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Grading Andy Reid at the halfway point: Midterms

We are at the halfway point of our grading Andy Reid series. When I first set out writing these articles I had a few ultimate goals:

  1. Offer a place for us to play head coach
  2. Delve deeper into the 'chess match' part of NFL football
  3. See if any trends could be found regarding Andy Reid
This article will focus on identifying any of those trends from the first half of the season. With Reid having such an interesting history, my goal was to prove or disprove any preconceived notions about the Chiefs head coach. We'll take a look at how Reid has progressed through the season in the grading criteria we've established throughout the season.

The four grading criteria that will be used in this article are:
  • Player Preparedness / Discipline
  • Offensive Play Calling
  • Game Altering Decisions
  • Clock Management
A table is worth a thousand words, so I'll display all of the tables and then discuss some interesting takes I've found during the past eight weeks.

Player Preparedness / Discipline

Below is a graph that tracks Reid's player preparedness grades over the first eight weeks of the season.

Player preparedness average grade: 57%

Offensive Play Calling

And now it's the table for the offensive play calling grades.

Average offensive play calling grade:  64%

Game Altering Decisions

And now we're on to the game altering decision grades from week to week.

Average game altering decisions grade:  82%

Clock Management

Average clock management grade:  69%

Reid's Total Grade in 2015: 71.38%

We'll start the analysis section by mentioning a few preconceived notions about Reid.
  • Reid is an excellent offensive mind and is great at play calling.
  • Reid is awful at clock management.
  • Reid often makes head scratching in-game decisions.
We'll address each of these one by one. First let's rank Reid's performances through the first eight weeks of the season. Keep in mind this is one half of a season out of an almost 17 year coaching career by Reid. Please take these findings with a slight grain of salt. Here is how Reid's grades rank thus far:
  1. Game Altering Decisions - 82%
  2. Clock Management - 69%
  3. Offensive Play Calling - 64%
  4. Player Preparedness - 57%
I was somewhat surprised to see a Reid coached team struggling so much in the player preparedness department. Perhaps the Week 2 debacle against Denver really messed with his players minds. Either way, the Chiefs should have been more mentally tough than this.

Preconceived notion "Reid is an excellent play caller" -- Even though Reid has a 64% on this category, I believe the majority of the offense's failures have been due to poor execution, especially on the offensive line. Regardless of the poor execution, Reid could be doing a better job of putting his offense in a position to succeed. As of now the Chiefs offense is average, and the results of the play calling have also been average.

Preconceived notion "Reid is terrible with clock management" -- Throughout the season Reid's clock management has been hit and miss. A lot of good or normal clock management decisions Reid makes are often overshadowed by the really bad clock management decisions. However, when Reid makes a bad clock management decision, it can be really, really bad. The decision not to call the timeout with 50 seconds left in the Bears game during Week 5 stopped the Chiefs from having any chance of coming back and winning that game with a FG. This one blunder itself may have cost the Chiefs a chance at the playoffs.

Preconceived notion "Reid makes some head scratching in game decisions" -- There are two parts to this. The first part so far this season is that Reid has done a good job with game altering decisions. It's what he is performing the best at this season in regards to his grade. The second part is that there have been a freakishly small amount of opportunities for Reid to make game altering decisions thus far into the season based on the games the Chiefs have played.

Next Week vs. Denver

Given the huge nature of the game next week against Denver I am providing a few things I would like to see Reid do during the game against the Broncos.
  • Include a number of designed runs for Alex Smith
  • Give Charcandrick West 20 carries
  • Consider starting the OL with Jeff Allen at RT.  Reasoning: Allen is currently the best RT.  Let him work against Miller. He may have a hard time with Miller's speed, but if he gets his hands on Miller he should be able to rough Miller up a bit. I believe this may take Miller off of his game.
  • Play action, Play action, Play action.
  • DO NOT let the Broncos bully you. If there is a situation in the game that requires retaliation, don't hesitate. Normally I believe in taking the high road, but not in this game. From the start of the game the Chiefs need to prove they will not be pushed around. If penalties are called, so be it.
  • Make certain Alex Smith and West have quick shovel passes in the back of their minds. If there is a situation in the game where Smith is getting pressured from the outside, a quick shovel pass in the middle of the offense may really hurt the Broncos defense. Bottom line, be ready to get rid of the ball.
  • Get Albert Wilson the ball. With Aqib Talib suspended, the Broncos secondary is down one great player. Wilson has the ability to hurt a lesser defensive back. He may also be overlooked by the Broncos defense which creates an element of surprise.
What would you do if you were the coach?

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