KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs couldn’t have found a better source for help in implementing — and maybe even defending — the pistol offensive system sweeping through the NFL.
The Chiefs have hired former Nevada coach Chris Ault, who used the modified shotgun formation to great success in the college ranks, to serve as a consultant to new coach Andy Reid, offensive coordinator Doug Pederson and the rest of the Kansas City coaching staff.
Ault’s agent, Bob LaMonte, confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on Monday. It was first reported by the Reno Gazette-Journal, which covered Ault during his college coaching years.
It wasn’t clear exactly what his duties will be, though it’s safe to say that his expertise running the pistol offense will be heavily drawn upon.
“I told Coach Reid, ‘Whatever I can do to help you win a Super Bowl, I’ll do it,’” the 66-year-old Ault told the Reno Gazette-Journal in a story published Monday.
The pistol offensive formation lines up the quarterback a few yards behind center, but short of the traditional shotgun formation. The idea is to give the quarterback, particularly those with the ability to run the option, more versatility immediately after the snap.
Ault utilized the offense at Nevada with Colin Kaepernick, who led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl this past season. The 49ers and other NFL teams have begun to implement it, with the Redskins and quarterback Robert Griffin III using it to great success.
Kaepernick, of course, replaced Alex Smith as the 49ers’ starting quarterback, allowing the team to trade Smith to the Chiefs this past offseason. And while Smith hasn’t done much running in the NFL, he ran a spread-option system for coach Urban Meyer in college at Utah.
The Chiefs have used the pistol system in the past. In 2008, when injuries forced them to use quarterback Tyler Thigpen, he proved to be more successful taking the snap a few steps off the line of scrimmage. It allowed him more time to survey the field and scramble if necessary.
Ault isn’t the first special assistant hired by the Chiefs.
Reid previously hired former Vikings coach Brad Childress, whom he worked with in Philadelphia, to serve as spread game analyst. Reid has said that Childress will research variations of the spread offense in an effort to help not only the Chiefs’ offense, but also their defense.
In other news, the Chiefs announced the signing of running back Knile Davis, their third-round draft pick. Davis is the third of the Chiefs’ eight draft picks to have signed a contract, joining sixth-round pick Eric Kush and seventh-round selection Mike Catapano.
The Chiefs also signed six tryout players who took part in their rookie minicamp last weekend: defensive linemen Risean Broussard and Miguel Chavis, defensive backs James Rogers, Justin Glenn and Greg Castillo and running back Jordan Roberts.
They released defensive back Jose Gumbs and fullbacks Ryan D’Imperio and Nate Eachus.
The Chiefs begin voluntary full-squad workouts Tuesday. Franchise left tackle Branden Albert, who signed his $9.3 million tender but has stayed away from the team because of his desire for a long-term deal, is expected to be on the field for the practice.
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