Chiefs fans weren’t the only ones unsatisfied with the execution of their two-minute drill in the divisional-round playoff loss to the New England Patriots in January.
After that game, which the Chiefs lost 27-20, coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith made it clear that some changes were necessary. The Chiefs trailed by 14 with 2 minutes, 33 seconds left, but they needed four snaps and 42 seconds to score despite having first-and-goal at the Patriots’ 1-yard line with all their timeouts.
“It’s kind of been a little bit of a point of emphasis,” Smith said. “I think after this season with (Matt Nagy), (Brad Childress) and Coach Reid kind of stepping in a little bit, I think they wanted to clean up some things.”
Like what, perhaps?
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“Well, it probably did get a little wordy,” Reid said, referring to the verbiage of their two-minute playbook. “We had a few plays in there, and as the season goes on, you’ve got to fight that. Obviously, we didn’t put in a great show with that last game.”
In response, the Chiefs have cut down both the wordiness of their two-minute package as well as the number of plays it contains.
Smith welcomes the changes.
“We’ve been in the system for so long that you kind of start stockpiling things on the menu, so to speak, and then you have four receivers and it got tough and those guys got gassed (during) the game,” Smith said.
“We’re really trying to scale that all back with some core principles and the language a little bit — just cleaning it up, so to speak, in ways that we can cut off a couple seconds here, a couple seconds there.”
Chiefs backup quarterback Aaron Murray, who hears every playcall in his helmet whether he’s on the field or not, agreed with Smith.
“Oh yeah, it has to be quicker,” Murray said. “We have some pretty lengthy playcalls, and you can’t be calling a full play out when you’re trying to get going. So we kind of condense plays and shorten things up. That way we can play fast and get the ball snapped as fast as we can.”
Former offensive coordinator Doug Pederson, who left this offseason to become the Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach, had previously been in charge of the Chiefs’ two-minute drill.
But Reid made it clear that whatever issues were present with their two-minute drill a year ago ultimately lie at his own feet.
“That’s not Doug’s fault last year — that had nothing to do with it,” Reid said. “That’s my responsibility.”
This year, all three of the primary offensive decision-makers — Reid and his co-offensive coordinators, Nagy and Childress — will share the responsibility of making the two-minute drill function more smoothly.
“We put an emphasis on it, but that’s a good thing,” Nagy said. “What we’ve done is we went back over the past several years and just looked at our two-minute situations and decided that we wanted to come out and put a little more emphasis on it. So far, the guys have really picked it up.”
The Star’s Sam McDowell contributed to this story.