KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Most football coaches are creatures of habit, and Andy Reid takes that to an extreme.
The Kansas City Chiefs practice, meet, eat, shave and shower at the same time of day each week regardless of when they play. Reid says the same things publicly after games, win or lose, and his demeanor doesn’t vary, which can make it tough to tell whether the Chiefs just finished a victory or defeat.
So when Reid goes off course, even slightly, you pay attention. Reid, with the Chiefs coming off one of the worst games of his two-plus seasons in Kansas City, has done that this week.
Reid defiantly declined to answer questions about the Chiefs and their implosion after Monday night’s loss to the Green Bay Packers. He has since elaborated on his refusal to discuss the specifics of the Packers game, saying that talking publicly about fixing the problems won't solve them.
“I’m very confident in this group,’’ Reid said. “I think it’s important that we take care of a few things. We can talk about it all we want to talk about it, but we have to do it and that’s what’s real. That’s why I’m not much into talking about that. I’m more into talking about getting on with Cincinnati and getting things rolling.’’
Fair enough. Reid is paid a lot of money, about $7 million a year, to prepare the Chiefs to play well at least 16 times, and he feels he failed in that regard last week.
“I’ve got to do a better job, in particular with 10 days, to get my team ready to play,’’ Reid said. “That didn’t take place. Way too many mistakes.
“I’m going to make sure we get this thing fixed.’’
Reid is also entitled to feel frustrated. The Chiefs entered the season with what they believed would be their best roster and best team since Reid arrived in 2013, and they’re 1-2. They have a formidable task Sunday in avoiding a 1-3 start: The Chiefs play against the 3-0 Bengals in Cincinnati.
But his sense of resolve is overwhelming now, more than at any time since he joined the Chiefs. He has lost a few games since arriving in Kansas City, including one in the playoffs in which the Chiefs wasted a 28-point second-half lead.
This is different. The Green Bay loss struck the Chiefs in a place where it hurts the most. They thought they could stand up to one of the NFL’s best teams, in its house no less. They fell considerably short of that goal.
That’s why Reid is putting every ounce of energy into beating the Bengals. It’s another chance for the Chiefs to go on the road and measure themselves against another top-level NFL opponent.
It’s also more than that. The Chiefs appear to be heading into what will be remembered as a defining time in the Andy Reid era. They’ll either emerge as the team Reid and others in the organization envisioned when the season began or as something entirely different, which the Chiefs would prefer not to contemplate.
Reid isn’t fighting to keep his job. He’s about as secure as any coach could be without having won a Super Bowl or even a playoff game with his current team. Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt has a long memory, and compared with the administrations of two previous head coaches, Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel, Reid indeed looks very good even with a horrible loss in Green Bay on top of the pile.
But Reid is fighting for something maybe just as important. He’s fighting to define the team he’s going to have with a roster of players he believed he could mold into winners.
The Chiefs have a lot riding on this battle. They’re all-in on Andy Reid and if he can’t guide these Chiefs though these troubled times, will he ever be able to get it done?