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'He's sharp:' Why Andy Reid, Pete Carroll came away from NFL owners meetings impressed by Shane Steichen

Steichen had conversations with longtime Super Bowl-winning coaches in Reid and Carroll during the NFL League Meetings this week in Arizona. 

PHOENIX – On one playcalling side of Super Bowl LVII was Andy Reid, an offensive mastermind with decades of experience widely regarded as one of the better coaches in NFL history.

And on the other side was Shane Steichen, the young playcaller for the Philadelphia Eagles, who answered the Kansas City Chiefs' haymakers with critical scoring drives in massive moments on the league's biggest stage.

A month and a half after the Chiefs earned a 38-35 Super Bowl victory, what Steichen did as a playcaller in that game was still stuck in Reid's mind.

"He's sharp," Reid said. "You could tell that he had that quarterback tuned up and ready to go. That game could've gone either way. But ton of respect for him and what he did there."

At the NFL owners meetings this week at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Steichen had conversations with a handful of his new head coaching colleagues around the league. He chatted with Reid; he had a long talk with Pete Carroll as well, learning from two of the league's best about some things he'll encounter as a first-year head coach.

"There's a lot of challenges to this thing," Carroll said. "I'm grateful in talking to some of the guys around these meetings, to realize how all the pitfalls come their way that they can't see and they can't prepare for until they just go through it. And they gotta hope they do well when they're challenged by the issues that come up."

Before Carroll became a Super Bowl-winning coach with the Seattle Seahawks – and before he crafted national champions at USC and took the New England Patriots to two playoff appearances – he spent one year as the head coach of the New York Jets. Even 30 years later, there's still some intrigue and mystery to why Carroll was fired after just that lone 1994 season.

On Tuesday, he mentioned making a comment in his first team meeting he shouldn't have made in front of then-owner Leon Hess. Which brought Carroll to a piece of advice he's dispensed to young coaches over the years: Know who's listening to what you say, and be intentional about how and what you communicate.

"(You need to) try to make a message precise and concise and on point that was representative of truly who you are," Carroll said. "Because you're going to get checked out and challenged, and if you're not connected to be a really authentic to you, you're gonna get found out you're gonna screw it up and your message will be weakened and you won't make it. It's really a difficult job, and particularly for the first time that you do it."

That necessity to be genuine is something Steichen is emphasizing with his coaching style.

"The biggest thing for me is just be who I am," Steichen said. "Don't try to change who I am. Be who I am, be true to myself and go from there."

Still, there will be situations that arise in the coming months that Steichen will have to navigate without the years of experience guys like Reid and Carroll have. That's why having Gus Bradley – who was the Jacksonville Jaguars' head coach for four season – on staff is so important, as Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera pointed out.

"There's so much to talk about, there's so much to try to prepare yourself for and you don't have enough time, you don't have the background and you don't have the experience," Carroll said. "You just gotta go through it. And you just hope for the best because there's so many landmines along the way that you gotta get through. I wish him the best — I'm sure he'll do great and he's had great mentoring and all that. But it's a very difficult position to be in."

Or, as Reid put it while gesturing to the gaggle of media members packing the MacArthur Ballroom at the Biltmore Monday morning: "You gotta deal with all this."

"There are other things that you have to deal with," Reid said. "But it can be done. He'll manage it well. He's got a good foundation."

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