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INDIANAPOLIS – To understand how long Andy Reid coached the Eagles, consider this: Last time the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins faced a different Eagles head coach, their head coaches were Jim Fassel, Chan Gailey and Norv Turner.
Reid’s firing and Chip Kelly’s hiring have given a new look to the NFC East, and Giants coach Tom Coughlin and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett both had a lot to say at the Combine about the switch.
“Andy is a good friend of mine,” said Coughlin, who enjoyed some of his biggest wins and most devastating losses against Reid-coached Eagles teams.
“He went through a tremendous personal loss, very difficult season for him. Our hearts went out to Andy and his family, Tammy. He’s an excellent football coach. It’s very difficult to think that he was there for 14 years and probably won 70 percent of his games (actually 63 percent). I don’t know what the exact number is, but [he’s] just an outstanding football coach, outstanding person.”
Coughlin and Reid were 9-9 against each other in the regular season since 2004, although Coughlin is 10-9 overall against Reid, thanks to a 2002 win with the Jaguars. The Giants beat the Eagles in the playoffs in 2000, but the Eagles beat the Giants in the postseason in both 2006 and 2008, the second one at the Meadowlands (and it happens to be the last playoff game the Eagles won).
Since 2006, the Giants have either won the Super Bowl or lost to the Eagles every time they’ve reached the playoffs.
“It’s an unusual thing to say, but to not have him in the division, I’ll miss him,” Coughlin said. “He’s on the Madden Committee and I’m on the Madden Committee, so we got the chance to spend some time together this week. It was good. I’m happy for him and his family. I’m sure he’s looking forward to his new adventure.
“I know Chip from his days at New Hampshire, and the tremendous job he did at Oregon. We interviewed him at one point here in New York, and he’s done a superior job and he’s an outstanding football coach. He’s going to make it interesting.”
Reid has beaten the Cowboys more than any coach in NFL history. He has a 17-11 all-time record vs. Dallas, most notably that 44-6 win on the final day of the 2008 season that put the Eagles in the playoffs and knocked the Cowboys out.
Garrett, whose new defensive coordinator gave up 62 points to Kelly’s Oregon Ducks three months ago, said a lot of the Cowboys’ offseason preparation will revolve around preparing for what Kelly does and what they believe the Eagles will do.
“Obviously, Andy Reid is one of the great coaches in this league, and he’s a great person and [had] a great program was in place for 14 years, really because of his leadership,” Garrett said. “They’ve been an outstanding team and a great competitor of ours, so we wish him well in Kansas City.
“And certainly the challenges that Chip Kelly presents are obvious. Certainly, a great track record at Oregon. He’s just a darn good football coach, and he’s bringing that style of football to the NFL. I think we have seen glimpses of that the last couple of years, where there has been a trickle up of college offenses to the NFL. And they are challenging. And his style is even different than some of the things we have seen.
“We are going to do a lot of studying of what he’s done to make sure we are ready for it because I think it’s different. It’s different from what a lot of teams have seen. We are going to get a chance to face him twice, and we know what the challenges are and we have to get ready to go.”
Newly hired Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin spent 2010 through 2012 at USC, and his units allowed an average of 50 points per game – 53 in 2010, 35 in 2011 and 62 this past year – against Kelly and Oregon.
“I don’t know that many defenses had a whole lot of success against what they did there,” Garrett said.
Of course, this is a different level, different personnel, a whole different brand of football.
Kelly has never coached in the NFL before, so how well his high-powered offense will translate to the NFL is a mystery at this point.
“We don’t look at it like this guy has never coached in the NFL,” Garrett said. “We look at it like this is a heck of a challenge for our team.
“We have to do as much preparation work as we can with the film that we have from Oregon – great program, they’ve been outstanding. So the challenge is certainly there. And if you turn the tape on, you can see it. So we have to get ourselves up to snuff on how to stop those guys.”
The Redskins didn’t make head coach Mike Shanahan or general manager Bruce Allen or anybody else from the franchise available to the media at the Combine.