By now, the comparisons between Andy Reid’s Kansas City Offense and what Pederson has done in Philadelphia have worn thin. Head Coach Doug Pederson has heard it all before and the similarities on gamely are clear. For the Chargers, coming off of a but a 24-10 loss to Kansas City will certainly bring some familiarity, but should it be considered as an advantage?
Pederson may have honed his coaching craft learning from Andy Reid, but the two offenses have one key difference; the quarterback. While the Chiefs have worked hard to implement the run-pass-option into their Offense and have surrounded pocket-master Alex Smith with a flurry of speedy weapons, the Eagles have gone about things slightly differently as they look to nurture one of the most promising young gunslingers in the game.
We’re beginning to see run-pass option injected into the Offense during preseason. Dane Evans rolled out of the pocket to make some impressive throws using the added optionality, foreshadowing what would eventually become a crucial cog for Carson Wentz to add into his mechanical arsenal. It should come as no surprise that Pederson learned all he knows about the play from Alex Smith himself.
“My first introduction to it was back in Kansas City when [Chiefs QB] Alex Smith came to us.” Doug Pederson told reporters on Friday. “He used some of that in San Francisco when he was there. And then we started just — the more you study the college film, really, in the off-season, when you’re looking at college players for the draft, you get ideas and things that might — you could possibly implement into your offense.
And that’s where you can get a lot of ideas from, but for me, it was back in Kansas City with Alex and what he had done in San Francisco and studying him even when he was a free agent back then.”
For the Chiefs, giving Smith optionality at the line of scrimmage has been integral to their success, but for the Eagles…a previously marginalized rendition of the West-Coast system has been blown open with the addition of some dangerous receiving talent. Kansas City’s Offense relies on unpredictability and explosiveness. The Eagles unit meanwhile, is currently built to dominate the time of possession and draw mismatches across the field that allow Carson Wentz to flourish.
Both teams still have eccentric receiving tight ends, a lethal number one receiver and a backfield that could breakout for a huge game on any given Sunday, but through three games the Offenses could not be any more different. The Eagles lead the league in time of possession, while Kansas City who are 18th in that category have racked up the third highest yards total in the league. The Chiefs more importantly have rushed for an average of over 30 more yards per game than the Eagles this year, but there’s one common thread that links it all together.
“They’ll probably go back and look at some things not only that we’ve done this year but maybe even in my past, and they’re familiar with me.” Pederson mentioned.” They’re familiar with [Offensive coordinator] Frank [Reich], as well, offensively. They’ll see some similar formations. But I think overall at the end of the day, it’s still going to be a little bit different presentation for them.”
Reich spent three years with the Chargers and was the team’s offensive coordinator in his final season with the team. Having worked with Phillip Rivers closely as a quarterback coach during his stint with the team, much of what Reich has done with Carson Wentz has been replicated from his time working with the veteran signal caller.
From terminology and philosophies, to gameplans and coaching, shades of Philadelphia will be seen in the Chargers new home as a small sample of DNA from the Chargers will be coming back to face them. When you factor in the return of Kenjon Barner, who made his name with the Eagles but most recently spent time with the Chargers, it seems as if the two offenses are at a stalemate.
Doug Pederson will once again be tasked with overcoming the odds in a game that many deem to be a “trap”. The Chargers are 0-3 and the Eagles are flying high. Philadelphia will be aiming to stake their claim as a true playoff contender, but will have to overcome a team who are subtly prepared to deal with an Offense that’s still finding its true direction.
It’s games like this where Doug Pederson will be forced to tap into his barrel of knowledge and bring out the best in his team. Whether that’s unexpectedly taking shots downfield, sticking to the run, or finding ways to pick apart a weak secondary, LA have their backs to the wall as New York did just one week ago…and the Eagles can’t afford to let them push back due to a sense of familiarity and comfort in handling a west-coast scheme.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports