Another Nail in the Triplet Myth Coffin

 

 

 

There was a time when teams in the National Football League could successfully operate — and by operate I mean win big — by implementing the often referred to use of the “Offensive Triplets.” That would be: the QB, the RB, and the Receiver. Perhaps the most popular example of the triplets was Dallas Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin. Over the years, to climb to the Super Bowl, a number of teams employed that 3-man attack that included a top notch trio who were drafted at the QB, RB, and Receiver positions. However, the recent success of the 2017 Kansas City Chiefs is a reminder of a different trend in the path to success. So, another nail in the triplet myth coffin.

 

A good example of a triplet champion is the 1983 Washington Redskins. They had Joe Theismann at QB, John Riggins at RB and Charlie Brown playing wide receiver. Brown had over 1,200 yards receiving that season and that sum represented more than one-third of the yards he gained in his whole career. RIggins had 1,347 yards rushing and was named to the first-team All-Pro (only Eric Dickerson’s 1,808 yards exceeded Riggins’ total). Joe Theismann was also a first-team All-Pro that season but also led the league with five game-winning drives.

 

We have a tendency to remember the stars of any given season and forget that every championship is a “team” win. While the 1983 Redskins depended on those three for a huge chunk of their offense, RB Joe Washington gained 772 yards that year and Art Monk had 746 receiving yards.

 

The 1969 Kansas City Chiefs were a team of the future as designed by head coach Hank Stram. They not only had multiple players who made a contributions, but a coach who designed the offense that might best resemble Andy Reid’s with so many sets and different plays from those varied sets that defenses couldn’t key on any one thing, or player. QB Len Dawson, RB Mike Garrett, and WR Otis Taylor were certainly the stars of that offense but don’t forget that coach Stram also utilized, RBs Robert Holmes and Warren McVea almost as much as he did Garrett. Yes, Otis Taylor was the “star” wideout that season — and especially in the Super Bowl — but WR Frank Pitts (470), RB Mike Garrett (432), and WR Gloster Richardson (381) combined for 1,283 yards receiving in a year when Len Dawson and Mike Livingston threw for a combined 2,446 yards..

 

The San Francisco teams of the 1980s always had more than QB Joe Montana, WR Jerry Rice, and RB Roger Craig as major contributors. I’m not one to say that defense wins championship because it takes balance across the whole team to scale the heights. Len Dawson said recently that the team in 1969 won it mostly because of their defense. The current Chiefs are a team that’s had a championship level defense for a few years now but hasn’t had the requisite offensive pieces necessary to excel… until now.

 

Dick Vermeil was a brilliant offensive mind who never was able to assemble a defense like the one the Chiefs have now. Very few head coaches can build a team away from their own tendency. Andy Reid has forever been known as an offensive guy, but he allows his DC to build as they are willing.

 

That recipe may finally work this year. For the first time since Hank Stram’s team in 1969, these Chiefs have a talent-balance that could take them to the Super Bowl too. There’s no sign of “triplets” plaguing this offense. Yes, QB Alex Smith is having a banner year — much as Joe Theismann did in ’83 — and yes, the Chiefs have a rip roaring rookie RB in Kareem Hunt, but by cutting ties with WR Jeremy Maclin, they essentially opened the door for several receivers like Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Albert Wilson, Chris Conley, as well as Kareem Hunt, to offer a wider range of options that defenses must deal with.

 

It’s clear that when the season began that Andy Reid’s intent was to share carries between Spencer Ware and Kareem Hunt. That would have been ideal, even knowing what we know about Hunt now. The Chiefs still have a need to find and incorporate another RB into the offense.

 

When that happens, the Chiefs will finally be running the kaleidoscopic offense that Reid has designed. When you think back over the past 15 years about the New England Patriots — something I don’t really care to do — you’d be hard pressed to identify any of those teams as possessing a set of triplets. No, the Pats have maintained possibly the best QB to ever pull a jersey over this head and surrounded him with a variety of very good — not always great — talent. The surprising aspect of Bill Belichick’s approach to me is that he seems to restock his team every year while Andy Reid has used a divergent approach by keeping as many of his core players and coaches together as possible.

 

 

  • The Dolphins of the early 1980s had not only Larry Csonka, but Mercury Morris, and Jim Kick at RB.
  • The Packers of the mid-1960s had not only Jim Taylor but Paul Hornung, and Elijah Pitts at RB.
  • The 1999 St. Louis Rams had two great WRs in Tory Holt and Issac Bruce.
  • Yes, the 2013 Seattle Seahawks had Russel Wilson and Marshawn Lynch holding down the QB and RB spots but the wide receiving duties were shared by Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, and Jermaine Kearse.

 

Even the Dallas Cowboys of the early 1990s had other significant contributors like FB Daryl Johnston, TE Jay Novacek, and WR Alvin Harper. More importantly, it was their defense that helped to bring those championships home. In fact, in my memory, only the 2000 Baltimore Ravens and the 2015 Denver Broncos, stick out as teams that won the Super Bowl on the backs of stellar defensive play alone.

 

Without needing to get into number or statistics, the 2017 Kansas City Chiefs have the optics of a balanced team both on offense and defense. The real triplets are: 1) offense, 2) defense, and 3) special teams. Now all they need to do is straighten out their Special Teams.

 

 

 

 

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LadnerMorse
LadnerMorse

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  • berttheclock

    Ah yes, a jog into his-tor-ree land, eh?

    Yes, what can develop when you have a triad of offensive weapons at your disposal, plus, a great defense for most of the teams mentioned above.

    I wonder how much credit should be given to those offensive linemen of the KC Chiefs in ’69, such as Jim Tyrer, Ed Budde and E J Holub for starters?

    Or, with the Redskins of ’83, did Joe Jacoby, Russ Grim and Jeff Bostic, just three of the five Hogs have anything to do with their success?

    Hmmm, Troy Aikman and his two helpers. But,how about Mark Tunei, Nate Newton and Mark Stepnoski doing some fine blocking and protecting?

    The ’66 Packers having Bob Skoronski, Fuzzy Thurston, Bill Curry, Jerry Kramer (of THE BLOCK on the frozen tundra fame) and Forrest Gregg. Did they help a tad?

    The great Niners of ’88, with Steve Wallace at LT, Jesse Sapolu at LG and Randy Cross at center. Did they ever do anything of worth?

    Those Rams of St Louis fame did have Orlando Pace throwing up a WALL. Did that help?

    The 2013 Seahawks had a healthy Okung, James Carpenter at LG and Max Unger throwing up a solid front for Wilson.

    Those Dolphins mentioned above had Larry Little, Bob Kurchenberg and Doug Crusan doing their bit.

    The game of football begins in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Complete that first, then, find your cream.

    • ladner morse

      Fisher, Ehinger, Morse, LDT, and Schwartz could be championship quality… but they need to all get on the field t the same time for that to work.

      • larry mckinney

        Add in the back ups, Devey, Witzmann, and Fulton – all of whom have played very well this season – and add in the potential of Erving and you have a SB caliber offensive line.

        The defensive line and DL depth is clearly a team strength too. But I’m just a homer, right Bert?

        • berttheclock

          No, larry, I never put you into that category. That was reserved for only two regulars.

          • larry mckinney

            Glad. I hope my homerism is fact-based. Look in’ for a big payoff in February.

          • Laurels and limitations

            What did Laddie and Chiefly Bacon do to you!? Geebus!!

        • larry mckinney

          They’re winning with three second teamers for goodness sakes…

          • berttheclock

            The strangest thing happened to that interior group last week. They started off very slow, especially, Devey, but, improved in the second half. Devey was in on every snap except for the first two. Just shows one how much just playing together as a group can help.

      • Laurels and limitations

        Jury is still out on Ehinger but your overall point is valid. The collective is better when they are able to be on the field together and gel. The back-ups are still doing just fine..even Witz is improving and proving to the fans why KC signed him to a 3 year deal. Time will tell of course.

    • freshmeat62

      Your statement about the Chiefs o-line was the 1st thing that came to my mind about that SB winning team. Those 3 along w/ Mo Mooreman and Dave Hill made a pretty good line. I remember Hill used to catch a lot of heat back then, mostly because of penalties, but he was a pretty good RT. Arbanas was on that team also, but I don’t remember him doing much. I know one of my biggest complaints of Stram back then, other than his love affair w/ the draw play, was that he hardly ever threw to the TE. I know Arbanas was blind in one eye because of a mugging, and later Morris Stroud had hands of brick, so maybe that is why.

      • berttheclock

        Remember how Dawson used to roll to his left? Jim Tyrer was asked about how the Chiefs blocked so well for him on those roll outs. Tyrer responded by saying that “Lenny didn’t like to get the seat of his pants dirty”.

        • berttheclock

          They referred to that roll out as “the sliding pocket”.

          • mnelson52

            Haven’t heard that phrase in a long time. It made me smile. It really did seem like a sliding pocket.

        • freshmeat62

          He got them dirty a lot those last couple of years after his good line was gone, and it looked like they just grabbed some people out of the phone book to block. For poor Lenny it was fall back and fall down.

    • mnelson52

      I’ve always said that Emmit although a very good RB, went from good to great because of the O-line. I believe that to be true with most of your greats. Then again I always thought it took a complete team to win a SB till I watched Denver win with only a defense.

  • berttheclock

    I still have a vivid image of Bart Starr with the Packers standing tall in the pocket looking for receivers. The image I had was from the famous painting showing General Washington standing up in the boat while crossing the Delaware River.

  • freshmeat62

    What I remember most of the Packers team was Hornung left, Hornung right, w/ usually a guard pulling in front of him, and Taylor between the tackles. And yes Starr standing solid. Don’t recall him having to run for his life much.

    • berttheclock

      Plus, when Taylor ran, it was always straight through the sternum of whomever was in front of him.

  • Laurels and limitations

    Not sure if there is an open thread but here I am…
    Btw, John Cleese is awesome.

  • Laurels and limitations

    Announcers talkin’ up NE, I feel a high scoring let down in high quality football coming on.

  • Laurels and limitations

    Tony Romo announcing tonight…My dream of Romo and Holthus announcing a Kc game continues.

  • Laurels and limitations

    Brady is done, BENCH him!!!!!!!!!!

  • Laurels and limitations

    hard to tell of that ball was out of bounds, but looked the RB should have had that.

  • Laurels and limitations

    A defensive stop by the Patriots. pic.twitter.com/6Noi1Tr9qq— ChiefsJayhawksRoyals (@CJR16255) October 6, 2017

  • Laurels and limitations

    7 pass plays, no run plays, NE is becoming one-dimensional. So much for winning the off-season, huh?

  • Laurels and limitations

    people on twitterverse making fun of NE being 1-dimensional.

  • Laurels and limitations

    Romo in their talking facts.

  • Laurels and limitations

    Awesome punt and coverage.

  • Laurels and limitations

    Run game for NE is lookin’ bad. Tell me this is not what going “all in” looks like.

  • Laurels and limitations

    WRs making Brady look good. That’s a turn of events alright.

  • Laurels and limitations

    Ne went from ALL pass to ALL run.

  • Laurels and limitations

    12 plays, good drive considering how Ne had to switch it up.

  • Laurels and limitations

    LMBO…
    Romo: “Brady said ‘Ooh I gotta move’ and just couldn’t get there”

  • Laurels and limitations

    he kicks “Anger”ery.

  • Laurels and limitations

    swallowed up by the punt coverage. Is it just me or do both STs look slow?

  • Laurels and limitations

    Gee-off Schwartz laying down the knowledge…

    Btw… here is a sling shot. It's a way to "cutoff" on the backside when you don't have leverage. pic.twitter.com/0a9miRSlRd— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) October 6, 2017

  • Laurels and limitations

    Good run ruined by a hard call

  • Laurels and limitations

    bad pass by Jameis, but he knows this..

  • Laurels and limitations

    great burst, 9 yards

  • Laurels and limitations

    wow, 5 carries for 44 yards

  • Laurels and limitations

    Mighty MOUSE!!!!

  • Laurels and limitations

    Romo and Nantz are awesome together. #instantchemistry.

  • Laurels and limitations

    TOUCHDOWN MORRIS!!!!….is there an echo in here?

    • Chiefs-Kings-A’s

      I’m not watching…who is winning?

      • Laurels and limitations

        see above: lol

        • Laurels and limitations

          Ne just scored, 10-7 NE.

          • Laurels and limitations

            now there is some grown ass man standing in the middle of all the action throwing a hissy fit as to why the refs didn’t throw a flag. #can’tmakethisstuffup.

  • Laurels and limitations

    TB 7, NE 3

    • Chiefs-Kings-A’s

      The more teams that handle NE it negates the magnitude of our win over them.
      At least in the eyes of the talking heads.

  • Laurels and limitations

    Gilleslie running hard, but his 0-line is doing him zero favors.

  • Laurels and limitations

    Romo is incredulous over that CB cover of Hogan, lol. Funny stuff.

  • Laurels and limitations

    LMFAO,
    Romo: “AAAAAaaaaannndddd Charlie Brown”

  • Laurels and limitations

    Had the ball, then lost it. But that will happen when you land on your head.

  • Laurels and limitations

    LMBO, Andrews just wanted his helmet!

  • Laurels and limitations

    13-7 CKAs, it’s a nail-biter.

  • Laurels and limitations

    56 yard attempt

  • Laurels and limitations

    Aaaaand it’s about 20 yards to the right. Looked like my golf drive.

  • I am very impressed with this article. Thank you. This is a very good football team. There are many weapons on offense and top notch people on defense who make plays(even sans Berry). Let’s hope the Chiefs are able to keep on a roll — Texans? They need to go fish.

    • mnelson52

      Texans are hard for me to figure out. They’re either very good or very bad. They don’t have much in between.