The introductory press conference for Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid pretty much went according to plan.
Owner Clark Hunt opened with glowing praise of his new multimillion dollar hire before Reid took the podium to deliver a very short opening statement praising everyone in town except the local dry cleaners. It’s the typical stuff that has to happen when a new coach is hired.
Seriously, the playbook for these type of events is to simply fire up the fan base without saying anything that makes people reexamine the decision. That means playing to the franchise’s best player ever (“I need to find the next Len Dawson!”) all while showing how pumped you are (“I’m ready to go now! This is what I do, so I’m ready to go”).
But it was Reid’s refusal to completely dismiss the current crop of Chiefs quarterbacks that was his best work. After the type of season Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn turned in, Reid would have been praised by every person in Kansas City if he said the team would be bringing in new guys no matter what. Reid was quick to point out that’s no guarantee.
“I’m going to study the heck out of the guys that are here and have a chance to meet those guys. Then I’ll have a chance to evaluate that at that point,” Reid told a packed press room. “We have some guys to be in a solid position. It might not happen this year, you never know. The important thing is you do the right thing. We have been blessed with the No. 1 pick in the draft, and you want to make sure you do the right thing and pick the right guy, not necessarily a quarterback, it has to be the right thing. You don’t want to force anything. People that do that get themselves in trouble.”
It may not seem like a big deal, but can you imagine how tempting it must be for someone in Reid’s position to get on top of the fans biggest concern from day one? Instead he was very honest: the Chiefs are going to find a quarterback, but it may not turn out to be the first thing addressed.
In navigating the press conference and the interviews after, Reid’s experience with a tough Philly press corps paid off big time and helped him pass the first big test of his Chiefs career.