NFL morning after: Andy Reid’s amazing turnaround

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Peyton Manning is on pace for a zillion touchdowns, and Jimmy Graham is playing tight end as well as anyone has ever played the position, and Robert Mathis is on pace to break the single-season sack record. But if I had to pick one person who has done his job the best so far this season, it wouldn’t be any of those players — or any player. It would be Chiefs coach Andy Reid.

The job Reid has done, taking over a 2-14 team and getting off to a 5-0 start, is nothing short of remarkable. Last year’s Chiefs were a mess on offense, defense and special teams. This year’s Chiefs are playing outstanding football in all three phases of the game. If it wasn’t already clear before Sunday’s 26-17 win over a good Titans team in Tennessee, it’s clear now: The Chiefs are for real.

That’s a huge surprise, but maybe it shouldn’t be. After all, Reid — despite the way it ended for him in Philadelphia — has already shown with the Eagles that he’s one of the best coaches in the NFL.

There were fair criticisms of Reid during his Eagles tenure, and given the way things went south in Philadelphia last season, letting him go might have been the right move for the Eagles. But let’s not pretend Reid isn’t an outstanding coach. In 1999, the Eagles team Reid took over was terrible. A year later he had them in the playoffs, and Reid led the Eagles to the playoffs nine times from 2000 to 2010.

Yes, there are areas of coaching where Reid struggles, like managing the clock late in game. But the areas of coaching where Reid excels, like developing players, implementing an offensive system and devising weekly game plans, are the bulk of the work a coach does. That work might not be as visible as a clock-management miscue in crunch time, but it’s more important to building a good football team.

And building a good football team is exactly what Reid is doing in Kansas City. Reid’s offense is a good system for Alex Smith to do his usual unspectacular-but-efficient thing at quarterback, and for Jamaal Charles to show that he’s one of the best running backs in the NFL. But what I really like is what Reid did on defense, hiring Bob Sutton — a longtime college and pro coach who had never worked with Reid before — as his defensive coordinator. Reid took some criticism in Philadelphia for hiring and promoting his buddies (most notably former Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo) as assistant coaches. He wisely looked beyond his inner circle for his defensive staff, and it has worked. The Chiefs’ defense has been great against the pass all season, and on Sunday they also held Titans running back Chris Johnson to just 17 yards on 10 carries.

I don’t think the Chiefs are going to beat out the Broncos in the AFC West. But I do think they’re going to be a wild card team, and a tough team to beat in January. Andy Reid will have another Coach of the Year award to put on his mantel at the end of this season.

Reid’s coaching impressed me the most about Sunday’s games. Here are my other thoughts:

Seattle’s Jon Ryan may be the NFL’s fastest punter and worst tackler. Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka had a field goal blocked on Sunday in Indianapolis, and Colts defensive back Delano Howell picked up the ball and raced toward the end zone. Amazingly, Ryan, the Seahawks’ punter and holder, gave chase and actually caught Howell — yes, a punter ran down a defensive back. Unfortunately, Ryan totally whiffed on the tackle, and Howell went the rest of the way to the end zone, completing a 61-yard return for a touchdown. Ryan will probably take some ribbing from teammates this week for his pathetic excuse for a tackle, but no one expects kickers to be able to tackle. Howell will take more ribbing for letting a punter catch him from behind.

Lance Briggs, what are you thinking? On fourth-and-1 late in the game, the Saints lined up to go for it in one of those situations where everyone watching is saying the same thing: “The Saints are just trying to draw the Bears offside.” So what happens? Saints quarterback Drew Brees uses a hard count, Briggs jumps offside, and the Saints are gifted a first down. Briggs is supposed to be the veteran leader of the Bears’ defense, but he committed one of the bonehead plays of the day. You just can’t jump offside on fourth-and-short.

The Broncos are ridiculous. No team in NFL history has ever scored even 600 points in a season. The all-time record is 589, by the 16-0 Patriots of 2007. The Broncos scored 51 points in Sunday’s win over the Cowboys to improve their total on the season to 230, putting them on pace to score 736 this season. The Broncos’ 230 points are the most for any team through five games in NFL history. If the Broncos average 33 points a game the rest of the way, they’ll break the Patriots’ record.

Maybe Trent Richardson just isn’t very good. When the Browns traded Richardson to the Colts for a first-round draft pick, most people thought it was a bold move by the Colts and a wave of the white flag by the Browns. Instead, Cleveland has gone 3-0 since allegedly giving up on the season by shipping Richardson to Indianapolis, and Richardson hasn’t done much of anything for the Colts. Yes, the Colts are 3-0 with Richardson, but his impact on their offense has been negligible. On Sunday, Richardson carried 18 times for 56 yards, and 11 of his 16 carries gained two yards or less. As a rookie in Cleveland Richardson averaged 3.6 yards a carry, and in five games this season, Richardson has averaged 3.6, 3.2, 2.7, 3.0 and 3.1 yards a carry. Despite the talent he showed at Alabama, maybe Richardson just isn’t a good enough runner to consistently make plays at the professional level.

Johnny Unitas was amazing. Why was I thinking about Johnny Unitas on Sunday? Because Tom Brady’s streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass ended at 52, and that got me to thinking about the all-time record for consecutive touchdown games with a touchdown pass, which Johnny Unitas owned from 1960 (when he set the old record of 47) until both Brady and Drew Brees passed Unitas last year. Just think how different the NFL passing environment was when Johnny Unitas was playing in the 1950s and 1960s. The officials weren’t protecting quarterbacks and receivers from hits on defenseless players, and defenders had far more leeway to rough up receivers downfield. In those days, you could lead the league with only 20 touchdown passes. And yet Unitas set a passing record that didn’t get broken until 2012. Amazing.

If the Jaguars didn’t have bad luck, they’d have no luck at all. When Jacksonville traded offensive tackle Eugene Monroe last week, I thought it made sense: The Jaguars aren’t going anywhere this season, and they might as well pick up a fourth-round pick and a fifth-round pick for Monroe now, rather than let Monroe leave in free agency for nothing after the season. But then came Sunday, when rookie left tackle Luke Joeckel was carted off the field with a leg injury. Losing Joeckel and not having Monroe anymore means the offensive line that will protect quarterback Blaine Gabbert the rest of this season will be brutally bad. I don’t know if the Jaguars will match the 0-16 Lions of 2008, but it’s hard for me to figure out when the Jaguars are going to win a game.

We may be witnessing the end of Tom Coughlin. I have a lot of respect for what Coughlin has done in his NFL coaching career, both his two Super Bowls with the Giants and the way he built the expansion Jaguars into contenders in the 1990s. But sometimes a coach just reaches a point where he can’t take his team any further, and Coughlin looks like he has reached that point with the Giants. Coughlin made some weird game management decisions in Sunday’s loss to the Eagles, including a bizarre decision not to decline a penalty after the Giants made a stop on third down (the Eagles converted on the ensuing play) and burning two timeouts in a row, first by calling one and then by getting a challenge wrong during that timeout. I’m not going to say the Giants should fire Coughlin and I’m not going to say he needs to retire. But I do think he looks like he could use a fresh start. Kind of like Andy Reid.

57 responses to “NFL morning after: Andy Reid’s amazing turnaround

  1. What is so remarkable about what Andy Reid has done. KC lacked a quarterback that could protect the ball and he got Smith. He took over a team with 6 pro bowl players and like his hay days in Philadelphia he is winning with a solid defense coached by someone else and when that person leaves the defense will go to pot just like in Philadelphia.

  2. The thing about Reid in Philly is that he was not the ‘architect of the Dream Team’, that was Joe Bummer. And Bummer is now working his magic in Cleveland with long time leper Mike Lombardturd!

  3. The Chiefs had probowlers on both sides of the ball. The only thing they lacked was an NFL caliber QB. What’s the only major thing Reid has done to the roster? Bring in a game managing QB. Genius I tell you. Pioli was the only one who couldn’t see Cassel wasn’t a starting QB.

    KC would at the very worst be 4-1 even if they hired Norv Turner. Reid get’s way to much credit for walking into an amazing situation.

  4. Isn’t Coughlin older than dirt and crankier than those old guys who shout at you to stay off their lawn?

    He’s had a great run but now it’s time to sit in the rocker and complain about the young people and how things were better in the good old days. At least he has Brandon Jacobs to reminisce about when they were both relevant in the NFL.

  5. Andy Reid succeeding is no surprise to me. He inherited a team that had no identity and brought his excellent coaching skills to KC. He knows football fundamentals, something KC lacked the past couple years. Too bad he didn’t come to my Chargers as coach, but when you have owners like the Spanos’, what do you expect? Nobody wants to come to SD.

  6. brownsclown says:
    Oct 7, 2013 7:15 AM
    The thing about Reid in Philly is that he was not the ‘architect of the Dream Team’, that was Joe Bummer. And Bummer is now working his magic in Cleveland with long time leper Mike Lombardturd!


    The thing is, Reid had final say on all personel decisions. Revisionist history is great isn’t it?

  7. Reid can coach other players well, it’s when he has the opportunity to evaluate his own players and more time to promote his own staff when he begins to run into trouble. Look at the roster he left in Philly. No way he would be 5-0 with that group. Reid would be most successful if he found (and kept) a real Player Personnel man who conducted the drafting and evaluating of players, without Reid’s input.

  8. Eagles defense has kept them from winning the since 2008….Reid is an offensive mind…..K.C. has had NO offensive identity now they have Reid. It’s no wonder they are laying like this….Broncos-Chiefs is the first Must see match up of the season

  9. Reid’s greatest success in Philadelphia came early in his tenure, before he had absolute control. As good as he was at coaching, he was the opposite when it came to drafting players. They had entire drafts that produced no significant players. The final bust was drafting a freakin’ old fireman from Canada.

  10. Coughlin isn’t getting any new start. He’s going to be relieved of his duties and then wait until the HOF calls him. You don’t start a new gig at almost 70 years old…..not that there would be a team willing to hire him anyway.

  11. The fresh start was good for Andy Reid (and long term will hopefully be good for Philly as well). I only watched his Chiefs against the Eagles, but this was not the same coach that left Philadelphia. There was innovative play calling that worked to the strengths of the players he had, something that we didn’t see in Philly since the early Reid years.

  12. Reid hasn’t yet made his mark with the chiefs. He is a very talented coach but once he starts drafting for that team it’s all over. On another note why do the chargers think woodhead is a three down back? He’s very versatile and can cause misnatches but having him at tailback on first and second down is a joke

  13. Andy Reid went to a team with a plethora of talent, got the team to trade for a franchise QB that can play to not lose games, and had the first overall pick.

    Now, he has one of the best O-Lines in the game, one of the top RBs, a very solid WR corps, several very high picks on Defense that are playing very well(god I wish we had Eric Berry) and all it took was a real coach to put them together.

    Reid is doing what he does best. Coach. He didnt have to do the personnel side of it, which was his downfall for him in Philly. He couldnt draft defense to save his life. Its no wonder that once Jim Johnson passed the Eagles defense fell apart.

    Im very happy he is succeeding. He gave Philly 10 very good years, we just didnt reach the pinnacle. It was just time for the Eagles to move on.

    Congrats Big Red, and congrats KC. Youre lucky to have him.

  14. Not purposely trying to take anything away from the Chiefs, because overall they have been impressive. But everyone always knew that team had loads of talent & just needed a coach to put it all together. But I still think the Titans win that game yesterday if they had Locker. Except for a couple of plays, Fitzpatrick was downright awful. The Titans defense is legit when the offense isn’t going 3 & out or turning the ball over on every series. The playcalling was horrible as well, especially on the first & goal at the 1 yard line. Maybe they felt limited with Fitzpatrick? Frustrating loss.

  15. Richardson looks awful. Even Donald Brown is breaking more long runs than he is. No patience, can’t read the holes, and can’t explode through them. Colts need to hang onto Brown to give them big play ability.

  16. Andy Reid is a great coach and the only thing he lacks is a Super Bowl win which he’ll get at KC.

  17. most eagles fan are quite happy reid is gone, despite the chiefs’ 5-0 start and specifically kc beating philly sept 19. it is 5 gms into the eras of reid in kc and chip kelly in philly. way to early to draw any conclusions.

    reid inherited a very good roster in kc. 6 all-pros including 4 on defense, with 3 at the LB position. plus kc due to its #1 draft position, was in the best position to get alex smith from SF, and alex smith is also substantially helping kc.

    andy reid left the eagles roster on the defensive side of the ball in complete disarray, in a complete shambles. that was his fault, no one else’s. let’s see what happens in a couple yrs to the respective rosters when reid has control over kc and he isn’t anywhere near philly.

    chiefs fans, enjoy reid now. because as time goes by and his fingerprints are all over your roster, it will slowly become a mess.

  18. Don’t forget Andy’s lack of ability to adjust in game. Well, I take that back. He can only make 1 adjustment. Thats got from 60/40 pass/rush to 99/1 pass/rush.

  19. The Chiefs are way overrated. They haven’t played anybody yet.

    If Locker plays yesterday they lose to the Titans by a mile.

  20. Yeah, an absolutely genius move by Ryan Grigson to swap his first round pick for Trent Richardson. And, it will only get better when Richardson gets hurt again, which at this point looks to be his strongest trait in regard to consistency…..

  21. Andy Reid will no doubt be LOVED in KC like Dick Vermeil is in Philly! Especially after he has numerous playoff appearances and multiple Super Bowl appearances! Say what you want about Coach Reid, but you can’t deny that the guy knows how to win in the National Football League.. He will always have a winning season 9 times out of ten!

  22. Just to be clear…
    Brees holds the consecutive games with a passing TD record. At no time did Brady ever hold that record. Yes he passed Unitas for 2nd place, but he is still in second place behind Drew Brees.

  23. again to above.

    first, bob Sutton is not that old, he will be around for awhile, but he is old enough to not get a HC job elsewhere, so andy isn’t losing his DC

    what is it with this “andy’s fingerprints will be all over the roster” you do realize kc is winning because of OUTSTANDING play from a group of UDFA’s right? its not even just the pro bowlers, its these guys JOHN DORSEY brought in

    again, JOHN DORSEY, is the GM, he makes the decisions on personnel, he has done a fantastic job bringing in NEW players

    why must people continue making it out like reid is the GM in KC. he is not, he is the head coach, that is all they want him to be.

  24. Hey trollonto, I didn’t know you were a fortune teller. You must be to predict that locker would have won the game for the Titans.

    Either way after the Chiefs beat your Raiders, they still won’t have beaten anyone. Get ready because it’s crying time in Chokeland.

  25. You can bet that whoever takes over Pittsburgh’s offense next year will also be hailed as a savior. Reid’s best move was to take over after Haley. The team had great players but less than no coaching. Haley is the master at finding a way to lose. Miley Cyrus could take over in Pittsburgh next year and be given a ticker tape parade.

    That said, the AFC West is the best division in football and it looks like they might be so for quite a long time, excepting the Chargers, of course.

  26. I was expecting a story congratulating Andy Reid for simply, physically turning around.

  27. Where Reid (and by that extension hiring Bob Sutton) impresses me the most is the improvement in guys like Justin Houston, and Dantari Poe. These guys were left ast Scot Pioli high round draft busts. Now they’re borderline Pro Bowlers.

    It’s the player development more than the record. And granted the Chiefs schedule has been soft, but you beat who is in front of you. No reason for the Chiefs, or Chiefs Fans to apoligize for being 5-0. None.

    Keep winning, some how split the two games with Denver, and see what happens. Go Chiefs

  28. Hey Canada, that’s the problem with Oakland. Their fans think they win by distances as opposed to points. “With Locker they would’ve won by a mile”? What does that mean in regards to football. Stick to something you seemingly know, cars making repetitive left hand turns.

  29. Let’s not quite anoint Reid the next Lombardi and get a dose of realism first: out of the 5 wins the Chiefs have gotten so far only 1 team, the Titans, has a winning record. The Jaguars are barely even an NFL team so that’s a gimme. Reid inherited a team with a handful of ProBowlers, a #1 draft pick & a joke schedule. His best move so far is getting Alex Smith; not because he’s overly talented, because he’s not, but because he doesn’t make mistakes & is boring.
    Reid is a good coach, not great. He racked up most of his wins in Philly in the early 2000s versus a terrible NFC East on his way to his only Super Bowl appearance in 2004. After that? He was a 500. coach; the epitome of mediocrity. After Jim Johnson passed away? The defense went to hell. His drafting after 2006? HORRENDOUS. Look up his drafting when he had total control. Total debacles.

  30. Man, I tell you what. Not all Eagles fans, but most of that group can’t seem to move on. What part about the way the Chiefs are structured now, as compared to when Reid was in Philly, do you guys not understand. Reid coaches in Kansas City, and John Dorsey is the GM. Both have a commitment to work together, which is working Eagles fans. If the Eagles organization wasn’t structured properly to get you guys success, then place the blame where it lies. Last time I checked, Andy Reid never owned the Philadelphia Eagles. You guys are still in the same boat!

  31. The Chiefs had too much talent to be 2-14. The only position that needed help was QB and now look. They also got the first overall pick when they didn’t really NEED it. Of course they’re going to improve.

  32. Reid has done a great job – I agree with you on that, but don’t underestimate the addition of Alex Smith. Finally having a respectable QB makes a huge difference with this team. Combine that with Reid, and 5-0 isn’t all that surprising.

    Thanks for the nod to Unitas – he truly was an amazing QB. To rack up the kind of numbers he had in the era he played would seem impossible.

    There’s a reason that – even with Montana, Manning, Brady, etc. to choose from – he is still in the argument of GOAT – and likely always will be.

  33. I love that Reid is 5-0 while the Eagles are 2-3, with their wins coming against opponents whos combined record is 1-8 under kelly. Philly fans never know what they have until its gone because they drove them out of town. The guy was obviously still a good coach- and it apparent that it’s probably as much the players and not the coach as to why their not successful.

    Philly fans have never gotten a superbowl win and act like its an expectation rather than an accomplishment to win one.

  34. Reid will ruin the chiefs in due time. Just give him a few drafts and free agency periods. Somebody else built the team he coaches. Reid simply applied football fundamentals and discipline plus a QB. Chiefs will get smashed by the broncos… Chiefs will make the play offs but won’t go anywhere. Chiefs fans will be saying “damn you were right!” after 3 seasons. Again Reid is a good coach…. But honestly Philadelphia is glad to see him go.

  35. selbyrj82 says: Oct 7, 2013 10:41 AM The guy was obviously still a good coach- and it apparent that it’s probably as much the players and not the coach as to why their not successful.

    So you fully admit you don’t know what you are talking about? “he’s obviously still a good coach”… Philly never said he was a bad one. Things get stale after 14 years of failure under a coach. Reid didn’t build the chiefs and didn’t get the opportunity to flop a draft for them yet. Give it time… It’s not hard for ANY coach to take a good team with 6 pro bowl players and make them good… you are being silly.

  36. Reid is being bailed out by his defense and special teams. Their offense has not been great and he still cannot call 3rd and 1 or 3rd and 2 to save his life. The Chiefs have had an easy schedule as well.

  37. Tom is just having a bad year. Cut the guy some slack already.

    Andy Reid is a football god. If it wasnt for that piece of poo Mcnabb barfin in the Superbowl he would have won big!!!!

  38. Man…these comments that basically point out the *facts* of Reid’s tenure are really insightful.

    – He DID coach poorly after the 04 Super Bowl.

    – The Eagles DID get worse as his control over the roster increased.

    – His drafts have been awful.

    – He DID leave the Eagles in a shambles of a farce of a mess.

    – And he has been a horrible in-game decisionmaker for most of his career.

    These aren’t opinions. This is his history as a coach.

    The Chiefs fans giving thumbs down to all of those comments are in total denial.

    Enjoy your early tenure w/ Reid, Chiefs fans. It’s likelier than not that he will make some soul crushing decision in a close big game that will leave you on your knees. And your team will get worse, and the players will tune him out.

  39. City of Brotherly Love, Now that’s FUNNY!!!!!!!! You’re all pissed because he’s successful and actually having fun coaching again? Look in the mirror, who’d want to coach for you fans like you?

    Enjoy your losing season with your gimmick college coach Philthy. Dorsey added 30 new players to the roster here, too bad your GM didn’t think of that. Oh wait….probably knows how much you guys like to BITCH and decided to help you out.

  40. theuglitruth says: Oct 7, 2013 11:38 AM

    It’s funny….to hear the sour puss Eagles fans.

    See again you clearly don’t get it wow. Nobody in philly is sour puss about losing a coach who failed us for 14 years lol that would be like getting upset about losing the worst player on your team. Yes he’s doing good in Kansas City, but who wouldn’t? Again for Philly this is a RE-BUILDING year. Chip Kelly has to fix all the holes and errors Reid made during his time as coach with the draft and free agency. Philly is a good defense away from being great. I will have patience and let our coach fix Reid’s 14 years of mistakes. Reid will coach great but let him in control of your personnel Chiefs fans.. Talk to me in 3 seasons. What has he done so far? Picked one QB? awesome…………. Again enjoy your failed play-off run. Reid is awesome during the season but falls apart in the playoffs. 😉

  41. Andy Reid downfall has been in the draft.
    If he has similar “success” in the annual
    Draft KC will slowly and surely Slide downward.

    KC has solid DL, pro bowl LBs an a cornerstone safety. 3 things Reid NEVER managed to draft in 14 years.

  42. I think the Chiefs’ turnaround this season has more to say about the previous coaches and QBs than it has anything to do with Reid or Alex Smith. They are just doing what they do…

  43. On a more positive note, Johnny Unitas was even better, when you consider that he had less than the current 16 game schedule to hit those 48 TD passes!

  44. I am a die-hard long time Broncos fan. When I heard Reid was going to KC I said, watch out. He is a great coach that the Philly and their ungrateful fans never appriciated. He’s has done a great job and we all wish him the best but hope he goes back to the NFC.

  45. When Andy came to Philly he had a GM his name was Tom Modrak and he was very good at drafting but after a couple years Andy wanted more control and money and then he sunk the team…. With players like Freddy Mitchell, Todd Pinkston, Jerome McDougal, and Danny Watkins these were first and second round picks and then the hi motor guys get ready for all of this. He is a really good coach when he has the talent. But alot like a coach you used to have here that would bring you to the playoffs every year Marty Schottenheimer!!!

  46. None is talking about how easy the chiefs schedule is? The last time they had the easiest schedule in the league, they went to the playoffs and got blown off the field by a real team, look for that to happen again.

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