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Why Kansas City Chiefs, Andy Reid have big advantage with bye

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The Sports Xchange
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has a remarkable coaching record after his team has a bye, both in the regular season and in the playoffs. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has a remarkable coaching record after his team has a bye, both in the regular season and in the playoffs. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

KANSAS CITY -- The Kansas City Chiefs have a not-so secret weapon as they wait to see who they'll play on January 15 in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs -- Andy Reid and his coaching staff.

During his 18 seasons as an NFL head coach in Philadelphia and Kansas City, Reid and staff have a remarkable record coming out of a bye week. In the regular season the Eagles and Chiefs are 16-2 with a week off.

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In Philly, they were 3-0 after bye week in the playoffs. The Eagles were No. 1 seeds in 2002, 2003 and 2004, and won their divisional round games by 14 points over Atlanta, an overtime field goal over Green Bay and a 13-point margin against Minnesota.

That's 19-2 and that's why Reid has not deviated from his bye-week routine even for the playoffs.

After beating San Diego last Sunday, the players reported on Monday for a meeting and then were given the rest of the week off. The Chiefs will not report for work until next Monday.

Most coaches, when it comes time for the playoffs, would not release their players for a week without some sort of meetings, workouts or practices. Reid however, thinks it's important for his team -- players and coaches -- to get a few moments away from the office.

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"Every situation in this league is different, every game and every year is different," Reid said. "I know the bye doesn't normally hurt you. It's a good thing to have it if you handle it the right way.

"I have enough trust in the players that they're going to handle it the right way. The coaches are going to handle it the right way. When we get back, we'll handle that week the right way. There's a certain trust that goes into this thing with how we roll from this point on."

Reid's players understand the responsibility that comes with having a week off. If they do not, veterans like quarterback Alex Smith will school them.

"It's a week off and you have to handle it the right way and take advantage of it," Smith said. "It's all different. I think it's a good thing though. You're going to get rest, and you're going to get a home game.

"For me, the intensity, obviously, gets scaled back, but you're still moving. I'll still throw this week and just kind of keep that going. ... The balance of rest and still kind of keeping your edge, and moving, and keep your body going and firing, is different for every guy - big guys, little guys and everybody kind of has their own thing."

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That 19-2 record is well known among the men in the Chiefs' locker room. Some have lived it, others are just getting acquainted with the Reid advantage.

"With that extra time to prepare on their end, they do an excellent job," said wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who has experience playing for Reid with the Eagles and Chiefs. "Additionally, they're able to let guys get their legs under them and get healthy.

"We step away from the facility for a second, clear our minds and have time with our families and stuff like that. We really appreciate that. We'll come back energized and ready to go. He does a wonderful job at doing that."

It does not mean that every player will abandon the team's facility. It sounds like more than a few will be daily visitors.

"Everybody is real excited about this opportunity; it doesn't come around that often," punter Dustin Colquitt said. "I've been here 12 years and this is our first time getting a sense of a bye week. Barry Rubin (strength and conditioning coach) and his staff will be in the weight room every day, so we'll come in, get a workout in and go for a run. Some guys are going to go out of town for a couple of days but everyone is going to be anxious to get back."

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--It's been a time of great joy and great sadness for Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. He's directed his club into the playoffs for the third time in his four Kansas City seasons and the 11th time in 18 seasons as an NFL head coach.

But late last week, Reid lost the man who started him down the coaching path, former Brigham Young head coach LaVell Edwards. The 86-year old Edwards died on Dec. 29 at his home in Provo, Utah.

Edwards spent 39 years coaching at BYU, including 29 as head coach (1972-2000). Edwards' teams won 257 games and he earned a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.

The list of pro and college coaches that came through his BYU teams is long, including Super Bowl winning head coaches in Mike Holmgren and Brian Billick.

Reid played for Edwards along the offensive line in the 1979-80-81 seasons, and served as a graduate assistant on his staff in 1982. Edwards helped him get his first full-time job as offensive coordinator on the staff at San Francisco State.

"I was a young guy going a million different directions; you're not exactly sure of the direction you want to go," Reid said. "I had a pretty good idea, but wasn't completely sure and he asked me if I had ever thought about going into coaching. I said, 'No, I really haven't,' and he goes, 'Well you should give it a try and I'll keep you on and pay for the extra school if you decide to go in a different direction, we'll do that.' I got in, I got the bug, and now, here I am."

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Even though they did not work together for the last 35 years, Reid received a phone call every week from Edwards.

"He's the one that talked me into it and then he called me every week from that day on," said Reid. "Maybe he thought he put me in a bad position or something. He was always checking on me. I always said that he probably liked my wife better than he liked me -- that's why he checked on me."

There's no doubt in Reid's mind who was the No. 1 influence in his life.

"He was my guy; I'm probably one of 10,000 guys that are saying that right now," Reid said. "That's what made him unique ... he was a people person. You put the X's and O's aside, he was good at that too, but you put that aside, the way he handled people, I thought was just unbelievable."

--The amazing exploits of speedy rookie Tyreek Hill have reset record books and provided the Chiefs with an explosive threat that was a big part of a division title and a No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs.

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Hill's 1,826 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns as a runner, receiver and returner was a combination unseen in the NFL for a rookie since Gale Sayers' first season with the Chicago Bears in 1965.

It happens very rarely in pro football that a first-timer can produce like the Kansas City rookie.

"I had DeSean Jackson and he kind of was the same," said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, who selected Jackson forth Eagles in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. "When he was young he did all of the return stuff, we moved him all around the offense, he took snaps as a quarterback, we had him everywhere. He made it to the Pro Bowl in two different positions as a wide receiver and a returner."

As a rookie, Jackson produced 1,460 all-purpose yards on 130 touches with four touchdowns. Nice numbers, but not up to Hill's first year. Few players can match his speed that was tracked earlier in the season as the fastest man in the league at 22 miles per hour.

"When he goes by you it's amazing how fast he can corner and edge things," Reid said of Hill. "A lot of guys have speed, but can't corner, they don't have the quickness that he has. He has a unique blend there.

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"He's going 22 mph; he'd get a speeding ticket in a school zone, he's going 22 mph. He's moving pretty fast."

QB Alex Smith has lifted his level of performance when playing in the postseason. In five starts with San Francisco and Kansas City, he's posted a 99.1 passer rating. That's compared to his 85.3 rating in regular season games. Smith completed 112 of 186 passes (60.2 percent) for 1,309 yards, a 7-yard per attempt average. He's thrown 11 touchdown passes and only one interception. Smith also has rushed 29 times for 198 yards and a touchdown in those five games. ... WR Jeremy Maclin carries some of the most career postseason experience of any player on the Chiefs offense. In four games with the Eagles and Chiefs in the playoffs, Maclin caught 15 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown catch. That's an 18.1-yard average per catch. ... OLB Tamba Hali carries the most experience in the postseason on the defensive side for the Chiefs. He's played in five games over his 11-year career, posting two sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and 11 total tackles. ... WR Tyreek Hill was named the AFC special teams player of the week for the final weekend of games in the regular season. Hill was honored for his club-record 95-yard punt return for a touchdown against San Diego. It's the third time this season he was honored as conference player of the week in the kicking game. Hill is the first rookie to have a hat-trick of POW awards on special teams in the AFC since wide receiver Tamarick Vanover did so for the Chiefs in 1995.

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