Reunited With Coaching Tree, Andy Reid Impressed by Doug Pederson's First Year

PHOENIX -- Andy Reid, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, reminiscing about Veterans Stadium. 

How's that for nostalgia? 

After missing last year's annual meetings because of a pending knee surgery, Reid and his floral attire are in Arizona this year. And NFL Films took the opportunity to work on a piece about his coaching tree. 

That meant getting all of them in a room on Sunday night, which led to plenty of flowing stories.  

"It's neat to see," Reid said on Tuesday morning at the AFC coaches breakfast, where a few of his branches were also speaking to reporters. "Very seldom in this business can you reflect. You don't do that. And then to hear all the old stories, it was all the way back to the Vet and some of the stories that went on there. 

"The cats and the rats and all that crazy stuff, the beer flowing into your office after games. You kind of put that on hold until you retire, so this was a time to reflect. There were a lot of funny stories and I thought NFL films did a good job with it, how they went about it." 

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While Reid has been coaching in Kansas City for four seasons, his presence is still pretty strong in Philly, especially with another branch, Doug Pederson, at the helm of the Eagles

When the Eagles hired Pederson a year ago to take over as their head coach, he came with a ringing endorsement from Reid. And one year into the Pederson Era in Philly, the current one has impressed the Eagles' former head coach. 

"I love what he's done," Reid said. "I love the quarterback. To go up and get that guy, the plan Howie had and then hiring Doug to fit into that. Doug's knowledge of just offensive football and he's got kind of a unique perspective because he was a player and a coach. I can't think of a kid that's coming into a better situation to be a young quarterback than that one. That room is filled with great knowledge and experience."

When asked, Reid said he sees some parallels between the situation in Philly now with Pederson and Carson Wentz and when he first started with Donovan McNabb at the turn of the century. 

The obvious difference is that Wentz didn't have a "buffer" like Pederson to be the quarterback until he was ready. Wentz came in and started immediately after Sam Bradford was traded. 

After a year of Chase Daniel as the backup under Wentz, the Eagles brought back Nick Foles this offseason. Foles spent last season as the backup in Kansas City, but the team didn't pick up his expensive option. So the Eagles brought him back on a two-year deal. 

Reid said Foles was still the same guy last year but was more advanced than the version that he had as a rookie in 2012. 

"He'll be great for the young kid," Reid said. "And then you just have that confidence that if he gets in, he's going to win."

Reid said he still speaks to Pederson plenty, but less often during the season when they're both busy. He also keeps in touch with the many other branches of his coaching tree: John Harbaugh, Sean McDermott, Ron Rivera, Todd Bowles are the current head coaches. 

Then, there's Brad Childress, Pat Shurmur, Leslie Frazier and Steve Spagnuolo, who have all been head coaches before. 

"I just think the genuineness," Harbaugh said, when asked what sticks out to him about Reid. "The two words I'll take from Andy Reid that I use with my guys to this day, the most important thing is straight-shooter. I heard him say that many times and that's what he is. He's honest, he tells it like it is, he shoots you straight. And if you do that with players or coaches, you're going to be successful. That among many other things."

Another one of those things is that Reid has the best night-before-a-game snack in football history, according to Harbaugh, who brought a version of it to Baltimore. Sadly, the Ravens' version lost the Haagen-Dazs a few years into his time in Baltimore. "The guys weren't happy," he said. 

With so many successful coaches stemming from the same patriarch, the branches of the tree don't have to look very far to find advice. That's why McDermott tried to gain some insight from different trees. The new Bills head coach sought out different coaches to ask for advice during his time in Phoenix. He mentioned Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and Texans coach Bill O'Brien by name.   

Even though McDermott went outside the tree for advice this week, he considers himself lucky to have a built-in core group of coaches who all came up under Reid, who still offers him advice too. 

"That's the neat part," McDermott said. "It's kind of like a band of brothers, if you will, the team within this overall team of head coaches. … Fortunate for me, I don't lack for sounding boards and advice givers. "

And sometimes, even though they're all competing against each other throughout the season, the entire coaching tree can meet in sunny Phoenix and share stories about the critters that called the Vet home.  

"We had some huge cats," Reid said. "Those cats, I'll tell you, they were giant."

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