EaglesFanCast Episode 42 – Dark Times

Show Notes: Episode 42 for Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Philadelphia Eagles lose in bad fashion to the Baltimore Ravens, 36-7 in Baltimore. The only Eagles touchdown came on a kickoff return by Quintin Demps, going 100 yards. Quarterback Donovan McNabb continued to struggle and turned the ball over three times and was inaccurate again, going 8 for 18 for 59 yards at the Half. In a controversial move in both decision and execution, Head Coach Andy Reid benched McNabb and put in 2nd year QB Kevin Kolb. Kolb also struggled against a stellar secondary and threw two interceptions of his own. On the day, the Eagles quarterbacks had a combined 12.5 Quarterback Rating. Again the focus after the game was Andy Reid’s coaching, preparation and play calling, and it has reached a fevered pitch among Eagles fans. Most are calling for a change in the organization, either in quarterback or coach, some want both. We try to make sense of things, discuss what is going on, and our listeners weigh in on the issues this week.

What we discussed:

  • Email from Mitch in San Francisco
  • We address McNabb’s confidence level and how he has been talking to the media
  • Email from Holden in Louisiana
  • Email from Phil in England
  • Why did the Eagles go long again on 3rd and short yardage? How is this making sense to Reid at this point, when it has not been working, and anticipated by Defenses?
  • Bad coaching decisions yet again, just awful
  • Did Lurie make the call on benching McNabb?  Was it Reid?  In either truth, both are out of character for the respective people
  • Email from Alistair in Australia
  • In a blog comment, Susan calls out the players and the coaches, both today’s and in the past
  • Reid, McNabb, Reid, McNabb… we just go back and forth about the mess we witnessed this week
  • Eric and Todd both feel that Reid is done with McNabb for the season, despite McNabb’s call to start against the Arizona Cardinals on Thanksgiving
  • Eric calls for the win against Arizona in big fashion, 38-17

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Hard To Reid

Andy ReidI respect Andy Reid quite a lot.  I always have, and I’ve supported him and his decisions over the years.  He absolutely deserves the admiration and honors for what he has done for this Eagles organization and turning it around from what it was prior to the start of his tenure.
Andy Reid has taken my confidence as an Eagles fan from being “I think we may have a chance of winning this week!” level, to “We ARE going to win, and I expect nothing less!”  Is that new attitude one of grandiosity and Eagles self-absorption causing me to think that they owe me?  Absolutely not.  This new attitude is because he has established this Eagles team as one of the most intimidating and upper echelon teams in the NFL over the years, that garners respect each week.  It has become a confidence in the players’ abilities, their mental readiness, the coaches preparation and their tactical abilities.  Andy Reid built a system and massaged the personnel into becoming and maintaining the high level team that other NFL teams prepare for just a little bit differently.  I have always been a fan of his because of that near-impossible feat.
Unfortunately, Andy Reid has allowed the opposite to happen again.  At this point, there are a multitude of questions that have been, and need to be asked.  This post is just one man’s opinion, and as always, you’re free to participate by commenting or sending us an email.
I feel that we can eliminate the player talent pool from this equation.  This team has talented and quality players at almost every position.  Are there weaknesses or holes?  Definitely.  Do any of them destroy this team?  Definitely not.  The player with the highest profile on this team is of course the quarterback, Donovan McNabb.  He is the person, like on any team, who is under the most pressure and scrutiny than any other position.  By default he is the leader of the Offense, if not the entire team.  Is he the best?  I don’t think so, but I believe that he is better than 95% of the other quarterbacks out there, despite his subpar play lately.  He has the talent and intelligence to be one of the best in the NFL.  His fiasco with the media this past week on not knowing the rules of a tie game, to me, show what we have seen on the field for a portion of this season: lack of focus.  Yes, it is partly his fault (the lack of focus) but the main responsibility to get him, and every player, on track is coaching.  A veteran player of any level, from DeSean Jackson, to Kevin Kolb, to Donovan McNabb, to Brett Favre and Tom Brady, are all the same… they are players on a team.  They are all coached, and those coaches are supposed to do everything from nurture them, to help them focus, to teach and to guide every player.

The Eagles coaching staff are responsible for how each player, as part of the bigger team, performs each and every day, and each and every game.  Andy Reid, as the Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, is not just Donovan McNabb’s coach, he is personally responsible for each coach and each player as a result of his position.  After every game, Andy Reid sits down behind the microphone, whether it is win or loss, if he is asked about a negative aspect of that game, his response always falls to that he has to do a better job of managing the players or putting the players into a better position to turn that negative into a positive.  After a win, we blow that off as another “Reidism” and chuckle about it the following day.  After a loss, it angers us, and lately infuriates us because he is saying the same damn thing for the thousandth time.  Now, Reid doesn’t need to tell us anything.  He is required in his job description as a Head Coach in the NFL, to sit behind that microphone after each game.  At least that is my understanding.  So he sits there, vaguely answers the mostly-inane questions, and tells us little.  In all of those little press conferences for all these years, the ONLY thing we’ve learned about is injuries.  We do not know what Reid says in the locker room at Halftime, nor what is said on the sidelines, nor at practice.  So we interpret what we see from him, the other coaches, and the players.  We see the successes and failures, and read what we can into the production of this team, or lack thereof.

So approaching this game, we hear about how Reid went on a tirade at practice, trying to fire up his troops, throwing in threats about jobs no longer being secure.  I, for one, was happy that he actually did something and decided to rock the boat.  It gave me some hope that a new era in coaching was starting.  I figured if he addressed the players in this way, that he also addressed the rest of the coaching staff, and that he also looked in the mirror and dug down deep.  I hoped, and I believed again.  I expected more discipline going into Baltimore, I expected a change of tactic, I expected an energy and confidence.

I got it on Defense.

I did not get it from the Offense, nor from Andy Reid.

Donovan McNabb was again unsure to start the game.  That initial fumble was not his fault, but it got into his head.  You could see it.  Then he threw the first of two interceptions.  But how much help did he get?  His receivers could not get loose, the tight end was non-existent, the blocking was horrible, and most of the time McNabb was rushed.  Wait, wait… the icing on this cake?  The play calling was THE SAME!  Baltimore’s Defense was all over it, every damn play.  Hey, a third and short?  Pass.  Give your quarterback some confidence, change it up, make this Defense guess.
Then comes the beginning of the third quarter, and we see 2nd year quarterback Kevin Kolb come out there.  Andy Reid benches McNabb.  I’ve never been a McNabb basher, I’ve always liked him, but I liked this decision.  McNabb was now mentally a mess after last week’s performance and what he did in the first half.  I was all for letting him sit, breathe, reorganize himself, observe, then come back again next week.  It happens, and he needs a mental break.
But then I learned about HOW Reid benched McNabb.  He didn’t tell him.  Wait, wait, but he also didn’t tell his replacement?
This is how I pictured it in the locker room at the half: “Donovan, listen, you’ve had a tough two weeks.  You need a break.  Regroup now, and let’s finish this season on fire.  You can do this, I know it.  Right now you just need to take a seat.”  Then, “Kevin, I’m calling on you right now.  Get ready, in thirteen minutes you will go out of this locker room and lead this Offense.  Go get ready.  Warm up.  Talk to whoever you need to.  Turn this Offense around today, I know you can, now go.”

Am I just being idealistic?

Instead, Reid completely blindsides McNabb like some grammar school kid who was having an off day.  On top of it, he gave his second year quarterback absolutely NO preparation for what he was about to do.  None.  How can a coach on any level do that?  Not only did he send an unprepared player out on the field with an extremely uphill job to do, but he humiliated and probably killed all confidence in the leader of the team.  What kind of message did he really send to the team?  How much confidence did the rest of the team, both sides of the ball, lose in Head Coach Andy Reid after this move?  What kind of performance will he now get from players?

I’m absolutely amazed with what happened today.  Reid’s decision was one of the worst I’ve seen in a coach in this franchise… and that says a lot.

I cannot believe what has happened to this team.  Right now I have no hope for a turnaround.  I have no confidence in this coach.  It’s not just this loss.  Most of this post I had written during the week, but was not able to get it out there prior to the game.  As I started reading it after the game, I realized it was the same.  I think the only thing I would change is how I stated at the beginning how much I respect Andy Reid.  I’ve lost almost all of that now.  I know how that will change, but I do not think Reid can actually look into himself and make the change… so even that hope is not there.

I think that today has marked the beginning of some very dark times for this team.  Hell, I’m wrong quite often with this team and I really hope I am.  But as I see things now, what they now have to overcome is enormous.  I feel bad for McNabb at this juncture, and I’m going to hate to see him excel on another team.  But one thing is for sure in my mind… I no longer want Andy Reid as my Eagles coach.

EaglesFanCast Episode 41 – Predictability

Show Notes: Episode 41 for Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The hapless Philadelphia Eagles lose to tie the Cincinnati Bengals on the road. We start off raging against Andy Reid, and manage to keep that same tone towards him through the whole show.  We also are amazed at McNabb’s lack of knowledge of the game’s rules, and simply cannot understand how this team with so much talent can now be in this situation with a coach who seems to have lost his ability. It’s a rough show, but as this show is by Eagles fans, what else can we do but be honest? It is about this team, and it’s hurting right now.

What we discussed:

  • Eagles tie the Cincinnati Bengals 13-13, and this is as bad as any loss
  • The team had no energy at all on Offense
  • There were 58 passing attempts, and 15 rushing attempts… when your quarterback was again struggling and eventually turned it over four times
  • A post over on Bleeding Green Nation talks stats about the unbalanced play calling in the last two weeks against the Giants and the Bengals
  • Eric talks about how Bengals cornerback Johnathan Joseph talks about how predictable the Eagles Offense has become, and he was ready for it
  • Andy Reid has become predictable and continues to show his inability to adjust
  • We have an angry email from Chris Brown railing against Reid and this Offense
  • McNabb’s comments following the game were ludicrous, especially with not knowing the rules of the game he has played for so long
  • We get a “tired” email from Aussie Mike
  • We have an email from Holden Fulco with his reaction to the Giants game, yet the same comments apply eerily to this Bengals game
  • We talk about how the Reid – McNabb team is now 4-14 in the Division since the Super Bowl (thanks to Hollis for this in the comments section from last week’s post)

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EaglesFanCast Episode 40 – Anything Can Happen

Show Notes: Episode 40 for Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Philadelphia Eagles lose to the New York Giants 36-31 at home.  The Lincoln Financial Field crowd was stunned after a series of missteps, predominantly from the coaching staff, cost them the game.  A lot of questions have arisen in this latest loss to yet another NFC East Division rival.  Confidence in the coaching has been lost, and the fans wonder what can change when your Executive VP of Football Operations and Head Coach are the same person.  At just over the halfway point for the season, and with the Division being so tough, hopes are already starting to wane for our playoff chances.

What we discussed:

  • We talk about the Giants game, and some of the frustrations
  • Giants ran all over the Eagles, and we couldn’t stop them
  • The Eagles running was flacid, and it appears that Brian Westbrook is not 100%
  • Donovan McNabb was tired at the end of the game, and we wonder how this can still be happening
  • Andy Reid cost them this game; his play-calling, lack of adjustment, and what we feel may be stubbornness, has now made this team mediocre
  • Caffination” (Paul) on twitter made a great comment that he wants a “Gruden factor”, meaning Dungy built the team and Gruden won the Super Bowl
  • We find it hard to find a positive from the game, other than Chris Gocong’s huge hit on Brandon Jacobs
  • A poll on Bleeding Green Nation shows that Andy Reid’s approval rating is 19%
  • Playoff-wise, this team is in a very deep hole now… losing three Division games
  • We go over the remaining schedule for the Eagles, Giants, and Cowboys, and look at a few other NFC teams
  • DirecTV is searching for the ultimate displaced fan.  The winner goes to Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa. Most of our out-of-town listeners (sorry, AussieMike) are eligible for the contest, and we want one of you to win it!  It ends November 30th.

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EaglesFanCast Episode 39 – Big Week

Show Notes: Episode 39 for Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Philadelphia Eagles get off to a slow start against the Seattle Seahawks this week, but regroup in a huge way ultimately defeating the Seahawks 26-7.  McNabb struggled early then went on a 20 for 21 streak and ultimately wound up with 349 passing yards and two TD’s.  Those went to returning Receiver Reggie Brown and Offensive Lineman Todd Herremans (WHAT!?).  The Eagles Defense also stifled the hapless Seahawks Offense after the 1st Quarter, 90-yard play and made them punt eleven times.  This coming week the Eagles welcome the New York Giants to town for a Sunday night NFC East street fight at a very unwelcoming Lincoln Financial Field.

What we discussed:

  • The Philadelphia Phillies win the World Series, and throw the biggest parade in the city’s history.
  • Chuck and Eric went to the Phillies parade and talk about their experiences
  • Donovan McNabb was horrible in the first quarter of the game
  • Andy Reid refused, again, to deviate from hist scripted plays, and thus didn’t help McNabb’s rusty play by running the ball early
  • Brent Celek has a breakout game because L.J. Smith was out hurt. Smith has been named the starter for the Giants game
  • Trick play to Todd Herremans for a receiving touchdown
  • David Akers hit four field goals to finish out the scoring in the third and fourth quarters, and it definitely looked like Akers regained his confidence
  • We have an email from Aussie Mike
  • The New York Giants come to Philly Sunday night
  • The fans have to be loud for this game
  • The Offense has to be fast, because the Giants will do everything to get to McNabb. Discipline in play and coaching is needed
  • Lito Sheppard did not practice today (Wednesday), so he is most likely out for the Giants game
  • After the Phillies championship, we think the Philadelphia fans will expect even more from the Eagles

Link: Green Fans – The Movie  http://www.greenfansthemovie.net

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