Assuming Andy Reid had his pick of almost all the open NFL head coaching positions, he didn't exactly choose the best one. But he didn't do that poorly by picking the Kansas City Chiefs and there's a good chance he can flip around the team's fortunes faster than you can fall into a rib-induced coma at Oklahoma Joe's.
Of course, it's also bizarre that Reid could shove all his chips in while coaching Philadelphia during 2011 and 2012, stumble to 8-8 and then stumble further to 4-12, get fired and then immediately get hired and pick up even more power than he had before. There are plenty of concerns with Reid's hiring in Kansas City.
But there are also plenty of reasons to believe Reid can reverse the Chiefs' fortunes rather quickly. Let's take a look at some.
The quarterback situation
Yes, quarterbacks are technically the biggest problem with this team. But it's also why Reid could succeed quickly in Kansas City. Reid has many faults but he was a damn good coach for the Eagles for 14 years and in that time he quickly developed a number of quarterbacks.
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Donovan McNabb was his top overall pick in 1999, but he continually snared quality -- or at least serviceable -- quarterbacks later in the draft. A.J. Feeley (2001, 155th overall), Kevin Kolb (2007, 36th overall) and Nick Foles (2012, 88th overall) all put up reasonable starting numbers for the Eagles and/or eventually brought a package in a trade that was worth well more than they were.
Reid will now have the first pick in every other round of the 2013 NFL Draft with which to solidify the long-term prospects at quarterback for the Chiefs.
He'll also (likely) have an interesting free-agent class to choose from. It's possible two of Reid's former quarterbacks in Philadelphia -- Kolb and Michael Vick -- will hit the market. Alex Smith is a potential name to watch as well, if the 49ers decide he's expendable with Colin Kaepernick under center. Likewise with Matt Flynn in Seattle. (Either way, there's always the trade option.) In other words, Reid could land someone off the market in Kansas City at a reasonable deal to solidify the position immediately, while also grooming a draft prospect.
Speaking of which ...
Typically speaking, the No. 1 pick is a good thing, especially if you need a quarterback. Not so this year, when there's a serious lack of franchise quarterbacks available. None of the top quarterbacks on NFL Draft Scout's board -- Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson, Aaron Murray, Ryan Nassib, Mike Glennon or Tyler Bray -- are really that exciting. That's especially true if we're talking about the No. 1 overall pick.
Which is why maybe this sets up well. Reid and his crew can do one of three things: 1) take a quarterback (worst idea); 2) take a talented player at another position (second-best idea); or 3) trade the pick (best idea, but unlikely).
Option No. 2 is the best one to turn things around, I think. Reid could grab someone like left tackle Luke Joeckel out of Texas A&M, a move that Rob Rang has happening in his latest mock, and then eye one of those quarterbacks with the second pick in the second round, or a different, undervalued signal caller in the third.
Reid's draft prowess needs to get better quickly, though: even if the jury is still out on the 2012 draft class (Bryce Brown, Foles, Fletcher Cox could provide a nice haul in the long run) it's been a bad couple of years for Reid. Getting Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy in the 2009 draft (with the team's first and second picks, respectively) was the last time Reid's Eagles hit a home run with a draft class.
Fortunately for Reid he's got some good talent already on the Chiefs roster.
The most controversial figure when it comes to Reid taking over for the Chiefs will be Jamaal Charles. The Pro Bowl-caliber running back projects as a perfect fit for what Reid wants to do with his running back -- a long-run gasher who is a dynamite threat in the passing game. Reid's usage of McCoy and Brian Westbrook -- particularly in the actual running game and particularly in the red zone -- was always questionable. Reid is an immediate upgrade for Charles over Romeo Crennel and Brian Daboll, but that's like saying your infant child makes a better grilled cheese than your dog. Charles' usage in 2012 was arguably the most frustrating thing in all of football.
Wide receiver is a major concern, too. Are the Chiefs really going to franchise tag Dwayne Bowe for a second-straight year? Would Bowe be more willing to stick around with Reid coaching? Who's lining up across from him if he does stay? How does a Steve Breaston/Jon Baldwin combo sound to you? Dexter McCluster actually is really interesting in terms of an all-purpose weapon.
On defense, there's plenty of talent as well. Eric Berry, Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson and Brandon Flowers all represent potential top-shelf talent. Tyson Jackson, Dontari Poe and Glenn Dorsey are all first-round picks. Reid needs a defensive coordinator who can make the most out of the talent. Anything resembling the DC debacle of 2011 and 2012 would be a gigantic red flag.
Hire the right guy and the Chiefs' defense could quickly become a strength.
Again, there are lots of concerns with Reid. The Chiefs Pythagorean expected win-loss record based on their point differential in 2012 is just 2.6-13.4. That's just a half-win more than they actually got, so it's not like they were incredibly unlucky.
With Scott Pioli already fired, Reid's clearly got full power in Kansas City and there's no telling if that's a good thing. Reid has trouble in late-game coaching situations. Reid did a poor job surrounding himself with quality assistant coaches late in his Philly career. His drafts weren't outstanding during that timeframe either.
But this situation is ripe for turning around. There's a reason a lot of people picked Kansas City to win the AFC West this past year: The talent is there, minus the quarterback. If Reid can harness the things that made him such a successful coach in Philadelphia (pumping up undervalued quarterbacks, hitting on draft picks and hiring the right people) the Chiefs are ripe for a quick turnaround.
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