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Grading Andy Reid: Week 7 vs. Steelers

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs won!!! The losing streak is over. Let the optimism and red koolaid floweth over our Chiefs mugs.

The Chiefs schedule appears to lighten up in the second half so maybe there is some reason to be hopeful. During his time in KC Andy Reid has actually done fairly well against bad teams, of which there are plenty in the Chiefs second half schedule. In 2013 and 2014 Reid has a record of 17 - 3 against teams that did not make the playoffs.

I'd like to start this weeks grade with a little bit of an apology. After the Chicago loss I was grief stricken and took my unhappiness out on Reid, everything was his fault; so I gave him a 23/100. The next week against Minnesota, I chose to take it a little easier on Reid, and gave him a 79/100 which he probably didn't deserve. The commenters were very quick to notice these inconsistencies, and responded by giving me some flack. The names of the commenters below have been changed to protect their identity.

These grades are FAR to generous

--ToddBauman

Super G

Has folded like the Freedom Caucus

--RandomGuy123

I'm not sure what that means, but it probably can't be good.

Accuracy of the grading system 19.2/100

--BigMeanie24

This one got rec'd five times.

Your own evaluation system has him at a season's average of 62.83 yet you say, "I'll continue to believe he is a good coach".  You are arguing against yourself.

--BobBobberson

To which one response was made:

Yep, this grading system is biased and I laugh every time I read them.

--JohnJohnson

And then let's not forget the last comment that was really uncalled for.

I've been sleeping with your fiancee and we like to read your articles and laugh at them afterwards.

--BigDirtyWang69

So, maybe if I'm not mistaken ... I should probably keep it at an even keel for the rest of the season? Maybe I should also find out who BigDirtyWang69 is ... but then he's probably big and dirty and could easily take me. So I think I'll leave that alone. Going forward we'll keep the grading system level.

I would like to take a brief moment to address the bias comment. I'm going to ride this ship with Reid until the wheels fall off, or oars, whatever it is that ships have that can fall off. Maybe I am biased towards Reid, but I can't help but believe in his track record. Not too many coaches in the NFL can last three years, let alone 17. Regardless of how this season has started Reid is still a good coach, and I'm going to stand by that until this keyboard is ripped from my clammy, carpel tunnel ridden hands.

Now all of that is taken care of, let's get to the grade!

We'll be using the same grading criteria as before:

Grading Criteria (Points Possible)

  • Starting roster (15)
  • Player preparedness / discipline (15)
  • Offensive play calling (30)
  • Game altering decisions (25)
  • Clock management (15)
  • Challenges +/- a range of 5 points.
As always, things change during the season, so the grading criteria should also change. All suggestions will continue to be welcome.

Starting Roster

I'm wondering if starting roster is the correct term for what I am trying to address with this section. I think there may be a better name for it. Below are the factors that played some role in Reid's grade.
  • Fisher moved to LT and Stephenson was benched. AP, including yours truly, had been arguing for this for a while now. It worked out well.
  • Jeff Allen finally hit the starting lineup and performed well.
  • LDT replaced Fulton. Fulton is a consistent player. LDT has been a more risk/reward type player on the OL. Most would say that LDT's ceiling is higher than Fultons. Ultimately LDT played well, so this was also a good move.
  • Maclin sat the game out - I believe Reid had a little to do with this. Historically it seems Reid hasn't rushed players back from injury. This was a good decision because risking further injury to Maclin could be very detrimental to both the player and the team.
The OL was playing horribly and Reid made some major moves. It may have been a little later than a lot of us wanted but ultimately it worked out in Week 7 against the Steelers. Hopefully this OL continues to play well.

Starting Roster Grade:  15/15

Player Preparedness / Discipline

I liked a lot of the things I saw from the Chiefs against the Steelers.
  • How about Eric Fisher getting into the face of the Steelers defender who was twisting West's ankle after the play was dead? Personally I think standing up for your teammates is commendable and it was great seeing Fisher take the lead. While it cost the Chiefs 15 yards, there is a certain amount of intensity and camaraderie that comes from standing up for your teammates, and I liked the intensity here.
  • The Chiefs did not turn the ball over. Slowly but surely this offense is climbing the league in offensive turnover ranking, which is a good sign.
  • Not including Fisher's taunting penalty, the Chiefs were penalized five times at home. This could have been better.
Player Preparedness / Discipline Grade:  13/15

Offensive Play Calling

The offensive line played much better this game, and so did Alex Smith. One play I remember in particular was a check down to West where Kelce was wide open near the end zone but there is always more to the story. That being said here are some factors for Reid's offensive play calling grade.
  • Reid elected to throw the ball 37 times, and run the ball 26 times. This type of balance is better than what we have seen in weeks past. If the Chiefs run the ball 40 - 45 percent of the time they should be in good shape. As I've said in weeks past asking Smith to throw the ball 40-plus times will not win a lot of games.
  • An important component of Reid's offense is third down conversion rate. The Chiefs were 9/16 on third down. This is much better than the Chiefs average on the season. The Chiefs will need this number to continue to be high if the offense is to put many points on the board.
  • Both Albert Wilson and Chris Conley were given opportunities to catch the ball. One play in particular was the quick throw to Wilson. This appeared to be a scripted play that Reid dialed up and Wilson ended up rambling for a 40-yard gain. Going forward I'd like to see Wilson catch the ball in space more often.
  • The red zone offense was very poor again. The Chiefs currently rank 27th in TD red zone performance in the NFL. This has to improve if the Chiefs want to do good things.
I think it should be noted the Reid-led Chiefs were able to put some points on the board without Maclin, and without Jamaal Charles. This is good news. Some points will be deducted from the score for the red zone ineffectiveness, but overall Reid did well with the play calling.

Offensive Play Calling Grade:  26/30

Game Altering Decisions

Below are a list of the potential game altering decisions Reid made during the game:
  • 1st quarter 8:51 - 4th and 3 PIT 11. Reid elected to kick the field goal here. Early in the game, at home, and the score 0 - 0, I believe Reid made the right decision to kick the field goal.
  • 2nd quarter 9:00 - 4th and Goal PIT 3. Reid once again chose to be conservative and kick the field goal. With the score 3 - 3, and the game still early, this was probably the best decision. Although going for it may not have been the end of the world.
  • 2nd quarter 1:05 - 4th and 6 PIT 9. Once again deep in Steeler territory Reid kicked the field goal with the Chiefs up 6 - 3. This was also the correct decision with one minute left and six yards to get the first down.
All in all, Reid wasn't faced with too many difficult decisions this game. All the field goals Reid elected to kick were reasonable, so we can't take any points off here.

Game Altering Decisions Grade:  25/25

Clock Management

With the Chiefs leading most of the game, Reid didn't have many hard decisions concerning the clock management.
  • After the Derrick Johnson interception the Chiefs had the ball on the Steeler's 40 with 27 seconds remaining. Smith was able to move the Chiefs to the 31, but then was sacked. Reid used the timeouts correctly at the end of the second half. He used one after a Conley reception, and the other after the sack.
  • In the fourth quarter with the Chiefs up by 10 and 2:05 left in the game Reid elected to run the ball three consecutive times. Given Reid's history with passing the ball at inopportune times, this was good for Reid to run the clock out.
Once again points can't be deducted for clock management as Reid did his job well in regards to managing the clock in this game.

Clock Management Grade:  15/15

Total Grade:  94/100

2015 Average Grade:  67.29

At the end of the day, even though the Chiefs were playing the Steelers third string quarterback, Reid led the Chiefs offense to 23 points and a win without their star RB, or their No. 1 WR. He chose to send a message to the offensive line and benched some players, as well as moved Fisher from RT to LT. The offensive line responded well to this move. Reid didn't make errors for big decisions in the game, and he also managed the clock well. This was a good game for Reid.

The graph is back!  Red denotes a loss, and blue denotes a win.