Someone asked Doug Pederson Tuesday if his hire was a sequel, whether this town "was getting Andy back’’, and if so, whether that was "a good thing or a bad thing?’’
After playing it politically correct and praising Reid as "a mentor’’, Pederson pledged that, "I’m going to bring my spin on it, I'm going to bring my personality to it, and we're going to make it our team going forward.’’
And he preceded that with, "I'm also here to tell you that this is not an Andy Reid football team and it's not a Doug Pederson football team, this is a Philadelphia Eagle football team.’’
OK, fair enough. He hasn’t called a single play here so far. But he has been calling the plays in the second half of games since a late October game in Pittsburgh in which Reid’s Chiefs beat the Steelers to snap a five-game losing streak and begin an 10-game winning streak, nearly winning their division outright.
Pederson was credited with filling a void that has haunted Reid throughout his head coaching days - adept time management. Pederson called the second-half plays, ran the two-minute drill, empowered quarterback Alex Smith to be more autonomous - at least until the inexplicable plodding that doomed the Chiefs against the Patriots in their playoff loss Saturday.
A refresher: Down 27-13 with a first down (and all three timeouts) on the Patriots 1-yard line with 2:33 left, the Chiefs ran the ball rather than pass or spike it, then huddled for the remainder of time before the 2-minute warning. A false start penalty following the stoppage pushed them back to the six, and 42 more seconds evaporated before Kansas City could cut New England’s lead to a single touchdown.
The Chiefs were forced to try an onsides kick. It failed.
Not surprising to any Eagles fan, Reid said, "I'm not sure exactly what you're talking about,'' when first asked about it, then later elaborated thusly:
"We wanted to get a play off. There was 2:20 on the clock. We wanted to make sure we got our best personnel on the field for that play, and we didn't get that done.''
CBS cameras even caught Reid looking at the scoreboard as the precious seconds evaporated and shaking his head slightly. It conjured up images of New England’s Bill Belichick asking openly if the score was right as Reid and Donovan McNabb frittered away valuable seconds at the end of Super Bowl 39.
The implication was clear. In a huge game, Pederson did in fact channel his mentor in a way that has to make the Delaware Valley shudder today. Especially when he said this when asked Tuesday why it took so long to run plays at that critical juncture:
"It took us time because No. 1, we did not want to give [Patriots QB] Tom Brady the ball back.’’
Whoa. Brady is good, great, yes. But playing keep-away two scores down with timeouts in your pocket? Pederson also argued that they were down a few receivers, notably Jeremy Maclin. But again, the ball was on the one. Thinking that an onsides kick is a better option than trying to force a 3-and-out from New England?
This would be surprisingly backward thinking, even coming from Andy.
I sure hope Pederson was covering for someone with this rationale. Maybe his quarterback. Because the alternative, that we are "getting Andy back’’ may quickly increase the vitriol expressed this past season by those "passionate fans’’ he and Lurie continually lauded on Tuesday.