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.

4 thoughts on “Hard To Reid”

  1. Great post. I cannot believe some of the things I’m reading from fans who are already calling Kolb a bust. I’m not sure what expectations they had, but they need to think rationally. Kolb was put in a bad spot this week. Hopefully in the weeks to come he will improve. But until then, Kolb isn’t the reason we lost. He made some bad plays, sure. But he’s basically a rookie going against one of the best defenses in football with no warning.

    After that punk move though, Reid should be gone. He should at least have the respect and decency to tell McNabb during the half rather than a minute before he takes the field.

  2. I’m sick of hearing how good Andy Reid and Donovan are. Good means winning. Jeff Garcia won for us. AJ Feeley won for us. Heck, Brett Favre throws so many interceptions it’s hard to keep track, but he still somehow WINS games. And even with a new playbook!

    Enough excuses. Enough over-analyzing. I’m going to say something that is sad, but maybe true… Andy and Donovan are not all that smart. They are not smart about winning – managing the clock, managing players, calling the right plays at the right time, taking calculating risks, knowing ALL the rules.

    I love the Eagles. I always will. But it feels like I’m stuck in an abusive relationship. Jaws didn’t get a ring. Randall didn’t get a ring. But we continue to say “they were such amazing players…” Well, yeah – they had athletic ability, ok. But they never got us the ring.

    Can you imagine Tom Brady or Peyton Manning getting benched? Can you? NO – because there is nothing more in this world that either of them HATES more than losing. That’s the attitude we need. In every player.

    I hope that the Eagles organization works everything out. We’ve had tough times before. But this seems tragic. With this much talent, are we going to self-destruct? Or will we pull it together?

    Go Iggles, Go !

  3. Hey Chuck, nice post, but I think there’s some Kool-aid being passed around. I’ve been thinking about this since the game ended and I couldn’t wrap my head around the benching. A lightbulb came on and before you know it, I’m posting the following at BGN.com (which i found thanks to your podcast, by the way).

    ===start excerpt===


    Has anyone considered that the benching was done at the demand of Lurie?

    It’s the only thing that makes sense to me. Sure McNabb was stinking up the field, but we’ve seen him even in recent games get in a groove and become productive. We were only 3 points behind, so it’s not like the game was out of hand. The season was still in the balance considering all the NFC teams at 5-5. And the manner that the QB’s were told was especially odd. It was as they were getting back on the field and Reid didn’t even talk to either player. Who knows what went on in the locker room at half, but I’m guessing there were some X’s & O’s discussed. Wouldn’t you as coach want to make sure that the guy you’re putting into the game had your complete attention. Reid has stood by McNabb time and time and time again. He’s ALWAYS been in McNabb’s corner and was never one to label anyone on his team a scapegoat. And since when does Andy ever make an in-game adjustment? NEVER! I’m guessing that Lurie made the call just as the halftime was ending. I’m guessing Reid refused to carry it out which is why he wasn’t the one to tell the players. I think that the players had to address the benching as “Reid’s decision” in the post-game press conferences either out of respect for Andy, or to avoid the debaucle of an Al Davis situation. I could be way off base, and I’m not trying to start rumors, but like I said it doesn’t make sense to me that it would be Reid’s decision given all the circumstances.

    ===end excerpt===

    And, Chuck, Eric and Todd, welcome to my world. From the sound of that last show, you’ve all finally reached the point where I was when emailed you. We’re all fans, I never stopped watching the games and I know you won’t. For the time being I’m just gonna accept the ineptitude of the coaching staff and revel in the little victories like Demp’s kick return, or Kolbs mini-hotstreak during the 3rd quarter; or seeing Gocong absolutely light-up an airborne Brandon Jacobs for a fumble, and Patterson’s interception in the Giants game. I’m looking forward to watching the newer guys develop these last few games. If the playoffs happen, they happen. But, I’ve removed all the preseason expectations and I’m enjoying the games a lot more.

    Keep doin’ your thang, fellas and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. After Thursday’s game, can Eagle fans just all get along with the notion that our quarterback and coach are not the turkeys so many want to make them out to be? Can we recognize that we occupy “last place” in a division filled with playoff contending talent? Do we need to be reminded by the leaders of a much weaker division that the core of a nicked up Philly squad is still fundamentally sound? Can we accept that much of what the Eagles still lack, and have lacked for a number of years with the exception of the talented but divisive ‘T.O.’ are hands as consistently skilled on the receiving end of the ball as on the throwing end? This is not to make excuses for Andy Reid’s sometimes questionable clock management or Donovan’s naive observations about the terminal course of a 5th quarter in the regular season. I seem to remember at this point in the 2007 season, another NFC East QB was under fire by fans and press… a guy who plays about 90 miles north of Philly. Like McNabb, that guy just shook all the outside noise off, helped his team capture a wild card berth and the rest is history. This division may be too tough this year and it may be too late for the Eagles to climb a similiar mountain, but let’s not be so quick to tear down what Reid and McNabb have built in Philly. If anyone thinks, a cast off McNabb wouldn’t be picked up in a heartbeat by any of a number of teams that could come back to haunt, then you haven’t been paying attention to Favre, Warner, Brees, Garcia, and any of the other mid to late 30 something QBs that are dominating the league.

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