Coaching Overview

Posted: November 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 90 Comments »

A lot of people want me to talk about Andy Reid and whether he should be fired or not. I’ve touched on the subject in various posts, but haven’t written anything lengthy. The thing I’ve said over and over is that I want to see how the season plays out. I think that is important.

After the Giants game, life was good. After the Pats game, exterminate them all…with extreme prejudice. We’re fans. We get emotional. We live and die with each play, let alone each game. It is fun to say “Fire Reid!!!” after a tough loss. Blaming Big Red for the loss and ranting about him is a good way to vent.

Let’s set that aside for a minute. The Eagles are a billion dollar franchise, give or take a few bucks. The question about firing Andy Reid can’t be addressed in terms of what people want or emotion. You have to think in a business sense. You need to be cold and calculating. I don’t think you can do that in the middle of a season.     

I think it is important to evaluate the finished product. The Eagles are currently 4-7. Does the team go (for example) 4-12, 6-10, or 8-8? To me, there is a big difference in the 3 records. None are satisfactory based on the talent level of this team and the expectations we had, but there is a difference. Were the 2011 Eagles awful, bad, or just mediocre? Beyond the record, how did the games go? We’ve only been blown out once this year, the loss on Sunday. Does that change? Does the team ever get a spark that lasts more than one game?

Chan Gailey looked like coach of the year material in October. At that time, Tony Sparano was a joke. Now Buffalo is on a 4-game losing streak and the Dolphins are playing pretty good football. They’ve won 3 of 4 and had a couple of tight losses before that streak. I think it says a lot that Sparano’s players never quit and were able to make something of the season.

To this point, no players have quit on Reid. There are issues with players to be sure, but that stuff is more about contracts and peripheral issues than anything he’s part of. That could change in the last 5 games. If so, it would be an important factor in making a judgment on Reid’s future.

While I think we have to wait to make a final judgment, we can talk about the situation a bit. Andy Reid built up tremendous goodwill here with all that he’s accomplished since taking over the job in 1999. This season (and some events of the last few years) have used up that goodwill.  Andy has burned through his savings account, so to speak.

A factor that gets largely ignored is that firing Andy Reid is only half the issue. Who do you replace him with? You do not make a change for the sake of making a change. That’s a dumb way to run an organization. Jeff Lurie and Joe Banner need to have some ideas about who might be brought in to replace Reid if they decide to fire him. Many fans want a big name like Jeff Fisher, Bill Cowher, or Jon Gruden. No thank you. Just look at Mike Shanahan in D.C. to see why chasing past glory isn’t such a great idea.

I prefer to look for an up and coming coach. Let’s find the next Andy Reid, Sean Payton, Mike McCarthy, Mike Tomlin, John Harbaugh, or Mike Smith type. I haven’t seriously sat down and started thinking about names. I’ll do that in the next month or so. The one assistant coach that I’ve coveted for a few years is Mike Zimmer, the DC with the Bengals. Aside from him, I don’t have a list of targets. I think we should really save that discussion for a while so we have a better feel for Reid’s situation.

A few people have hinted that I’m not speaking out on Andy because of my ties to That isn’t the case. The guys from PE have never once told me what to write or say, here or there. I tend to write positive stuff for, but that’s based on logic. I’ve been critical of players and coaches on there and here. I never make it personal and that makes a huge difference. Questioning Andy Reid and calling him a fat moron are two very different things.

I have a special appreciation for football coaches. I argue with a ton of fans of all kinds of college and pro teams. I think 85 percent of fans want someone fired. That’s just not how I think. I’ve sat in coaches offices and talked to them. I understand why they do things a lot of the time. These aren’t perfect men at all, but they aren’t the bumbling fools that so many fans would love to believe. A lot of people think I’m a big Andy Reid worshiper. That’s actually not the case. He drives me batty. If I’m protective of Big Red, it is because he’s a football coach and a good one. Too many fans are too quick to assume another good coach will be found immediately. I appreciate Reid’s success even though he isn’t really my kind of guy.

I’m also a veteran of the “Andy Must Go” wars. Back in 2003 a friend of mine put up a post on the Eagles Message Board that Reid should be fired. He also wanted us to trade Donovan McNabb for a 1st round pick so we could draft Steven Jackson and start rebuilding. In 2006 the Reid bashers were out in full force when the team was 5-6. They hung around for the mediocre 2007 season. The Reid bashers really came out hard in 2008 after the loss to the Ravens in late November. That team almost made it to the Super Bowl. This year is far different from ones in the past and that’s why I’m even entertaining the notion that it might be time for Reid to go.

I am in the process of finalizing a couple of columns: The Case for Andy Reid & The Case Against Andy Reid. I’ve been waiting for the right time to post them. Doing it after the Giants game didn’t make sense. Right now we’re on a short week, so this isn’t ideal. We’ll see how Thursday night’s game goes. Maybe I’ll put them up this weekend or next Monday/Tuesday. I think there is a strong case to be made for and against Andy. Many fans think this decision is a no-brainer, but I couldn’t disagree more strongly. Even if you let him go, that is going to be a tough choice. Hiring or firing the wrong guy can devastate a franchise.

If at the end of the year I think Reid needs to go, I’ll have no problem saying that. I won’t come to the conclusion easily, but once I do, that’s it. Coaches are hired to be fired. This is a results business. Nice guy? Screw you. Go home and play with your kids. This is the friggin’ NFL. Win or walk.  I’m an Eagles fan, not an Andy Reid fan.  I don’t wish ill on him, but I want what is best for the Eagles.  Right now, that’s up in the air.

For now…be patient and start working on your lists of coaches you like. You may not need them, but it will make for good discussion in January. We sure aren’t likely to be discussing any Eagles playoff games.

* * * * *

I’ve also gotten more than a few questions about Juan Castillo’s future. At this point, I’m thinking he is one and done as the Defensive Coordinator. I recently wrote a column for that said good things about Juan. I stick by that column. The point was that he deserves some credit for the fact the defense has gotten better as the year has moved along.

Juan has been called a lot of things this year. I’ve heard more than a few use the word “incompetent”. That’s simply not the case. Juan has shown that he can run a defense. We’re in the middle of the pack on a lot of rankings. You don’t get up there with an incompetent coach.

While Juan has shown some potential as a defensive coach, he has not shown that he can be a good DC. I think he needs more time on the defensive side of the ball to get to the point where he can be a good DC. The Eagles can keep him around as a defensive assistant. Juan is popular with the players. Think about the various personalities we have on that side of the ball. Not one of them has gone to the press to rip Juan behind his back. Howard Mudd got ripped, but not Juan.

Juan knows how to coach. He knows how to teach. I just don’t think Juan is good enough on defense right now to coach/teach players and run the unit. That could come with time.

I was talking to a friend on the phone today and mentioned an appropriate story. John Madden went to a coaching clinic when he was a young coach in the early 1960s. Vince Lombardi ran the clinic. Madden expected to gain a wealth of knowledge. He sat down with his notepads and pencils, ready to soak up the game of football. Lombardi talked about the Green Bay sweep for 8 hours. Just the sweep. Madden had an epiphany that day, realizing just how little he truly knew. A playbook is more than just some X’s and O’s. You must know the playbook inside out. You must know the variables. You must know as much as humanly possible about the plays. Does anyone realistically think Juan could lecture on an Eagles play for 8 hours? Comparing him to Lombardi isn’t real fair, but the point is valid and that is that coaches must be extreme experts at what they do in order to be very good at what they do. This is especially true if you run a simple scheme. The less you do, the more perfectly you must do it.

I’m not sure if there is anything Juan can realistically do in the final 5 games to save his job. I think it would take something really special for management to sign off on Juan’s return. And I just don’t see our defense doing anything really special.  That said, the way this season has gone, nothing can truly shock me any more.

90 Comments on “Coaching Overview”

  1. 1 Anonymous said at 2:10 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    Even the hall of fame coaches get fired. There time runs out and its time for a change. The point some of us arent getting is we are not winning. It doesnt matter who likes who and if the players think Juan and Andy are nice. We arent playing good football. Not 4 quarters not every game. Reid put his reputation on the line and his job when he hired Juan. It didnt work out and neither will this season. Time for Reid to go.

  2. 2 Anonymous said at 2:27 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    Personally, I hope Reid gets one more year. There are things to like about this team that will go away if Andy goes. Mudd’s line is the best I can remember. They have been unbelievably good and, with another year, could be dominant. Washburn’s wide nine can excel if it has the LBs and safeties that can play well behind it. If for no other reason, keeping those two for one more year is enough to give Reid another shot. That and I honestly think he’s earned a chance to redeem himself and go out on his terms.

  3. 3 Anonymous said at 3:03 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    Any coach that goes into a highly anticipated season with all low round rookie linebackers (Matthews in the middle) and an unsure safety position whether it be inexperience incompentance or injury recovery deserves to be fired. And again thats not even addressing placing a DC with no NFL experience in charge of rhe defense …

    Time has run out. Lets fire Reid and bring in a new coach.

    For the record, I go with a veteran HC. Experience is a plus for this squad of players

  4. 4 Matthew Butch said at 9:50 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    I disagree. Things happen to cause a high expectation team to fail.

    He deserves one more year.

  5. 5 Anonymous said at 12:22 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Reids preseason judgments betray his 12+ years of coaching. He should know better at this point to leave parts of his team to inexperience especially when the stakes were so high this year. I love the guy. He gave me 10+ years of competitive football. But we have to start getting to Super Bowls and winning them. I dont want second best and to keep watching our NFC opponents stacking up their Super Bowl trophies while we have none hurts alott. No more patience. Time to bring a change. Even the great Head Coaches have their end days, It is really ok to move on from Reid.

  6. 6 Jim Larsen said at 12:30 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Listening to Sirius NFL radio the other day, I forget which program…

    Interesting topic of conversation regarding the Cowhers/Grudens of the coaching world. A lot of coaching success centers on the HC’s assistants. When you’re a young up and comer, you’re in the mix of who’s who…you know a lot of people and can make recognize the talents of your peers.

    When you’re out of the game for a while, especially with such a big reputation…guys are trying to sell you on assistants left and right. You’re at a really big disadvantage to hand pick your staff coming back into the league later on.

  7. 7 Anonymous said at 7:43 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    I agree 100%….I think we a F/A stud LB (Tulluch -wishful thinking, or DeMeco Ryan) and a 2nd round pick (if not both picks) spent on a LB this defense could be special. I do think a vet FS needs to be brought in to challenge Nate Allen. I think he is “decent” at this point, but still making rookie mistakes. I think he needs a fire lit under him by bringing in someone who could steal his job. The wide 9 is built on stud LB’s and great coverge on the backside….your def line is going to take themselves out of a lot of plays. So you need your LB and SS to cover their a$$. I think we switch to a more aggressive style of corner play with Asante gone…(lets not kid ourselves..he’s gone.) DRC and Nmandi pressing on the outside and Hughes or Hanson in the slot. I would love for the Eagles to pursue DeMeco Ryan from the Texans. He is a MLB we could build around. He is sort of lost now that the Texans went to a 3-4. He is a 4-3 ILB. I am happy with Rolle as one of the two OLB. I would love to draft the best OLB with our higher of the 2nd round picks. I think Chaney needs to compete for his job, he is not showing this year that he deserves to start.

    I think Reid is here for another year. The “O” is putting up yards, but still not coverting in the red zone. I would love to see a new OC, but I think Reid has a chub for MM. They really need to sit down this offseason and come up with 10-15 GREAT plays for the redzon….with at least 1/2 of them being runs. What happened to the shovel pass, or a inside screen, or a good ole’ fashion “I” formation dive with a OL as a full back? Or even a QB sweep….pull a guard and your RB lead block!?!? Vick can outrun people to the corner.

    Juan is Tommy said he is a players coach, but not a DC. Obviously Spags, would be my top choice, but someone with 4-3 expierence that is a proven DC needs to be brought in. The defense could be special.

  8. 8 Eric Weaver said at 10:35 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    I’m not down on Allen like a lot of people are. Everyone always says the biggest step for any player is their second season. Allen had his rookie season cut short, then had no offseason and then couldn’t really participate until after the season began. He’s essentially still a rookie finding his way.

    I was very impressed with him at South Florida (4 year starter if I remember correctly) and I thought he was 2B to Earl Thomas’ 2A.

  9. 9 Anonymous said at 12:55 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    I agree about Nate. He has a lot of potential and it’s too early yet to determine how successful he will be.

  10. 10 Anonymous said at 11:49 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    I’m all for firing Marty. It’s not because he’s a bad OC. He’s a very good one. However, him and Reid are too much alike. Reid needs someone who can balance him out. They’re both too pass happy for the offense to be consistently balanced. Reid needs an OC that’s going to ignore him and the run the ball despite what he says. MM isn’t going to do that. Not to mention, with our consistent failures in the RZ, some new blood wouldn’t be a bad idea.

  11. 11 Mac said at 12:43 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    I agree, I think it’s the OC and DC that need an upgrade. Andy is just to powerful of an asset to this team.

  12. 12 Eric Weaver said at 2:00 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    I read an article the other day I very much agreed with in that I don’t care what the run/pass ratio is. I just want you to score when you get in the red zone.

    This team under Reid has always been amazing at moving between the 20s. They’ve never been successful year to year in red zone efficiency.

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 2:33 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Yeah. The run/pass ratio doesn’t matter to an extent. It’s still important to keep a defense honest. BUT, when your RB is the league’s leading rusher, and a top 3 back, you give him more than 10 flipping carries. Especially when the opposing QB is Tom freaking Brady.

  14. 14 Anonymous said at 2:02 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    The biggest problem here is if Andy is still around he will never go with someone who has an opposing viewpoint on offense, because it would be a sign of having to do things someone else’s way, and Andy always needs to be the biggest genius in the room.

  15. 15 Jim Larsen said at 12:28 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    I agree.

    I like Washburn and Mudd enough to give Andy another year. I don’t like Juan, and I would be fine with exploring the options of a new OC…but I’ll take Andy because I don’t think Mudd and Washburn are here without him.

  16. 16 Mac said at 3:51 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Agreed… I think Andy’s best selling point is the influence he has around the league. That is an intangible that no other coach can bring to Philly.

  17. 17 Anonymous said at 2:41 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    I know you said save the candidates for a new coach but i just cant resist. Personally I’m for hiring a guy out of college ball.

    1. Gary Patterson/Head Coach/TCU- Gary is a defensive genius. TCU traditionally ranks very very high in defense. I know they haven’t been quite as good this year but for the past two or three years they were in the top two or three in the nation defensively. He also runs a 4-2-5 package as his base unit. With the increase of passing offenses in the NFL this is very attractive. I would give an arm and three legs to go listen to how it works. For those of you who think it cant work against the run go look at them shut down Wisconsin in the Rose bowl.

    2. Chris Peterson/Head Coach/Boise State- What has been a major complaint this year? Our talent not matching our results. How about go get the coach who takes underwhelming low rated kids and turns them into a national power in Idaho.

    3. Gus Malzahn/OC/Auburn- Considered one of the brightest minds in offense. Constantly innovating and evolving his offensive philosophies. Came up with the “wild hawg” package while at Arkansas, went to Tulsa and installed their high flying offense, went to Auburn after that (results?: see: National Title 2011). Was previously a head coach at a very successful high school somewhere down in SEC territory. Only problem is he likes to throw more than the fat man.

    4. Mike Leach/ESPN?/formerly HC at Texas Tech- If he were our coach right now, Desean and Asante would both have spent time in a dark janitors closet for days on end. If only if only. Problems: Airraid attack.

  18. 18 the guy said at 4:08 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    Tommy listed 6 current coaches who have built or merely run consistently winning teams (Reid, Payton, McCarthy, Tomlin, Harbaugh, and Smith).

    Though they all had jobs at the collegiate level, not one of them came directly from there. All of them spent at least 5 years in the NFL before getting their current job. Not one was a head coach in college.

    I’m not saying it’s impossible for a good college coach to make the transition, but recent history indicates it isn’t very likely.

  19. 19 Anonymous said at 11:45 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    I hate Mike Leach with a passion, but that was a great point about the closet. Maybe he is what we need.

    Did you see the video of Malzahn’s wife giving the talk? She really hurt Gus’s chance to be a HC. Put a lid on her.

    One college coach who does fascinate me is David Shaw of Stanford. NFL background. He was the Eagles offensive quality control coach in 1997. Spent time under Gruden, Billick, and Jim Harbaugh. Sharp dude.

  20. 20 Eric Weaver said at 12:41 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    I was thinking about Shaw earlier today.

  21. 21 Yuri said at 5:50 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Mike Leach is going to Washington State…

  22. 22 Anonymous said at 2:53 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    There’s no question that the Eagles have been successful during Andy Reid’s tenure. But I’ve always wondered how much of that success should be attributed to Andy Reid and how much should be attributed to Joe Banner and the front office crew. I guess there’s no real way to know since none of us are behind the scenes.

    But one thing the fans can see is the game day coaching and this is an area where there has been valid cause for criticism. Poor clock management and the inability to run a 2 minute drill and/or a hurry-up offense have been reoccurring problems for Reid’s Eagles. The run/pass ratio is historically lopsided. Getting the plays called and relayed to the offensive huddle takes longer than other NFL teams and creates delay of game penalties or causes the need for timeouts.

    But the most incriminating thing is that these problems persist year after year with no apparent attempt to fix things. Andy Reid seems either unwilling or incapable of self evaluation. Fans see these game day issues and have absolutely no hope that things will ever get better because there’s been plenty of time to address them by now and they never get better.

  23. 23 Anonymous said at 10:12 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    I think one of the best cases to be made against Reid is his lack of self-evaluation or adaptability. But one thing gives me pause: it seems that this year, Reid has been much better with challenges. Is it possible that he made a change as far as how plays are reviewed and who is responsible for deciding whether to challenge?

  24. 24 Anonymous said at 3:38 AM on November 30th, 2011:


    I agree with you that Andy Reid is a good coach in many aspects but there are a couple of signs that clearly show that things have not been going right and it is not just this year’s record.

    First of all, personnel decisions both players and coaches. Drafts have not been very successful lately especially on defense. I do not blame him for McDermott because that seemed like a logical choice but Castillo was clearly not the right choice. Mornhinweg is a good offensive football mind but he seem to have the same weaknesses as Reid so instead of complementing each other, their weaknesses are even more emphasized. Moreover, the coaching stuff has obviously weakened over the years as a lot of assistant coaches have gone to other teams and there have not really been any attempts to bring in some external help to replace them (other than Mudd and Washburn this year).

    Secondly, decisions in critical situations. If you want to win the Super Bowl, you have to make good decisions in those situations. Reid has tended to choose the wrong option more often than not.

    Actually, I believe all these problems could be corrected if he gave up some of his responsibilities and tried to look for people to add to the coaching/personnel stuff who are good at things he is not good at but I am just not sure if he could accept that so I am more inclined to think he has to go.

    On the other hand, I don’t agree with you on Castillo. I think the fact that the defense occasionally plays well is despite Castillo not because of him. There are a handful of very talented players on defense and they will shine every once in a while even in a bad system. However, when we lose you see the same issues, e.g. even veteran players being confused, a system not fitting players’ strengths and the inability to adapt during games etc. It shows that Castillo has not been able to improve anything since he started his work. Not to mention that it has been discussed in quite detail that he was not a very good offensive line coach either, so I would not keep him around in any role, I think he is done.

  25. 25 Anonymous said at 3:39 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    I really wonder how much the lockout affected this team.

  26. 26 Anonymous said at 3:51 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    As much as it affected the Texans…

  27. 27 Anonymous said at 4:07 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    Well, even wade phillips looks like a dumbass, he does have experience as a dc. And offense they do stick to the ground.

  28. 28 Matthew Butch said at 9:53 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    No, it affected the Eagles more.

    I really think if it was a normal offseason, things would have gone better.

  29. 29 Anonymous said at 3:51 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    Speaking of saving Castillo’s job:

    I second your opinion that Juan is as good as gone (and dear God I really hope he will be gone). The Seahawks will spot the 30th ranked Offense of the NFL this Thursday, averaging only 294 Yards/Game. If Juan’s defense cannot keep them under 300 Yards and 17 points I am all in favor for sacking him during the season already.

  30. 30 Anonymous said at 4:25 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    I wonder if firing Juan Castillo now might actually help to save Andy’s job. It is the most glaring mistake he’s made and if he putting it in the rear view mirror now will make it less of an issue once the offseason gets here.

  31. 31 Anonymous said at 7:04 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    Good point. However I highly doubt that Andy will fire his old friend during the season. A demotion to a defense assistant – or even to O line coach should Mudd retire (again) – after the season seems more likely though..

  32. 32 Anonymous said at 7:48 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    Eugene Chung is being preped as the new OL coach upon Mudd’s retiring…I think he is here for one more year. They have catered this O line to smaller athletic types…Juan loves big road graters. Our O Line is playing some of the best football they have in years. Not going to put Juan back there. If Juan is kept on the team, its as a def asst or as the person who runs on the field during training camp and goes crazy everytime there is a tipped pass by a D lineman. That is about the best thing he has done all year.

  33. 33 Mac said at 3:53 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    True, I wonder if he would accept a job as D-quality control or assistant as you suggest. Maybe they can create special position for him where he just gets paid to yell at people and give high 5s.

  34. 34 Mathias Torp said at 6:32 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    There’s a saying among soccer coaches: You’re not a real coach until you get fired.. Simply because getting fired is part of the job

  35. 35 Anonymous said at 11:42 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    Lots of truth in that.

  36. 36 Anonymous said at 6:45 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    Marty can go. For all the points and yards against scrubs, this O does not deliver and can not help out our D when struggling! Where has this O ranked in Redzone scoring with it’s last 3 QBs or in total under him? This problem never seems to go away! I’d fancy that Brad and AR were far more successful in that department.

    Secondly, we need to work out penalties, only twice since 2003 have we not ranked in the 20’s overall in penalties against. Last year we were 31st, this year 29th. I can’t get stats for prior to 2003, but the last time we ranked in the top 13 we went ton the NFCC. Can’t go keep beating ourselves.

    At our place of work, when we review performance we ask 2 simple questions – What’s working and What’s not working. In the first of those columns I’d like to put Bobby April and his STs (Akeem Jordan can thank his revitalization down to him), Mudd and his OL (despite some penalties), Washburn to a lesser extent. In the latter, RZ O (AGAIN), RZ D (AGAIN), hiring a dream team over building from within (Howie this is on you you dope!), penalties, turnovers.

    Finally, Marty… sigh!

  37. 37 Anonymous said at 11:39 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    I’m not sure I understand you.

    You think Marty has done a great, great job and think he should be given more power?

  38. 38 Anonymous said at 1:23 PM on November 30th, 2011:


  39. 39 Anonymous said at 4:04 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    I would never use sarcasm on such an ardent Marty Mornhinweg fan as yourself. That would not be prudent.

  40. 40 Mac said at 3:55 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    My favorite idea for Marty is… to have him go be HC in Jacksonville.

  41. 41 Anonymous said at 7:50 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    Tommy – Do you think possibly this is Howies last chance to prove something this offseason? He was sort of made a stud with these FA signings, but his drafts have not been very good. He has sort of fallen off the radar. Do you think Laurie is looking hard at him also?

  42. 42 Christopher Miller said at 9:36 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    With such a weak coaching staff, I am not sure we can definitively say how well/poor he has drafted. I am not implying he may be an elite personnel guy, but I am not sure he deserves to get canned either.

  43. 43 Anonymous said at 11:41 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    Howie is a tough subject and deserves a column of his own.

    I like the talent on this team. I think he’s made some really good moves. Chemistry is a major issue for this team. Part of that is on the coaches, but part may be on Howie as well. You must collect players that fit together and who fit what the coaches want.

  44. 44 Anonymous said at 2:11 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Howie’s last two drafts he’s been in charge of have been pretty brutal to this point. I know it takes time for these picks to develop but the reliance on late round picks to be starters to me doesn’t prove that they are good talents, just that we did a poor job filling those spots with higher quality players.

    I’m thinking of every linebacker position, and to this point both safeties. Kurt Coleman isn’t a bad player and he can hit, but let’s not act like a good defense shouldn’t have someone better back there. And enough of the excuses for Nate Allen missing time on his rookie year…he played almost the entire year before getting hurt and was mediocre at best after a good start where a few balls found him. I’m not totally discounting this year has been tough with his knee not 100% but he just doesn’t strike me as someone with the instincts to be a play maker in this league.

  45. 45 Anonymous said at 3:06 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    2nded. My sometimes irrational hate for Howie needs some balance.

  46. 46 Gary said at 1:46 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    I wonder about Howie and his drafting too. He seems to do well offensively, but I don’t think he’s very good at drafting defensive. I mean, who was the last defensive star we drafted? Trent Cole in ’05? How about even a really solid player? Mike Patterson in the same year? Both were with Heckert as the GM by the way. I know we’re still waiting to see what becomes of Allen and Graham but neither has really wowed anyone yet.

    All of our best defensive players except Cole came via free agency or trades and that kind of bothers me.

    Of course, we all know Reid has the final say on draft matters and he’s obviously more of an offensive guy, so maybe that explains it.

  47. 47 Anonymous said at 8:02 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    Reid is a great coach and I think we all appreciate the good times. The biggest case for keeping him is that he’s a planner and always does better when he has time to think (like an offseason as compared to two minute scenarios). Given a whole offseason with time to shore up LB, S and now possibly WR, he may field a 2004 juggernaut next season (any chance Akers would return??).

    Not knowing all that goes on during game day, he does seem like a bumbling fool when his plan goes awry. I wonder if he could hire two dope up and coming coordinators and then take more of a backseat on game day. He doesn’t have to take a Holmgren style position, but he could leave the quick decisions to younger more able minds. Also it does seem like players love Reid, which cannot be ignored. I say give him one more shot but get him a good DC from a winning program and for gods sake get him an intern to help him remember how much time is left and what down it is in two minute situations.

  48. 48 Tyler Phillips said at 8:29 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    So you are saying we are going after Spags if Andy stays…

  49. 49 Anonymous said at 9:26 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    Hiring Juan Castillo as a DC is cause for firing. Who could really contest it?

  50. 50 Matthew Butch said at 9:54 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    Anybody with sense.

    Hiring people is hard. Many good people get it wrong. That isn’t a fireable offense.

  51. 51 Anonymous said at 1:16 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    You won’t find a single person who thought hiring Juan was a good idea. At best, some said it wouldn’t kill us. Oops.

  52. 52 Mac said at 3:59 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Did Juan drop 2 TDs in one game?

    Did Juan drop a 4th down pass?

    Did Juan fumble away a final drive?

    *It’s not just the defense*

    You pair up this years defense with last years Vick and the receivers make some plays and you have a totally different season. (oh and let’s not forget that Juan didn’t turn around at the goal line and “throw a lateral” to the other team in the RZ).

    I am not saying Juan is God’s gift to DC but comon man… have some balance.

  53. 53 Eric Weaver said at 9:53 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    I think what a lot of people are missing when they want to explain the reasons for this team’s failures (or any NFL team) is that you need two things to be successful in the NFL. A great QB and a great coach. If you have neither, you’re doomed.

    People can say you need a good defense or a good GM to draft or whatever. The reality is, if you do not have a great QB or coach, you’re doomed.

    The Saints and Pats, among other teams, have not drafted very well over the last 5 years or so; same as the Eagles. But what do they have that this team lacks? I’d argue Andy isn’t a great coach but he’s right near Payton and Belichick, however; this team lacks an elite QB. Plain and simple. Peyton Manning made up for a bad defense and apparently a bad overall team.

    What about those stellar defenses you need? The Pats and Saints certainly do not have them. This is a passing league and will continually evolve to cater to that side and if you do not have a great coach and QB, you’re doomed.

  54. 54 Tom Gryn said at 3:01 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Vick was the starting NFC QB in the Pro Bowl last year, and deservedly so. He went through his progressions, sat in the pocket, and basically ran the offense better than it’d ever been run (with the possible exception of McNabb-TO in ’04). This year, he’s reverted back to being effectively the QB he was with the Falcons in terms of INTs and making bad decisions. He’s still got arguably the best arm in the NFL and great mobility, so the talent is there.

    While I think a lot of the “well, they didn’t have an offseason” excuses are focused on the new D system, it also applies to Vick not having the opportunity to work with the coaches in the offseason on how to counteract some of the problems that the Giants and Vikings zeroed in on at the end of ’10 (blitz reaction, etc.) that have continued as issues this year.

  55. 55 Eric Weaver said at 10:08 AM on November 30th, 2011:


    I’ve coveted Zimmer fora while as well. I think he may have just recently signed an extension with the Beagles though. What would be the situation there? Lewis would have to allow him to interview or pursue the position. Would the Eagles also need to take over his remaining salary?

  56. 56 Anonymous said at 10:17 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    I think Andy stays, mainly because he has two years left on his contract at 5 mill ea. Laurie isn’t likely to eat that amount. I think he is as capable as any other head coach in the league. He does need to get out of his comfort zone though, he says he self scouts, but this year he has to see what he needs is some new help. He made some changes last year, and yea continuity is great if it’s working, but it’s not.

    Juan has to go. He has loss all credibility with the fans. He seems like a hard worker and all, but playing a defense that doesn’t attack and plays on it’s heels will not fly in Philly. If he showed great and consistent success using his system, that would be one thing, but he has failed.

    If this means Washburn and his system for the DL has to go, well so be it. This whole defense was set up backwards to begin with, however it probably could have worked if we had kept McDermott. He is the one coach that I really have felt bad for over the years. JJ loved the kid, he worked just as hard as Juan, didn’t have shit for talent, and got the most out of what he had. Then the players throw him under the bus at the end of the year. I just hope we are not cursed by that whole situation.

    McD had some great game plans. Juan was suprised by Martz with his protection schemes. I couldn’t believe he would even admit to that. How many of us here were surprised? I know I wasn’t and I’m not that up on what every NFL team does, but I know how Martz schemes. Ugh.
    John Skelton throws for 315 yards? McDermott would have him for lunch last year with one more cornerback! I know the offense sucked that game, but still over 300 yards to basically a junk NFL quarterback, at home no less?…cmon!

    I have wanted Marty gone for years. It was hard to fire him before, because he set records every year, but this year has to be his last. We have to get a damm yard when we need it! You can’t tell me that you can’t design 5 plays from the same formation that can gain you a yard. And I don’t blame Ronnie Brown for that screw-up. WTH… a pass option on a dive play? WTH… is that; why even tell the player he has an option! Marty has to go.

  57. 57 Gary said at 1:55 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    I feel similar about McDermott. Imagine if we just replaced Dimitri Patterson with Nnamdi OR DRC on last year’s defense. It actually would have been pretty solid. I’m still impressed that we held the Packers to 27 and 21 points the two times we played them despite the lack of talent on our defense.

    It’s sad that Castillo is making me kind of miss McDermott.

  58. 58 Mac said at 4:00 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Would McDermott have been able to deal with using DEs to rush the passer?

    I don’t miss that.

  59. 59 Matthew Verhoog said at 10:23 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    insufficient data.

  60. 60 Zachary said at 10:33 AM on November 30th, 2011:


    When Spags is let go do you think we contact him immediately? Do you think he’ll be back to DC next year (for us or anyone else)?

  61. 61 Anonymous said at 11:39 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    Spags won’t have to wait long for a job as a DC. Good track record.

    I’d love to bring him to Philly. Spags knows defense and knows how we got things done in our prime. He’d be a perfect hire for us. He also could be a potential successor to Reid.

  62. 62 Mac said at 4:01 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Hard to imagine the Rams being that stupid… but if it happens I am all aboard on this train! (Including the eventual move to HC)

  63. 63 Anonymous said at 12:46 AM on December 1st, 2011:

    I know this is a million hours later so no one will see this, but… ONE THOUSAND TIMES YES!!

    The other day I started thinking about how much I want Spags to replace Andy. Not right away (I don’t want Andy fired) but after a couple years as our DC.

    He’s got the experience of learning under JJ (and Tom Coughlin). He was an excellent coordinator. He constructed a SB game plan to shut down one of the great offenses ever. He’s failed as a HC, but in a bad situation and not without showing some promise. Obviously just because there’s superficial comparisons to Bill Belichick doesn’t mean he’s going to be the next great coach, but there’s a lot of possibility there.

    Fire Juan, hire Spags, two or three more years with Andy (including at least one SB) then a decade with Spags and another few Super Bowls. Easy.

  64. 64 Dewey said at 11:14 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    What I still haven’t really heard from Tommy, or anyone with a better perspective than I have, is why and what. Why did Reid go to Juan over Dennis Allen and others? What is/was Reid looking for in a DC?

    Tommy, we know Reid wanted to talk to the Miami DC. This was reported by ESPN. Sal Pal thinks that Mangini may have been approached.

    What do we think Reid wants in a DC? Someone who can work in Washburn’s scheme?

  65. 65 Anonymous said at 11:33 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    Thanks for the thoughtful article Tommy. I have clearly been on the Andy Must Go side for several weeks now, but your point that this is not a no-brainer decision is absolutely true. There are very good cases to be made for keeping him, not the least of which includes the fact that AR has proven in the past that he is a very good coach.

    One question I have is if Banner and Lurie do fire AR, whose decision will it be to decide on the next coach? Is it between Banner and Lurie? Will Roseman be involved (assuming he isn’t fired as well)? Along with that, how much trust is there with whoever will be making the decisions on the next coach that they will make the right one? I know they brought in AR, so clearly they made a great decision there, especially because AR was relatively an unknown at the time. Since then, have the coaching decisions been mostly ARs decisions (obviously Lurie and Banner had input)? I would say for the most part, our coaching decisions have been fairly solid. The few times they haven’t worked have mostly been with guys they tried bringing up through the system and eventually found out that they couldn’t handle certain promotions (Segrest and Castillo for example).

  66. 66 Anonymous said at 12:30 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    You raise a key point. Who would hire the new coach?

    I know some people have advocated hiring a football guru to oversee the whole operation. That can work, but there’s no guarantee.

    I would want Lurie and Banner to make the hire. Those two will be here for the next decade. Roseman? Hard to say. His job security isn’t great right now.

  67. 67 Anonymous said at 12:47 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Ok, so can you explain what a football guru is and who would be a football guru we could hire? It seems kind of like a made up term for a nonexistent job. Why would someone be so knowledgeable about football not already be a coach, gm, etc on a football team? I would argue that considering how long Lurie and Banner have been around, they are just as qualified to make a hiring decision as a “guru,” but maybe I’m missing something.

    As an aside, do you remember who was involved in hiring Andy? Was anyone other than Banner and Lurie a key part of that decision?

  68. 68 Anonymous said at 1:24 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Bill Parcells was the football guru in Miami. Jeff Ireland was the GM. Tony Sparano the coach. Tuna was there to make key decisions, but not to oversee every single day-to-day thing.

    Mike Holmgren is the guru in Cleveland. Heckert is GM and Shurmur the coach.

    * * * * *

    I don’t know who put together the list of names for Lurie/Banner. Good question. Tom Modrak might have done it. He was pushing old friend Jim Haslett on them. Reid wasn’t Modrak’s guy, but it is possible that Tom is the one who suggested they interview him. Not sure about that.

  69. 69 Anonymous said at 11:51 AM on November 30th, 2011:

  70. 70 Anonymous said at 11:54 AM on November 30th, 2011:

    I would love to see Cowher or Gruden but my prediction is they give Reid one more year as HC and bring in either Spags or Leslie Frazier as DC after they are fired by StL / Min.

    I don’t think Jeff Fisher would be a good choice as HC. He has never gotten to the SB. You only replace Reid in 2012 with a guy with a ring, or you wait til 2013 and throw everyone out and rebuild with a first time coach.

  71. 71 Anonymous said at 12:17 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    My ideal situation… Reid stays out his contract. Marty gets canned, Juan demoted. We bring in Brian Billick for OC and Spags comes here to be DC. Then we re-evaluate our coaching staff from top to bottom (Position coaches, ect, ect…).

  72. 72 Anonymous said at 12:18 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Tommy wrote: “Nice guy? Screw you. Go home and play with your kids.”

    There’s more than a hint of “Goodfellas” in there.

    Well done, sir.

  73. 73 Anonymous said at 12:27 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Actually, that is stolen dialogue from Glengarry Glen Ross. The famous Alec Baldwin speech (greatest speech ever?).

    Very NSFW.

  74. 74 Anonymous said at 12:59 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Even better!

  75. 75 Anonymous said at 1:03 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Great write-up, Tommy. You state, “Questioning Andy Reid and calling him a fat moron are two very different things.” That Reid is fat is a fact. That he is a moron is a subject for drunken arguement. Had to get that off my chest.

    My problem with Andy is that he continues to stay stuck in his ways, game after game, year after year. He doesn’t change enough to fix longstanding problems. I think he has stopped growing as a coach, at least in Philly, and it is time to move him along.

  76. 76 Steve H said at 1:31 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Whatever happens please just don’t let us hire Jack Del Rio to be HC.

    I could see Reid getting one more year to get things turned around. This has been such a bizarre season maybe Lurie/Banner and co. will see this as an abberation rather than a condemnation. I mean honestly this has been the weirdest season I can remember and its not like Andy is in the business of producing putrid seasons.

    One thing that people are saying that I absolutely agree with is that Reid has stopped growing as a coach. He makes the same mistakes over and over and it never changes. I believe this is his biggest weakness and maybe he needs to get fired before he seriously examines why he keeps doing some of the things he does. Or maybe he’ll never change some things, who knows.

  77. 77 Anonymous said at 4:37 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Jack won’t be a HC candidate.

    He could be a DC candidate, but even that isn’t a lock.

  78. 78 Steve H said at 11:58 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Well thank god.

  79. 79 Anonymous said at 1:50 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Re: Firing Reid and hiring an “Experienced Successful Head Coach”

    23 coaches who’ve coached more than team have gotten to the Super Bowl (by my count at least).

    Only 5 of those 23 coaches have taken two teams to the Super Bowl. (No coach has taken three.)

    And only 2 of those 5 were SB winners with the second team.

    So if the Eagles do fire Reid and hire someone who’s already been to the SB, the odds are the new coach won’t get the Eagles there at all let alone win it.

    The 5 coaches who’ve taken two teams were:

    Don Shula: Colts (0-1) / Dolphins (2-3)

    Dan Reeves: Broncos (0-3) / Falcons (0-1) [coached the G-men, too, but no SB]

    Coach Vermeil: Eagles (0-1) / Rams (1-0) [coached the Chiefs but no SB]

    Bill Parcells: Giants (2-0) / Patriots (0-1) [coached Jets, no SB]

    Mike Holmgren: Packers / Seahawks (overall 1-2)

    The coaches who’ve gotten one of their teams to the SB are:

    Hank Stram: Chiefs (SB 1-1) / Saints

    John Rauch: Raiders (SB 0-1) / Bills

    Don McCafferty: Colts (SB 1-0) / Lions

    George Allen: Rams / Redskins (SB 0-1)

    Forrest Gregg: Bengals (SB 0-1) / Packers

    Tom Flores: Raiders (SB 2-0) / Seahawks

    Mike Ditka: Bears (SB 1-0) / Saints

    Sam Wyche: Bengals (SB 0-1) / Bucs

    Marv Levy: Chiefs / Bills (SB 0-4 . . . ugh)

    George Seiffert: 49ers (SB 2-0) / Panthers

    Jimmy Johnson: Cowboys (SB 2-0) / Dolphins

    Bobby Ross: Chargers (SB 0-1) / Lions

    Mike Shanahan: Broncos (SB 2-0) / Redskins

    Bill Belichick: Browns / Patriots (SB 3-1) [coached the Jets for an hour or so]

    John Gruden: Raiders / Bucs (SB 1-0)

    John Fox: Panthers (SB 0-1) / Broncos [I’m doubting they go to the SB this year]

    Tony Dungy: Bucs / Colts (SB 1-0)

    There’s one other coach who won the SB and then moved to another team but didn’t get to the SB: The great Vince Lombardi.

    Lombardi’s Packers were only 2-0 in the SB because there was no SB before 1966.

    And while Lombardi didn’t get the Redskins to the SB in his only season there [1969], I’m betting he’d have found a way to do it in the years that followed if he’d lived.

    Lombardi inherited great offensive talent w/ the ‘Skins: QB Sonny Jurgensen, WR Charlie Taylor, RB Larry Brown, TE Jerry Smith, and some pretty decent O-linemen. What he didn’t have was much of a defense.

    What are the odds there’s a Vince Lombardi-type assistant coach just waiting for his shot and who’ll get the Eagles 2 or 3 SB titles. Probably pretty slim.

    But I’ll take my shot with a young, hungry assistant who’s spent the past 10 years building relationships to other young hungry assistants who may want promotions.

    That is, if/when Reid decides to resign (as I doubt he’ll be ever be fired).

  80. 80 Anonymous said at 2:01 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Slightly off topic, but following more than one sport, it can come as a blow when on a Saturday the Association Football team that I follow (the mighty Leeds Utd) lose at home in a local game against inferior opposition. I never like it because I feel it sets up bad Karma even though it makes not the slightest difference in the world. Anyway our (Leeds) weekend game was followed by a midweek game last night were we absolutely hammered the opposition who in turn had one of their players sent off. His name… Andy Reid! Cue Twightlight Zone music.

  81. 81 Anonymous said at 4:07 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Now that is a wild tale. Interesting to see how things turn out for the Eagles.

  82. 82 Gary said at 2:02 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Tommy, do you think there’s any way that Reid could stay with the team as a player personnel management type while a new head coach is brought in? Or would there be power struggles?

  83. 83 Anonymous said at 2:13 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Respectfully, Gary, the last place I’d want to see Reid is in the player personnel area.

    Ray Didinger has a short bit up on CSN about the impact of losing Jim Johnson — and the bad drafting, at least defensively, of the Eagles during the past 4 drafts.

    Reid has final say on personnel and, as Ray D’s data points show, Reid gets an “F” for defense.

    The best example for me is what happened this training camp: The Eagles waived a 2010 3rd round pick drafted to play DE for an undersized free-agent DE from the CFL who can’t get on the field and when he does, hasn’t made any plays (sadly).

    As another commenter’s noted, Reid’s a great organizer. Great schemer. But personnel, as hard as it is, is not his strength — at least on the D-side of the ball. IMO.

  84. 84 Anonymous said at 2:40 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Love that you used “Glengarry Glen Ross”. That was a great speech by Alec Baldwin. But wasn’t there also in something about first place gets the lavish paid vacation, second place gets a set of steak knives, and third place gets fired. But in Reid’s game if you don’t win the Superbowl you get fired- sooner or later.

  85. 85 Mac said at 4:06 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    I don’t think that quote translates exactly to the NFL because if it did… there would be 30 new HCs every year. The NFL is a bit more complex… and not winning a SB doesn’t make you a loser. There are plenty of owners who could tell you that. It’s about making money.

  86. 86 Anonymous said at 6:16 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    I agree. But it seems that in the minds of a lot of fans you either win the Superbowl or you’re worthless. Or, how about you work for Dan Snyder.

  87. 87 Anonymous said at 4:08 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    1st place was a Cadillac. Correct on the other two.

  88. 88 Eric Gaskill said at 6:55 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Tommy I’d like to hear your thoughts on Perry Fewell. I’d much rather have a up and coming coach with NFL experience instead of a re-tread candidate or a college coach. He revitalized the Giants defense after the post-Spags disaster. He seemed to do a good job against our offense last year when other teams didn’t seem to have a clue. When he was named the interem coach of Buffalo the team seemed to play harder for him than it did under Jauron that final year.

  89. 89 Eric Dein said at 7:08 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    I’m not picking a side either way, just commenting on a point you made:

    Thought it was interesting that you made it about a “billion dollar business.” Obviously winning will always bring business, but I think you have to think about the financial side alone.
    Whether Reid can win or not is one issue. Last week was certainly bad business. That was one day of course. I’m not winning to throw a way the money generated from repeated playoff trips because of one game where people left at approximately the time that beer stopped being sold. But, it is an issue. This week was a dramatic shift. A decade of whispers snowballed into choruses of chants for the emperor’s head. Of course the stadium will still be full and blowouts like last week will probably still be rare. But it can’t be good for business when the stadium nearly revolts against the face of your franchise. This holiday merchandise sales cannot be too good.

    Again, winning brings business. It will all come back with some victories (in playoff contention). But winning needs to happen soon. Because this fanbase is rabid and they are smelling blood. Things may only get worse- January 1st: a drunk-since-last-night crowd going to the meaningless game solely to call for Reid’s head. Lurie may only be able to afford to keep Reid if he is convinced that he will increase business before the proverbial sh*t hits the fan.

  90. 90 Anonymous said at 8:38 PM on November 30th, 2011:

    Could not have said it better myself, Tommy. And I’m really good at saying things!