the most notable of which being Braden Wilson at WR. Yes, the massive, gargantuan, colossal behemoth of a fullback was lined up like he was about to catch a crossing route over the middle. Of course, he didn't. He was lined up on the left and as the cadence started he began to sprint down the line to his right. As the ball gets snapped, Edgar Jones gets upfield and Chase reads him before handing it off to his first read, Knile Davis up the gut. Chase then rolls out with Gray to the right to sell the option, but Edgar isn't fooled and starts toward the ballcarrier. But he doesn't know that Wilson is just a foot away, and he has a 10 yard sprint at a completely stationary, unsuspecting defender. It's the perfect killshot, only a few like it in a lifetime for a blocker. By the time Edgar turns his head and sees what is coming his way, a 6'4 and 260 pounds freight train hits him right in the chest and completely buries him in what was easily the hit of the day. Knile cuts it up on his inside hip, the fake rollout and pitch freezes Hartman long enough for Knile to get that split second of daylight he needs to be gone. Absolutely beautiful play.
TRIPLE OPTION FROM THE DIAMOND, WITH AN INTRIGUING FIRST READ
This one is a more basic Diamond formation with one thing noticable detail. Fasano was lined up to his left, Moeaki to his right. Jamaal behind. A normal enough setup, but the first read in the triple option? It was to Fasano up the gut. Not only are we getting the RB's, QB's, FB's, Dex and Hemmingway in on the run game, this is a play that has a 50% chance of being handed off to a tight end. I like the thought of a big, strong tight end slamming into the hole with Tony Mo leading up, but Tamba bites down and Alex and Jamaal take the ball out to the left. The play works perfectly and Kendrick is out on an island, torn between who to cover. And like a triple option QB who has been doing it his entire football career, Alex makes a convincing dummy pass, fooling Kendrick long enough for Alex to squirt passed him and kick into overdrive for what would've been a huge gain.
TRIPLE OPTION WITH THE MOTION MAN FROM THE SLOT TO BE THE PITCH MAN
Here was a play we saw more than a couple of times today in scrimmages. Dexter motions to the right and down pre snap and Alex reads the DE as to whether to give it to Jamaal. A lot of the time he handed it off, and the moment it took to freeze the linebackers was enough to allow Jamaal to get very decent yardage. But the few times Alex or Chase would take it was the interesting part, because Dex is one hell of a weapon. Pretty much every time they would try to pitch it, and I don't blame them. Even if there's a guy behind the read man, Dex still almost always gets a 1-on-1 matchup against a strong safety in the open field. Every time they rolled out they normally got a first down, whether the QB or Dex took it.
Things to take away...
Not only did this team obviously put a much larger focus on the option game than Reid is letting on to, they looked INCREDIBLY polished and effective (and that's not even mentioning the regular read option they utilized, which was about every other play in zone drills). We have two guys who are very talented with it. Alex's calculating, cool playing style and above average athleticism from his position really lends itself to being a successful option QB. And Daniel has stiflingly fast feet and is built like an old-school fullback, so when he takes it himself he knows what to do with it in his hands.
But with the positive comes the negative. Our defense at times looked lost and out of position when faced with these plays, which a lot of us thought was why Ault was brought in. Facing RGIII, Manuel, probably Terrelle Pryor, Vick and other talented QB runners and option offenses we are going to need to shut this thing down at some point.
I not only hope but expect to see a little option against New Orleans on Friday. And I won't be surprised if it produces some solid yards.
Other things from today...
Baldwin had himself a pretty dang good day. He got open a bunch over the middle and had more than one reaching, diving tiptoe catch on the sideline.
Knile had another impressive day. I can't wait to watch him on Friday.
Fisher had a solid day again to add to his streak. He went up against Tamba and Houston a couple times each and aside from getting embarrassed by Hali once he stood up to the task.
Chavis is definitely looking to impress. Every time he went up against the blocking sled he would toss it over on it's side during his rip move. Hope we see that in games.
Tyson and Poe are just too strong (Tyson looks massive, btw. And has been quietly having one of the best camps out of everyone this year with a much improved pass rush). Every time they would hit the blocking dummy they would have it up over their heads. And those things aren't light.
Rokevious Watkins doesn't seem to want to play that bad and has little sense of urgency, but he has been good overall. Best hands of the #2 linemen besides Schwartz and always gets movement in the run game. He's an absolute giant too. He walked up to the sidelines and I stood next to him and thought I was a hobbit about to be eaten by an ogre.
Mike Catapano was still out and he walked past the sideline. You cannot even conceive how ripped and intimidating he looks up close. Some 5-6 year old said "I hope you get better" as he walked past and he responded with a smiling "will do."
I hate to keep commenting on their physiques but similarly Bailey is built like a professional wrestler. No neck, huge shoulders, giant arms, huge chest, no belly and has two tree trunks coming out his his waist. Not only does he look like a superhero, he's been playing very well as of late too. Incredibly quick off the line and one of the strongest punches on the team, just jolts offensive linemen back and then he can just toss them any way he plays or use his swim move to rocket around blocks.
Powe may be kind of clumsy looking but he sure puts on a show with his bullrush and club.
Schwartz is very strong. Chavis tried to bullrush him and he didn't budge an inch, right as he noticed a hint of balance being off he swung him to the ground.
My favorite thing about Nico that I saw from his college tape and have seen in camp is something our former SILB's couldn't do. His ability to take on blocks while simultaneously also being able to make a play is his best attribute. I want to see him start so bad but Jordan has been pretty solid.
Kilgore may be small but he plays like a defensive tackle. Against Knile in a pass protection drill he just bowled right through him for the sack.
Sam Baker with a solid day. Everyone forgot about him.
Eric Berry blitzed a lot and showed a knack for it. He's such a dangerous player.
As you can tell from that first play I described, Wilson had a nice day. One of the hardest hitters on the team.
Opurum again with a solid day. He's got good hands and is a talented runner, I'd like for him to actually play some tailback.
Our tight ends are too good. All of them. I don't know how we will give them all enough reps.
During hand drills, Fisher stood out with the fastest hands on the line. A close second was Hudson.
Gray really has worked on pass protection. Stuffed a blitzing Zac Diles at the POC, very impressed given his history.