KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The statistics offer a dark forecast of what remains of the 2014 regular season for the winless Chiefs entering Week 3.
Since 1990, only 23 of 198 NFL teams (12 percent) that start the season 0-2 made the playoffs, Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com points out.
Still, the Chiefs could have a little luck on its side when considering the current coaching staff has direct experience with slow starts.
Coach Andy Reid coached the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999 to 2012, and three of his teams started 0-2: 1999, 2003 and 2007. The 1999 team finished 5-11 and the 2007 team finished 8-8.
Reid’s 2003 squad, however, beat the low odds by finishing 12-4 and advancing to the NFC Conference Championship.
Former three-time Pro Bowl tight end Chad Lewis, a member of that Eagles team, recalls with fondness how Reid energized the locker room after the 0-2 start.
“We got together,” Lewis said in a telephone interview, “and Andy said, ‘Look, we’re not going to hit the panic button. I’m not going to do anything different. We have a great team and here’s what I want you guys to do. I want you to take off your tuxedos, put on your overalls and go to work.’”
Reid’s message then and now applicable to the Chiefs is clear: There’s nothing fancy required to put in hard work in an effort to improve.
“We came back and we turned that season around,” Lewis said. “It was so awesome. It was just impressive to every single person on the team how Andy did not freak out. He kept his cool; he kept his composure. Man, it was awesome.”
Lewis’ former Eagles teammate, wide receiver Todd Pinkston, chuckled during a telephone interview when reminded of Reid’s tuxedo speech in 2003.
“I remember that real well,” Pinkston said. “That’s just one of those things that he did.”
Pinkston said another message Reid impressed upon the Eagles locker room surrounded each player concentrating on doing his individual job and not worrying about the last game.
By accomplishing those tasks, Pinkston pointed out game week preparation takes care of itself.
“Everybody knows what’s going on,” Pinkston said. “Everybody knows you’re 0-2. Don’t play like you’re 0-2. Keep playing hard because the breaks are going to come.”
Lewis agreed with Pinkston, adding their former head coach is concentrating on Week 3 and not the bad luck with injuries that has four Chiefs starters on injured reserve.
“His whole focus will be the Miami Dolphins,” Lewis said. “It’s not going to be on who is hurt.”
As for Reid’s potential directive to the Chiefs locker room following the 0-2 start, Pinkston returned to personal accountability in what carries a familiar tone given Reid’s recent media sessions.
“Doing their job,” Pinkston emphatically said of the underlying message. “There’s no sense in doing more or less. You have to just finish. You have to finish the drill.”
Indeed, the solution is apparently as simple as that with words heard before in Kansas City.
And Lewis said his former head coach will likely take the direct no-nonsense approach when conveying that point to the Chiefs players.
“He’s not going to give a big ‘Win one for the Gipper’ speech,” Lewis said. “He’s just going to say, ‘This is what we have to do to beat the Dolphins. If everyone will just focus on their own business and take care of their own job, we’re going to be just fine.
“Don’t worry about anyone else, do your job and don’t do anything special. You don’t have to do anything superhuman. You just do what we coach you to do and we’re going to be just fine.’ I promise that’s what he’s saying right now.”