The Case Against Keeping Andy Reid

Posted: December 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 92 Comments »

This isn’t my definitive opinion.  Rather, this is a logical case for why Reid should be let go.  I’ve intentionally avoided many generic criticisms that I think are tired, overused, and sometimes inaccurate.  I will post the argument for keeping Reid in a day or so.  No matter which side you agree with, I don’t think this is an easy decision.  

“The problem is nostalgia. It’s like a drug. It keeps you from seeing things the way they are and that’s a danger when you got people depending on you.” – quote from a recent episode of  The Walking Dead.

Andy Reid is not a good coach. He is a very, very good coach. Maybe great. Some people believe you must win a Super Bowl in order to be considered a great coach. If that’s the standard, then Reid is just below that level. No matter how you slice it, the man has had a remarkable career and brought a lot of success to the Eagles organization.

The question facing Eagles owner Jeff Lurie isn’t about Reid’s past and his many accomplishments. The question is this: is Andy Reid the right coach for the Eagles in 2012 and beyond? We saw Andy Reid lead Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens, and Brian Westbrook to the Super Bowl. Can he do that with Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, and LeSean McCoy? There are serious reasons to doubt this.      

The last playoff game the Eagles won was a divisional round matchup with the Giants after the 2008 season. Since then the team lost to Dallas and Green Bay in the wildcard round. This year…no playoffs at all.

Think about that 2008 team. Donovan McNabb was the quarterback. He had won more than a few playoff games in his Eagles career. The line featured Tra Thomas, Jon Runyan, and Jamaal Jackson. Those weren’t just veteran players, but they were also team leaders. Remember Westbrook going to the ground at the 1-yard line in the 2007 game at Dallas? Westy got the credit for that, but it was Runyan who “ordered” him to do it in the huddle prior to the play.

The defense was led by a crew of veteran DBs, Sheldon Brown, Quintin Mikell, and of course Brian Dawkins. Those guys lacked top speed, but blown assignments were few and far between. Trent Cole was the lone star of the front seven, but that group knew how to play the run and didn’t make many mistakes. The mastermind of the defense was Jim Johnson.

Andy Reid came to the Eagles in 1999. He was an offensive guy and knew that he needed a veteran coach to run the defense. Reid might have been the head coach, but Johnson ran the defense. He controlled that side of the ball and didn’t need any guidance. He knew the X’s and O’s. Just as importantly, he knew how to run a defense. Johnson understood how to wield power. He knew that there were times to be tough and times to be nice. He was a leader. He took ownership of that side of the ball. It might have been Andy Reid’s Eagles, but it was Jim Johnson’s defense.

The 2011 Eagles couldn’t be more different from the 2008 Eagles. When adversity hit the ’08 group, they rallied around the leaders and the team came alive down the stretch. They made it all the way to the NFC title game and lost a close game at Arizona. That team struggled with 4th quarter comebacks. They kept games close, but couldn’t get over the hump late in games. The 2011 Eagles are blowing leads. They can’t stop teams from getting over the hump. The 2011 team isn’t faced with adversity. They go seek it out. They track it down and embrace it. Getting the lead is supposed to be the hard part of life in the NFL, not keeping it. Want to sum up the 2011 Eagles in a phrase?

When push comes to shove
The Eagles turn to doves

Life for Reid hasn’t been as good without his veteran core of players and his legendary Defensive Coordinator. The team has continued to win (until this year), but the success has been marginal rather than special. The last bye in the playoffs was 2004. That was also the last team to win 12 or more games.

Reid made some brilliant decisions when he was first hired by the Eagles. He surrounded himself with a mixture of coaches. There were veterans and young guys. There were friends and strangers. The coaches came from a variety of backgrounds so there were a lot of interesting ideas on the table. Look back at the original staff

HC – Andy Reid
OC – Rod Dowhower
DC – Jim Johnson
QB – Brad Childress
RB – Ted Williams
WR – David Culley
TE – Pat Shurmur
OL – Juan Castillo
QC – Tom Melvin
DL – Tommy Brasher
LB – Ron Rivera
DB – Leslie Frazier
QC – Steve Spagnuolo
ST – Jim Harbaugh

That group has produced 6 NFL head coaches. Johnson turned down some interviews or it could have been 7. Amazing.

One of the ways you judge a coach is by who he hires. That shows the ability to find good people and to make sound decisions. Reid suffered from his own success. That coaching staff got pulled apart as the guys got new jobs. At first, Reid did okay with replacing them. He hired or promoted Marty Mornhinweg, Pete Jenkins, Trent Walters, and Sean McDermott. These coaches were “good enough” at the very least.

Then Reid hit a real rocky patch. He hired a slew of coaches that didn’t work out. Rory Segrest, Ted Braisher, Mike Reed, Bill Shuey, and James Urban all spent time on the staff, but are now gone. Reid’s mojo for making great hires seems to be a thing of the past.

He did make some good new hires starting in 2010. Reid brought in Bobby April to be the Special Teams coach. April is acknowledged as one of the STs gurus in the league. This wasn’t a guess on Reid’s part. He paid big bucks for a proven coach. Reid did the same thing after the 2010 season when he brought in Howard Mudd to run the offensive line and Jim Washburn to run the defensive line. For lack of a better term, these guys are star coaches. Go back to the original staff. No one could be described in such a way. That group had plenty of successful veterans, but not guys who were huge names.

Reid was a longtime college assistant before joining the Green Bay staff in 1992. He developed a lot of relationships over the years. He had a good feel for which coaches were highly thought of in the coaching world. That background helped build the great staff of 1999. Now Reid is an established head coach. People no longer talk to him the same way. Since Reid is in a position to hire, he doesn’t get straight talk. He’s now “sold” on other coaches. Everyone wants him to hire a buddy or relative. Either Reid trusted the wrong people or he’s just lost his ability to read people and know who’s selling and who isn’t.

To combat this, Reid filled vacancies with people he directly knew. Mike Caldwell was a LB on the early Reid teams and is now the LBs coach. Mike Zordich played for the Eagles, but left just as Reid got here. He did serve as an intern in recent years and is now coaching the Safeties. Johnnie Lynn ran the Giants defense when John Fox left. Reid gameplanned and coached against him plenty. Lynn is now the CBs coach. Duce Staley is on the staff, working with the RBs. Is this the best way to build a staff or is it the football version of nepotism? You can argue both ways, but I don’t think 31 other teams are all that jealous of the staff that Reid has put together.

Jim Johnson’s death was tough for obvious reasons. Just about everyone loved him. His death was a huge blow to the football side of things as well. Reid thought he had the perfect replacement in Sean McDermott. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. McDermott struggled with trying to fill Johnson’s shoes, both as an X’s and O’s guy and as a leader. After 2 mediocre seasons, he was fired. Reid then made one of the strangest decisions in recent memory. He gave the DC job to Juan Castillo. A lot of people have stated that making the OL coach the DC is unprecedented. That is wrong. The English language does not have a word to correctly describe this move. Maybe the Inuits do. Maybe there is a Gaelic phrase or something in Aramaic. Not English.

The Castillo experiment has failed. I won’t fully go into the thinking behind the move. That’s a lengthy column in and of itself. I’ll simply say that at a time when Reid needed to make a great move, he went with someone he trusted rather than someone who was trained to do the job. Trust is great, but it isn’t as important as training and ability. This is, after all, the NFL…the best of the best.

Reid loves the phrase “I need to put my players in better position to succeed”. Too bad that doesn’t apply to the coaching staff. If Chad Hall begged to play QB, would Reid put him in? Chad was recruited to the Air Force Academy to play QB. Give him a shot. So what if he lacks the size, skills, and experience to do the job. He wants it. Of course Reid would never make a move like this.

After the 2006 season John Harbaugh talked to Reid about moving from STs coach to a defensive spot. Harbaugh was made the DBs coach for the 2007 season. He then got hired by the Ravens to be their HC in 2008. Reid helped a friend. He moved him to a defensive assistant spot in order to further the guy’s career. That was smart and the right thing to do.

Castillo has asked Andy for years to move him to defense, where Castillo played and coached early on in his career. Had Andy made him the LBs coach, that would have been reasonable.

Making Castillo the DC did a dis-service to Juan, the defense, the whole team, and Andy himself. Reid knew he had all new positional assistants. He knew there was a lockout and likely to be a short offseason, if any. These circumstances would have been hard on Buddy Ryan, Bud Carson, or Jim Johnson. They were devastating to Castillo. And the Eagles.

Think back for a minute to the Eagles teams of 2000-03. The team went to the playoffs each year. They won division titles from 2001-03. Would you trade the talent of those teams for the talent of the current roster? I wouldn’t. The results, yes, but not the pure talent. Those teams were very different from the current bunch.

The Eagle way used to be playing good defense, being sound in the kicking game, and finding ways to win. The offense didn’t turn the ball over. The team didn’t make many mistakes. Penalties weren’t a huge issue. The skill players weren’t great, but dropped passes weren’t a regular problem. Those Eagles made you beat them. They didn’t help you out. There was a real toughness about those teams. They were physically, mentally, and emotionally tough. All for one and one for all. They played Eagles football.

The 2002 season was the greatest indicator. Donovan McNabb broke his lower leg vs Arizona. Koy Detmer started in his place at SF on a Monday night game. The team came out laser sharp and had total control of the game. Detmer got hurt about halfway through. He was put on a cart. Before it pulled away, the whole team came over to slap hands with him. I had never seen that before. Now, it is somewhat common. That was the ultimate sign of how together that team was. They loved each other. AJ Feeley stepped in for Detmer and finished that win. He then went 4-1 as a starter. The rest of the team picked up their game to help the young QB along. That was Eagles football.

2011? You have a proven veteran like Vince Young who can’t get the job done. He struggles. His receivers aren’t helping him out. The defense isn’t coming up big. This isn’t Eagles football. I don’t know what the hell this is. 53 guys wear the same jersey, but they don’t play as one.

Andy Reid and his coaches were able to create a certain mindset and atmosphere on those early teams. Being a Philadelphia Eagle meant something. Too many guys now love to put on the jersey, but don’t do the little things it takes to make the jersey mean something. You don’t win because you’re an Eagle. You win by playing Eagles football, something that hasn’t really been here since 2008.

Remember when Andy Reid was innovative and interesting? The main reason he hired Jim Johnson was because he loved JJ’s blitzing. Reid wanted a defense that could attack and be creative. Under JJ’s tutelage, Brian Dawkins went from being a FS to being a weapon. Teams were nervous about playing the Eagles. The team ended Michael Irvin’s career in 1999. The next year they started Troy Aikman on the road to retirement by knocking him out of the season opener and causing him to miss the next 2 games. That was Troy’s final year.

The offense did some good things. Reid didn’t have great players, but he got the most out of his weapons. The ghost reverse first hit the NFL in 2001. Reid liked the idea and stole it. He knew that to make it really work you needed to hand the ball to the WR from time to time so that defenses would honor that threat. How many people remember that James Thrash had 18 carries in 2002? He ran for 2 TDs. That year the Eagles finished 5th in rushing attempts and 7th in yards. Reid was innovative with the run game. In 2003 he had the 3-headed monster in the backfield, turning Duce, Westy, and Correll Buckhalter into one terrific RB.

STs used to be wild. Koy Detmer was great on fake FGs. The Eagles ran some brilliant fake FGs back in those days. Detmer optioned to David Akers for 15 yards in 2002. My favorite was an over the shoulder flip to Akers in 2000. Brian Dawkins scored a long TD on a fake punt in 2002. And of course there was the onside kick to open the 2000 season. That is part of Eagles history.

Not only was that a great STs move, it was a great psychological move. Reid wanted to show his players that it was time to be aggressive. Reid rolled the dice and that onside kick helped to jump start an era of great success. When is the last time Reid did anything remotely close to that? I don’t mean making a risky call. When is the last time he tried pushing the button of the team in an open way?

Reid is famous for punishing OG George Hegamin back in the summer of 1999. Hegamin made him angry one day. Reid punished him by having Hegamin drive the sled up and down the field for an afternoon. The next day, Reid cut him. In the middle of the 1999 season Reid wasn’t happy that DT Bill Johnson was laughing in the locker room after a miserable 33-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Johnson was cut the next day. Reid had control of the locker room. He had control of the team. He knew what buttons to push to scare or encourage the team. I don’t think you see any of that anymore.

Andy has good relationships with his players. Guys love to come here. They want to play for Reid. He has a terrific reputation around the league. Maybe that is part of the problem. Football teams aren’t supposed to be full of love. The reason Jim Burt doused Bill Parcells with the initial bucket of Gatorade wasn’t to celebrate. It was Burt’s way of saying “F you!”. Parcells had ridden Burt a lot that year and Burt was sick of it. Charles Haley hated Jimmy Johnson with a passion. They didn’t “not get along”. There was real, pure hatred. Both Parcell and Johnson won Super Bowls with those players. Tom Coughlin and Plaxico Burress will never go on vacation together. They won a SB. A locker room needs to be functional, not happy.

Andy Reid has a tremendous track record. No one disputes that. Unfortunately, the skills he used to build up that record no longer seem to be present. He hasn’t made great hires. He doesn’t seem to have the pulse of the team. He hasn’t done a good job of pushing buttons to get the team going. You wouldn’t consider him to be innovative or creative based on recent years. Rather than making the most of what he’s got to work with, Reid now delivers a mediocre product made from some really good parts. The Eagles have become underachievers, one of the worst things you can say to a coach about his team.


  • Anonymous

    Wow. Tommy, even with you being impartial, the way forward seems too clear.

  • William MacKenzie

    Could it be that we relied more on ST’s tricks and gimmicks in early years out of neccessity? As you said the talent of those teams wasn’t on par with the teams we’ve had recently and thus we would have needed to take more “chances”.

    • Anonymous

      Yes. Reid didn’t have enough weapons so he found a way to get the most out of what he had. He was innovative.

      Now, we have weapons and can’t get them to play their best, let alone overachieve.

      • Anonymous

        Reid ran a great conservative ball control offense.
        TO was the snake in the garden, MM was the devil.
        Just bite the apple and look, with the new rules, you can open it up and out Martz Martz.

        Time to go back to the church of football and beg forgiveness, Oh Lord, I have forsaken the run and the short pass and wander the wilderness of 3 and out. Show me the path of righteouness.

        • Anonymous

          Beautifully said here.

  • Anonymous

    Well said Tommy.

    I’m a Reid supporter, but those points are quite loud.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe this is the kind of season Andy needs to get back on track.

    • Anonymous

      I’ll get into stuff like that in the case for Andy.

    • http://twitter.com/Jimmy_Lars Jim Larsen

      That’s a good point.

      To coach at the NFL level there has to be a certain amount of personal pride. JJ was with us in 2008 when we made the NFCCG, then 2009 wasn’t our best season, but we did make the playoffs. Again, 2010 was not our best season but we did win the division and make the playoffs.

      Since we lost JJ we haven’t been good, but we haven’t been bad enough to question the overall formula. This season can’t point to injuries (2009), or to getting beat by the eventual SB champs in a close game (2010) as excuses. This team has talent, and does not come together.

      Andy’s pride alone is at stake here, if not his reputation, his legacy, and everything else he has coached for this last decade. His back is against the wall, and he knows it. I would vote to keep next year to see how he responds.

      • Anonymous

        We were 31st in penalties in ’09, and 29th last year. That maybe shows we go into games with the wrong mindset.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509449 Anirudh Jangalapalli

      This mentality is my big concern and I think any discussion of Reid must be framed around answering the following two questions:
      a) How do we define success for this franchise? Are we okay with making the playoffs? Do we have to go deep in the playoffs routinely? Is success winning the Super Bowl?

      b) To what extent has Reid demonstrated the ability to meet that criteria of success?

      To me, success is winning the Super Bowl. Obviously, I realize you can’t win every single year consistently, but I’m happy with a coach who’s won once in the past decade and who has shown the ability to get there or very close. I’d be happy with Mike Tomlin, Bill Belichick, Mike McCarthy, and Sean Payton as coaches. (Jon Gruden, Tony Dungy, and Tom Coughlin, to me, are one-hit wonders.) Among coaches who have NOT won the Super Bowl, I think John Harbaugh, Mike Smith, and, if we want to be really, really current, Jim Harbaugh are good prototypes. I’m iffy on Rex Ryan – he’s too much of a distraction for his team – and Bill Cowher is likely the beneficiary of Dick LeBeau, the same way Andy was one of Jim Johnson. The only reason I’m giving this latter set (Harbaugh, Smith, Harbaugh) credit over Andy Reid is that they’re still early in their HC careers. Could they ultimately turn out to be Andy Reid-types (i.e., guys who can maintain sustained “very good” status, but who simply will never win the Super Bowl)? Absolutely. But I’d be willing to gamble on any of those guys over AR, because they’re clearly good coaches, and we haven’t given them enough time to prove that they can win a Super Bowl.

      That gets us to a list of 7 (8 with Rex) coaches currently in the league who I believe have the potential to win Super Bowls repeatedly. I have no patience for the argument that it’s nearly impossible to find the next Bill Belichick. Maybe so, but there are 6 other guys we can find who would still be better. Is it not worth a one in four chance that we find the next winner? Our chances get better when you think that we’re probably better able to attract top notch coaching talent that some of the other cellar dwellers.

      Andy has been here for 13 years. We know the ceiling on the guy, and assuming that means deep playoff runs somewhat consistently, it’s probably giving him WAYYY too much credit for what Jim Johnson was able to do for him. I am confident that he will never be a better coach than that. Every damn year we end in disappointment, and every damn year we say, maybe next year Andy will call a better game. Will be better with clock management. Will address every key issue in the offseason adequately. Will properly scout defensive draft talent.

      13 years. That’s enough for me. I respect everyone who don’t see this my way, but I have to ask you….what’s YOUR number? How many years of a Super Bowl drought would you have to go through before willing to admit that Reid can’t win the big one? How many futile playoff appearances before it would make you say that some guys clearly cannot take a team the whole way. And think then on this – are you happy willing one super bowl every that many years? 1 every 14 (since we’re not winning shit this year) is pretty bad – if you have a coach in the top half of the league, you should be doing that anyways. 1 every 15? Stop compromising, and stop being scared to take a risk on the next guy. I’m tired of settling for losing.

      • Anonymous

        I think I’d rather have Reid than a one in four shot that the next coach is THE coach. Those are terrible odds.

        1 Super Bowl every 15 years would be great, to be honest, given that there are 32 teams in the league and its been 51 years and counting since the Eagles’ last championship.

        I think you make a bunch of valid points, including ones about not being afraid to go out on the limb for greatness. But I also think it’s beyond foolish to fire someone just to fire them. There has to be a succession plan and candidates in mind, candidates that we believe would be better than Reid with the current group.

        Making a change without a good plan, that’s what got us in this current mess with Castillo. Trying to be different and identify the next new young guy is how we got McDermott.

        Re: 13 years, that’s plenty of time for a coach to establish a track record.

        Yet at the same time, the Eagle Way (as Tommy calls it) is to not pay for past performance. So really the way to look at this is not to focus so much on Reid’s past and just judge whether he can win it all in the next few years with this current core.

        How ironic would it be if Reid, just like all the greats under him, left the Eagles because they refused to pay for past performance and instead judged him on a declining future.

  • Steven Dileo

    How do you feel about RGIII?

    • Anonymous

      I like him quite a bit. Great deep ball. Very smart kid. Very good student. Leader. Good athlete. I’m trying to figure out how much I like him.

      • http://twitter.com/EWeaver34 Eric Weaver

        Isn’t he a little too small to take an NFL beating? Plus, when his backup came in, didn’t he perform well too?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509449 Anirudh Jangalapalli

        I very much disliked his quote post this week’s game. “If I’m not mistaken, I think Baylor just won its first Heisman Trophy.” Sounds too cocky – last thing this team needs is another player who thinks he’s god’s gift to football.

        • Anonymous

          I played DIII football and all 140 guys on the team thought they were god’s gift to football.

          • Anonymous

            lol. It is kind of a natural football mentality.

            Where’d you play? In Pa?

          • Anonymous

            No Central College in Pella, Iowa. I was a freshman when Freddie Jackson was a senior @ Coe College. Dude was unstoppable!

  • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

    I think I’d probably give Andy one more year, if I had the power.

    This year has been absolutely terrible, and this post (and Sam’s) made a lot of good points. He’s probably done. But he’s done too much to fire after one bad season.

    My only concern is wasting next year’s draft. It’s looking like the Eagles will have a top 10 pick, and you can get a special player in the top 10. Blowing another draft pick, especially on a defensive player, may not be something they can afford.

  • Anonymous

    Off topic, but what did you think of TJ Yates?

    He seemed to run the offense effectively. I certainly didn’t expect that.

    • Anonymous

      Only watched part of that game. Did okay. He’s not meant to be a full time starter, but put him in favorable situation (OL, running game, good D) and he can be effective.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AHVR5EZERRCZSD77DMKWAEEPLA Steve H

    I too feel like I would give Andy one more shot, but only if I was behind the scenes and I was watching to ensure that he wasn’t going to go with the status quo, that he is truly going to have a plan about how to make things better.

    I wonder how much the situation with his sons has affected him. I think its nearly impossible to completely seperate your personal life from your work life.

    • Anonymous

      I wondered the same thing about his sons. Might it have made him soft on guys that need discipline, benching, or their walking papers?

  • Anonymous

    That article, my friend, was a masterpiece.

    Let’s hope the Rams keep losing.. Go Niners!

  • http://openid.anonymity.com/5XeHyju9 Dewey

    I think you dance around the reason to get rid of Reid. He never learned or evolved. Belichick evolves, even the guy in Green Bay evolves. REid seems to still be running the same plays with the same philosophy. His defense is predicated around the same tenets.

    No evolution.

    That said, I say keep him.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7NAK55RNZ46GQZCMN5BM5NO5OA Brian

      I don’t know, the sprint draw wasn’t exactly a featured play before this year. Now, nobody can stop it, no matter how much we run it.

      Even other teams are starting to catch on. The Marshawn’s 2nd TD came on that same play.

      • http://twitter.com/EWeaver34 Eric Weaver

        Even the audible to the shovel pass still works. When VY audibled to it against Seattle, I’m like “shovel pass!!” and Seattle still didn’t know it was coming. Are the Eagles just that good at executing it or does Seattle not do any film study?

    • Anonymous

      Belichick is actually lucky to be a HC again, wasn’t good enough for Cleveland and was fired. AR’s always ran the Eagles D? Since when has he ever ran the D? He does seem to take credit and blame for everything, but AR runs the D too?
      If he runs the same plays and has taken the team to a few NFC Championships as well as a SB I guess anyone can be a HC. To bad other coaches apparently don’t bother even trying to win. Interesting…

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think it’s that he never evolves. I don’t even think it’s that he never tries to adapt. There’s plenty of examples of him changing from his successful ways, game to game and over the course of his career.

      The issue his what he’s evolved into is less successful than it has been.

      Also it seems where he was once a master motivator, he can’t find the right button to push with this team. Even after the crappy 1-4 start, the NFC is so wide open that if the Eagles were merely 6-6 right now instead of 4-8 they’d be in great shape to get into the playoffs and break our hearts in January like the always do.

      I like the comment in the Missle that Missed post. Maybe this is humbling enough for everyone in the organization to reevaluate. We started feeling ourselves, and maybe we actually needed this.

  • Anonymous

    Segrest came with Jenkins on the behest of the latter. I’m not sure that is Reid’s fault, particularly with the circumstances.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6CGQSZ55CIGSVB5YNDXDTCS3BA d m

    I know you said you wanted to avoid some typical anti-Reid arguments, but you can just speak to the draft a little bit? I know it is a total crapshoot, but that has to play into as well. We just don’t seem to get much contribution out of our draft picks as other good teams in the NFL. Is it bad scouting, the coaches not being able to get the most out of the players, or both?

    And if I am wrong about this then let me know. It seems like we can do a lot better in April than we have been.

    • Anonymous

      This post is more about Reid the coach. I’ll write up something on personnel down the line.

      • Anonymous

        I realize there are a ton of angles to look at with the decision to keep or fire AR, and it is probably impossible to talk about them all within one post (or even two in this case). I don’t fault you at all for focusing on AR the coach for right now, but in the end, it is important to recombine the ideas for AR the coach and AR the GM because we will be keeping or firing both at the same time. Howie Roseman has been under fire as of late for his drafts, but AR has been a significant part of that.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7NAK55RNZ46GQZCMN5BM5NO5OA Brian

      Shady and Maclin in 09, Graham and Allen both got hurt in 2010 so they get a pass, and Watkins (as much as I hated the pick at the time) is looking pretty good right now. I think those 2 injuries really skew things.

      The DTO and Jarrett picks were idiotic, but its not like we’re the only team in the NFL to ever draft busts.

      • Anonymous

        Exactly, I mean when San Diego used their second rounder on the LB from Michigan this year. Mayock and Kiper both went WHAAAAAAAAA? WHOOOOOOO? They had to scramble to see who he was. That I can see happening in the late rounds when you draft somebody out of a no name school but when you are winning stump the analysts in round two …

        • Anonymous

          Well they certainly knew who he was, probably very very well. If I had a pretty detailed understanding of who Mouton was going into the draft, I’m sure Mayock and Kiper did too. He was a reach, but he was also a really well known player during his Michigan career.

  • Anonymous

    A PFT report was saying that Reid would have to fire Castillo to save his own job. That is interesting if true, if Reid was planning on giving Castillo another year it puts him in a tough spot. But like many others have said I think Reid gets at least one more shot, next year if the same type of play shows up he would probably be in trouble.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think Reid will hesitate to make a change. He won’t outright fire Juan, but will demote him. As long as Juan stays on defense, I think he’ll be happy.

      • Matthew Butch

        I think even Juan should recognize that he needs the demotion to save his future.

        If he gets fired, he’ll never get another shot. But if he gets demoted, he can show the Eagles or another team that he can make a part of the defense better, and parlay that into a DC job.

        • Anonymous

          Agree. Juan got put in a really tough situation and it hasn’t worked. He’s not going to be an NFL DC again next year, so his demotion is going to be somewhere. Up to him whether it’s inside the Eagles organization or elsewhere.

          Kinda wish the guys had played for him. Wanted him to work out.

    • Anonymous

      “A PFT report”

      Lol.

  • Anonymous

    Even as an ardent Reid defender, I seriously considered whether he should go after reading this. Great work!

    So much of this boils down to us getting away from being a team built to win and becoming a superstar team (which obviously culminated this year in the Dream Team). A couple points:

    1) Where are the Koy Detmers? I’m highlighting Koy because he was my favorite Eagle, although we had other guys like him (Mike Bartrum comes to mind). Koy was NEVER going to be the starting QB. But he was phenomenal on special teams, sounded like a great locker room guy, and could fill in when needed. Now we fill his spot with young guys with “potential” (Kolb, Kafka) or veterans with “potential” (Vick, Young). I want more guys on this team without potential but lots of heart and are perfect at the role they need to play (like Jon Dorenbos).

    2) Why did we abandon what I like to call Andyball? Our version of Moneyball had always been understanding that turnovers were a key to winning. Brian Westbrook was special because, despite all else, he NEVER fumbled. As much as people who don’t understand football complained about McNabb’s wormburners, he was historically great at avoiding interceptions.

    We completely abandoned that. This Eagles team is on pace to have more turnovers than any team since the 1999 team (who had TWICE as many takeaways as this team is on pace for).

    Why did the Eagles get away from what worked?

    • Anonymous

      Complicated questions. We have some good role players. Colt Anderson is a great STer. Jason Avant is a great slot receiver. We don’t have the amount that we did in the old days.

      Koy Detmer
      Brian Mitchell
      Paul Grasmanis
      Jeff Thomason
      Rashard Cook
      Ike Reese

      To be fair, we’re in a young cycle. Keenan Clayton could become a good role player. Brandon Hughes could become a good role player. Clay Harbor has a lot of potential. He might be more than just a role player.

      Turnovers? Vick is a more aggressive QB than McNabb. Those chances lead to some mistakes. I actually don’t mind them for the most part. RZ turnovers are the ones that kill us. They directly take points off the board.

      • Anonymous

        i always thought keenan clayton could offer a spark. he’s very enthusiastic out there and plays with pride. nobody else does that, except maybe kurt coleman on a good day. clay harbor too. get him the ball. and why why why do they play guys who dont care about winning? it was obvious to anyone who can see things objectively. maybe that’s the problem with reid. he lost the ability to see things objectively. how do you bring that back?

  • Anonymous

    Tommy, after the hapless genius Marty was fired by the Lions he was bought here to eventually be the OC, but as that position was taken, he first had some quasi offensive adviser role. Could we do this again (bring in a quasi coach) on D without sacking Juan?

    • Anonymous

      I think Juan loses the DC title, but is kept around. He’s been a loyal coach for a long time and is loved by all. He’s not meant to run a defense right now, but that could be a different story in 2 or 3 years. I think he’ll get some title like Assistant Head Coach – Defense.

      • http://twitter.com/sjampendk Sjampen

        I actually wouldn’t mind that. Juan is a good coach and liked by the players. He’s hard working and dedicated and LOVES Andy Reid and the Eagles. Make him an assistant to the new DC(Spags maybe, they know each other right?). I can’t help to think that the DC position was just too much for him.

        Tommy, do you think Bengals DC Zimmer would take the DC position here? Its kind of a lateral move, but Bengals owner is weird and Marvin Lewis is looking over Zimmers shoulder all the time. Andy Reid is an offense guy and would leave Zimmer to be THE defense guy, just like JJ was.

        God I miss JJ. I loved seeing that old man showing that much heart on the field and pushing his players to the limit was amazing.

        • Anonymous

          Hear here.

          This is making us appreciate just how much of the old Eagles were JJ’s. We always knew it was a lot, we’re finding out now it was even more than we suspected.

          I wonder if Washburn was supposed to be that gruff genius that we miss.

      • Anonymous

        What would his role be if he got a title like that? I know you are implying stripping Juan of his ultimate responsibility of the defense, but in terms of title, that certainly sounds like a promotion. For any potential new DC, at the very least, that will create questions of how much Castillo would be able to interfere with the defensive scheme. After your article about where a coach might go given the option between the Giants and Philly (or any similarly intriguing team), wouldn’t Castillo’s presence be a deterrent? Furthermore, regardless of stripping Castillo of his duties as DC, what kind of message are you sending the fan base and the team if your only significant change after a season like this is to adjust one coaches title?

        To me, if AR stays, Castillo has to get either fired, or given a clear, major demotion. The alternative suggests to me that the coaches and team do not want to make changes from what they have been doing.

        • Anonymous

          When Marty had the role, he would spend game days in the booth and give input to AR and BC during the week. It worked because BC new that this was part of helping him get a role as a HC.

          I can’t see JC being able to put in the same input and it would certainly require that the new DC was one of ARs old boys.

      • http://igglesblitz.com Sam Lynch

        Based on how Andy works, I really doubt Juan is kept around (if Andy stays). I think he is placed in another job elsewhere in the league. Somewhere like Cleveland or Carolina, where there are people who know him well and will value him.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with everything you say but . . . and you’re probably gonna say the same thing in your pro column.

    This was a weird season in every way, they interviewed a bunch of DC candidates and didn’t like them, one of them is now in Denver, running the same two game 4-3 that we dumped (along with Bunkley). It works in Denver because they got to draft Von Miller, who may be the most talented LB in the NFL as a rookie.

    Juan was a mistake, not because he can’t scheme, outside of LeBeau, Williams in NO, and whoever is the real Ravens’ DC, scheming is overrated, just aren’t that many brilliant DCs out there. Juan was a mistake because he can’t coach defense, I mean basics like where you’re supposed to be, who you’re supposed to cover, and that little detail, tackling. Working 20 hours a day doesn’t impress me, in my experience, people who work ridiculously long hours tend to be both mediocre and insecure, competent people work smart and go home and get some rest.

    However, given the weird offseason, which kept them from working with Vick, installing a new defense, making personnel decisions that made sense, it’s tough to fire Reid off 2011. He’s a uber planner, and was put in the worst possible situation.

    I’d give him one more season, but require that he bring in new blood, including his potential replacement, if he doesn’t turn it around, and that is Spags, who’s almost 100% certain to get fired. Spags would be perfect, he can coach a one gap 4-3, the players know he’s a legitimate DC (got da ring), and he’s an Eagle. As far as offense, if MM stays, he has to go to passer anonymous meetings, stand up and proclaim: “I am a passing addict, I need someone to hold my hand and keep from starting every game with a deep pass.”

    • James Wann

      “Working 20 hours a day doesn’t impress me, in my experience, people who work ridiculously long hours tend to be both mediocre and insecure, competent people work smart and go home and get some rest.”

      Funny. I once heard Mike Pettine, DC of the Jets, say something similar. I immediately thought of Castillo:

      “There are so many coaches that want to work all these hours just to say they worked all the hours, just grind away, there’s so much information out there, that you can have. At some point, you have to sit back and say, ‘You know what, I need sleep.’ So, I think working hard is important, but working efficiently is just as important, knowing there’s going to be times when you are going to need to step away. I think there are guys that make that mistake of overdoing it, just to say that they did it, and at the end of the week, their mind is not as sharp as it could be, heading into a game situation.”

      Link:

      http://prointerviews.org/tag/mike/

      • Anonymous

        It’s one of the reasons I hope we get Pettine to coach our D if Spags is not available.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AHVR5EZERRCZSD77DMKWAEEPLA Steve H

    Man, how about we trade the entire Eagles organization for Aaron Rodgers? He made that game winning drive look easy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1448501572 Andrew W. Cohen

    Mixed feelings. All you say is true. In many respects, this team resembles Dallas last year: a highly-publicized team with lots of stars that had looked good the year before. They lost some close games early, then quit on their coach, forcing the ownership to part ways with a previously successful skipper.

    But how much good has it really done the Cowboys to fire Phillips? They’re in first place, but only because the whole division stinks. They lost to the Cardinals today, and will likely lose ignominiously in the playoffs. Firing Reid only makes sense if we can get somebody better.

    • Anonymous

      This.

      Not to mention Wade Phillips comes out of it smelling like roses since he rescued the Texans’ defense.

  • Anonymous

    Crusty the Clown just got fired on the Simpsons for being obsolete. Is there some contagion in the air?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5AFRQX6FXV7DOAKN76I4AOA6YQ Steven Dileo

    We used to beat up on bad teams and win 50% of the time against good teams. We can’t even bank on winning against teams like SEA, ARI, MIA and WAS.

    • Anonymous

      Wow you already chalking up Ls to the Dolphins and Redskins? We might accidentally beat one of ‘em lol

  • http://twitter.com/corry_k Corry Henry

    Excellent post. I’m eager to see your arguments for keeping Reid.

  • Christopher Eckman

    I waffle on whether to keep or get rid of Reid. He’s done a ton in the past so I’d give him one more chance if he demotes Juan and Marty.

    Reid is a great administrator but he did his best when his lead assistants were autonomous and had slightly different opinions (for the OC). Childress didn’t have a problem running the ball for example. I’d say bring in someone like Norm Chow to run the offense and try to get Spags (if he’s fired), Zimmer or Greg Mattison (now DC of Michigan, was DC of Baltimore Ravens).

    I loved DeSean but he’s really packed it in and hasn’t been the same since his concussions anyway. I’d say draft Barkley or RGIII in the first round if possible and shoot for Rueben Randle (WR, LSU) in the second. He’s huge, fast and catches everything in his area code.

    • Anonymous

      Would you use the third top-45 pick on an impact linebacker? If not, I hate your draft. lol

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7NAK55RNZ46GQZCMN5BM5NO5OA Brian

    What about the fake punt against Bears? That wasn’t aggressive enough for you?

    That play easily could and should have worked had Henry not chocked.

    • Anonymous

      That’s the thing about phrases like “innovative” “aggressive” “evolve” and all the other ones that people are batting around. When stuff works, you’re that. When it doesn’t, you’ve lost it.

      Reid has been quite unorthodox in his big-picture and small game plan moves this year. Going for it on 4th & 1 against the Giants was ballsy. Trying an onside kick to start the half against the Bills was it? — also ballsy. Fake punt = balls.

      Just that none of that stuff worked, so in hindsight it looked dumb. Sorta the whole point of Sam’s previous post … results sometimes cloud whether or not something was sound in theory.

      I wish sometimes he would simplify and just ride Shady and get Brown 6-8 touches a game and just smash mouth teams … but the innovativeness, I feel, has been there this year. It just hasn’t panned out, and the search for reasons why is fairly fruitless because it’s not the same mishap every time.

  • Anonymous

    If only we would have drafted Navarro Bowman or Sean Lee, none of this would be happening….sigh

  • Anonymous

    Hey! Not so fast! The Cowboys and Giants lost today. We’re back in mathematical contention baby!!!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7NAK55RNZ46GQZCMN5BM5NO5OA Brian

      Just need the Boys to lose to the Bucs or the Giants to lose to the Skins.

      We get Vick, Maclin and DRC/NA back, and we could win out…

      ; )

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AHVR5EZERRCZSD77DMKWAEEPLA Steve H

        8-8 baby! the super bowl starts right here!

    • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.verhoog Matthew Verhoog

      The Giants and Boys loose, just to keep our faint hope flickering enough so our crew can snuff it out and stomp on the embers.

  • Anonymous

    The scary thing is the Giants and Cowboys deep desire not to go to the playoffs are still keeping us alive; if we could lose to Miami then we could finally say the seasons over and start thinking about next yr sooner, for certain. It looks more and more like 8 or 9 wins will will win the NFC East.

    • Anonymous

      The Eagles seem to be on a different trajectory than the Dolphins.

  • Anonymous

    Long shot, and we’re lucky if we can win just one more, but…. at 4-8 the Eagles are still alive. If they sweep the final four games and Dallas goes 1-3 and the Giants go 2-2, the Eagles win the division. And if Chicago and Detroit and Atlanta continue to struggle, an 8-8 wild card team is possible.

  • Anonymous

    i say keep reid but take away his ultimate responsibility with player and coaching personnel. he just cant do all that stuff all that well. either do that or take away his head-coaching title and give him a bill parcells role.

  • Anonymous

    Great “Reid” Tommy. (See what I did there? Must be Monday morning).
    I’m looking forward to the pro-column :)

  • Anonymous

    Tommy:

    Your description of Reid would apply to Joe Paterno, circa 2000-04. But Joe Pa turned it around.

    My take away from your analysis is that Reid’s success depended on a number of things but three things more than any other.

    First, Jim Johnson’s defenses.

    Second, two very high quality OTs and Center.

    Third, ball security . . . especially, Donovan McNabb’s aversion for and ability to execute not turning over the ball in Reid’s pass-heavy offense.

    Right now, the Eagles have at most only 1 of those three . . . the O-line, by season’s end, will have been rebuilt and stabilized for the next 3-4 seasons.

    Every franchise needs a Phoenix year . . . as in “burned to ashes.”

    It’s the only time a team has the institutional momentum to cut loose the rot, including nice young kids who aren’t that good or who are negative forces.

    Reid’s Eagles are having a Phoenix season.

    Is he the right guy to lead them out of the ash heap? Depends on the talent brought in to replace what’s here — and who assembles the choices.

    But foremost, the next step is fixing the defense in my outsider’s view. The next D-Coordinator will be crucial.

    That’ll leave Reid in position to work with Vick and the next 2nd string QB on game management and protecting the ball. (Dropped passes happen every Sunday in every game. Ball protection is obviously much more important.)

    Great, provocative stuff as always.

  • Anonymous

    Tommy:

    Your description of Reid would apply to Joe Paterno, circa 2000-04. But Joe Pa turned it around.

    My take away from your analysis is that Reid’s success depended on a number of things but three things more than any other.

    First, Jim Johnson’s defenses.

    Second, two very high quality OTs and Center.

    Third, ball security . . . especially, Donovan McNabb’s aversion for and ability to execute not turning over the ball in Reid’s pass-heavy offense.

    Right now, the Eagles have at most only 1 of those three . . . the O-line, by season’s end, will have been rebuilt and stabilized for the next 3-4 seasons.

    Every franchise needs a Phoenix year . . . as in “burned to ashes.”

    It’s the only time a team has the institutional momentum to cut loose the rot, including nice young kids who aren’t that good or who are negative forces.

    Reid’s Eagles are having a Phoenix season.

    Is he the right guy to lead them out of the ash heap? Depends on the talent brought in to replace what’s here — and who assembles the choices.

    But foremost, the next step is fixing the defense in my outsider’s view. The next D-Coordinator will be crucial.

    That’ll leave Reid in position to work with Vick and the next 2nd string QB on game management and protecting the ball. (Dropped passes happen every Sunday in every game. Ball protection is obviously much more important.)

    Great, provocative stuff as always.

    • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.verhoog Matthew Verhoog

      Good ideas, I suspect that Reid needs, or at least, would be better with a defense he didn’t have to worry about. someone to just run that side of the football, Just to reset the Org. Chart back to where they were when JJ was still with us.

  • http://twitter.com/EWeaver34 Eric Weaver

    Tommy,

    I’d be all over trying to lure away a higher level scout from the Steelers to become the GM.

  • http://twitter.com/benjabad Ben Hert

    Do you think that we keep Washburn and Mudd next year? Let me rephrase that…do you think Washburn and Mudd stay next year? With both being pretty old and not in the greatest of health, I can’t imagine them wanting to stick around on a team that is struggling in every aspect of the game. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE what Mudd has to done to our OL, and Washburn seems to have lit a fire under our DTs this year, but with Washburn getting into sideline scuffles with other members of the coaching staff, and Mudds poor health, do you really think they stay around another year in a struggling franchise?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=783280522 Adam Shaw

    In my mind Castillo being fired or at the very least demoted is a foregone conclusion. Its fairly obvious that AR needs a leader on that side of the ball that knows the X and O’s inside and out, but more importantly to me is his(DC) ability to make in game adjustments. I’m really hoping a guy like Spagnuolo or Del Rio, a proven DC and HC (moreso Del Rio), is what we ultimately end up with.

    I have questions about offense as well, something I’ve been thinking about all season. Is it wise to keep both Reid and Marty together going forward? I think Marty is a good OC but I think the two of them are too much alike. There seems to be no one to say “You know what, maybe we should stick with the run a little longer” or “Vick seems to having an off day, instead of trying to throw him out of a slump why don’t we work McCoy here and hope we can open up some passing lanes for Mike.” They both have the same mindset that throwing the ball is the only answer, especially when the QB is struggling.

    Would it make more sense to bring in somebody that appreciates the importance of throwing the ball but isn’t adverse to the running game? When I look at this offense I see a the best running QB ever, dynamic RB, an above average run-blocking OL (which appears to be trending upwards), two solid TE’s, a WR corps that has a great deep threat(10), a pure possession guy(81), an all around guy(18), and a big body(14). Now correct me if I’m wrong here but it appears to me that this team has the right pieces to employ an offense that features a prominent running game and play action pass.

    Not only would this limit the punishment Vick takes but it would lower his chances of turning the ball over. It would get the ball in our best players hands more. It would bring the safeties down in the box and open up deeper routes for DeSean. It would allow the big uglies up front to go out and maul somebody, Peters and Watkins would love this.

    Would getting rid of Marty make this more likely? or would both Reid and Marty have to go? Is it possible that Reid is blind to what he has in front of him and all he sees is the ball soaring through the air?

  • Anonymous

    great analysis. after reading that its gonna be hard to see an argument that makes me think that keeping him is a better idea. again great work i love reading your stuff

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GWMNZ32U6YPGGA7N4JNWH4OSJE Mac

    Here’s an idea from waaaaay out in left field.

    What about Mike Holmgren?

    Not saying I advocate… just saying a name.

    • Anonymous

      That might be a great idea if the organization wants to move forward without Reid, but ride out the next 2-3 years with Vick and the current roster. Holmgren signs a two-three year HC deal, and moves to GM or whatever postion Bill Parcells was for the Dolphins. Then he would be able to structure the new coaching regime. Far out I know, but you did mention left field here…

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GWMNZ32U6YPGGA7N4JNWH4OSJE Mac

        Yeah a buddy of mine who is a seahawks fan (ugh) said that he predicts that Holmgren will want back into the ranks of HC at some point. Just got me thinking… ya know?

  • Anonymous

    Asante and a 2nd rounder for Greenway this offseason…? Minnesota is in desperate need of help at CB going into next year.

  • Anonymous

    Tommy, all I can say is wow. And offer this perfect solution:

    Fire Reid now, and let him reflect on the season over multiple cheesesteaks. Within the fire Reid camp there will be much rejoicing.

    Then after the season hire the best coach available..who happens to be… Andy Reid! Within the pro-Reid camp there will be much rejoicing.

    Next question.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GWMNZ32U6YPGGA7N4JNWH4OSJE Mac

      Did you just faceroll everyone?

      • Anonymous

        If faceroll means post something that is asinine because the actual level of football knowledge on this blog is way over my head, then maybe

  • Anonymous

    Andy needs to allow other competent people to make some of the decisions regarding player personnel. His drafting has become horrible. Hire someone that can make those decisions. Too much on anyones plate does not allow you to do what you are hired to do, and that is COACH FOOTBALL. Football is a business. Hire a defensive coordinator that will produce results. Juan is a great guy, but he bit off a bit more than he can chew. Sometimes hiring from within just doesn’t work.

  • Pingback: Some random thoughts from around the NFC East – Blogging the bEast