In most NFL seasons, when a coach has a 3-4 record, there is optimism that there are nine games left to make the necessary adjustments to make a playoff run. But here in Philadelphia, after 14 years of Andy Reid in charge of making this Eagles franchise a champion, yesterday’s ‘embarrassment’ is a microcosm of why he hasn’t been the man to get it done for a few years.
Reid obviously can’t gauge the intensity of his team by deferring after winning the coin toss yesterday, opting to start the game on defense. As an offensive-minded coach, he should have relied on LeSean McCoy to try to establish a ground attack against a Falcon team, that going into the game, ranked 29th defending the run. Instead, he sent out a defense that was clearly unable to handle the Falcons’ offensive firepower. And he did it knowing that undersized and under-talented, Casey Matthews, was starting the first drive at LB for Mychal Kendricks, who was late for a team meeting. The Falcons drove the ball down the Eagles’ throats and they never recovered. Reid should have tried to create some momentum but all that happened was the life was taken out of the team and the stadium.
Reid has made too many miscalculations to mention, but recent ones involve his choice of defensive coordinator before last season and not having the intuitiveness to cut the cord before this season started. Or hiring the defensive line coach before the coordinator and signing off on an unsuccessful wide-9 scheme. He made the questionable decision to sign Michael Vick and make him his franchise QB. Now he’s contemplating whether he should start a rookie next week against the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome on Monday Night prime time!
He also has a bad track record drafting impact players. This season the offensive line is a shambles and although C Jason Kelce had proven serviceable before his knee injury. But being a 6th-round pick, Reid got lucky. Guard Danny Watkins, has been a disappointment thus far as a 1st-rounder. Tackle Todd Herremans looked like a steal in the 5th-round, but appears to be regressing this season. The best choice during Reid’s tenure was trading up to get Shawn Andrews in the 1st pick in ’04. He would have been a perennial pro bowler at guard or tackle, if he would have cared about playing football. But bad choices made the Eagles have to turn to signing free agents to fill the void. Better draft choices mean better depth when a star player, like Jason Peters goes down with an injury. And we’re not subjected to King Dunlap or Demetress Bell to open holes and keep Vick upright. Reid being a former offensive lineman should be better at spotting good ones.
The same can be said defensively, drafting and signing, small, speedy defensive ends who provide no run support or ignoring the linebacking corps. Reid just realized that linebackers are the quintessential play-makers on any good defense. And the last time the Eagles were serious contenders, they had one, a hold-over from the previous regime. Just like a lot of Reid’s best defensive players over the years. He also misjudged the talents of Nnamdi Asomugha and we may be subjected to him for another 3 years. As well as a host of other shot-in-the-dark draft picks.
With this in mind, Jeffrey Lurie would make an egregious mistake if he were to remove Reid as coach, but keep him as V.P. of football operations. Anyone who thinks he should, would quickly lament that decision. His track record speaks for itself.
But most importantly for Reid, he needs a change of scenery. He has to feel like his message is no longer getting through. His team always reiterates how they cherish playing for him, but their play has to show him otherwise. He personally, looks weary and beaten. His infamous post-game pressers are redundant and he truly has no answers to how to fix what ails his team. His decisions and play calling are made out of desperation and seem random with no forethought. Reid and his family endured the tragic death of his son this summer at training camp, to an addiction he knew he couldn’t help him overcome. That can weigh anyone down and cloud their judgement.
Reid is from southern California and with the San Diego Chargers also near free-fall, Norv Turner will be gone and Reid can go back home and start anew with a veteran QB in Phillip Rivers. Because Andy…time’s up!