PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For the veteran Eagles, the hype surrounding a matchup with Andy Reid is understandable. For the newcomers, it’s simply another tough test on the schedule.
It will be Reid versus his former assistant, Doug Pederson, on Sunday when the Eagles visit the Chiefs in Kansas City. Many of Reid’s former Eagles have been asked about the coaching matchup all week. It has also been a hot topic of discussion during interviews with both coaches. For players such as running back LeGarrette Blount, it simply comes down to the next game instead of the story of Pederson facing his former boss.
“I think he’s tried to stay away from making it such a big deal,” said Blount. “I don’t know the history of why it’s such a big deal besides the fact that Andy coached here. I haven’t been looking at the details of why it’s such a big game, but we’re going to try our best to get this one for him.”
Pederson certainly wants to get this victory, but it is more about seeing his Eagles go 2-0 than defeating his former boss. As the questions continued to mount on Friday, Pederson insisted the subject will not be a distraction when the Eagles take the field on Sunday.
“You just start to get a little more tunnel vision,” Pederson said. “You’re a little more focused and more driven I think. It will be exciting. It will be fun. I know the emotions, they will be flying high, but I’ll keep them in check the best I can. It will be a great atmosphere to play ball on Sunday.”
The Eagles have a lot more to worry about than the Reid reunion. They will be facing a Kansas City squad which is coming off a very impressive win over New England. Receiver Torrey Smith admitted the matchup between the coaches has been off his radar during the week as his team gets set for a critical non-conference road test.
“Every week is that way,” said Smith. “We’re still learning about ourselves and trying to figure out our identity. To play another tough game on the road, it’s going to be another tough game for us because it’s the next game.”
Still, it is hard not to imagine how satisfying this win would be for Pederson. He has worked with Reid as a player and coach and a victory over the more-established Reid could springboard the Eagles towards a more successful 2017 campaign. Pederson is confident it will be all business by kickoff.
“All that goes aside and he’s wanting to beat me and I’m wanting to beat him,” Pederson said. “I just try to get our guys in position to be successful.”