The design of the Kansas City Chiefs offense has been well-crafted this year.
Travis Kelce and his ability to catch the ball is having a major effect on how Andy Reid operates the Chiefs offense. There are a few numbers (via the NFL) which illustrate what happens when you go from having a capable third receiver (Dexter McCluster) to a capable second tight end (Travis Kelce).
The Chiefs last year ran plays with two tight ends about 26 percent of the time. This year, that number has gone up to 33 percent. Anthony Fasano is the starter and not leaving the field for very many plays so two tight end sets are clearly a way to get Kelce on the field. Add in three tight end formations.
The Chiefs last year passed out of those two tight end sets about 41 percent of the time. This year? They're passing it 63 percent of the time. Again, this is having Kelce as an option vs. Sean McGrath. Passing is more fun with Kelce.
Adam Teicher wrote a nice piece on the Chiefs use of three tight ends, which they've done 15 times this season, including a whopping 13 times last week against the Dolphins. Do you know how many three tight end sets the Chiefs ran last year? Zero. Imagine the Dolphins reaction when they saw that.
Again, this is clearly a result of the Chiefs personnel. They didn't have three tight ends they wanted on the field last year.
With the increase in the use of tight ends, the use of receivers has to come down, and it has. The Chiefs last year had three receivers on the field on over 50 percent of their snaps. That number is down to 40 percent so far this year.
What I take away from this is that Andy Reid is great at adapting his offense to his personnel. The third receiver last year (Dexter McCluster) was more valuable than the second tight end so the Chiefs ran more plays with three receivers rather than two tight ends. This year the second tight end (Kelce) is more valuable so the Chiefs are running more two tight end sets. Not only are they running more plays from that formation but they're passing more too, which matches Kelce's strength.
This is all still a small sample size, not even a quarter of the season. But I like that Andy Reid has been adapting his offense to his best players.