Best Of Both Worlds
ITB: Eagles, Big Red Both Benefitted From Divorce
One of the biggest storylines for Super Bowl LVII is Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid facing off against a Philadelphia Eagles where he spent 14 season coaching.
On the latest episode of “Inside The Birds,” Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher gave updates on injuries for both teams and explored Andy Reid’s evolution from Philadelphia to Kansas City.
Mosher: “Lane Johnson is playing through a torn tendon, he talked about that a little bit at the Monday night media day. Much like we were saying, he even questioned if he was going to be able to make it through some of those games, including the 49er game. He said his mentality was, ‘I don’t know how many snaps I got here, so I’m just going to give all I got.’ You can see he compensates; he takes a set a little bit differently, looks a little crouched, but whatever he’s doing, it’s working for him so far. He has been magnificent.”
Willie Gay/L’Jarius Sneed
Mosher: “[The Chiefs’] biggest question marks are on defense, with linebacker Willie Gay dealing with a shoulder injury and CB L’Jarius Sneed, who’s in the concussion protocol. As far as we know, he’s still in it until they announce he’s out of it. Those two guys are important to that defense. You need good linebackers when you face the Eagles RPO game, so it’s going to be a lot of responsibility on Nick Bolton if Willie Gay’s not out there on Sunday.”
Caplan: “It sounds like Gay’s going to play. The word from the Chiefs is it sounds like he’s going to be OK. The big one by far is L’Jarius Sneed. He’s their nickel corner. They actually have depth at corner, but he’s the one young corner who actually has experience. Having your slot corner is very important. It sounds like they may dress six corners, but very few have meaningful experience. Sneed’s been there since he was drafted, he’s had a significant role. He’s a good football player, he’s kind of morphed into a slot corner. If Sneed is not cleared, I’m getting Quez Watkins involved.”
Caplan: “They’re very banged up at receiver. They put Mecole Hardman on injured reserve. Obviously with Tyreek Hill long gone, they’re manufacturing points more here, they’re playing more 12 personnel than they have in years past. Some of it may be for blocking, but I think it’s also a different way to manufacture offense. Sometimes there’s an advantage because it makes defenses declare how they’re going to line up.”
Mosher: “When I look back on what led to Andy’s firing [in Philadelphia], 2012 and ’11 really stick out, but I think the origins of it began after the 2008 season, when they lost to the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC championship game. It was Andy’s fourth NFC championship game lost. That was the last game Jim Johnson coached, he had gotten cancer and would soon pass away, and that was devastating for the organization. What it also did was put Sean McDermott right in there to defensive coordinator. Sean’s a good coach, but at that point, he was really young…Your DC was trying to fill the enormous shoes of Jim Johnson. You started to see some changes on the coaching staff, they fired Sean, then it set off a series where Jim Washburn got hired as defensive line coach before they even hired a new coordinator. There were several good defensive coordinators who were interested and interviewed for the job that turned it down right from the start, because that wasn’t the line scheme that they wanted to play. That led to Juan Castillo being named DC because Andy ran out of guys he could bring in. Andy didn’t just become a bad coach overnight, there were a series of things that happened both controllable and uncontrollable that all led to not a great situation.”
Caplan: “You lose all of these lieutenants, it’s really hard. You can have the best depth you think you have on your staff, but sometimes these younger guys are just not ready. When you’re the head coach, you have to coach your players and you try to coach your coaches, but sometimes you just don’t have enough time. It just didn’t work…But the thing was, and this is what makes Andy such a special coach, he gets canned and we know some of his friends told him he should take the year off, he wasn’t doing that, in 10 seasons with the Chiefs he has never had a losing season.”
Mosher: “He was not the same Andy Reid. You go watch the Eagles offense in the early days of the Reid era, they were a very conventional, archetype west coast offense. Yes, he threw the ball a lot, but a lot of what he was doing was handed down from Mike Holmgren which was handed down from Bill Wash. One of the first moves that he does in Kansas City was trade for Alex Smith, then he hires Chris Ault from Nevada who is considered the godfather of the pistol offense, and he starts implementing pistol formation and RPOs. He was doing as much of that as Chip Kelly was doing when Kelly was with the Eagles.”
Caplan: “Andy has totally reinvented himself. He sort of bastardized the west coast offense and chunked it up. It’s not the same offense he used to run in Philly. He has grown and evolved.”
– Benjamin Paul is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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