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Andy Reid hire for Chiefs may mean new GM, too

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, at 10:58 a.m.
  • Updated Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at 11:37 a.m.

At 2-14, the Chiefs had the worst record in the NFL last year. But the expectation is that things will improve rapidly if they hire Andy Reid as their head coach.

“I think this team all of a sudden has a chance to be pretty good,” former Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said. “He fits with the Chiefs. He coached at Missouri. He was in the Midwest. The fans will enjoy him and they’ll enjoy his offense. He’s got a plan. He’s been in playoff games, he’s been in Super Bowls. He’s done it all. His legacy is one that he knows how to win games.”

The Chiefs were on the verge of bringing in Reid, fired Monday after 14 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, as their next head coach, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Talks between the Chiefs and Reid were going well enough that Reid was not planning to take a scheduled visit to Arizona to speak with the Cardinals about their coaching vacancy, or meet with the Chargers about their head coaching job.

The Chiefs didn’t acknowledge they had even talked with Reid, much less that they were close to hiring him to replace Romeo Crennel, who was fired Monday after going 4-15 as head coach in Kansas City. There was also no indication of the fate of general manager Scott Pioli.

Pioli was involved in the Chiefs’ nine-hour interview with Reid in the Philadelphia area on Wednesday. But Reid may prefer to work with a different general manager.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Thursday that Reid would bring former Browns general manager Tom Heckert along with him to replace Pioli. After the Browns fired Heckert on Monday, he told the Plain Dealer that, “It would be outstanding to work with (Reid) again.” Before becoming the general manger of the Browns in 2010, Heckert had worked with Reid in Philadelphia for nine years.

But ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that his sources insist Reid still wants to gauge whether John Dorsey, the Packers’ director of operations, would consider becoming the Chiefs’ next GM.

The 55-year-old Reid was the longest tenured NFL coach when he was fired by the Eagles. Philadelphia won six division championships under Reid in the competitive NFC East and advanced to five NFC title games. The Eagles reached the Super Bowl only once, though, losing 24-21 to New England after the 2004 season, and Reid was dismissed this week after they went 8-8 in 2011 and 4-12 this season.

The Eagles were known for their high-scoring teams under Reid. They finished in the top 10 in scoring in eight of Reid’s 14 seasons and in four straight before dropping off to 29th this season.

The Chiefs were the NFL’s lowest-scoring team in 2012.

“He’ll present matchup problems for a defense,” Edwards said. “That’s what his teams do. He’s going to create formations that will make it difficult for a defense. He’ll attack down the field. He’ll take some shots at you. He’ll run it some but he’s more of a pass guy. He likes to throw the football and control the game that way. He’ll stress the (opposing) defense because they’ll be up tempo.

“If I’m Jamaal Charles, I’m pretty excited because look at the backs they’ve had in Philadelphia. They’ve always been able to catch at least 40, 50 passes coming out of the backfield. He’s always been a really great screens coach. They throw great screen passes to the wide receivers, tight ends and backs.

“They’ve got some players on offense. He’ll fix the quarterback situation, whether they draft one or they go out and get one in free agency. He’ll provide them the ability to have a good offense.”

Before he became a head coach for the first time with the Eagles in 1999, Reid was the quarterbacks coach for Brett Favre in Green Bay. Reid grew up in Los Angeles and played offensive line for BYU from 1979-81. He got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant with the Cougars, who also had Mike Holmgren on their staff as quarterbacks coach. Reid later became offensive line coach for three seasons at Missouri from 1989-91 before moving up to the NFL on Holmgren’s Packers staff.

Chairman Clark Hunt said on Monday the Chiefs were looking for a coach who, among other things, would hold his players accountable for their performance. Former Chiefs tight end Jason Dunn, who also played for Reid with the Eagles, said Reid would do that.

“He’s straight up with you, and he’s direct as far as what he wants out of you and expects out of you,” said Dunn, now a high school coach in Lexington, Ky. “Players like that. We appreciate that. I would call him a player’s coach.

“They need somebody to bring that energy back to Arrowhead Stadium and Andy is the perfect guy to do that. He’s a proven winner. He’ll get it done there. You’ll start seeing the changes immediately.”

The Eagles came apart the past two seasons. They missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the only time with Reid as their coach.

They spent heavily in free agency going into the 2011 season but still finished at .500 that year. The Eagles had their worst season under Reid last year.

“I think they got out of character a little bit,” Edwards said. “They felt they had a team that was ready to go, and it kind of fell apart. That one year, Michael Vick was playing well and that defense let them down. Then they went out and got all these defensive players, and it just didn’t work out. They were never the defense they thought they were going to be, and then the offense got hurt. Michael Vick got hurt and they had a whole bunch of injuries on the offensive line. It was just one thing after another.”

In an interesting twist, the Chiefs and Eagles are scheduled to play this fall in Philadelphia.

To reach Adam Teicher, call 816-234-4875 or send email to ateicher@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/adamteicher.

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