At a superficial look, anyway, it is easy to understand Chiefs coach Andy Reid as sure to ritual and behavior.
That is actually what Brett Veach figured when he started working with Reid as a Philadelphia Eagles coaching camp intern in 2004, considering then of Reid as “an old style, sort of persist with the fundamentals” sort. That included being intent on asserting command and management.
Then additionally serving as common supervisor of the Eagles, Reid insists on full management of the operation and relished the times of a number of day by day practices throughout camp. When Veach was working as Reid’s private assistant, he as soon as known as a close-by good friend for assist late at evening from the workforce resort in Pittsburgh as a result of he could not discover a specific Sharpie pen Reid all the time used for his play card.
Reid lengthy balked at such issues as letting gamers connect a “Jr.” to the final title on the again of their jerseys.
Small marvel that to today Veach nonetheless encounters individuals inclined to say Reid is “caught in his methods” … even when that is not true in lots of key points that we’ll come again to.
“He isn’t the identical man that he was after I interned in Philly,” mentioned Veach, now the Chiefs’ common supervisor. “I imply, he’s a unique man.”
Now, little doubt a sure immovable component of Reid is on the root of what makes him an irresistible power. That is why many first cite his predictability and dependability (along with the empathy and humanity that assist outline him) as essential each to the loyalty of he engenders and his profitable methods.
Requested if he is seen Reid change in some methods through the years, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy initially laughed and dismissed the purpose.
“I snigger as a result of, and I say this humbly and respectfully… no,” he mentioned. “He is nonetheless the identical person who I’ve all the time identified. He is very in keeping with how he treats individuals.”
For a snapshot (albeit a deceptively bland one in all a person with appreciable character he typically prefers to publicly subdue), contemplate the uniformity of his information conferences:
Every commences with a semi-sighing “All proper” earlier than he turns to an damage report and challenges he appears ahead to. Then possibly he’ll convey another tidbits earlier than he invariably tells the media, “With that, time’s yours.”
‘Fully completely different’ offense
However the cause this time is his time as by no means earlier than, with the fifth-most wins in NFL historical past (252 together with playoffs) and on the helm of a perennial Tremendous Bowl contender, is not simply his dependability and routine.
As he swiftly enters his tenth season in Kansas Metropolis, it is one other dimension of the 64-year-old Reid that has him effectively on trajectory to the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame:
By some means sprouting out of his bedrock, he bears an ever-imaginative adaptability. Connected is the sophistication to navigate what’s finest served by that creature of behavior inside, by change or a fusion thereof.
The distinction might sound at odds with itself. However it co-exists in Reid, considerably harking back to the Walt Whitman line about contradicting himself that Whitman certified with, “I’m giant, I include multitudes.”
So, in reality, does Reid, who maybe displays the affect of each his progressive father, Walter, a Hollywood set designer, and his extra pragmatic mom, Elizabeth, a radiologist.
That is why Veach, Bieniemy and loads of others have the conviction in a single sentence to notice Reid’s fidelity and within the subsequent to level out how dynamic he’s.
The duality was properly summed up by defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who has identified Reid for many years and labored for him in Philadelphia.
“He has advanced in loads of methods … but he is nonetheless the rock-solid man that everyone knows,” Spagnuolo mentioned. “So in any up or down (state of affairs), he is all the time the identical. And that is an amazing high quality.”
Look no additional than how his playbook has morphed and mushroomed over the many years, and even simply since he got here to Kansas Metropolis in 2013, for a touch of how he is adjusted and replenished himself and flourished in broader methods.
Within the wake of the Tireek Hill commerce, that figures to be all of the extra evident this season.
Even when it is all inside “a blueprint,” as Veach put it, you may see performs that draw on something from Rose Bowls previous to the present school recreation to futuristic stuff it’s possible you’ll solely be capable to do with a famous person quarterback like Patrick Mahomes.
“He is all the time arising with completely different stuff to sort of match his workforce …,” Mahomes mentioned. “I keep in mind after I first bought right here, the offense was utterly completely different.”
In the meantime, a coach as soon as identified for clinging to the fundamentals encourages gamers to let their character present (inside cause), advocates for such concepts as defensive finish Carlos Dunlap having the ability to put on No. 8 (which makes Veach marvel) and lets Veach and his workers drive personnel issues.
As star tight finish Travis Kelce was talking of Reid throughout camp, at one level he mentioned that Reid has “51 % (of the operation) so he is aware of how this factor works finest.”
That is a great distance from the semi-autocratic manner Reid began with the Eagles in 1999.
So is the truth that Reid allowed Mahomes to conduct a camp of his personal with receivers in Texas this offseason, routinely engages Mahomes in play design and welcomes him to guide components of movie classes.
The place as soon as Reid’s mindset was immune to that sort of collaboration and enter from gamers, Veach mentioned, now it is a part of how he operates — notably in relation to Mahomes, the participant Reid appears born to have coached.
Evolve or die out
That is due to a wider reality about Reid, one which Bieniemy acknowledged instantly after a followup query when he initially mentioned Reid had not modified.
He thought again to Philadelphia in 1999 — his final season taking part in within the NFL and Reid’s first as head coach of the Eagles. He’ll always remember what Reid mentioned sooner or later as he made a tacit level about him:
“’You both evolve otherwise you die out like a dinosaur,’” Bieniemy recalled. “So you must stay versatile in what you do on this career, as a result of all of us should develop and we simply cannot get caught on concepts considering that that is one of the best concepts. We have to all the time work to enhance.”
From the basement of his Kansas Metropolis dwelling early within the pandemic, Reid was on a media Zoom name when he was requested about contending with the chaos and uncertainty it introduced and the way he was seemingly seamlessly adjusting. He instantly referred again to his first full-time teaching job, again within the mid-Eighties as an assistant at San Francisco State — a Division II non-scholarship program.
“Every thing wasn’t straightforward there,” he mentioned. “I imply, to movie follow we needed to have a man climb up on a ladder … We needed to have the gamers decide up rocks on the filth area so we may really follow.
“So these experiences assist me at instances like this … when all the things’s not fairly excellent, to make it work.”
For that matter, Reid’s very journey to the NFL was a results of a versatile method. When he left the College of Missouri for Inexperienced Bay following the 1991 season after previous good friend Mike Holmgren beckoned, Reid’s imaginative and prescient merely was to maintain teaching within the trenches.
“I simply needed to be a line coach,” he mentioned. “Greatest line coach I might be, wherever it was.”
However Reid ascended by the ranks in Inexperienced Bay, ultimately turning into an assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach earlier than the Eagles employed him after the 1998 season. Then 40, Reid was the second-youngest head coach within the NFL.
That was a very long time in the past, Reid says now, smiling as he recalled the purple hair he stays identified for even because it’s thinned out now.
It was a unique time in so some ways, together with that he inherited a state of affairs he known as “just a little bit messy” and a workforce that had gone 3-13 the yr earlier than.
Reflecting on the prevailing methods of coaching camps of the period, particular groups coordinator Dave Toub (who labored with Reid in Philadelphia) smiled and mentioned, “It was like homicide … Should you may make it by that, you might make it by something. ”
That is modified now, pushed by guidelines modifications that originally bugged Reid however that he later accepted and even ultimately embraced.
“As soon as he works by it,” Veach mentioned, “he adapts and begins to know as time goes on that the way in which the sport is performed and the way in which you must coach, all the things to a sure extent turns into just a little bit completely different than it was 5-10 years in the past.”
‘That is how he rolls’
Into his tenth season right here now, Reid now appears not solely to deal with change however to drive it. Requested about his personal sense of how he is advanced, Reid put it subtly.
“I do know the place you must go,” he mentioned. “I’ve seen sufficient to the place I sort of know, or I believe I do know, the place we must be on the finish of it.”
Alongside that manner, Veach and Spagnuolo have seen how far more Reid has come to solicit enter from all angles, together with gamers and youthful coaches.
Reid’s all the time been an amazing listener, Spagnuolo mentioned.
However possibly it stands out extra in opposition to this canvas due to a unique type of self-assurance he is gained since coming to Kansas Metropolis.
There maybe are many causes for that, from accrued knowledge through the years to having finally received a Tremendous Bowl. However Veach figures this as a lot as something:
“He is aware of that there is all the time room for enchancment however … possibly for the primary time in his lengthy profession (he) is aware of that the muse is nice, is aware of the connection that we now have is nice, the connection with the proprietor he has is nice,” Veach mentioned. “And so the little issues which might be so essentially necessary to get these items rolling, I do not assume he worries about any extra.
“As a result of he is aware of he has the those that he trusts in place and that now it is actually (solely) soccer and positive tuning issues.”
Thus liberated, Reid exhibits “no indicators of slowing down,” Veach mentioned.
And each signal of continuous to evolve.
“That is how he rolls,” Mahomes mentioned. “I believe if he ever is not doing that, he’ll know it is his time to sort of go.”