On Monday, Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach, Andy Reid spoke to reporters about their opening night loss to the Detroit Lions. Among the questions thrown at Reid, outside of the Chris Jones saga, which thankfully ended later in the day, the Head Coach diverted the mistakes of wide receiver, Kadarius Toney, on placed the blame on himself, not the player.
If you look around the NFL coaching tree, you won’t find too many Head Coaches who have the respect of the 32-member fraternity and are universally loved by their players, as Andy Reid. In fact, he might be the lone wolf to garner both ends of the praise spectrum.
After a bitter one-point loss to the Lions last Thursday, where his offense sputtered with penalties and dropped passes, the head coach on Monday placed on his call sheet and not any player. Wide Receiver, Kadarius Toney, had five balls thrown his direction, he dropped three, and another went for a pick-six in the wrong direction. It was a pivotal drop that gave the Lions the win.
Reid said he spoke to Toney several times since the worst game of his young professional career and assured him that he’s going to keep getting the football. But if that wasn’t enough, Reid also made it clear the problems with Toney, centered on his use in the game after missing all of training camp with a Meniscus injury.
“To be fair, I’ve got to look in the mirror on that one. I probably didn’t put him in the best position,” Reid stated.
Reid could have taken a different approach, but that’s just not his style. What was striking about taking the blame for Toney’s rough night it completely goes with the way Reid never cracks when his talented football team falls short.
Reid is a rare blend of head coach. He’s genially regarded as a man of high integrity, compassion, and competitive spirit. It’s not easy to saddle those traits under one roof, especially when you’re leading the greatest quarterback of this generation, Patrick Mahomes. The fact he’s a genius at designing offensive plays, one has to wonder, his calm demeanor is at the center of his coaching style.
Don’t get me wrong Reid has an ego, as all NFL Head Coaches possess if they want to have the final say on the field. Reid though has his own style, and entering his second decade in Kansas City, it has served him well.
For a struggling player like Toney, Reid knows what we don’t see in practice and behind the scenes with his receiver. As he stated, he doesn’t drop passes and never had a history of that in college or in his brief NFL career.
In fact, when the Chiefs traded for him a year ago, they praised his overall abilities, and the word drop was never mentioned as a potential red flag. Instead, injury concerns and attitude were the primary criticisms. As we learned his attitude was fine, but the injuries continued.
Still, despite limited snaps, Toney was one of the primary heroes in Super Bowl LVII. His mega punt return, and a walk-in touchdown, pushed the Chiefs over the top and completed their wild comeback.
So, it’s easy to see with all that talent, why Reid would put the onus on himself, and not his player. It’s something that should be noted and used as an example because a good NFL coach never gives up on a talented player when he’s struggling.
On Sunday, Toney and Reid will get a chance to show the Lions game was a fluke. Reid will make a concentrated effort to involve him in the game plan this week, and a focal point on offense to start the game.
Of the fifteen scripted plays that Reid, and offensive Coordinator, Matt Nagy will devise, it’s not a hard leap to see Toney get a few of those early opportunities to break out of his slump.
If Toney rebounds, then the tact taken by Reid this week will speak loudly about both men.