KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When the Chiefs’ Andy Reid returns to Philadelphia on Thursday night, the Eagles will see a different head coach than the one they remember from the past few years.
Reid, in his first year with the Chiefs after 14 seasons as the Eagles’ head coach, no longer has the responsibilities and first and last say on personnel matters. That job belongs to Chiefs general manager John Dorsey.
Reid is only concerned with — and consumed by — coaching.
So far it is working. The Chiefs will take a 2-0 record into Thursday night’s game at Philadelphia against the Eagles, who are 1-1 under Reid’s successor, Chip Kelly.
“I enjoy coaching, No. 1,” Reid said on Monday in the afterglow of the Chiefs’ 17-16 win over Dallas. “I’m fortunate to have a tremendous owner. Not that I didn’t in Philadelphia. Jeff Lurie was top-notch. … I’m glad John Dorsey is here. His crew are doing a nice job. I appreciate that part.
“I enjoyed the time I had doing that in Philadelphia, but this time in my career, I’m excited to be doing what I’m doing and not doing the personnel.”
Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson, who played and coached under Reid in Philadelphia, sees the difference in his boss.
“He’s really gotten back into the football side,” Pederson said. “When he came to Philadelphia in 1999, when we all came there, and he was the head coach getting involved with the offense as much as he did then, I see the same similarities now in Kansas City.
“It’s good to see him back really doing the coaching side, which is the part he really loves doing and, part of the reason bringing in John Dorsey (to) hande the personnel side. It’s good to see him back in there teaching and coaching and mixing it up with the players.”
Some of Reid’s biggest hands-on interactions are with quarterback Alex Smith.
“He’s standing right behind me every single play with me in the huddle at practice and he sees it all,” Smith said. “He’s about as hands-on as it gets. For me, it’s been just trying to soak it up.
“There’s a lot of knowledge from over the years. There has been a lot of different types of quarterbacks that he’s coached … that have different strengths, different tools. For me, it’s two-fold. One, it’s fundamentally, I think he does a great job seeing things fundamentally; my feet, my posture, my weight, he sees all of that. And then the X’s and O’s, not just on the offense, but on the defense, he has a great understanding of defenses.
“It’s a blessing to be able to have that, a coach of his caliber and to be able to have that instant feedback every single play has been good. It has helped.”
Reid went 140-102-1 with nine playoff appearances, six division titles, five appearances in the NFC championship game and one in the Super Bowl during his 14 years in Philadelphia, but the burden of dual roles resulted, in part, to records of 8-8 and 4-12 in his last two seasons.
Reid said he hasn’t given much thought to the emotion he will feel on Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field. Even as Reid watches tape of the green-and-white clad Eagles, it’s just another opponent to him right now.
“In this business, you’re focused in on getting your team ready to play, so that’s where my energy is going to go,” Reid said. “I haven’t thought about that other part at all. I don’t necessarily plan on thinking about that. I want to make sure I concentrate on the game at hand. Anything else becomes a distraction, and I’m not going to allow that to happen.”
Pederson, one of 14 coaches and staff members Reid brought to Kansas City from Philadelphia, said the three days of preparation time for the game might have a lot to do with the tunnel vision of Reid and the rest of the former Eagles.
“It’s a short week, and it’s hard to get caught up in the emotion of everything,” Pederson said. “We’re trying to game plan and put our guys in the best possible situation for Thursday night. You don’t have time to get caught up and think about everything that is going on.”