Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid thrives on routine — and the routine he sets up for his players — during the NFL regular season. On weeks in which that routine can get off-kilter — such as when the Chiefs draw Monday or Thursday Night Football — he tries to keep the team’s schedule as close to the same as humanly possible.
For example... rather than using the Super Bowl bye week to give his players time off, he made his team treat it as a regular game week — as if the championship game was to be played on January 26. The Chiefs tried to win the Super Bowl by replicating the same routine that got them to it — and as we know now, it worked.
But as we all have learned the past few weeks, the country’s COVID-19 outbreak is the ultimate anti-routine, and that has found Reid in the basement of his home.
“I wish I could take you on a virtual tour of this thing — it’s kind of classic,” laughed Reid on a conference call Thursday. “I’m sitting in my basement, literally. I have an arc trainer here in case I want to jump on that — get a little exercise. I got my monitor set up, along with my computer — my iPad right next to that. And I got one of my wife’s antique coffee tables that I’m using to throw everything on, but I’m in the basement, and you know what? It’s not bad.”
Minutes after the call, the Chiefs indulged the masses on their official Twitter account.
The grind never stops for Big Red pic.twitter.com/C178nScVHx— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) April 2, 2020
There was the 20-year head coach just as he described, in the discomfort of his own home. The outbreak has impacted Reid and the organization as a whole, but he and the team are dealing with it head-on — while hoping for the best.
“We’re approaching it like we’re having a season,” said Reid. “I think it’s twofold — it could be a real positive energy-giver back to the country at a time of maybe need for that. At the same time, we’re very sensitive to everything going on.
“As far as the offseason goes, again, we’re out of the office until they let us know we can get ourselves back in. And so, I’ve got different plans that I’ve set up for different stages — whether it’s virtual work, whether they let us back in the building for field work. Whatever it is, I’ve got to put together plans for that. And then we’ll just take it day-by-day. See what presents itself. My main concern right now is everybody stays as safe as they can with this thing going on, as healthy as they can.”
So far, so good, according to Reid, who confirmed that no player, coach or personnel staff member has tested positive for the virus.
“Our heart goes out to everybody who’s suffering from this son of a gun in our community, said Reid. “I know it’s a crazy time right now, and all the front-line people that are out there kicking butt working on this thing. We just appreciate everything... We’ve been off here doing this for a couple weeks now. It’s interesting for old guys like me, learning all this new technology — it’s pretty good. These young guys, they just whip right through it, but for us old guys, we have to learn everything — Zoom and WebEx have been a good thing.
“We’re able to talk to players — the guys that are in the draft. We’re able to go through and interview them on WebEx, so that’s been beneficial. Other than that, we’ve been doing our scheme evaluations. The defense gets together with Spags, and the offense gets together with EB, and we bang out what went on last year, and what we’d like to do coming up this next year, so it’s been good. We do that daily. It’s worked out OK.”
The current team does not seem like a worry for the Chiefs; where the coronavirus impact gets interesting is when it comes to the NFL Draft.
“The challenge is for Brett (Veach) and his crew of general managers throughout the league of being able to put this together under different conditions,” he said. “That’s what they’re doing. I know what Brett’s doing. He’s working like crazy using all the virtual equipment that he can and watching tape.”
Reid said the Chiefs and the league have been relying on clinics around the country for their medicals; in-person prospect workouts have become out of the question. Because of that, game film might more critical in this year’s draft cycle than it has ever been.
“Obviously, the tape’s not near as clear as it is in the office, but you power through and you do what you have to do to make sure you get the evaluations done, and then wherever we do the draft — whether we’re in a hotel, wherever it is, you hope that everybody can stay safe and at the same time, get this thing done.”
Here is what's still being considered as the league continues to gather info....— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) April 2, 2020
a) Draft sites at the facility which would limit the number of people
b) totally remote
The NFL will decide on a) or b) based on guidance from Dr. Sills and the CDC https://t.co/2My996W3l3
As for the NFL Draft on April 23, Reid says the Chiefs will follow the league’s recommendations — whether that lands them in the facility or the hotel. And then there is the other matter at hand — Phase One of NFL offseason, which was set to begin on April 20.
“We got a little time before that,” said Reid. “We’ll just see what direction it goes. That’s normally a time that we use for conditioning workouts, so if we’re allowed to do that virtually, we can go ahead and do that at that time, and we’ll try to stay in touch, and then if we’re allowed to visit with the players with our WebEx units, we can do that.
“We’re prepared to do all of that. And then again, if they’re allowed back in the building, we’re good with that. We’ve got that all planned out, too. I think we’re good either way.”