HALFWAY THERE 2013: Reid, Ryan rocking in AFC

HALFWAY THERE 2013: Reid, Ryan rocking in AFC
November 8, 2013, 2:44 pm
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Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly speaks during a news conference ahead of practice at the NFL football team's training facility, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(APWF)

Andy Reid can't lose. Chip Kelly can't win at home. Tom Coughlin turned out to be the New York coach on the hot seat while Rex Ryan's job seems more secure.

There are veteran coaches enjoying a resurgent year and others on a downward slope.

Rookie coaches are having varying degrees of success in their first year in the NFL. Gus Bradley is winless in Jacksonville, but Marc Trestman has Chicago in a three-way for first place in the NFC North.

The biggest story involving coaches has been their health following scary incidents last weekend. Houston's Gary Kubiak had a mini-stroke on the field and Denver's John Fox needed heart surgery after feeling dizzy on the golf course.

Here's a Pick 6 of buzzworthy coaches halfway through the NFL season:

ANDY REID: Bounced out of Philadelphia after the Eagles went 4-12 last season, Reid is 9-0 in Kansas City. It's a remarkable turnaround for the Chiefs, who were 2-14 in 2012.

Big Red had a winning resume when he arrived in Kansas City, having led the Eagles to nine playoff appearances, six division titles, five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl in 14 seasons. But this has to be his best coaching job yet.

Reid inherited a decent roster that returned four Pro Bowl players on a defense that's been dominant. He acquired quarterback Alex Smith to a run an offense that's been steady. Reid lost favor with fans in Philly because he didn't win the Big One. Now, he's got a chance to do it sooner than anyone expected in Kansas City.

CHIP KELLY: Lured away from Oregon to replace Reid in Philadelphia, Kelly invigorated the organization, players and fans with new ideas, a new approach and new philosophy. His innovative, up-tempo offense got off to a fast start before injuries to quarterbacks Michael Vick and Nick Foles slowed the Eagles (4-5) down.

Foles, however, rebounded from an awful performance with a record-tying seven touchdown passes last week and the Eagles are only one game back in a weak NFC East. It's certainly a bonus for a team that was supposed to be rebuilding.

Kelly, though, has come under intense scrutiny for questionable playcalling and strange decisions. He's clearly learning on the job against opponents far tougher than any he faced in the Pac-12 Conference.

TOM COUGHLIN: Despite leading the New York Giants to two Super Bowl titles in the previous six seasons, Coughlin was seemingly in trouble after an 0-6 start. Coughlin made sure to keep the team together through its struggles, and he's highly regarded enough that he's probably not going anywhere.

Eli Manning, a turnover machine in the six losses, hasn't thrown a pick in the last two games, helping the Giants win two in a row. Coming off a bye, they're somehow still alive in a division in which only Dallas (5-4) has a winning record.

REX RYAN: The new Rex Ryan may be a better coach than the old brash, boastful guy who led the New York Jets to consecutive AFC championship games in his first two seasons. Ryan toned down his bravado, and the focus has shifted to his football team instead of his latest outrageous comment. With rookie Geno Smith under center, the Jets are 5-4 and in position to make a playoff push.

The offense has been inconsistent with the up-and-down Smith leading the way and injuries limiting the receiving corps. But Ryan's defense has been outstanding despite losing its best player, traded-away cornerback Darrelle Revis.

GREG SCHIANO: Since a 6-3 start with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a rookie coach last year, Schiano has lost 13 of 14. The Bucs have a shot at going 0-16, but they're not even the worst team in Florida. The Jaguars also are 0-8 and losing uglier games.

Schiano botched quarterback Josh Freeman's benching, and eventually released the former first-round pick. Many wonder if he's another college coach out of his element in the pros. There are questions about whether he's lost the locker room, and fans have been calling for his ouster.

BILL BELICHICK: Leading these New England Patriots to an AFC East title might be Belichick's top coaching accomplishment. That's saying a lot for a three-time Super Bowl champion who once guided the Patriots to a 16-0 record.

Sure, Belichick still has Tom Brady. But that's about it.

Brady's receivers probably wouldn't start for any other team, and he just got Rob Gronkowski back. The defense has been decimated by injuries to key players. Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo are gone for the season, and top cornerback Aqib Talib has been sidelined nearly a month. Yet, the Patriots are 7-2 and heading toward a 10th division title in 11 years.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP-RobMaaddi

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