As a coach, you like to find plays, players, or personnel groupings that force your opponent to spend a disproportionate amount of time to prepare for them. In other words, if your opponent spends 40 minutes preparing for something you spent 20 minutes installing in practice, you’ve already scored a minor victory before the game has even started.
Tyreek Hill is that guy.
Whenever he’s on the field, Hill is a threat to get the football, and defenses have to be aware of him. Alex Smith and the rest of the Chiefs offense run an efficient pro-style offense with a dangerous run game and a West Coast style pass game, but the addition of Hill allowed Andy Reid to add an extra dimension of unpredictability to his offense.
One thing Reid does well is find talented guys and get them the football. It doesn’t matter how he has to do it, as long as he can get the ball to his guys who cause the defense trouble, he’s happy. And that’s a big reason why the Chiefs have won so many games since Reid arrived.
Let’s take a look at how Reid likes to use Tyreek Hill in this offense.
1.Wide Receiver Screens
We’ve all seen this type of play in one form or another. The quarterback gets the ball out to the receiver in a hurry and then the offensive line tries to get out wide as quickly as possible to try to create a running lane for the receiver.
This play has become a favorite of many coaches in the red zone because of how cramped the spacing becomes, and how much tighter the pass defense tends to be.
It’s an easy way for KC to get the ball to the fastest guy on the field, and while it doesn’t always result in a huge gain, it’s a pretty safe play that won’t result in a sack or any other kind of big loss.
2. Jet Sweep
This play is really the one that makes so many other parts of the offense flow. It’s a staple of different types of the modern option offense, and Andy Reid has brought it to the NFL permanently thanks to Hill’s talents.
Because Kansas City has committed to this play, and not just run it once as a gimmick, every time Tyreek Hill steps on the field, defenses have to account for him not just as a receiver but also as a runner.
Just as importantly, Andy Reid and this offensive coaching staff have tied the jet sweep play into the stretch play action headed the opposite way. As a result, the Chiefs manage to threaten both edges of the defense simultaneously, and if the defense collapses too quickly on the jet sweep, Andy Reid can have Alex Smith turn around and hand it off on the stretch play in the opposite direction.
Interestingly enough, the Chiefs have also run the jet sweep enough out of the game, but it seems to be much more effectively from under center.
3. Underneath and Option Routes
This is another simple but effective way to get the ball to Hill in space. Often times, Hill is aligned as the innermost receiver in the formation, so that he’s close to the interior defenders can play off them.
The other part of this equation is that usually the offense has a back and a tight end on the field, at the same time they’re trying to run this play, so that the defense has to account for the run with their personnel.
Andy Reid is hoping to get a run defender matched up on Hill, because at that point it’s like stealing.
Even if the defense isn’t playing a true man coverage, the rest of the pass routes stretch the defense out in zone coverage to the point where Hill is defacto matched up in an area with a single defender, and from there he’s got a two-way go.
Tyreek Hill isn’t your prototypical NFL receiver, but he’s not really built to be a running back either. Fortunately for him, Andy Reid doesn’t care about cookie-cutter NFL position descriptions, all that matters is how dangerous you are with the ball in your hand.