Last Friday, a shot rang out through Chiefs nation – one that meant hope, credibility and a lot of change.
By firing GM Scott Pioli and bringing in head coach Andy Reid, Clark Hunt has set the franchise on an entirely new path.
Firstly, he has done away with the team’s traditional hierarchical structure that seats a powerful general manager above the coaching staff. Make no mistake, going forward, for better or worse, Reid is going to be calling the shots during the offseason, the draft, et cetera.
Four years ago, the Chiefs hired a highly reputed front office wiz from the New England Patriots. Although everyone knows that Bill Belichick is the mastermind behind New England’s success, this guy was a vital cog in his machine and it was believed that the numbers guy could be brought in to reproduce it. That failed, and Hunt learned his lesson. This time around, by hiring Andy Reid, he didn’t get Pioli, he got Belichick.
Having secured a lucrative contract that gives him wide-sweeping authority, make no mistake, Reid is going to make a lot of changes. He comes with a distinct philosophy, working style and mold for a successful team.
Reid is definitely going to make his imprint on this team during this offseason, which means several players are going to get their walking papers while others are going to see their role increase. We still don’t know exactly who Reid will take on with his staff or whether or not he will be keeping the Chiefs’ 3-4 defense, but judging by the way he built the Eagles, I think we can say which players should be happy and which should be nervous.
WR’s Steve Breaston, Dexter McCluster and Devon Wylie
Andy Reid loves small receivers that are great route-runners. McCluster has come on has an effective slot guy and I have a feeling that Reid will find something to do with Breaston who was criminally underused this season. Meanwhile, Wylie showed up late as another developing tool in the Chiefs passing game.
RB Jamaal Charles, LT Brandon Albert
It’s been widely said that Reid doesn’t like to run the ball, but that’s not really true. The Eagles were 19th in rushing attempts per game this year, 12th last year and 15th in 2010. In other words, they’re pretty much in the middle of the pack. Charles will still be getting fewer touches on runs out of the backfield (largely because the Chiefs have been one of the most run-happy teams in the league), but he will make up for that with more screens and quick passes thrown his way per game. Charles is a good route runner and could easily become a faster version of Brian Westbrook.
Reid also highly values the offensive line and doesn’t mind spending big to keep it shored up. This is good news for Albert, whose contract is up.
RB Peyton Hillis and WR’s Jonathan Baldwin and Dwayne Bowe
Hillis is gone. His fantastic game against the Colts notwithstanding, Hillis was a disappointment, only rushing for 309 yards this season for a 3.6-yard average. Like Hillis, Baldwin and Bowe also don’t really fit Reid’s scheme. Bowe is a great outside, move-the-chains threat, but Reid doesn’t typically utilize such receivers. He prefers getting the ball into the hands of smaller, more dynamic players in the middle that have the chance to make big plays. Baldwin has done next to nothing in the league and doesn’t fit this new mold. Bowe will probably be allowed to walk this offseason in favor of a free agent like Mike Wallace. Baldwin will probably get his last chance to prove his worth in the 2013 preseason.
S Eric Berry
Reid made great use of safety Brian Dawkins early in his time in Philadelphia as a jack-of-all-trades blitzer, run stuffer and cover guy. Berry has the physical tools to do the same, and I can’t wait to see the creative ways Reid decides to use him.
OLB’s Tamba Hali and Justin Houston
Although nothing is certain at this point, it is likely that Reid will want to move back to a 4-3 defense and use both Hali and Houston as edge rushers on the line. Hali is originally a defensive end and will likely be happy to return. Although Houston has done admirably in picking up coverage skills, I personally think it is a waste to make him drop back on passing downs when he truly excels at getting after the quarterback. In a Reid defense, he likely to be able focus on doing just that.
The rest of the front seven
Especially if the team abandons the 3-4, DE’s Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson are likely toast. Both are overpaid and underwhelming and I don’t see Reid wanting to keep reinvesting in those projects. Poe will likely stay a bit longer because he is still developing and would likely be effective in a 4-3 as well.
Unfortunately for the guys behind them, Reid has never heavily prized the linebacker position. In his years in Philly, he always invested high picks and free agent signings in defensive linemen and DBs while allowing the linebacking corps to be filled by a revolving door of journeymen.
Although we know Derrick Johnson can excel in the role of a 4-3 middle linebacker, it is still unclear whether Reid will want to pay him big money to continue to do so when his contract is up.
This list will change as we find out more about what Reid plans to do with this team, and I’ll try to keep you all updated as we all find out more.