Chiefs-Jaguars Divisional Spherical: Matt Nagy, Eric Bieniemy, Steve Spagnuolo downplay familiarity with Doug Pederson

Chiefs-Jaguars Divisional Round: Matt Nagy, Eric Bieniemy, Steve Spagnuolo downplay familiarity with Doug Pederson

Kansas Metropolis Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid’s first alternative to run an NFL crew got here in 1999 with the Philadelphia Eagles. His preliminary workers included future head coaches like John Harbaugh and Sean McDermott — and even Kansas Metropolis’s present defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

Present Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coach Doug Pederson was the Eagles’ major beginning quarterback that season, having come to Philadelphia after being a backup for the Inexperienced Bay Packers whereas Reid was the crew’s quarterbacks coach. That might find yourself being Pederson’s final 12 months as a participant beneath Reid — however in 2009, Reid employed him as an offensive high quality management coach. He later grew to become the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach — after which when Reid was employed in Kansas Metropolis in 2013, Pederson joined his workers because the offensive coordinator.

All of it provides as much as Pederson being one of many strongest, thickest branches of Reid’s intensive teaching tree — which has turn out to be an enormous storyline heading into this weekend’s Divisional Spherical matchup with Pederson’s Jaguars. Naturally, the familiarity doesn’t cease with him and Reid; every crew has a number of assistant coaches who’ve beforehand labored collectively.

Kansas Metropolis’s quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy held that place beneath Pederson — after which took over because the crew’s offensive coordinator when Pederson was employed as Philadelphia’s head coach in 2016. But Nagy is in a novel place to grasp that his previous boss’ familiarity with the Chiefs group doesn’t essentially give him a bonus in Saturday’s matchup.

“I don’t assume it issues that a lot,” Nagy instructed reporters on Wednesday. “All of us — as coaches — understand how totally different teaching staffs put together; all of us tweak various things. With out stepping into element, there are some issues which are totally different now right here that weren’t the identical means when Doug was right here.”

Nagy stated that in his expertise, having an perception into one other coach’s mindset isn;t at all times useful.

“In the event you assume you realize a play is coming, it’s nonetheless exhausting to cease it on each side,” he smiled. “Belief me: I handled that in [2019] when the Chiefs got here to Chicago.”

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Within the sport to which Nagy was referring, he was in the identical state of affairs wherein Pederson now finds himself: a former Reid assistant trying to defeat his former boss. The distinction is that in 2019, Nagy had been away from Reid for much less time than Pederson; it’s now been seven years since Pederson coached in Kansas Metropolis.

Nonetheless, that non-public relationship can create one other layer that wouldn’t exist in one other matchup. Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy labored with Pederson for 3 seasons.

“I feel there’s just a little sport of chess — and cat-and-mouse — that goes on with that,” Bieniemy admitted on Wednesday. “And, [if] you concentrate on it, Doug form of one-upped us and bought the onside kick within the first sport. So there’s at all times just a little sport of that.”

Bieniemy famous that Jaguars’ defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell is a former teammate of his.

“I bought a variety of good pals on that workers, and so they do an incredible job,” he famous. “These guys are embracing the method. They’re beginning to belief precisely what their coaches are offering for them… They’ve perception in what they’re doing: you simply don’t come again and win the sport down 27-0 and discover a strategy to win.”

Whereas Nagy and Bieniemy’s historical past is extra private, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s historical past with Pederson is usually as an opponent. They had been teaching with division rivals when Spagnuolo was with the New York Giants in 2016 and 2017.

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giant

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That — mixed together with his understanding of Reid’s normal offensive philosophy — offers him a way of what to anticipate on Saturday.

“They do lots,” Spagnuolo emphasised. “They’re form of like coach Reid and the blokes out right here: you’re in all probability not going to see what they did final week [or] two weeks in the past; they alter it up fairly a bit. They’ve gotten to the purpose the place their gamers and Doug are so effectively related, they’ll try this in a sport plan and alter it round.”

Spagnuolo expects it to be a bit totally different than it was when the groups met one another in Week 10 — when Pederson was nonetheless attending to know his gamers.

“I’m positive earlier with the rising pains it was just a little bit totally different,” stated Spagnuolo, “however it’s form of like the entire playbook is there; they’re large open. We’re anticipating something: all fourth-down performs, go-for-its, [taking] probabilities. Now we have to be prepared for devices — something like that.”

General, the shared historical past between the opposing coaches actually gained’t be a lot of a schematic benefit for both facet. However there may be a variety of mutual respect — which can deliver out the most effective from every crew.

“It’s at all times nice enjoying guys that you’ve labored with,” noticed Spagnuolo. “John Harbaugh, Sean McDermott — all these guys that we compete in opposition to that we had been [once] brothers in a room.”

Nagy recalled a time when Pederson pitched in to assist him in Chicago.

“My final 12 months in 2021, Doug got here to coaching camp when he was out of soccer for a 12 months,” he revealed. “We had been in a position to speak about some issues from a head-coaching perspective that he discovered from his first time — and that he’s in all probability placing into motion now. [They were] issues that helped me out with how he did issues.

“Now we have an incredible relationship. I spent a variety of time with him in Philadelphia and right here — and [there were] a variety of nice experiences.”

So whereas the sport is underway, there will not be as a lot to those shared experiences as you’d assume — however each earlier than and after, will probably be very clear how a lot these coaches know and respect one another.