Shortly after Todd Haley was hired on as the Kansas City Chief’s new head coach, rumors began to swirl about the defense switching from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense. I have seen numerous analysts talking about the defensive switch, how it could render former first round picks Tamba Hali and Glen Dorsey useless. There are multiple articles out there defending the switch, arguing the switch, etc.
However, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone talking about the offensive move. Yes, we know that the Chiefs ran a modified offense last season to help Tyler Thigpen out. Well, once Haley was hired on, that scheme went right out the window. Matt Cassel was acquired, and all signs pointed to the Chiefs running a different kind of passing offense.
Last years “Arrowspread” worked quite conviently for quarterback Tyler Thigpen. It was a silly scheme that could fool defenses for the first few quarters, but would eventually be figured out by the end of the game. A lot of people blame the defense for our 12 losses, but I believe that this spread was part of our downfall also. Yes, it kept us competitive, but it was not supposed to be in the playbook. Tyler Thigpen lined up in the shotgun with Larry Johnson either behind him (in the pistol formation) or right beside him. This hardly helped the running back out. Carries were reduced and passes were thrown far more often. Obviously, it didn’t balance out too well. While Thigpen is an exceptional athlete, he cannot play in a prostyle offense.
Meanwhile, back in Arizona, Kurt Warner was seen ballin’ over everyone. Todd Haley liked to run multiple receiver sets, and who can blame him when you have Larry Fitz and Anquan catching balls? This dynamic offense led the Cardinals to the Super Bowl. Although they could not pull out a win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Todd Haley’s offense turned quite a few heads.
It came as no surprise when Todd Haley met with new General Manager Scott Pioli. The two bonded very quickly, and soon had their franchise quarterback at the head of the offense. Matt Cassel entered the NFL as a 7thround draft pick. He never started a game in college. This guy must have had something that Pioli and company saw back in New England, because he was projected to go undrafted. Cassel got thrown into the starting lineup when Tom Brady suffered a knee injury in the first week of the season.
Soon after Cassel was acquired, the Chiefs announced that Tony Gonzalez had been traded. The best tight end to play the game, and the Chiefs best receiver, was shopped to Atlanta for a second round pick. This should have been an eye opener to everyone.
In Arizona, Haley rarely used a tight end. Tony Gonzalez would be rendered useless in Haley’s new scheme. The Chiefs will now be running a more typical NFL offense, with a franchise Quarterback leading them. The run game won’t be as explosive as former years, but I would expect the Smash N’ Dash combo of LJ and Charles to get plenty of yards, whether it is on the ground or contributing in the air game.
Watch out for the Kansas City receivers this season, particularly Mark Bradley. Haley had his eyes set on him a few years back when he played for the Chicago Bears. Bradley has all of the tools, and hopefully his new coaching staff can get them out of him.
This offense will succeed, and you can quote me on this, by reaching into the top 15 offenses in the NFL.