KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The debate over how the Chiefs approach Week 17 is sure to rage in the coming days.
On one hand, the team is locked in at the No. 5 seed with no chance to improve the position heading into the NFL playoffs.
The other hand shows a Chiefs team coming off a horrendous performance during a 23-7 loss against the Indianapolis Colts, a potential first-round opponent.
Coach Andy Reid has a decision to make and he addressed it during Monday’s media session, without really giving an answer outside of an ongoing evaluation.
“As far as going forward here, I haven’t made up my mind exactly how we’re going to play it,” Reid said. “I’ve done a couple of different ways, but we’ll see how we do that.
“I’ll evaluate all the different situations. I have sat people before, quite a few times actually, and benefited from that, but I’ll look at everything.”
Meanwhile, Reid has a history in Philadelphia of resting players when his team has clinched a playoff spot.
And one of his former players, three-time Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro tight end Chad Lewis, offered insight as to how Reid handled the 2001 and 2004 teams, the latter squad went to the Super Bowl.
Lewis, a member of those teams, recalled the primary factor Reid shared with the players as to how the final regular season game would be handled.
“Winning the Super Bowl,” Lewis said in a phone interview. “I know he would always tell us, ‘These are the things I’m weighing – I want us to be healthy, we’re already in, we can’t make our situation any better, it’s great to stay in rhythm, but I don’t want to risk injuries at this time.’ I don’t think anyone ever had a problem with that.”
Still, conventional wisdom would be to enter the playoffs with momentum, especially in light of how the Chiefs looked against the Colts.
Lewis said that could play into the decision.
But given his familiarity with Reid’s coaching style, Lewis said he was confident the current Chiefs players would support whatever direction Reid leans.
“As a player, I was totally confident when he made a decision,” Lewis said. “I didn’t have to second guess what he was doing or why he was doing it. I knew it was well-thought out, knew it always had a vision attached to it. I think either way he goes, his players will be with him.”
Ultimately, how Reid approaches the final game remains to be seen.
If history repeats Reid’s track record, it wouldn’t surprise to see cameo appearances from a core group of starters such as quarterback Alex Smith, running back Jamaal Charles, linebacker Derrick Johnson or safety Eric Berry, among others.
But until then, Reid isn’t tipping his hand how the Chiefs will play against the San Diego Chargers.
“The one thing I did then and I’m going to do now is I’m going to take the time that I have to evaluate it, make sure I do what I think is right,” Reid said. “This is one of those decisions that you make, there’s a bit of a gut feeling that you go with, so I’ll go off of that.”