Fewer than 24 hours after he watched his team lose two key players in devastating fashion and get manhandled at home by the Tennessee Titans, Chiefs coach Andy Reid accepted responsibility Monday.
For all of it.
“My name is on this and this is my press conference,” Reid said during his weekly news conference. “I’m the one accountable when it’s all said and done.”
And as anyone who watched the Chiefs’ disappointing 26-10 loss Sunday could tell you, there was no shortage of issues — starting with the limited use of star running back Jamaal Charles, who logged only seven carries for 19 yards and four catches for 15 yards.
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“I’ve got to do a better job on my end of putting the quarterback and the rest of the offense in a better position to make plays,” Reid said. “Not giving (No.) 25 the ball more than seven times is negligence on my part, also.
“This offense is best when there’s balance. I’ve got to make sure I maintain that and continue to give your best player, or one of your best players, the football.”
Reid said after the game that the Titans did a lot to take out Charles — who was playing his first game since he bruised his foot before week two of the preseason. After breaking down the game Sunday night, Reid expounded upon that.
“They primarily went with a Cover 3 look, and/or a Cover 4 look with a cheat safety look,” Reid said. “Both are good run-stopping coverages. And they (shot) gaps and so on. It wasn’t anything that should have veered us off the run game as much as I did.”
Charles, who spoke to reporters after the game, said the Titans didn’t play the run more or less aggressively than teams did last year.
“It was the same,” he said. “I definitely think we could have run the ball more, but the outcome of the game, that’s the way it went.”
Running the ball more could have also meant more playing time for fullback Anthony Sherman, who had a Pro Football Focus grade of 15.7 last season — the highest in the league at his position — but only logged six offensive snaps Sunday.
“Yep, we could have done a little bit more of that, yeah,” Reid said.
But Charles’ usage wasn’t the only thing that seemed a little off Sunday.
Reid also took responsibility for quarterback Alex Smith’s three interceptions, nearly half of his 2013 total, and the low usage of athletic tight end Travis Kelce, who only played 18 of 57 possible offensive snaps but still caught three passes for 49 yards.
“He’s young, but he’s capable of more than 18 plays,” Reid said. “I’ve just got to make sure I call those plays.”
But not everything that went wrong Sunday was Reid’s fault, obviously. Take De’Anthony Thomas’ absence, for instance. Thomas came down with a sore hamstring during Wednesday’s practice and couldn’t get healthy in time for the game.
Based on training camp, and the way he was used throughout the preseason, Thomas appeared to be someone the staff was carving out a fairly significant offensive role for.
“To say were we gonna use him? Yeah, we were gonna use him,” Reid said. “But things happen. That’s how this league works. You see it with every team. I’ve got a lot of experience in this business and I’ve been on teams where things happen and you work around it and get better. That’s where we’re at right now.”
But Reid didn’t seem confident Thomas would be ready to play Sunday at Denver.
“It will be a fight for him to get there,” Reid said. “Those things normally take a little bit longer. But we’ll see how he does.”
Reid also expounded upon the loss of linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive end Mike DeVito, two of the team’s most diligent veteran leaders, to season-ending Achilles’ tendon tears.
The Titans rushed 10 times for 26 yards before Johnson got hurt, an average of 2.6 yards per carry. After he got hurt, they ran 28 times for 136 yards, an average of 4.9 yards per carry.
“The thing that jumps out at you is the amount that they ran the ball and the yards that they got,” Reid said. “We’ve got to secure that up and do a better job there.”
But while the run defense will need shoring up — Reid said linebacker James-Michael Johnson and defensive linemen Vance Walker and Jaye Howard would be the next men up — it was primarily the anemic offense that was on Reid’s mind Monday, as he made it clear that what his team did Sunday simply wasn’t acceptable.
“We’ve got to get our execution right, particularly on the offensive side, and I’ve got to make sure I put them in the right positions to do that.” Reid said. “And we’ll get that done. We need to get back to the drawing board here.”