Semi-Coherent Eagles vs. Chiefs Preview: The One in Which the Team’s Former Coach Returns


Aug 24, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid looks on against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Hopes of Chip Kelly making it through a season without losing a game were dashed on Sunday.

While I expected a bit of a letdown in week two, it wasn’t Kelly’s offense that let the team down.  Sure, the offense had some missed opportunities, but they scored enough points to win most games.  Remember that in the offense’s last two drives before the abbreviated final possession, they gave the team the lead and then tied the game.

They might have been able to do even more had the defense not allowed the Chargers to convert seemingly every third down opportunity.  After the opener against Washington, people were speculating that the Eagles’ defense was better than expected.  Based on the Redskins’ performance in week two, it seems that the Washington offense is just worse than most expected.

The Eagles don’t have time to let the loss linger as the Kansas City Chiefs come to town for one of those Thursday night games that everyone loves so much.  (And by “everyone,” of course I mean “no one.”)  The Chiefs are coached by a fellow named Andy Reid.  If you think that name sounds familiar, that’s because he actually used to coach the Eagles for a few years.

What’s the Deal with the Chiefs

The Chiefs are 2-0, which means that the media gets to rave about how great Andy Reid is again.  (This only includes the national media.  I get the impression that most members of the Philadelphia media are ecstatic that Reid is gone.)  There have already been more than a few stories about how wonderful of a coach Reid is, and how woefully underappreciated he was by Eagles fans.

It’s obvious that I am not a huge fan of Reid’s, but I will admit that he has some redeeming qualities as a coach.  His players always seemed to play hard (with last year being a very notable exception) and he had great organizational skills.  You knew that heading into a game, Andy Reid would be prepared with a very detailed game plan.  Those traits – combined with some very talented players – allowed Reid to have a lot of success in Philadelphia.

But the man had some very glaring flaws as a coach, and his work as the team’s de facto general manager left a lot to be desired.  Eagles fans were never especially fond of former team president Joe Banner, but it seems that once Banner lost his power struggle with Reid, there was nobody around to save Reid from his bizarre decisions.  (Like making his offensive line coach into the defensive coordinator for example)  In Kansas City, he’s reportedly just concentrating on coaching and letting his general manager worry about personnel decisions.

Reid has the advantage of taking over for Romeo Crennel as the coach of the Chiefs.  Crennel isn’t exactly a tough act to follow, as his strengths as a coach appeared to be blankly staring into space and looking confused about how the challenge flag worked.  Compared to Crennel, Reid almost seems animated on the sidelines.

You know, now that I take a good look at the two coaches, are we entirely sure that Crennel isn’t actually Reid in makeup?

Separated at birth?

Anyway, the Chiefs are succeeding, mostly due to their strong defense.  Reid inherited a defense that returned five Pro Bowl players from last season, and to his credit, he hasn’t seemed to do anything that might keep that unit from succeeding.  (Like making his offensive line coach into the defensive coordinator for example.)  In case you’re wondering how a team that had a defense with five Pro Bowlers was so bad last season…well, let’s just say that Crennel was a REALLY bad coach.

Featured Chiefs Player: Dwayne Bowe

Dec. 9, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (82) makes a catch while being defended by Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (23) in the first quarter at Cleveland Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Dwayne Bowe is one of those players who it’s tough to decide if he’s a star or just a good player.  His stats seem to indicate that he’s a star.  He has three 1,000 yard seasons to his career, including an outstanding 2010 campaign when he had 15 touchdowns to go along with 1,162 yards.

While he was clearly hindered by having Matt Cassell as his quarterback the past few seasons, I’m not sure if Alex Smith is going to make him look any better.  Smith is notorious for favoring the short but safe passes.  Considering that the team’s coach has a similar reputation, it seems that if Bowe wants to put up big yardage, he’s going to have to do a lot of the work after the catch.

Then again, unless the Eagles’ secondary can improve on their performance from last week, there’s a good chance that Bowe ends up looking like a genuine star this week.

Key Eagles Storyline

Let’s see…They’re coming off a disappointing last-minute loss; Their defense, particularly the secondary is being ripped apart by critics; Their former star quarterback is having his number retired at halftime; People are still trying to determine if their offense will succeed in the NFL; And they’ve got their old coach returning to town.

And all of this is happening on a short week.

On the bright side, it is to the benefit of the Eagles that they didn’t have to travel for the short week.  Considering the Chiefs are coming from the Midwest, there’s hope that the Eagles players will be a little fresher.

Donovan McNabb: A Brief Tribute

Since Donovan McNabb will be having his number retired at halftime, I thought I should discuss him briefly.  I can’t help but watch the Eagles run Kelly’s offense and think that McNabb would have done really well with it.  McNabb could move well, he rarely threw interceptions, and he wasn’t averse to checking down to his safety valve receiver.  (This wasn’t always a good thing.  I got really sick of seeing him throw a three yard dump-off pass on 3rd and 10.)

Then again, I always thought McNabb would have benefitted from playing in any offense where the running game was emphasized.  The man may have been talented, but he wasn’t talented enough to win a Super Bowl with a pass-based offense when his best receivers were James Thrash and Todd Pinkston.  Sigh.

Jul 29, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb addresses the media during a press conference announcing his retirement at the Eagles NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Week in Andy

After thirteen years as the Eagles’ head coach, many Eagles fans miss having Andy Reid around.  Therefore, I take a weekly look at what “Big Red” is up to these days.

The scene: Andy Reid is reviewing game tape in his office when Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt enters.

Hunt: Hey Andy!

Reid: Hey.

Hunt: So how are you feeling?

Reid: I’m kind of hungry.

Hunt: I know how you feel.  We’re all hungry for some more wins!

Andy Reid is always hungry…for wins. Image Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Reid: No, I’m really hungry.  Did you bring any donuts with you?

Hunt: Sorry, not this time.  Anyway, it was great to get those first two wins under our belts, but I guess this week’s going to be even bigger for you.

Reid: It is?  Why?

Hunt: Ha, that’s the spirit!  Treat ‘em all like they’re the same, right?

Reid: Sure, I guess.

Hunt: Well, I know that everyone in the Chiefs family wants to win this one for you.  Let’s show them that the Eagles made a huge mistake.

Reid: The Eagles made a mistake?

Hunt: They sure did!  Well, their loss is our gain, and you’re gonna show them how wrong they were.

Reid: Wait, what were they wrong about?

Hunt: (Stares silently for a few seconds before laughing) Oh, man, you had me there for a second!  They told me you were a funny guy!

Reid: I am pretty funny, huh?

Hunt: Alright, I’m going to let you get back to work.  Just let me know if you need anything.  We’re going to win this one for Andy!  (Leaves office)

Reid: What the hell was he talking about?  (Opens binder labeled “Eagles” and flips through a few pages)  Huh.  The Philadelphia Eagles were coached for thirteen years by Andy Reid.  Oh, right.  (Writes a few notes in the binder, closes it, and goes back to watching film)

Tweet of Importance

Reading quotes like this make me realize just how much I miss having McNabb around.

Final Take

With Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid in the house, this is certain to be an emotional game for the Eagles and their fans.  But all the emotion in the world isn’t going to matter if the defense can’t improve.  The Chiefs have the best defense the Eagles have faced so far, so the defense is likely going to have to pull its weight this week.