From the FanPosts. Terrific breakdown as always. -Joel
The result was an incompletion but it was a statement. The Chiefs were going to set the tempo on offense and run their style of play. Moreover, they are going to showcase Alex Smith, not "hide him."
Against the Cowboys in the home opener, the Chiefs employed another statement play: The TRIPLE OPTION.
NOTE: The following explanation is going to explain the option in simple and short terms. For more exhaustive and complete explanations, please refer to the links at the end of the article.
The Chiefs started out on offense in the following formation:
This is just a straight pistol formation. You can run any offense out of this formation. A basic run play. A pass play. A read option. Anything. However, the formation wouldn't stay that way for long.
McCluster will receive a subtle signal from Alex Smith to come inside. Again, it is not clear at this point what they are going to do. This could be a hand off to Dexter McCluster or just a hand off to Jamaal Charles with McCluster as a decoy.
The first signal of the play is Alex's initial positioning and focus. Alex is not scanning the field. His sole job is to stare down #99 there on the bottom of the screen. His focus is to see where he will go. You see, for the read option, this guy will be left completely unblocked in the play. Fasano will just brush right by him and then he is immediately forced into making a decision of where to go. Alex correctly reads him to be coming towards the inside (i.e. towards the RB).
So...Alex holds onto the ball. This was the logical progression out of the play design. Alex is then confronted right away with #39 Brandon Carr. This is the Alex's second read on the play. If Carr commits to McCluster, he will keep the ball. If he commits to Alex, he will pitch the ball to McCluster. Carr doesn't commit well to either but is probably more on McCluster. The pitch is always a risk and takes time so it was definitely the right decision to keep it.
Here is the play in action:
Thus, the triple option. It is the triple option because there are three possible carriers of the ball on the play. There are two reads only on the play though.
A couple of salient points for me:
1) Alex Smith clearly knows his way around this type of play. He ran variations of this in Utah, ran some with the Niners and practiced it this off-season. He made the right reads and executed the play well.
2) This is where McCluster's versatility comes into play. His ability to play all over the field will be asset for creative designs like this.
3) The running lane for Charles is also pretty good. The read option leaves an unblocked defender to help in run support and Charles can get some nice runs from here.
4) This is a very creative version of the triple option. Many of the play designs come with a player to the side and behind the QB. It is well disguised form the beginning.
This was not the last read option play from the game either. Check out this video with some of the other option plays that were run.
Further Reading on the Read Option: