The Chiefs Four Strong Post-Wheel Concept Creates Big Plays

By Keith Grabowski

The chess match between an offensive and defensive coordinator often comes down to numbers.  Defenses align to at the very least give the appearance that they have a numerical advantage in one area of the field.  The offense, of course wants to find a way to bring more people to an area of the field than the defense has numbers to defend.  In the running game it’s getting to at least a hat-on-hat so that everyone is blocked and there are no free hitters.  In the passing game it comes down to moving defenders with other routes to create a one-on-one or even better, flooding an area to create a plus one.

The Kansas City Chiefs love to use routes that create “four strong.” They utilize it to overwhelm coverages with more receivers than there are defenders. Offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy loves the post wheel to create this advantage.  It’s a concept that comes up again and again for the Chiefs.  They will utilize different personnel groupings, formations, shifts and motions to get to it, but the result is the same. They get one of their dynamic receivers catching the ball in space and running for a big gain.

The Basics: Post Wheel

There’s nothing new about the basics,  all levels of football use the post wheel combination of the concept . Adding two more receivers to that side is where the Chiefs exploit defenses.  For the Chiefs, the other two receivers run a hook (typically this is Kelce) and a flat (typically the running back out of the backfield.

First, the play starts with the post-wheel portion.  It will create a stretch on the defense vertically and can be good against man or zone.  Because the wheel is a double move out and up, it’s one that is good against man, especially with a guy like Tyreek Hill who has speed to burn.  

In this example, the defense plays Cover 3.  By looking at a diagram, it would appear that the Post-Wheel can easily be taken away.  However, because the out and up puts that receiver on a different level, the mid pointing corner naturally stays on top of the post.  His depth opens a window for the wheel to be thrown.

The Hook/Flat Combo Underneath

Next, the combination  stretches the zone defenses horizontally. That’s where the two other receivers stress the defense and force choices for the remaining defenders.

In this example, the wheel combination clears things out for an easy decision underneath.   The hook-flat stresses the linebacker having to play the flat with Kelce hooking up inside.

Undoubtedly, this Sunday, the Chiefs will have this play in the game plan to attack the Bills defense. Count on the Chiefs exploiting whatever coverage the Bills try to use to stop it.