Eagles

Facing another pupil, Andy Reid poses tall task for Doug Pederson, Eagles

Facing another pupil, Andy Reid poses tall task for Doug Pederson, Eagles

Student meets master this weekend in Kansas City, and if Andy Reid's history is any indication, this could be quite a challenge for Doug Pederson.

Reid is 8-3 against his former assistant coaches and 3-0 since becoming head coach of the Chiefs. His 12th career matchup against one of his former assistants takes place Sunday, when the Eagles face the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

Reid and Pederson have a long history together, going back to 1995, when Pederson was a third-string quarterback with the Packers and Reid was Mike Holmgren's offensive line coach.

Pederson was Reid's opening day quarterback here in 1999, then joined Reid's Eagles coaching staff as a quality control coach in 2009. He moved up to quarterbacks coach in 2011 and followed Reid to Kansas City in 2013, spending three years as offensive coordinator before Jeff Lurie hired him as head coach, replacing Chip Kelly — who had replaced Reid.

“He got in and loved every minute of it," Reid said Monday of Pederson, who took just five years to advance from quality control coach to head coach.

"He gobbled it up, and he earned every position that he got. I don’t think people who had worked with him were surprised he had the opportunity to be a coordinator, and then I don’t think they were surprised when he had the opportunity to be a head coach.

“The guys who worked with him knew what he was capable of doing, and so what seemed like a fast-paced progression for people outside of here seemed kind of natural for the people who were here. I have a lot of respect for him and I think he’s doing a nice job there.” 

The Eagles went 7-9 last year under Pederson and opened this season with a win in Washington. The Chiefs, 2-14 the year before Reid arrived, are 44-21 under Reid, who is 11th in NFL history with 174 wins and ninth with 11 playoff wins.

Reid actually has a much higher winning percentage with the Chiefs (.677) than with the Eagles (.583), who he took to the playoffs nine times from 2000 to 2010.

Counting his years as a player and an assistant, Pederson has been with Reid for 13 years.

"Consistency. Being honest, being open, and being fair with the players," Pederson said Monday when asked what he learned from Reid. "Teaching, coaching, probably the biggest things.

"And just — I think it's the attention to detail that he has with his players and his coaches, and those are some of the biggest things I've learned from him."

The last time the Eagles won a playoff game without Reid was 1995. They've won only five without him since 1961.

Reid coached 224 Eagles games, more than twice as many as anybody else in the team's 85-year history. Greasy Neale, who led the team to the 1948 and 1949 NFL championships, is second with 111 games.

The only other coaches in the last 50 years to last more than four seasons with the Eagles are Dick Vermeil and Buddy Ryan.

“No, you don’t forget it, it’s part of your history, part of your life," Reid said of his 14 years in Philly. 

"I don’t want to forget Philadelphia. The people there were great to me. The organization was great to me. But again, I’m all red now. I’m all in with the Chiefs and I’m loving it here. 

"There’s nothing like Arrowhead, and I welcome them to Arrowhead. I know our fans will be ready to welcome them in, too.”

Reid's first game against a former assistant was in 2007, when the Eagles beat Brad Childress' Vikings, 23-16, in Minneapolis. During the 2008 NFC Championship Game season, the Eagles lost to John Harbaugh's Ravens in Baltimore — that was the game Donovan McNabb got benched — then beat Childress' Vikings in a wild-card game in Minneapolis.

The Eagles lost late in 2010 to Leslie Frazier's Vikings at the Linc in that dismal Tuesday night makeup game that cost the team a first-round bye — the Joe Webb game. 

Reid beat Steve Spagnuolo's Rams in 2011, Pat Shurmur's Browns in the 2012 opener and Harbaugh's Ravens later in 2012 before losing to Ron Rivera's Panthers later in 2012.

With the Chiefs, he has wins over Harbaugh's Ravens in 2015 and Todd Bowles' Jets and Rivera's Panthers last year.

"It will be fun," Pederson said. "It will be fun to see him over there, 'Big Red' on the other side. But at the same time, I know he wants to kick my tail and I want to kick his.

"Listen, Andy Reid teams are well-prepared, as we know, and we've got to do the same thing this week. We've just got to be ultra prepared. That is a tough place to play, now. It is a loud, loud place and we've got to be able to handle that crowd noise. We've got to do it through communication, nonverbal communication. All that has to be on point this week in practice.

"But it will be fun. It will be fun to get out there. But again, once we tee it up and kick it off, it's all about the business and all about the game."

There are only eight Eagles left who played under Reid — Brent Celek, Jason Peters, Brandon Graham, Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Vinny Curry and Nick Foles, who also played under Reid in Kansas City.

Interesting that the Eagles' strongest position, the defensive line, has the most remaining players from the Reid era — Cox, Graham and Curry.

“Very aggressive on both sides of the ball," Reid said of the Eagles. "They have a really good special teams group. Good coaches, good players.

"If you get in a checking game, they kind of know your checks and signals. So that’s one thing. They know formations. But normally it goes both ways.”

The Chiefs have one of the strongest home-field advantages in the NFL. 

They're 23-9 at home under Reid, the seventh-best home record in the league during that span, but also 19-5 in their last 24 at Arrowhead.

"It's tough," Pederson said. "It's loud. It's a great atmosphere. The fans are right on top of you. Arrowhead Stadium is right on top of you. It's a great place to play."

Pederson interviewing 2 for Eagles' OC job

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Pederson interviewing 2 for Eagles' OC job

While many folks are off for Presidents Day, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is hard at work trying to figure out how to replace Frank Reich. 

Pederson is spending his Monday interviewing running backs coach Duce Staley and wide receivers coach Mike Groh for the Eagles' vacant offensive coordinator position, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. ESPN's Tim McManus first reported the news Monday. 

It's possible one or both coaches could take over in some sort of offensive coordinator role. 

Reich left his post as offensive coordinator earlier this month when he accepted the head coaching job in Indianapolis. While it might not seem like an OC who doesn't call the plays has a big role, Reich was a good sounding board for Pederson and seemed to be very-well trusted by the head coach. He also helped put the weekly gameplan together. 

It makes sense that the Eagles don't want to go outside the organization to hire an offensive coordinator. Pederson trusts Staley and Groh and the chemistry inside the NovaCare Complex was tremendous during the Eagles' run to Super Bowl LII. 

Either way, Pederson is going to oversee the offense and call plays. Staley or Groh, if one or both are promoted, will handle some extra responsibility, but it'll still all be on Pederson. 

While Staley has been with the Eagles as a coach since 2011, working his way up from a quality control coach to running backs coach in 2013, Groh is a newcomer. He was added to the staff before the 2017 season to take over for Greg Lewis after the Eagles fired him. Groh did an impressive job last season, particularly with helping transform Nelson Agholor from a bust to one of the team's more explosive weapons. 

LeGarrette Blount makes his desire to stay in Philly clear

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LeGarrette Blount makes his desire to stay in Philly clear

LeGarrette Blount is fresh off of his third Super Bowl title and second in two years with two different teams. 

It sounds like he doesn't really want to go to a third team in three years. 

Blount, 31, played on a one-year deal worth around $1.25 million with the Eagles in 2017, but is set to become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year starts on March 14. He made it pretty clear on Sunday that he wouldn't mind coming back to Philly for another run. 

"It's early so we'll see," Blount said on NFL Network. 

"Obviously I like it a lot there. They like me a lot there. It's a mutual respect and a mutual agreement thing about how we feel about each other. Obviously, you guys know how I feel about the team, the guys; I love those guys. 

"I can't say enough about Duce (Staley), just for the simple fact for how well I was coached there and how good he helped me understand things. I feel like Duce is one of the best running back coaches, one of the best coaches I've ever had in my entire life. I obviously want to be a part of that for a while, so we'll see how it goes."

Blount began the year as the Eagles' top running back, but lost some of his role once the team traded for former Pro Bowler Jay Ajayi. But Blount still played a significant role in the Eagles' run to winning Super Bowl LII. 

During the season, he was the team's top rusher with 173 carries for 766 yards and two touchdowns. But then in Super Bowl LII, he had 14 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown, helping the Eagles to a 41-33 win over his former team, the Patriots. 

The Eagles are going to bring back Ajayi and second-year player Corey Clement. After that, things get murky. Blount and Darren Sproles (coming off injury) are both set to become free agents. 

Blount wasn't shy about his love for the Eagles during his interview on Sunday. He cited trust and how they handled the Ajayi trade with him as big reasons why. 

"They talked to me throughout the process of it happening," Blount said. "They were like, 'we're trading for Jay Ajayi, we just want to let you know.' Like I said, that's obviously another big thing for me, the honesty in that building and how open they are and how they don't keep any kind of secrets for you. They just tell you how it is. It's a big respect thing. Duce was the first person to reach out to me and be like, 'hey, we traded for Jay Ajayi. I just want to let you know.' Again, man, that's why it's a place that I love and I hope to stay there." 

Late in the six-and-a-half minute video, the crew brought out Clement while Blount was answering a question about the rookie. Blount laughed during the middle of his answer, but then got back on track and praised Clement. The two became very close during the 2017 season. 

After Blount's answer, Clement got to chat with his teammate and said getting to work with Blount was a "tremendous opportunity" and would clearly like to keep the core group together in the running back room next season. 

Obviously, it's not up to Clement, but Blount will play a big role and we already know what he thinks of the Eagles.