The Kansas City Chiefs lead the AFC in points scored and are second in that category overall in the NFL. With young dynamic quarterback Patrick Mahomes at the controls, Andy Reid's group can do damage in many ways, and in the early part of the season that has been evident just about every week.
Bill Belichick has a lot of respect for Reid and his ability to create mismatches in a variety of ways. One staple of Reid's attack is a multitude of pre-snap motion from the receivers, and Belichick believes the constant movement does more than just confuse the coverage.
Asked about exotic nature of the Chiefs offense during his conference call Tuesday morning, Belichick offered some interesting thoughts. During Kansas City's win over Jacksonville in Week 5, the announcers mentioned the Jags secondary looked winded at times, and Belichick was asked if the constant adjustments had something to do with it.
"Yeah, I would say so. I mean, these guys are really fast and they run a lot of vertical routes, but there are also a lot of space plays where they get the ball out there on RPOs and slip screens and things like that," Belichick said. "So, it forces not only the corners but everybody to pursue laterally across the field and have to cover a lot of ground, as you said, on consecutive plays or multiple plays in a short amount of time.
"And then, of course, they do a good job of rotating their receivers, so they bring [De'Anthony] Thomas in there and they substitute personnel and take advantage of their depth at that position. So, yeah, I'd say it is taxing on that group, yes."
The topic of the Chiefs offense, which is based on principles of the West Coast offense under Reid, was a recurring theme on Tuesday. Here are some other highlights from Tuesday's conference call.
Go West – Paul Brown has long been considered the architect of the West Coast attack but several of his disciples have added their own wrinkles. Reid, like many others, has incorporated some RPO principles to it, and Belichick explained why he has been so effective in doing so.
"We actually talked quite a bit about that the last couple days," Belichick said. "You know, let's start with Andy. Andy's a very creative, innovative coach, and I think he does a great job of taking concepts and being able to apply them into his system, and the same thing with personnel – creating opportunities for unique personnel that he has. And so, he's, over the course of time, been able to modify some of the traditional West Coast principles from Coach Brown to Coach [Bill] Walsh to Coach [Mike] Holmgren and so forth to fit his personnel and to fit new scheme ideas that he's incorporated.
"So, West Coast offense is still built around speed, space and balance – catch and run plays, yards after catch, balance between the running game and the passing game and getting the ball to skill players so they can make yards with it with the ball in their hands. So, the RPO certainly fits into that category, but he's done a great job incorporating that, probably as much as any team we've seen – probably more than any team we've seen."
Rough going – There has been a spike in roughing the passer penalties across the league and that has created plenty of controversy virtually every week, but don't expect Belichick to get involved. The coach apparently doesn't see any changes to the rules and claimed he hasn't changed anything in terms of how he coaches his players.
"I don't really know what you're talking about. There's not any new rules that I'm aware of," he began.
When asked about the emphasis being placed on the rule, the coach doubled down.
"So they're not new rules. I mean, you're not allowed to lead with your head, you're not allowed to body slam the quarterback, you're not allowed to hit him below the knees, you're not allowed to hit him above the shoulders. And, if he's out of the pocket, then some of those rules change, and if he's in the pocket, you're allowed to horse collar him," Belichick explained.
"I mean, the rules are the rules. So, I hope you're not implying that we've been coaching something that was illegal and now we're changing the way we're coaching it, because that's simply not the case. So, I'm not really sure what new rule it is you're talking about here. We've coached the rules as they've been written and as we've received them. So, whatever the emphasis is the emphasis is, but that doesn't change the fundamentals of the rule. I've never taught anybody to hit a quarterback above the shoulders or hit him below the knees or body slam him or lead with our helmet and spear him – like we've never taught that. So, I'm not really sure what you're referring to."
Old friend – Kenjon Barner is back on the roster for his third stint with the Patriots and Belichick explained that the running back's status has been tied to other things beyond his ability.
"He's handled it well," the coach said. "He's a very professional guy, prepares well, smart, has learned pretty quickly, so we'll see how it goes. But, he's done all the things we've asked him to do. We've just been, as you said, juggling some roster situations.
"He's run the ball, he's caught the ball and he's returned kicks. So, he's done all those things."