The old saying goes “Hope springs eternal.” It means, hope for the best, no matter the adversity. Most Kansas City Chiefs fans can live by that. Every year hoping and believing that things would get righted. That a once proud franchise would finally move towards the right direction for the future. But incorrect hiring’s doomed the team over the past decade. Last season could beat down even the most optimist fan.
Enter Andy Reid. After departing from Philadelphia and looking for a fresh start, Coach Reid and soon later General Manager John Dorsey joined forces to regain the trust of the Arrowhead faithful. Now a month into the first of the Andy Reid Era, the Chiefs sit at 3-0. Ahhh, hope springs eternal once again. Now, maybe hope is turning into reality. I want to touch on the three key aspects I have taken away from the new regimes first month in something I call “Three & Out.”
Three & Out
First Down: Coaching
What a difference a year can make. It is utterly amazing what Coach Reid and his staff has done with the majority of the same roster Romeo Crennel had the past season. It has taken only 3 attempts to eclipse Crennel’s meager 2 victories last season. No one has ever questioned Reid’s ability to coach. Time just ran out on his experience in Philly. 14 years with no Super Bowl titles and two lackluster previous seasons wore out his welcome in the “City of Brotherly Love.” Thank you Philadelphia. Coach Reid was welcomed with open arms to Kansas City, a city ready for an established coach with a proven track record. Reid understood the talent that was already available on the Chiefs roster, tweaking little. Building his staff, Reid brought over some familiar faces from his previous staffs; (Offensive Coordinator Doug Pederson previously served under Reid as Philadelphia’s Quarterback Coach for the 2011 & 2012 season, before serving as Offensive Quality Control Coach in 2009 & 2010. Spread Game Analyst Brad Childress before becoming the Head Coach of the Minnesota Vikings served on Reid’s staff from 1999 to 2005 as Quarterbacks Coach and Offensive Coordinator. Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub served under Reid in Philly from 2001-2003) and new faces such as Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton (New York Jets from 2000-2012 under various roles on the defensive side, including coordinator from 2006-2008) and consultant Chris Ault (former University of Nevada Head Coach and pistol formation guru) while keeping key parts from the previous regime, such as Linebacker Coach Gary Gibbs and Defensive Backs Coach Emmitt Thomas. This credits Reid’s confidence in his position and standing with the franchise, obtaining what he believes is his best coaching staff available, not just within his “coaching tree,” something the previous regime never seemed to do. The team has responded to an incredible start, proving really how important a good cohesive coaching staff can be.
Second Down: Defense
How good has this defense been! After years and years of draft picks invested into this defense, Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton has them playing at the level many of had thought they had the capability to. Derrick Johnson has been a tackling machine as normal, Tamba Hali has been a force to reckon with, Brandon Flowers, injured knee and all has played exceptionally well (other than the first half of the Dallas game, although Bryant is almost a half foot taller than Flowers, and when he wants to be, one of the elite receivers in the league,) but the MVP’s of the defense has been Justin Houston and Dontari Poe. Houston has been nearly unblockable. The former Georgia Bulldog has made opposing quarterbacks take notice, notching 7 ½ sacks in just 3 games, while forcing a fumble and recovering two. Houston made number 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel look completely overmatched during the 28-2 beat down in Jacksonville, earning AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his three sack performance. In Andy Reid’s triumph return to Philadelphia, Houston showed the national audience he has arrived, sacking the mobile Michael Vick 4 ½ times as well, earning another Defensive Player of the Week award. Currently Houston leads the NFL in sacks at 7 ½, ahead of the competition by 3 sacks. As for Dontari Poe, the man in the middle of the line looks leaps and bounds ahead of his rookie season. He single handedly pushed the Dallas Cowboys interior linemen (mostly rookie Center Travis Frederick) into Tony Romo’s pocket in Week 2, earning 2 sacks. He added 1 ½ Week 1 against Jacksonville and sits tied for 4th in the NFL with 3 ½. Poe did not register a sack last season. The crazy thing is Andy Reid is known an offensive guy and previous Coach Romeo Crennel was known as a defensive guy. Proves how over matched Crennel was as Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator. Once again it comes back to my first point, coaching.
Third Down: Home Field Advantage Returns
One of the biggest advantages the Kansas City Chiefs should have year in and year out is home field advantage. The true NFL home field advantage rests at One Arrowhead Drive. While awful home records the previous seasons (minus 2010’s anomaly) have limited the crowd, the home opener against the Dallas Cowboys awakened the sleeping giant. Arrowhead returned in full force to welcome Andy Reid and the new regime. Arriving at the stadium around 7 o’clock that morning, tailgating had already commenced. At that point, I knew Tony Romo was in for a long day. The crowd was as good as I can remember, almost at capacity. At points it was so loud I couldn’t even yell to get my wife’s attention. It was a thing of beauty, something that had been stolen from the Arrowhead crowd. But it’s back, and it’s ready to welcome Eli Manning and the 0-3 New York Giants. You’ll hear them Eli, about 75,000 of the Kansas City faithful.