Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid will face his former team in the Super Bowl: the Philadelphia Eagles — his first organization, where he was the head coach for 14 years. With a plethora of experience, coaches have a certain gut feeling for when a team has something special.
Reid said that the bond between the veterans and younger players, especially the defensive backfield, has progressed throughout the season, leading to the team’s success.
“You have a feeling coming out of training camp – the guys seem to get along,” Reid recalled. “As it went on, the season went on, you saw growth, especially for the young kids, that back end in the secondary, Skyy Moore.”
In the offseason, the Chiefs brought in defensive veteran leadership by signing defensive end Carlos Dunlap and safety Justin Reid. The experience of these two veteran signings was well received by the team, and coach Reid said that the veterans had adjusted well to the new system that they had to learn.
“A couple of (the veterans) had been in systems for quite a while, and so, they had to get used to a new system, a new way of practicing and all those things that go with that,” Reid described. “But, they tried it, and they weren’t afraid to dive in and try it. And it worked out for them. And they got better every week likewise, just more familiar with the schemes.”
For rookies and veterans alike, anything new and unfamiliar comes with bumps in the road. Reid knows the importance of having trust in his players that might despite any low points they might have experienced this season.
“The worst thing is when, ‘OK, I had a hiccup over here, and nobody’s hanging with you (and) you’re kind of out on that island,’” detailed Reid. “I think it’s important that you support them. And as long as they’re willing to get better, support them.”
It became clear to Reid that implementing the rotation of young players and veterans throughout the season would elevate the team by sharing the workload and giving everyone real game experience, despite what the public might’ve felt.
“Some of the young guys that were getting decent play time, you could really see the growth there,” explained Reid. “It was hard from, I’m sure, a public standpoint to see, but we were seeing it from our side just how they handled certain plays and leverages and things and so on. But I was impressed with that.”
The public perception of this team becomes increasingly irrelevant as they head to their third Super Bowl in just four seasons. Whatever Reid is doing seems to be working.