How Andy Reid outcoaches the Chiefs’ most aggressive opponents
The Browns defense had a plan to come after the Chiefs. Instead, Andy Reid put on a coaching clinic. If you want to get a glimpse at the state of coaching in the NFL, look no further than what the Chiefs’ offense did to the Browns’ defense in their 37-21 win on Sunday. Andy Reid has taken the Chiefs offense and turned it into a damn near unstoppable machine. Having guys like Patrick Mahomes, Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill helps, but the coach still has to put them in the right position to make plays. Reid’s prowess as a play caller really stands out when taking on a coach that runs an aggressive defense like Browns interim Gregg Williams. On plays in the open field or the red zone, Andy Reid won the X and O’s battle handily. Here are 4 plays that show how he did it. Andy Reid gave his receivers freedom to work against press coverage One of the core themes of Gregg Williams’ defensive schemes is aggression. From their blitz packages to they way they play press coverage, Williams wants to play defense in your face. It’s an admirable strategy, certainly an entertaining one, but it might not always be the best against a blazing fast receiver like Tyreek Hill. The Browns’ cornerback at the bottom of the screen is tasked with playing press coverage on Hill, which means that he’ll have to stay with Hill step-for-step down the field after jamming him at the line of scrimmage — an almost impossible task against a receiver that runs a 4.2 40-yard dash. Predictably, the cornerback didn’t get a hand on Hill and he was immediately put into a bad position where he’s trailing a receiver he can’t catch. That paired with the free safety playing almost 30 yards off the line of scrimmage naturally got Hill wide open down the field. What really set this play apart was the adjustment that the Chiefs made on the route that Hill ran. The original iteration of this play has the receiver running a curl route, but with the press coverage look the Browns were giving, Reid gave Hill the option to run a go route instead of coming back towards the line of scrimmage. This minor adjustment paid off in a big way for a 40-yard gain down the field. the old florida whip-pivot-follow with a streak instead of a post. love that they give Hill wins because he has the freedom to release inside or outside, rather than mandatory outside release. he releases inside then stacks the DB pic.twitter.com/8XisRlZG8x— Chris B. Brown (@smartfootball) November 6, 2018 The Chiefs dominated the Browns’ man coverage looks, even in the red zone when space is hard to come by. Running single high in the red zone is easily exploitable Using a single high safety in the red zone creates a lot of stress on the back end of a defense. Logistically, it doesn’t make much sense to have one safety back there — it’s simply too much ground for one person to cover while preventing a touchdown. Jabrill Peppers was stuck as the only safety on the field with the Chiefs on the 11-yard line. Peppers essentially had to defend the entire end zone from the middle of it. The Chiefs took advantage of the split second that Peppers would need to scan the entire offense and fired the ball to Travis Kelce on a slant route for a touchdown. That second was all Patrick Mahomes needed to rifle the ball into the space that Kelce created with his route. The Browns did fix up their red zone strategy on defense, but it didn’t take too long for Andy Reid and the Chiefs to figure out how to exploit it. When the Browns switched their red zone strategy, so did Andy Reid On this play, the Browns took their foot off the gas pedal a bit and sat back in Cover 2. They had two safeties playing in the end zone, and the middle linebacker walled off the middle of the field. The other coverage defenders underneath were drifting back into their zones on the play. Once again, Travis Kelce ran a route that broke towards the middle of the field. Kelce ran towards the safety on the right side of the field, head faked outside, and came back inside where the ball was waiting for him. Part of why this play worked was because the receivers on the other side of the field drew the attention of the middle linebacker. While he had his back turned, Mahomes threw the ball behind him to where Travis Kelce was going to be. This was a perfect play call to beat the Browns’ Cover 2 look. It’s also a cool example of how the Chiefs run in-breaking routes versus one-high and two-high looks in the red zone. The Chiefs were able to take advantage of the Browns when they didn’t blitz. An when they did blitz, well, the Chiefs beat them then too. The Chiefs dialed up passes to running backs to take advantage of the blitz This is vintage Gregg Williams. This was third-and-4. The Browns had every defender within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage except the free safety who was 20 yards off the line of scrimmage, for some reason . Cleveland sent a linebacker on a blitz — a blitz that immediately vacated the area where the running back was running a swing route. This call from the Browns was pretty bizarre, and when you do the basic math of the play call, it’s easy to see how they gave up such a big play. Cleveland had one safety playing deep. They had another linebacker playing zone coverage in the middle of the field. They blitzed with five defenders, leaving four to play man coverage against the Chiefs. The issue on this play was that the Chiefs had five receivers running routes. The Browns had fewer players in man coverage than the Chiefs had players running routes. Usually these are issues you see in a high school football game, not the pinnacle of the sport. This is an easy play for Reid and the Chiefs to exploit, and they did for a massive gain. Reid did a masterful job of countering the looks Williams dished out. They were prepared for everything in their eighth win of the season. Barring injury, there’s no reason the Chiefs can’t keep rolling up more wins in the second half of the season. Postseason success has eluded Reid throughout his career. Still, his dynamic approach is shows why he’s been one of the most successful coaches in the NFL over the past two decades. This year, it’s putting the Chiefs’ offense over the top, looking borderline unstoppable, maybe even deep into the playoffs.