Since the beginning of the 2009 season, the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions have tied for first in dropped passes with 47. The Green Bay Packers are next with 45, and the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings are tied for third with 43. We're not sure what the other teams are doing to fix these problems, but we now know how the much-improved Chiefs have addressed the issue, courtesy of running backs coach Maurice Carthon:
The Chiefs' offense is one that places a high importance in backs who can catch the ball. In 2009, Jamaal Charles(notes) ranked second on the team with 40 receptions, behind only Dwayne Bowe(notes) with 47. This year, Charles is third behind Bowe and stud rookie tight end Tony Moeaki(notes).
According to Carthon, the idea goes back a ways -- 1994, to be exact (via Arrowhead Pride):
"My first year of coaching at the Patriots, I learned that from Mike Pope. He really did a good job through all the years with the tight-ends he coached and I [...] asked him one day [if he had anything to] make his guys better.
"I thought that was a great drill and [when] you think about it and you start doing it, it's a good concentration drill for hands, eyes, and getting the ball and getting your hands up quick."
It's more a drill for running backs than receivers, and there really is some logic behind it, as silly as it may look -- while wideouts will have more time to process routes and defenders before they're set upon from all sides, backs frequently have to turn their bodies in a big hurry to face the ball and then get upfield. Getting the back's eyes on the ball quickly is crucial, and that fast opening door would seem to simulate the need for speed.
Still, with bigger guys like Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis on that coaching staff, it would behoove the Chiefs to have added portable facilities to their current numbers as opposed to using the ones they currently employ. And we don't want to think about how this kind of thing would affect Rex Ryan's squad.