Watching the Chiefs rebound from their anemic performance against the Houston Texans in Week 2, one thing kept occurring to me as the cameras would occasionally grace the Kansas City sideline on Sunday: the team's coaching continuity.
Before, during and after the game, the focus is largely on the players, as it should be. No one buys a jersey that says "Del Rio" or "Pagano". The Chiefs dominated the New York Jets on Sunday and the talking points were all about the players — how Ryan Fitzpatrick served up turnovers, how Marcus Peters has a nose for the ball, how Derrick Johnson looked superb, how Travis Kelce finally broke through. Yet for most of the game, I found myself enamored with the coaching staff. Maybe I'll get that "Reid" jersey after all.
To get a sense of how fortunate we are, as Chiefs fans, to enjoy the coaching staff that we have, let's take a look around the NFL overall. Reid is only one of four head coaches still gainfully employed from the 2013 offseason that brought him to the Chiefs from Philadelphia. The others: Gus Bradley (Jacksonville), Mike McCoy (San Diego) and Bruce Arians (Arizona). Both Bradley and McCoy are on the hot seat and are likely bets to be replaced this offseason (if not sooner for Bradley).
The two coaches left from the previous year's round of hiring (2012) are Jeff Fisher of the Rams and Chuck Pagano of the Colts. Again, you could make a great case for both coaches being fired. Unfortunately you also have silly owners in both cases who seem to have developed crushes on their respective coaches (or both head coaches have serious dirt on their respective owners). In short, if the NFL axe (rightly) falls on these four, Andy Reid is suddenly going to find himself in some select company among the 12 longest tenured coaches in the NFL (and only in his fourth season with the team).
What has helped Reid bring a steady success to Kansas City is his veteran staff, who have largely remained in place since he first came to the team himself. Consider the following:
Only five defensive coordinators have been with their teams longer than Bob Sutton has been in place as the Chiefs DC. Dom Capers (Green Bay) is the longest-tenured defensive coordinator in the NFL since 2009. From there, you have Sean McDermott (Carolina), Matt Patricia (New England), Dean Pees (Baltimore and owner of my favorite name in the NFL) and John Pagano (San Diego).
On paper, the Chiefs have a "new" offensive coordinator (or two) this year in Matt Nagy and Brad Childress, but the reality is that the team replaced Doug Pederson with two men who have been around since Reid first joined the team. Only four offensive coordinators have been with their teams longer than Childress/Nagy. Pete Carmichael Jr. (New Orleans), Darrell Bevell (Seattle), Todd Haley (Pittsburgh) and Josh McDaniels (Patriots).
This works wonders for a roster with so many young, developmental players. Marcus Peters has elite talent at cornerback, but we have all witnessed his emotions getting the best of him. I'd like to think the coaching staff, all of whom have been here before and will be again, had something to say to get him thinking straight to move on from one play to the next.
The same can be said of a team who laid an egg against a Houston Texans team they'd thoroughly dominated in their previous meeting. The Chiefs showed no lingering signs of such an anemic performance. Instead they dominated the visiting New York Jets from the outset, with even Todd Bowles admitting they "took an ass kicking."
Even this week, we should expect Andy Reid and his staff to emphasize to their players once again the importance of moving on — that dominating a team one week doesn't mean anything the next. This is a staff that has seen it all. The experience should work wonders by season's end.