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ONE PLAY from the Chiefs' 9--0 start illustrates why they love playing for new coach Andy Reid.
It happened in Week 8, late in the first half, at home against the Browns. Kansas City had a first down at the Cleveland 28. As the Chiefs broke the huddle, they lined up in trips right, with wideout Dwayne Bowe, slot receiver Dexter McCluster and tight end Anthony Fasano, left to right.
Earlier, when Kansas City had used this formation to run Z Out Zebra Post, Bowe noticed one of the defensive backs clap twice and nod in his direction. Then, on the snap, two defenders blanketed Bowe as he sprinted up the right seam, and quarterback Alex Smith had to look elsewhere. After the series, when Bowe went to the sideline, Reid asked, "Hey, 82, what do you see?"
If they were to call Z Out Zebra Post again, Bowe said, he should run a short out instead, taking two DBs with him, while McCluster ran the deep seam route. That way McCluster would be single-covered. With his quickness, he'd easily get a step on his man.
So here came that chance. Reid called Z Out Zebra Post, with Bowe and McCluster instructed to switch their routes. At the line of scrimmage, Bowe got the double clap again; he knew he'd draw two defenders. As he ran the out route, safety T.J. Ward and cornerback Buster Skrine bracketed him. Meanwhile, streaking downfield, McCluster got two steps on corner Joe Haden. Smith threw. McCluster stretched for the ball at the goal line. Bingo. Easy touchdown.
"Hey, 82 ... 82!" Reid yelled to a grinning Bowe when he returned to the sideline. "You got a job doing this coaching thing someday."
McCluster's TD made the score 20--7. The final was 23--17. Bowe had essentially designed the play that made K.C. 8--0. "I've never had input like that," he says. "Some coaches have an ego. Some coaches want to win. Andy's that kind—he just wants to win."
ONE DAY from the Chiefs' 9--0 start illustrates why their assistant coaches love working for Andy Reid.
For Kansas City, as for most NFL teams, Tuesday is the players' day off. But last week at the Chiefs' practice facility, as the only remaining unbeaten team prepared for its ninth game, Tuesday didn't look much different from a typical Wednesday or Thursday. Around lunchtime two tables in the second-floor cafeteria were filled with players, talking and eating, and two more were filled with coaches, taking a break from game planning for the Bills. Reid, in a red windbreaker, chatted up everyone. Eventually owner Clark Hunt would come in for a bite. Three offensive coaches, including coordinator Doug Pederson and assistant Brad Childress, looked as if they hadn't gotten much sleep; Childress had three-day stubble and a raspy voice.
"Looks pretty busy for a Tuesday," a visitor told Pederson.