Can Andy Reid Fix the Chiefs?



Copyright: Dave Skretta
Copyright: Dave Skretta

The deal is done, and the fog has cleared.  Andy Reid has been signed as the new Head Coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.

As with all coaching changes, many questions arise such as; will he be able to replicate the years of success he had with his previous team? Or will he continue the downward spiral of losses that ultimately led to the recent dismissal from his former team?

There are so many questions that can be asked when a new Head Coach is brought in to fix a team. In the case of the Kansas City Chiefs and Andy Reid, the situation is unique. Many tend to focus on the records of his last two years coaching the Philadelphia Eagles. Some claim he is burnt out and in desperate need of a break and time away from football. He however, says that is not the case. When asked at his Press Conference on Monday (being introduced as KC’s Head Coach) about whether he should take a year off, Reid replied “no, it never crossed my mind, I am ready to go now, this is what I do”.

He didn’t become the type of coach is he is now overnight.

On January 11, 1999, the Philadelphia Eagles announced Andy Reid as their new head coach. It was a surprise to many and the move was heavily criticized by some Philadelphia media outlets. Coming from the Packers as an offensive assistant and quarterback coach to Brett Favre, Reid had never even been an offensive or defensive coordinator and many felt other candidates deserved the job more, due to their records and experience. When Reid was brought in, he was taking over a team that had just wrapped up a 3-13 season.

Sound familiar?

During his 14 years in Philadelphia, Reid led the Eagles to five NFC championship games, including four consecutive appearances from 2001-2004, and to Super Bowl XXXIX in 2004. He has long been heralded as being able to bring out the best ability in any quarterback he coaches.

His first major coaching decision in Philadelphia was to draft Donovan McNabb with the No. 2 overall pick of the draft. Nearly all Eagles fans wanted Ricky Williams. Andy Reid however, wanted Donovan McNabb.

He couldnt have been more right.

McNabb made the Pro Bowl six times under Reid, five trips to the NFC Championship Game and won 2004 NFC Offensive Player of the Year.

Eventually McNabb’s time in Philadelphia would run out and he would be traded to the Washington Redskins.

Michael Vick is the greatest example of Andy Reid’s quarterback coaching mastery. Vick went from being the last guy to practice,to going to federal prison for two years, to becoming a complete quarterback. Vick was the runner-up in the 2010 NFL MVP race in just his first full season back as a starter since 2006. He threw for over 3,000 yards and 21 touchdowns with six interceptions in only 12 games.

Sure, Vick has now begun to regress in his play, but the success he has had during his time in Philadelphia is largely due to the man developing him. Head Coach Andy Reid.

So can Coach Reid help out the Chiefs?

The Kansas City Chiefs just wrapped up their worst season in franchise history with a 2-14 record. Much like the team that Reid inherited in Philadelphia in 1999, the Chiefs are in need of a major boost. Changes on defense are a big question mark as the Chiefs have generally run a 3-4 defense while Reid typically prefers the 4-3.

The quarterback play in Kansas City has been atrocious. Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn were two of the lowest rated quarterbacks in the league this season. In his press conference on Monday, Reid told the media he would not commit to drafting a quarterback with the number one draft pick right now until he evaluates those currently on the roster. He did say he wanted to “find the next Len Dawson” but also said that perhaps the quarterback of the future is “already here”. It’s hard to say what will happen with that position and its absolutely unrealiatic right now to think a decision has already been made.

Another issue for the Chiefs is, lack of leadership and motivation in the locker room. Andy Reid’s presence will demand respect and attention. As Clark Hunt said Monday:

“This is a very exciting day for me and my family and everyone affiliated with the Chiefs organization. A week ago today, when I began the search for our next head coach, I outlined a specific set of criteria that I believe best described the ideal candidate for our job. I knew that I wanted a proven leader who has built a successful program; I knew I was looking for an effective communicator, teacher and someone with a high football I.Q. and a strong work ethic. Finally – most importantly – I wanted a man of integrity, who would hold himself and those around him accountable to get the job done. What I didn’t know when I laid out those criteria last week was that I was effectively describing Andy Reid. Naturally, I was pleased to find someone who matched what I was looking for. I was even more excited once I spent time with Andy and got to know him as a person. He is warm and engaging, down to earth and we hit it off right away. It was fun to talk football with him; he is intelligent, receptive and you can tell that he has been around the game a long time. He is also humble, honest and appreciative of the opportunity to be a head coach in the National Football League. Andy is a proven winner who built an outstanding program in Philadelphia over the last 14 years. During his tenure with the Eagles, his teams qualified for the playoffs nine times and his teams went to the NFC Championship game five times. Andy led the Eagles to six NFC East division titles and the 2004 NFC Championship. He is fifth in career victories among active coaches and has been named NFL Coach of the Year three times during his career. As a teacher and communicator, he has demonstrated a unique ability to motivate his players. His knowledge of the game and humble, hardworking approach to his craft has made him one of the most respected voices in the National Football League.”

“In addition to his abilities as a coach, Andy is a man of integrity who cares deeply about his family and the people that he works with. He is well respected around the league for his character, humility and the genuine compassion that he demonstrates for his coaches, players, colleagues and most of all, his family.”

Kansas City fans should be excited. The hiring of Andy Reid is a huge victory for the Hunt family and all of Chiefs Nation. Much like he did with the Eagles in 1999, Andy Reid is about to return the Chiefs to relevancy. Sure, he has many things to fix in this organization, and many argue that the quarterback position needs the most attention. It will be fixed. Don’t worry Chiefs fans, if there’s one thing in particular that Mr. Reid excels at doing, it’s taking a quarterback of any caliber and turning him into something the franchise can be proud of.


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