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On Chris Ault and the Kansas City Chiefs, remember play-action

The KC Chiefs surprisingly hired Chris Ault, the creator of the pistol offense, as a consultant. We make another attempt predicting what he'll be doing in KC.


When the Kansas City Chiefs hired Chris Ault, the former Nevada head coach and father of the pistol offense, I kept thinking there had to be more to the story. The Chiefs aren't moving to a full-time pistol offense. Maybe they feature it now and again, but not full-time. So, why then, did the Chiefs feel compelled to hire the game's best mind on the pistol?

Complete coverage: Chris Ault to KC

I figured it had to do with something besides running the pistol on offense. Maybe it was to help the defense defend the pistol, even though the Chiefs play just three teams who could feature the pistol. Maybe it was to scout the quarterbacks in the 2014 draft for pistol purposes. Or maybe the Chiefs wanted to take some features of the pistol offense, not all of them, and incorporate that into their offense. Like running the play-action out of that formation.

Dan Hinxman of the Reno Gazzette Journal, the reporter who broke the Ault hiring and has quoted Ault about the job in Kansas City, wrote an article that has some hints at what to expect with Ault.

"The Pistol began as a north-south, run-first offense that Ault used to set national rushing records at Nevada in the late 2000s," Hinxman wrote. "He added the read option, and then more recently began to increase the role of the play-action in the Pistol. That's what could make the formation even more intriguing to the NFL, and particularly Reid."

"...[Ault] recently began to increase the role of the play-action in the Pistol. That's what could make the formation even more intriguing to ... Reid."

The key words here are that the pistol is a formation. Anything can be run out of that formation, including Andy Reid's West Coast Offense. You look at the Chiefs offense. Where is the strength? The running game. When your strength is the running game, the play-action can be very dangerous. And that is where I see this pistol business going. That's where Ault's impact will be.

"We do a little bit of everything," Reid said when asked about running the pistol, "so that's what we've always done. We're not featuring that. But we mess around with a little bit of everything."

"It's a wealth of knowledge," Smith said about the pistol this week. "For me, being exposed to it, playing with Colin (Kaepernick) and the little bit we were doing back there in San Fran, I got a little bit exposed to it, and then a few days with him got me excited."

Ault may not cause KC's offense to look dramatically different, but he does allow them to show different looks. Play-action in the pistol seems to be a logical next step.

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