Former Reid Assistants Speak Out About Former Boss

Eagles coach Andy Reid said he expects DeSean Jackson to sign the Birds' franchise tag tender. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- I had an opportunity to spend a few minutes with two branches on the Andy Reid coaching tree – Browns head coach Pat Shurmur and Ravens head coach John Harbaugh -- Tuesday morning at the AFC coaches media breakfast at the NFL meetings.

Shurmur, 46, and Harbaugh, 49, spent a combined 19 years as assistants on Reid’s Eagles coaching staff. Shurmur worked for him from ’99 through ’08 before leaving to become the Rams’ offensive coordinator. Harbaugh was on his staff from ’99 through ’07 before the Ravens hired him. I asked both of them about working for Reid. This is what they had to say:

Shurmur: "There’s so many things I’ve learned from him. He’s very consistent. He has a plan and a vision for what he wants to do. I think he’s an outstanding head coach because he hires people, gives them direction and lets them do their jobs. That’s a rare quality.

There’s a quiet confidence there that rubs off on his players. They feel good about playing for him. Players emotionally are going like this (makes an up-and-down gesture) all the time. Andy’s steady. I think that’s something that’s reassuring for a player."

Harbaugh: "I’m an Andy guy. Whenever the Andy Reid era eventually ends in Philly, Eagles fans are going to look back on it and say that was a great run."

Some fans may beg to differ with Harbs, but that’s another story.

Harbaugh’s thoughts on Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo: "Having a year under his belt, having a full offseason to prepare this year, that’s going to be huge for Juan. You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. And if you know anything about Juan Castillo, you know he’s always getting better. He’ll be that much better this season because of what he learned last year. He’s a great coach. I have nothing but respect for Juan."

The owners will vote Wednesday on whether to expand the current playoff overtime rule to the regular-season. The proposal is expected to pass, and competition committee co-chair Rich McKay has said it has the support of the league’s coaches. Not all of them, though.

Harbaugh doesn’t like the overtime rule, which allows the kicking team a possession in overtime if the receiving team kicks a field goal.

"I think sudden death is fine," the Ravens coach said. "I think sudden death is what makes the National Football League great. I probably shouldn’t say this because we had a seminar yesterday where they told us if you wonder if you should say something, you probably shouldn’t say it.

"But I like sudden death. I don’t know how the Ravens are going to vote. But my two cents says (stick with) sudden death. It’s been around forever and it’s worked pretty good."