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Setting Expectations: Charlie Weis Won't Pass More Than Todd Haley Did in 2009

One of the sentiments that was commented upon here and mentioned in a number of news outlets when Charlie Weis was hired was the affect that the big guy was going to have on the Kansas City Chiefs passing game. People commented how not only should the quality of the passing game increase but also the frequency with which the Chiefs will use it will increase as well. 

That makes sense. When you think of the New England Patriots from 2000-2004, you probably think of Tom Brady and his passing game right? 

I crunched some numbers to see how much a Weis-led offense passed the football versus Todd Haley's inaugural season as the Chiefs head coach and offensive coordinator. 

The results? They're there, after the jump. Let us know your thoughts.

Year 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Run Pass Run Pass Run Pass Run Pass
2000 44% 56% 46% 54% 21% 79% 44% 56%
2001 52% 48% 51% 40% 29% 71% 50% 50%
2002 40% 60% 42% 58% 25% 75% 45% 55%
2003 52% 48% 48% 52% 26% 74% 42% 58%
2004 57% 43% 50% 50% 29% 71% 75% 25%
Weis Avg. 49% 51% 47% 51% 26% 74% 51% 49%
Haley Avg. 50% (+1) 50% (-1) 41% (-6) 59% (+8) 21% (-5) 79% (+5) 35% (-16) 65% (+16)
Charlie Weis (2000-04) v. Todd Haley (2009) Play Calling by Down and Percentage

If you take a quick look across the bottom two rows, you'll see that Weis and Haley have definite similarities in their play calling, especially on first down. They're almost split evenly on running versus passing, which I feel like is the only strategy to have on first down. 

Where they vary, and where Haley passes more than Weis, is on second and third down. I'm tempted to chalk those modest increases up to the Chiefs issues gaining/not losing yardage on first down, thus causing them to pass the ball more to gain first downs. Although an 8% increase on 2nd down passing by Todd Haley makes me think that he probably likes to pull the trigger in the passing game on second down more than Weis does. 

There is also a big increase in Haley's passing on fourth down but I'm not one to attribute much overall strategy to fourth down. It's a much more situational down than a strategic down.

Going by averages, Weis should theoretically pass less than Haley did last year.

Potential play calling

Another way to look at this chart is in terms of potential. Weis and Haley's play calling averages out to be similar in many places but what about Weis' extremes?

On first down, the most Weis ever passed on first down was in 2002 (60/40 split). That is definitely due to a non-existent running game. The Patriots were 28th in the league in rushing in '02 and 12th in passing. 2002 also marked Weis' highest passing ratio on second down as well.

Third down is the exception. Weis passed 79% on third down in 2000, his first year with the Pats. The Patriots were almost equally as bad running and passing the ball that year. They were 28th in rushing and 23rd in passing.

I don't think Charlie Weis is going to have to use the passing game as a crutch for a sub par running game next season in Kansas City. Jamaal Charles is more than capable of providing a rushing threat to compliment Matt Cassel. I see the Chiefs having a very balanced attack next year.

My biggest take away from these numbers is that if the situation warrants it, Weis will not hesitate to lean on the passing game in his play calling. I don't think the 2010 Chiefs will make him do that though.


What do you think Chiefs fans? Will Weis pass the ball more than Haley did last year?

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