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Greg Cosell breaks down the Kansas City Chiefs offense and defense

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You may not be familiar with Greg Cosell from NFL Films and appears on various podcasts but he’s one of the best analysts out there given the amount of film he watches. So I always listen to his opinion when I see that he’s talking Chiefs, which he did recently on the Shutdown Podcast at Yahoo Sports.

Cosell and Frank Schwab went through all four of the AFC West teams, including the Chiefs which starts around the 14 minute mark and ends around the 22-minute mark. I transcribed a lot of Cosell’s thoughts on the Chiefs below.

Chiefs offense

“Number one, I think they really know how to use Alex Smith effectively. I think they understand what he is and what he isn’t. He’s not an aggressive downfield thrower. What they do, they’ve now gotten a lot of the run game involved with Alex Smith. They’re not the Panthers with Cam Newton but it’s similar principles at times. Alex Smith is a very deceptive runner as a quarterback.

“One thing about Alex Smith, he rarely turns the ball over. That always helps you stay in games and win games that are close because you don’t turn the ball over.

“Thirdly, I’ve always believed that Andy Reid does a really good job with route concepts and creating opportunities against defenses. To me there was probably no better example and it goes all the way back to Week 1 last year when Travis Kelce caught a 42-yard touchdown against the Houston Texans. It was a beautifully designed three level stretch concept with a high low nested in within the three level stretch. I’m sure people when they saw the play thought they blew the coverage but Andy Reid does a really good job of creating those opportunities with those route concepts.

“Now a lot of people say they’re not going to win a Super Bowl because of Alex Smith and I think that’s become a conventional wisdom statement, and it may very well be true. They certainly haven’t. They’ve gotten to the playoffs. A few years ago Alex Smith had an unbelievably great game in the playoffs against Indianapolis when (Andrew) Luck came back and they won, whatever the score was. Alex Smith also had a great game in the playoffs when he was with the 49ers and they beat the Saints, so he’s had good moments. Ultimately, he’s not the kind of quarterback I think that you feel comfortable putting it on his shoulders on a consistent basis because he’s just not an aggressive thrower. There are pros and cons to that. He leaves some plays on the field. We always say there’s no statistic for balls that should be thrown that aren’t. Alex Smith is a good example of that. But then he doesn’t turn it over. So it’s the risk reward. Where do you come down on that line?

“The run game, they proved last year, look Jamaal Charles is a great player but they did a really nice job with the running back by committee with (Charcandrick) West, with Spencer Ware. They did a nice job fitting players in and still having an effective run game.”

Chiefs defense

“They really mix scheme well. Bob Sutton does a really good job. Bob Sutton has a ton of experience. He’s been coaching a long, long time. He’s been with guys who blitz a lot like the Rex Ryans and he’s been with guys that play a lot of zone. He mixes and matches extremely well.

“This is a team that can blitz really effectively and has really detailed pressure concepts. This is a team that can line up and play cover 3 and be really, really good at it. They do an awful lot of things.

“Obviously they lost Sean Smith so Phillip Gaines is a third year player now, who I think was a third round pick when he came out of Rice, who I liked. He’s long, he’s athletic. He’ll be on the opposite side of Marcus Peters, who had a terrific rookie season. Eric Berry is back. The strong safety position is a position they’ll have to fill.

“When you look at their front seven, and let’s assume Justin Houston will be back and play well, they’re still really good with the outside pass rush. Derrick Johnson seems age-less, he still plays really well. They drafted Chris Jones out of Mississippi State in the second round, and he’s one of the guys that looks the part. If he becomes what he can become then their front is really fascinating with Jones and Dontari Poe. Jaye Howard is a very overlooked player, and Allen Bailey. They’ve got a lot of overlooked players who are really good, solid players.”