On Wednesday, the football analytics site Pro Football Focus continued their series of rankings for the 2021 season — this one ranking the league’s best offensive play-callers. Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid was ranked third in Eric Eager’s list of six, behind Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers and Brian Daboll of the Buffalo Bills.
3. Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
Reid is the only head coach in NFL history to host three straight conference title games with two different teams, and he has gone over his market win total in each season as the Chiefs’ head coach. The Super Bowl, the only game in which Kansas City has lost by multiple scores in the Patrick Mahomes era, stood out like a sore thumb in the sense that it was the first time in a while that an opponent stymied Reid’s offense in back-to-back halves. But it served as a prelude to what could be this team’s Achilles’ heel should they not hit on a third option in the passing game moving forward.
On Tuesday — when he made many of the same points — I agreed wholeheartedly with Eager ranking Reid as the NFL’s best head coach. But here, I have to disagree about the Achilles heel exposed in Kansas City’s Super Bowl loss. I don’t disagree with the point he raised — analytics have clearly shown that the Chiefs’ offense has been more efficient when the second wide receiver was a healthy Sammy Watkins — but in February, that wasn’t the primary problem. Instead, it was the lack of pass protection from the second-string offensive line — a problem that in PFF’s own estimation, has already been fixed.
In any case, I’m not sure why that would have any significance in explaining why Reid is a good play-caller. So it’s not that I disagree with Reid being ranking third. The ways he calls his innovative plays don’t always work, but they work often enough to make the Chiefs’ offense one of the league’s best — even when its offensive line is well-below standard, which was true for much of the 2020 season. That certainly puts Reid in the conversation as one of the league’s best play-callers. Eager simply hasn’t explained that very well.