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The best thing about Chiefs’ Andy Reid is his ability to adapt

Chiefs and Raiders fans don’t agree on much. One thing I’m pretty sure we agree on is Andy Benoit of The MMQB. Benoit is labeled as the film expert for SI, and he’s successfully irritated fans from the Bay and Kansas City recently.

Recently, Benoit decided to tweet that the Raiders tackles weren’t very good, and were hidden by the scheme due to the three-step, five-man protections they use. Well...

The replies to that tweet are all calling Benoit out. I don’t even want to link to his recent opinion on Patrick Mahomes and his ability to run the Chiefs offense.

Benoit’s argument is that Patrick Mahomes doesn’t fit Andy Reid’s offensive scheme and that it will take two years for him to be able to run it.

​3. The nature of this highly schemed offense also makes it unconducive to a raw QB like first-round rookie Patrick Mahomes. Don’t be surprised if Mahomes learns from the bench over his first two seasons. He played a very undisciplined and unstructured brand of football at Texas Tech. That’s the opposite of how Reid wants to play.

I believe this take is a complete mischaracterization and misunderstanding of Andy Reid. Benoit’s writing compliments Reid for his ability to scheme. Scheme is not a buzz-word, and it’s not as strictly defined as his opinion on Reid makes it sound. This isn’t the veer. This isn’t a stringent set of rules. Reid has base principals to his offense, but he can use them to complement the abilities of his signal caller.

If we look through Benoit’s lens of Reid, then the Chiefs committed football malpractice in selecting Mahomes. Why would the Chiefs commit so much draft capital to fit a square peg in a round hole at the most important position in football?

What makes Andy Reid so respected as a developer of quarterbacks is his ability to fit the offense to the skill sets of his quarterback.

Tell me what these guys all have in common:

Donovan McNabb

Kevin Kolb

Michael Vick

Nick Foles

Alex Smith

Not much. Big arms, weak arms. Quick feet, slow feet. Aggressive, conservative. All makes and models. What about this list screams Reid has a type?

There’s several instances of Andy Reid telling his quarterbacks to put their personality into the offense. This might be my favorite thing that I’ve ever heard Reid say.

“You have to let your personality show to play this game,” Reid said. “You have to be able to do that, but within the framework of the scheme. Everybody does that differently so you never want to take that part away from them.

It’s the best example of who he is as a play designer and quarterback maximizer. He has a structure, he has a process. How that structure manifests itself is up to the man taking the snaps.

Patrick Mahomes started the fourth preseason game against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday. The play calling looked nothing like we’ve seen in Kansas City with Smith at quarterback. Sure there were your usual suspects: screens, intermediate throws, etc. There was also several down field shots. More than we’ve seen from Alex Smith. It’s almost as if the offense changed when the game plan was built around a quarterback with different skill sets to Smith.

The recency bias Benoit has with Reid’s scheme has to do with the way Smith’s personality has taken to the offense. Smith has a conservative personality on the field. He’s smart and thoughtful. Reid puts a lot on his plate pre-snap and makes him execute plays (run and pass) with timing, moving players, eye movements, play fakes, etc. He gets a lot out of Alex even if it doesn’t involve aggressive vertical passing. All those little things have proven to get people open. Reid will play off tendencies, force teams into certain checks, and sometimes will use all that to get just one guy open. It works and that’s how Smith and Reid have had success.

When Nick Foles replaced Smith last year, they did less of the things they do with Alex. They were a little more aggressive. There’s several recent of example of how Reid has fit the personality of his quarterback to the plays called.

In Benoit’s mind, it’s like the Chiefs got Tom Brady to run the triple option. He unknowingly discredited Reid’s track record of getting the most out of his quarterbacks. It’s like he forgot who got Kevin Kolb paid so handsomely.

Reid clearly sees something in Mahomes. And despite what Benoit says, he’s got a plan and vision for the raw abilities the young prospect possesses. Mahomes’ talent and Reid’s ability as a play caller will defy the narrow definition of Reid and his scheme we’ve had to read recently.

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