Andy Reid has won more games than every active NFL head coach not named Bill Belichick. He is without question, an excellent regular season football coach and by all accounts, a good man well revered throughout the league. “I like Andy a lot,” one executive recently told me. With that top of mind, let us also consider that the time has come for Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs to part ways.
In what has unfortunately become a far too common theme, Reid’s team crumbled like a wet napkin in its 18-point home collapse against Tennessee in last weekend’s wild card round. Despite being the second-best regular season coach of the past two decades, Reid has never taken the Arrowhead faithful past the divisional round.
In fact, Sunday’s loss was tied for the sixth biggest collapse in playoff history. Reid — and his legendary lapses of judgement, clock management and timeout usage — has not coincidentally been the losing coach in two of those games, both of which came with the Chiefs. At his very best, Reid is a below average playoff coach in a league that values playoff success above all else.
To be fair, All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce suffered a concussion before halftime against the Titans. It was an injury that clearly devastated the Kansas City’s offensive momentum, limiting quarterback Alex Smith down the field.
But is that not even more reason to run the football and ride Kareem Hunt, the league’s leading rusher? Hunt managed a measly 11 carries in a game the Chiefs led almost the entire way and managed just five touches after the first quarter — a first quarter that saw him notch six carries for 25 yards and a touchdown?
“Could we have called him more? Yeah, we look back at it and maybe we could have,” Reid told reporters afterward. “Maybe we could have handed it to him more.”
Keep in mind, too, that Hunt was often the impetus toward the Chiefs’ success this season. During their 10 wins, he averaged 105 rushing yards on 20 carries per game. But in their seven losses — including the 22-21 defeat to the Titans — he averaged just 45 rushing yards on 12 attempts. It’s also worth noting that not unlike other great backs, Hunt typically grows stronger as the game wears on.
The Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate ran for 517 yards in the first half of games on 4.4 yards per carry. In the second half, his numbers improved to the tune of 842 yards on a robust 5.2 yards per carry. Better yet, Hunt ranked fourth this year among running backs in overall value per play, ahead of Le’Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, Jordan Howard, Mark Ingram and Devonta Freeman.
That is hardly Reid’s only postseason misstep, though. From a defensive perspective, keep in mind that KC ranked dead last against the run –per Football Outsiders — and has surrendered a 187-yard average on the ground during its previous two postseason defeats. Furthermore, if a Titans offense — one that ranks 19th in scoring and 23rd in total offense — shreds you in the second half, you have serious issues. That’s certainly on lame duck defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, as well as the departed offensive coordinator Matt Nagy (now the head coach of the Chicago Bears), but it’s surely on Reid as well.
In five seasons at the helm, Reid has guided Kansas City to 53 regular season wins, four playoff berths, two AFC West titles … and one playoff win — against a Houston Texans team with the inept Brian Hoyer under center.
You simply cannot tolerate such ineptitude for a team that is built to win right now.
Thanks to the shrewd drafting of former GM John Dorsey, there is perhaps as much elite young personnel littered across this roster as there is on any throughout the league. Offensively, Hunt and Kelce are flanked by the electric Pro Bowler Tyreek Hill, all of whom would surely excel with Patrick Mahomes’ sensational arm talent. Defensively, shutdown cornerback Marcus Peters is terrific, as is inside linebacker Justin Houston. Remember, too, that All-World safety Eric Berry will return next year after suffering a torn Achilles in Week 1.
Jon Gruden gettin cameras to zoom in on Andy Reid’s play chart? pic.twitter.com/5yWMIEl62n
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) January 6, 2018
There is no pleasure in calling for a man’s job, however sweeping changes must occur — slotting Mahomes under center is one of them — but none more important than relieving the 59-year-old Reid of his duties. Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt recently inked his head coach to a five-year contract extension, but that needs to be mitigated. Unless you’re Belichick and the Patriots, one thing we know for certain is that your window to compete for championships in this league is very short. The Chiefs have a window to do just that and finding a new coach — one that can actually win when it matters the most — is absolutely paramount.
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Jordan Schultz is an NFL, NBA and NCAAB insider/analyst for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at Jordan.Schultz@Oath.com.
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