Philadelphia Andy Reid cleared his throat, uttered some familiar phrases and downplayed his return to Philadelphia.
Same old Andy.
“That’s not where I’m at right now,” Reid said when asked if it’s going to be emotional when his Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) play the Eagles (1-1) tonight.
“I don’t feel that way. If we weren’t playing a football game against a good football team, maybe your mind goes there. I don’t see my mind going there. My mind is going to be on the job at hand and what we’ve got to get accomplished in a tough place to play.”
Clearly, Reid is still a stoic guy. But he also has to be aware of the spicy plot in which he is the centerpiece?
Reid led the Eagles to nine playoff appearances, six division titles, five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl before he was fired after going 4-12 last year in his 14th season.
While he’s off to an excellent start with the Chiefs, who were 2-14 last year, Chip Kelly has reinvigorated the Eagles and their fans with his fast-paced offense and all-around energy.
“I have great respect for Andy,” Kelly said. “If you’re a coach in the NFL, anybody head coaches in one spot for 14 years, you kind of look to them and say, ‘Holy Smokes!’ If you just walk down these hallways and look at the championships, the division championships, the conference championships, what he’s done, he’s had a huge impact on this organization.
“There’s not a lot of guys out there in this profession that carry themselves, from a coaching standpoint, when you get a chance to be around them, like Andy Reid.”
Five things to watch for in Chiefs-Eagles:
What gives on the ground?: Led by LeSean McCoy’s NFL-best 237 yards rushing, the Eagles are second in the league with 352 yards on the ground. The Chiefs’ defense is second against the run, allowing 54 yards per game. Something has to give. Last week, the Chargers geared up to stop the run, so McCoy had a big day catching the ball. KC may be strong enough up front to contain the run without having to commit an extra defender in the box. The team that wins this battle likely wins the game.
“Their front seven is pretty good,” McCoy said. “So far, it’s the most complete defense we’ve played. But with the offense we have, it falls on us. We just have to execute.”
Pass-happy Andy vs. porous secondary: Reid always has employed a pass-first philosophy and it’s no different with the Chiefs. Alex Smith has thrown on 59 percent of Kansas City’s plays, excluding his scrambles that probably started as pass plays. The Eagles’ woeful secondary only gives Reid more incentive to pass, allowing 748 yards passing, third worst in the league.
“They try to give you a lot of unorthodox looks,” Smith said of Philadelphia’s defense. “We have to be on with our communication. Loud stadium, so everyone is going to have to be on the same page.”
Blocking Poe: Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe already has 3 1/2 sacks, including 2 1/2 on Tony Romo last week. The big guy is a disruptive force and presents a difficult challenge for the Eagles.
“He’s big, he’s got really good feet, he looks strong in his upper body. He’s a smart player, too,” Eagles right guard Todd Herremans said.
Mistake-free Mike: Michael Vick is off to an excellent start in Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense. He’s making smart decisions, protecting the ball and operating the read option to perfection. Vick threw for a career-best 428 yards last week and has a 119.0 passer rating. He’s accounted for six TDs (four passing, two rushing) and zero interceptions.
“He’s very explosive, he brings the run aspect to his position, and him being a dynamic player, you always have to account for him and make sure you know what’s going on,” Chiefs safety Eric Berry said.
Tired legs: The Eagles are the first team in NFL history to start the season with three games in 11 days. The Chiefs are playing their third game in 12 days. Expect some weary players out there.
“I’m happy that we’re doing this at the beginning of the season,” Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin said. “If we were trying to get three games (in 11 days) in Weeks 12, 13 and 14, I don’t know if you could do it.”