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Andy Reid called a “made man” who will now “neglect” Chiefs defense

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Following Peter King’s Monday report that the Chiefs were interested in trading up to draft a wide receiver, some analysts went a bit off the rails.

Kansas City Chiefs Introduce Andy Reid Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Over many decades, NBC Sports columnist Peter King has gained a reputation as a true NFL insider — someone who knows what’s really going on behind the closed doors in NFL executive suites.

That has never been more obvious than it was after he published his yearly mock draft on Monday, quoting a “crazy rumor” that the Kansas City Chiefs — with just five picks in the NFL draft — were considering trading up to acquire Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs when the draft opens on Thursday night.

Ever since then, it’s been the talk of the league. One analyst after another has weighed in — including Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless on Fox Sports 1’s “Undisputed” on Tuesday.

Sharpe started out firmly on planet Earth.

“I believe this would be a great luxury — but not a necessity,” said Sharpe. “You have 4.27 [speed] in Henry Ruggs, 4.28 in Tyreek Hill, 4.33 in Mecole Hardman and 4.45 in Sammy Watkins. [But] I believe that pick would be better served going to the defensive side of the football. Maybe you get a more-sudden middle linebacker... maybe a safety when they’re picking 32nd.

“For me,” he concluded, “I wouldn’t move up to take Ruggs. Now... if he fell to you? OK, I get it. But I don’t think he’s going to drop that far in the draft — not with that kind of speed and the pedigree of the program he played in. I mean, how many Go routes are you going to run? You have enough. I don’t think offense is going to be their problem this year. I think they would be better served spending that pick on the defensive side of the football.”

Then there was a long pause — perhaps induced by the delay the Internet sometimes imposes on sports talk shows when the hosts are working from home — followed by a long sigh that had nothing to do with the Internet latency.

“I agree with you,” said Bayless. “But when Peter King speaks, I listen. And this report came from Peter King. So I’m assuming there’s some validity to the [idea] that Andy Reid is intrigued with moving up from 32 to wherever it would take to snatch Ruggs. Mel Kiper has Ruggs at 21 to the Philadelphia Eagles, who badly need a receiver — as we know — [but] it’s maybe the deepest receiver draft ever, so you could probably get another one after that if the Eagles wanted to give up Ruggs in that spot there.

“[But] the point is that this is so typical of Reid,” he continued. “Great guy, but he has a huge ego. And that ego — unfortunately, to me — got validated by him winning this Super Bowl with his toys. Again... credit all to Andy Reid. He’s the one who moved up in the draft to take the all-time toy: Patrick Mahomes — your homeboy. Reid is obviously obsessed — to a fault — with throwing the football, so he wants another toy at receiver, where he’s got all those incredibly speedy toys to start with.”

But then Bayless climbed aboard the spacecraft — and the countdown to liftoff began.

“Reid was lucky in getting through the playoffs and validating his philosophy, which is [that] he doesn’t really care about his defense [and] he doesn’t really care about his running game. Pro Football Focus last year ranked his defense 25th during the regular season — and they finished the regular season 23rd in yards rushing the football. So in the end, they were so lucky that they go to play against Bill O’Brien and they got to play against Jimmy Garoppolo.”

5... 4... 3...

Bayless then proceeded to pin the Houston Texans’ playoff loss to the Chiefs on O’Brien kicking a field goal on fourth-and-1 to go up 24-0 — that is, for failing to put his foot on the Chiefs’ throat — even though Bayless himself mentioned the Chiefs then outscored the Texans 51-7. Then he blamed the San Francisco 49ers’ Super Bowl loss on Garoppolo for “reverting to being Jimmy G.”

Liftoff!

Bayless characterized Reid as some kind of Mafia lieutenant.

“He thinks he can get away with it, because he’s a ‘made man’ now,” he said. “He got crowned. He got christened. He is a Super Bowl champion. And now, I won’t be surprised at all if he neglects the defense in favor of getting one more toy. [Ruggs] would be some kind of toy — and to your point, Shannon: he would be the ultimate luxury because he’s the fastest man in the draft.”

The Bayless moved on to damning Ruggs with some faint praise — which seemed out of place for a wideout predicted to be selected with 20th pick.

“He can catch it — he’s pretty good,” he asserted. ”He had the third-most receiving yards on last year’s Alabama team — and the third-most catches. He’s pretty good, but he’s more luxury than necessity. He’s not a number one receiver. He’s a cherry on top.”

But even then, Bayless said that the Chiefs receiving corps would be “virtually uncoverable” as Reid tried to win by simply outscoring other teams. Sharpe replied by saying he could get behind the idea of the Chiefs taking a running back with the 32nd pick — but held firm that either a running back or a defensive player was the right move.


There’s so much to unpack here.

Sharpe has a valid point. With so few draft picks available to the team — and a looming mega-contract for quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the equation — there’s a strong argument to get as many of the best players as you can; the right ones will be valuable contributors during the years in which Patrick Mahomes will be able to afford buying a small Caribbean island for his summer beach vacations.

Bayless also had a point. Everyone knows Reid is an offensive-minded coach. But he’s already learned — the hard way — why he cant afford to neglect the team’s defense. In fact, if there’s was anything about Reid’s coaching philosophy that was validated during the 2019 season, it was exactly that: the team cannot survive in the postseason with a poor defense.

That said, it’s also true that the Chiefs’ path to their championship also depended largely on players much like Ruggs — and Travis Kelce, Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu, too. Like Reid often says, finding the right balance is hard — and important.

As for Reid being a “made man”... well, that’s obviously ridiculous. Reid puts on his custom-tailored pinstriped Italian suit pants one leg at a time. So what if he’s a better “earner” than the rest of the capos? It’s rough out there in the streets. You need every advantage you can get — that is, if you must pay tribute to Don Roger.

Somewhere, Peter King is smiling.