Reid won't ditch his cherished West Coast offense, but the early signs suggest he'll turn to the pistol as an occasional curveball to throw at defensive coordinators.
The surest sign yet came Monday when the Chiefs imported the godfather of the pistol offense. Former Nevada coach Chris Ault has agreed to a consultant position with the organization, his agent told Dan Hinxman of the Reno Gazette-Journal on Monday.
It's an interesting move, given quarterback Alex Smith ran the spread-option under Urban Meyer at Utah and that the Chiefs in March announced former Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress was hired with the title of "Spread Game Analyst/Special Projects."
The pistol quarterback lines up four yards behind the line of scrimmage in a shorter shotgun with a running back behind him or even sidesaddle, as the Washington Redskins did with Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris. It enables the quarterback to take advantage of the read-option and play-action while also allowing for downhill power runs, counters and gaps from the tailback.
"The pistol is here to stay," Ault declared in January. In a copy-cat league, it's no surprise that the Chiefs plan to take advantage of Smith's athleticism after seeing the success of the Redskins, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks last season.
What's interesting, though, is that Reid is implementing the change with a quarterback who was kept in a straitjacket by 49ers coaches. It wasn't until Colin Kaepernick sent Smith to the bench that the 49ers began to revolutionize their offense. If the tea leaves are correct, Smith will have a chance to shed the "game manager" label for the first time in his eight-year NFL career.
Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.