The Eagles might be hitting the road in Week 2, but they’ll face a lot of familiar faces when they get to Kansas City. There seems to be infinite story lines for this matchup: 1) Doug Pederson returns to KC for the first time as a head coach, 2) Andy Reid will face the team he coached for 13 years (although, most of his players were tossed aside during the Chip Kelly era), 3) Bennie Logan will face the team that decided not to pay him (although, he missed Wednesday’s practice due to injury), 4) the Kelce brothers are pitted against each other, and so on and so on.
It’d be lazy to assume Andy Reid has the upper hand in this matchup just because he was the longest tenured coach for the Eagles orgnization. Reid’s former team has been through two head coaching changes and a considerable number of assistant’s since his tenure, not to mention the litany of player changes.
But, just because things have changed, doesn’t mean the almost two-decades worth familiarity on both sides won’t factor in a little.
These two go way back
Like, way, way back.
Since 1997, Pederson has been working with Andy Reid, first as his quarterback in Green Bay (before joining him in Philly in 1999) and then as a member of his coaching staff for seven years. Reid seemed all too happy to bring the young assistant under his wing in 2009 and kept him as a regular contributor to his staff until Pederson took the Eagles head coaching job — a position for which Reid had seemingly been grooming him.
If it wasn’t for Reid drafting Donovan McNabb in 1999 -- the same year Pederson signed a three-year deal with the Eagles — the now head coach might have worn Midnight Green for a little more of his career. Instead, he started nine games before handing the reigns over to McNabb, and the rest is Eagles history.
Pederson didn’t come back to Philadelphia until 2009, when he was brought on by Reid as the Quality Control Coordinator, followed by a promotion to quarterbacks coach. When Reid was fired by Jeff Lurie in 2012, he took Pederson with him to the Chiefs and gave him another bump in responsibility, naming him Offensive Coordinator.
Opponents? Sure. Enemies? Not quite...
It goes back to ‘lean on your gut instincts.’ Lean on the things that you were taught as a player. Lean on your experiences. My whole professional career as a coach has been with Coach Reid, so seeing how he operates, seeing how he handled Donovan McNabb, seeing how he handled Alex Smith in Kansas City.
It’ll be fun to see him over there, to see Big Red on the other side. At the same time, I know he wants to kick my tail and I want to kick his. Listen, Andy Reid teams are well prepared, as you know. We have to do the same thing this week and be ultra prepared. That’s a tough place to play now.
I knew he wanted to go there. Then he did. He started coaching at the high school level and we stayed in touch, and I knew (sometime) he was going to wanted to move up whether it was to college or the NFL. I happened to have an opening and it worked out for him.
I have a lot of respect for him. I think he's doing a nice job there. I know he'll have his team ready.
What does that mean for Sunday?
Andy Reid has had many assistants over the years, and Sunday will mark the 12th time he’s found himself on opposing sidelines from a head coach he once trained. Big Red is 8-3 in his matchups against former pupils, but Pederson will be the first former player and coach to face-off against Reid.
The Chiefs are coming off a surprising win over the Patriots in Week 1 — turning the tables on the 28-3 meme that never seems to die — but might be a bit more hyped up than they should be. They have solid playmakers in Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, but it’ll be tough for Alex Smith to replicate the kind of deep passing game he managed in Week 1. Granted the Eagles secondary is a little banged up (and young), but you know Malcolm Jenkins is dying for hist first Pick-6 of the year -- I can feel it.
Reid said in his conference call with the Philly media this week that if anyone would have the inside track to the former Eagles head coach playcalling and style, it would be Pederson.
“Nobody spent more time with Doug than I did. Nobody spent more time with me than Doug spent because we were always working on the offense together and would meet together.”
The two head coaches might go way back, but this will mark a new chapter in their relationship. It’s no secret that Pederson learned most of what he knows from Reid, but this Sunday will tell us if that’s enough for the student to become the teacher.