One Scott Pioli firing and a failed fat joke by Ed Werder later, the Chiefs made the hiring of Andy Reid as their next Head Coach official Friday evening. Whether this was a good hire or not has yet to be determined, but it is undeniably a big and bold – not to mention expensive – move by Clark Hunt that shows the fan base that he is willing to do what it takes to win and win now. Like when Jim Irsay fired Bill Pollian and his son last year from the Colts in the process of taking back his franchise, it seems that Hunt was determined to do the same.
Hunt, however, will not be the coach and will not be responsible for shaping this team in his own image, which is why I am turning my attention to Andy Reid, and breaking down his career with the Eagles into a few different categories, including stats, tendencies, etc. First and foremost, let’s begin with the wins/losses.
Andy Reid’s Record
In Reid’s 14 seasons as the Eagles head coach, he had a 130-93-1 record, good for a .583 winning percentage. To put that into comparison, Bill Belichick (18 seasons) has a .649 winning percentage, Jeff Fisher (18 years) has a .538 winning percentage, while fired head coaches Norv Turner (14 years) has a .483 winning percentage, and Lovie Smith (9 years) has a .563 winning percentage. In fact, only five teams have a better winning percentage than the Reid-lead Eagles over that same time frame: Patriots, Colts, Steelers, Packers and Ravens. Obviously, when you’ve been a head coach for as long as Reid and you have a record like his, it is impressive.
Included in those 130 wins are nine playoff seasons – 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010. Of those playoff years, the average number of victories during that time is 11. The five seasons Reid didn’t make the playoffs were his first year (5-11), 2005 (6-10), 2007 (8-8), 2011 (8-8) and last season with a 4-12 record, the worst of his tenure. If you’re paying attention, you’ll realize that Reid never had back-to-back losing seasons, something Chiefs fans should salivate about.
Andy Reid’s Offense
The Eagles offense under Reid – from McNabb to Vick – could more often than not be described as prolific. In eight of Reid’s seasons with Philly, the team was ranked in the top 10 for points per game; and in only three seasons were the Eagles not in the top half of the NFL in that category. If you are more of a yards-per-game connoisseur, they were in the top 10 for that stat seven times.
A reason for this is probably the offensive philosophy Reid follows: the West Coast Offense. And while Reid seemed to be a progressive in recognizing the NFL was becoming a pass-first league when he took over the reins in Philly, it’s actually been a criticism I’ve heard from disgruntled Eagles fans over the last couple of seasons. The most repeated criticism is the utilizing, or lack thereof, of LeSean McCoy. Well, since I watch “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and know that Eagles fans can’t always be trusted, I decided to do a little research of my own.
Under Reid’s guidance, the Eagles attempted passes on just over 57% of their offensive play calls. To put that into perspective, the Chiefs have attempted passes on about 53% of their plays during that same time frame. The difference between those two numbers is 550 pass attempts, otherwise known as one full season by a very busy quarterback. But that’s just known as the West Coast Offense, and isn’t out of the ordinary anymore – the league is averaging pass attempts on 56.4% of plays this season, highest in NFL history for a season.
It won’t produce, however, to the rushing clip that Chiefs fans have been accustomed to. In Reid’s tenure, the Eagles offense only produced a 1,000 yard rusher six times: 1999, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2011. Those six comprise of three different runners – Duce Staley, Brian Westbrook, and most recently LeSean McCoy. Jamaal Charles has had three 1,000 yard seasons in the last four seasons, so yeah …
As far as the utilization of McCoy: the running back averaged about 17 rush attempts per game in 2012, 18.2 in 2011, 13.8 in 2010, and 9.7 in 2009. Plus, over those four seasons, McCoy added 1,588 receiving yards; running backs that can catch the football out of the backfield is essential to a Reid team. For comparison, Charles has averaged 14.9 carries a game, not including his injury-shortened 2011 season, since 2009. Compared to McCoy’s 14.7 carries per game average, I think the Chiefs might have a better case for being livid over the under-utilization of Charles.
I did recognize a correlation, however, between rushing attempts and 1,000 seasons for the Eagles. When Reid has allowed the team to attempt a minimum of 415 rushes in a season, the Eagles are 6 for 8 on producing 1,000 yard rushers. The two seasons that didn’t happen, the leading rushers had 936 yards and 613 yards. And if you’re curious about how those six seasons that produced 1,000 yard rushers went, the team averaged 8.8 wins. So running the ball doesn’t necessarily translate into dominance for a Reid-lead offense, but it can’t hurt to have one of the best backs in the NFL on his new team. As Bill Williamson, the AFC West blogger for ESPN, said earlier today: Reid must ride Jamaal Charles.
Andy Reid’s Drafts
As the SB Nation Eagles draft stated earlier, while preparing Chiefs fans for their new head coach, Reid “sees the NFL through the prism of the pass.” That means Reid loves getting guys that can contribute to the passing game – WR’s, offensive lineman – and can harass the passing game – edge pass rushers, cornerbacks. Reid’s draft history supports this thought.
In Reid’s first draft with the Eagles, he took quarterback Donovan McNabb with his first selection, number two overall. Since that 1999 draft, the Eagles used seven first round selections on players that matched the above criteria – two offensive linemen, two defensive ends, two wide receivers, and one defensive back. Not to mention the number of these same positions the Eagles have selected after the first round – Trent Cole, DeSean Jackson, Mike Kelce, Jason Avant, Kevin Kolb, Sheldon Brown, Nick Foles, Vinny Curry, etc.
As Bill Barnwell from Grantland pointed out in his article about Andy Reid’s legacy in Philly “Each of Reid’s first seven drafts after he joined the organization produced at least one Pro Bowl player, with those first seven drafts producing 16 Pro Bowl appearances from eight players.”
Will Andy Reid take a quarterback number one overall with the Chiefs this April? I think Reid would lose all of his good will from Chiefs fans if he doesn’t.
Andy Reid’s Free Agency
You might remember when the supposed “Dream Team” was christened in Philly a couple of years back after several big free agents were brought in. Most of these free agents follow the same passing “prism” that his draft record shows: Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Jason Babin. Before them were Asante Samuel, Javon Kearse, Jon Runyan, Jason Peters and Terrell Owens (DMC, Peters and Owens actually being products of a trade, but I’ll still include them in this free agency section). And let’s not forget Reid’s willingness to bring in Michael Vick once released from prison; granted it’s a move that looked much better two years ago then it does today.
It seemed like Philly was always a big player in the free agent market, and whether that was because of ownership or Reid himself, I’m not sure. But if Clark Hunt is as serious about winning as most fans in KC now think he is, I wouldn’t be surprised if Reid gets to be just as aggressive in the free agent market, both acquiring and trading players, as he was in Philly; for better or worse.
Andy Reid in the Playoffs
Reid’s work in the playoffs is very impressive. He has a 10-9 record in the postseason, including taking the Eagles to five Conference Championship games and one Super Bowl. And while the Eagles haven’t won a playoff game since January 11th, 2008, I think all Chiefs fans can agree that ain’t too bad.
For those knocking Reid’s inability to win it all, I tend to agree with Bill Barnwell, a contributor to Grantland, when he wrote “Particularly bitter Eagles fans will argue that Reid needed to win a Super Bowl to justify his existence, but that argument doesn’t carry a ton of weight these days. How many people have either mentioned or noticed without saying it that the most important thing about the NFL playoffs is merely getting in? The Giants have made a living off of limping through the regular season before dominating in two different postseason runs. If it is really that much of a crapshoot, shouldn’t we be crediting Reid for gaming the system properly and getting as many cracks at the postseason as possible as opposed to lining up to attack him for only reaching the Super Bowl once?”
For perspective, Reid’s playoff winning percentage is .526. Tony Dungy’s was .474, Jeff Fisher’s is .455, while Marty Schottenheimer’s was .348 (ugh).
Questions I have about Andy Reid
How many changes are going to accompany Reid’s presence in Kansas City? I’m not talking about the General Manager position, but potential roster changes. Reid always ran a 4-3 defense in Philly, does that mean he plans on running one in Kansas City? And if he does, do the Chiefs have the personnel on the roster to make the switch back? With all the talent the Chiefs have on defense – which was put on display when the Pro Bowl roster was announced – Reid should have no problem attracting defensive coordinator candidates.
Another, and my main concern actually, is if Reid is emotionally or mentally fatigued and if that will affect him this season. After all, it was less than a year ago that Andy’s son, Garrett, was found dead of an accidental heroin overdose on August 5th, 2012. Reid learned of the tragedy on a Sunday and returned to practice on Wednesday. That means Reid has taken two days off since his son died, and as a head coach, you wonder how that might affect him now and how it affected him last season in the Eagles 4-12 year which lead to Reid’s termination. Nobody knows better than Andy what he’s going through and what he’s capable of doing and dealing with; just thinking about myself and how I would deal with something like that, I’m not sure if taking some time off wouldn’t be in his best interest. But everyone grieves in different ways, so who am I to question his decision. I just hope that fatigue I think might be there doesn’t manifest itself with this Chiefs team, and that a change of scenery is all he needs to feel rejuvenated.
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading about the Chiefs new head coach! Whether you agree with the decision or not, it’s a done deal, so we might as well enjoy the change. After all, Pioli IS gone. Long live the Chiefs!