Understanding Andy

Posted: September 25th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 49 Comments »

First things first.  I like Andy Reid.  He is a good coach.  I think he’s a nice guy as well and enjoy seeing him have success.  That said, there are times when Andy can be absolutely maddening.  He can drive you to the point of football insanity.  What I’m about to write is an explanation of some things he does and believes.  This does not mean that I agree with him or the way he does things.

Andy Reid is from Los Angeles.  He played football in junior college and then at BYU.  Andy then became an assistant coach at San Francisco State.  While he was Offensive Coordinator, SFS led the nation in passing and total offense for 3 straight years.  Then Reid headed to Northern Arizona, UTEP, and onto Missouri.  The point of this? Reid knows western football.  That’s part of his football DNA.

You need to understand the importance of this.  Football used to be East vs West.  When I was a kid (70’s/80’s), NFL teams were just starting to really embrace the passing game.  In 1978 Fran Tarkenton led the league with 3,468 yards passing.  Terry Bradshaw led the league with 28 TD passes.  Those numbers are nothing today.   

The one team that really went passing crazy was the San Diego Chargers.  Dan Fouts threw for 4,000 plus yards from 1979-81.  He averaged 3,833 yards per season from 1979-1985 despite missing 18 games due to injury or the 1982 strike.

The Chargers offense was run by Don Coryell.  He had previously coached the St. Louis Cardinals, but had originally made his name while bringing an explosive passing attack to San Diego State.  His star pupil there was a QB named Brian Sipe.  In 1979 and 1980, Fouts led the NFL in passing yards with Sipe finishing 2nd.  Good job by Coryell.

College was the same way.  You had to look out West to find a throwing team.  BYU was the biggest passing school in the nation.  I grew up watching eastern football.  This meant Penn State slugging it out with Syracuse, West Va, Notre Dame, and Pitt.  Throwing the ball was looked down on.  Real teams ran the ball because that was a sign of physical domination.  Throwing the ball made you a finesse team and that’s a label that no one wanted.  It was associated with being weak.

Pitt had Dan Marino for 4 years.  He threw for 7,904 yards and 74 TDs.  That is less than 200 yards and 2 TDs per game.  Think about that for a second.  One of the great passing talents of all time was not throwing the ball all over the place.  Do you remember Dwight Clark, the Niners WR who made The Catch?  He played at Clemson.  His QB was Steve Fuller, who also played in the NFL.  Clark caught 12 passes as a Senior.  Football in the South hated the forward pass more than anybody.

I loved reading box scores on Sunday morning.  I would look at Oklahoma, Ohio State, Penn State, Alabama, Nebraska, Texas, and Notre Dame for sure.  I loved reading the rushing totals.  You would see some games where the QB threw a handful of passes.  Then you’d see 62 rushes for 427 yards or something like that.  And that was old school football.

The one exception was BYU.  And that made them fun to follow.  In 1980, Jim McMahon was the Cougars QB.  He threw for 4,571 yards and 47 TDs.  Compare that season to Marino’s career numbers.  Crazy.

There was another QB lighting it up in 1980.  His name was Neil Lomax and he played for Portland State.  Lomax threw for 4,094 yards and 37 TDs.  His coach, Mouse Davis, ran this thing called the Run ‘n Shoot.

It wasn’t just BYU and Portland State.  UCLA had a pro style passing attack.  Stanford was throwing more with a guy named John Elway.  The Cardinal had used the passing game for a while, partially due to the one time presence of coach Bill Walsh.

Running the football and playing good defense was eastern football.  Andy Reid grew up in the West, where teams threw the ball more.  You didn’t have to worry about snow, rain, or wind ruining a gameplan.  There were plenty of good athletes around.  You could also practice passing year round with the good weather.

An X-factor is that a lot of football innovation comes from the West.  I think part of that is the lack of tradition.  Coaches in the East got lectured on “this is how so and so did it back in 1932, 1942, 1952, and 1962.  Why change?”.  San Diego State wanted to win.  If that meant Coryell throwing the ball, so be it.  BYU wanted to be innovative.  That meant throwing the ball.  Stanford didn’t have the elite athletes to compete with USC so they had to embrace the passing attack and beating the Trojans with brains instead of brawn.

Andy Reid has a much different football background than most of us.  That shaped his beliefs quite a bit.  And think about the guys he’s been closest to.  Mike Holmgren is a Cali guy. He played at USC and then coached at BYU.  Brad Childress coached with Reid at Northern Arizona.  Childress had spent a lot of time at Illinois, where the head coach was Mike White, a Cali guy who had coached with Bill Walsh at Stanford.  Marty Mornhinweg played QB for a high school in Cali and one of his coaches was none other than Mike Holmgren.  Marty then played QB at Montana and in the Arena League.  He coached all over the West.  You can bet he was exp0sed to a lot of different passing attacks.

All of Reid’s key friends and most of his influences were somehow connected to the passing game.  Many were ex-QBs.  They all embraced a wide open passing attack.  They loved throwing the ball and scoring points.

There is another key point to consider.  Andy Reid isn’t a typical coach.  Most coaches focus on not making mistakes.  That’s just a mindset they have.  Marty Schottenheimer might be the closest thing to anti-Andy (but with success).  Marty believed in running the ball, playing good defense, and avoiding turnovers.  Simply put, Marty coached not to lose.  Andy doesn’t understand that mentality at all.  He coaches to win.  That means being aggressive and taking chances.

Andy wants to attack.  He wants to score points.  He knows how to design brilliant plays.  He understands how to make them work.  We’ve seen just how great the Eagles offense can look when things are clicking.  It can be a thing of beauty.

Unfortunately things do not always go as Reid wants them to.  The obvious move is to adjust and move forward accordingly.  Andy adjusts at a glacial pace…if that fast.  It is a major weakness for him.  Again, we have to try and understand his mentality.

Vic Rowan was the head coach at San Francisco State when Andy was an assistant there.  He said that Reid would see good plays on TV and then would call the coach to find out info on how the play worked.  Andy loves designing plays and the strategy that goes into the set-up and execution of them.

Many coaches love to just bully their opponent.  You move the defense off the line with force and run the ball down their throat.  I don’t know if Andy finds this boring or just too limiting.  He much prefers the aerial attack.  He wants big chunks of yards.

Andy also seems drawn to outsmarting opponents rather than just out-muscling them.  Think about his explanation for hiring Jim Johnson.  Andy loved JJ’s fire zone concepts.  That’s a fancy way of saying he loved his zone blitzing.  As Eagles fans we knew about blitzing in the Buddy Ryan, Bud Carson, and Ray Rhodes style.  You loaded up the LOS and tried to kill the QB. Jim preferred to play it safe.  He wanted to blitz, but also have players dropping into coverage to limit getting burned by big plays.  Once you got to about the Eagles 30-yard line all bets were off.  That’s when JJ would get risky.  Prior to that, he was a bend but don’t break coach.

Andy loves scheming and coming up with great ideas.  Lots of coaches can draw up X’s and O’s and have them look good on paper.  When things aren’t working as designed, Andy has the bad habit of doubling down.  His mentality would seem to be something like this:

“Well, we spent the 1st quarter trying to go deep and that didn’t work out, but the opening is still there.  Now isn’t the time to back off.  If we keep trying, we’ll hit one of these plays and things will open up after that.”

Again…that is me guessing what goes on in his head.  I’m pretty confident that he thinks like that based on watching his offenses for 14 years.  Remember the 2007 game vs the Giants?  Poor Winston Justice was hung out to dry.  Andy knew the Giants secondary was vulnerable.  He just needed the blockers to do their job, the receivers to get open, and Donovan McNabb to get the ball to the open guy.  The line was terrible, the receivers were up and down, and McNabb didn’t have his best game (very much affected by constant pressure and hits).  The offense looked terrible.  Andy kept calling downfield pass plays.

At the time I compared it to a scene from the movie Tin Cup.  Late in the movie Kevin Costner is faced with the question of going for the green with a long shot or laying up.  He goes for it.  The ball hits the water.  Costner then drops another ball right there and goes for the long shot again.  And again.  And again.  Finally it makes it.  His score on the hole is a 12, but he got on the green the way he wanted.  He did it his way.

The whole world sees an obvious situation that needs to be handled a certain way, but Reid has tunnel vision on doing things the way he planned them out.

The reason that this issue hasn’t been Reid’s undoing is that his ideas work much, if not most, of the time.  Under Reid, the Eagles have broken the team record for points a few times.  There have been numerous other offensive records broken.  The Eagles have had a slew of offensive stars in the Reid era.  And the team wins.

Can Reid win big doing things his way?  I think so, but…and this is a big but…I do think he needs the right personnel.  I have serious questions about whether the Eagles have those guys right now.  The weak OL means extra blockers have to stay in.  That limits the number of chess pieces that Andy can move around.  Vick has been a turnover machine since the 2011 season started.  The turnovers end possessions prematurely and have a way of emotionally draining the team. These are big issues.

I think Andy’s biggest problem is that he sometimes forgets that he’s coaching football and not playing chess.  There are times when you need to forget schemes.  Forget brilliant plays.  Line up and knock the crap out of the guy across from you.  Football is a primal, physical game.  All the scheming and planning in the world does you no good if you can’t line up and beat the man across from you.

It is utterly frustrating to think about those times that Reid does coach more conventionally.  After the Ravens loss in 2008, he dialed back the offense and things clicked.  The Eagles beat Arizona the next week by a score of 48-20.  The team went all the way to the NFC title game and almost won that.

Since the 2007 Winston Justice debacle, Reid has coached differently against the Giants.  He focuses on protection and calls a more balanced offense.  Last year the Eagles trailed the Giants 14-0 in the 1st half.  Marty/Andy called 8 straight running plays.  Down 14.  That was one of the wildest things I’ve seen in the Reid era.  It helped the offense get back on track and the Eagles led 16-14 in the 4th quarter before collapsing without Vick to run the offense.

Andy’s post-2007 adjustments have worked very well against the Giants.  The Eagles have gone 6-2 and averaged 29 points per game in the 8 regular season meetings.  There was also a playoff win in that stretch.

Because Andy fears/respects the Giants pass rush so much, he made permanent changes in the way he deals with that team.  He plans for them differently than most other teams.  The Dallas Cowboys get some of this treatment due to the presence of DeMarcus Ware.

If Andy doesn’t fear the front seven, he’s going to attack and make you stop him.  If you do get the best of him, he’ll make some changes at halftime.  On Sunday that was too little, too late.  Other times the adjustments can work.  Unfortunately, those times are few and far between.

Maybe the best metaphor for Andy and the difficulty of his style of doing things is the Red Zone.  The Eagles have had offenses that could move up and down the field with ease.  Put the team at the 10-yard line and things get very different.  You can’t stretch the field vertically anymore and then work underneath routes.  You can’t create space like you can at midfield.

In the Red Zone, you can win with size and strength, you win by precise execution, or you can win with great talent.  The Eagles offense was good in the Red Zone for part of 2011 due to the use of TEs and feeding the ball to LeSean McCoy.  The 2004 team fed the ball to Terrell Owens. Too many other seasons were filled with short field goals due to an offense that screeched to a halt when things got condensed and you couldn’t outsmart your opponent.

Eagles fans love Andy Reid in some ways, but he will never be fully embraced here because of his style of doing things.  I think most fans like Big Red for the person he is and the way he conducts himself.  His players love him and that isn’t lost on us.

Reid can win the fans over with a Super Bowl title, but aside from that he’ll always be looked at as a guy who was good but fundamentally flawed.  If Eagles fans could choose his epitaph it would likely be “We coulda won the Super Bowl…if he woulda just run the damn ball”.

_


  • Gary

    Wow. Great insight, Tommy.

  • TheRogerPodacter

    great stuff tommy!

  • Anders

    Another point Tommy, AR often go very conservative(in his world) when a backup QB starts and the offense is often a well oiled machine. Think about how he have made AJ Feeley, Garcia (I believe the 2006 offense with Westy and Garcia was one of the best AR offenses) and Kolb (Who looked pretty fine against us) all look good to great.

  • seanjtaylor

    Tommy, thanks so much for this post. I don’t think anyone else could have written this.

  • Canadian_Eagle

    It’s a lot of fun to read your stuff Tommy! Thank you for the time you put into this ‘stuff’. Every day I go here to see if there is a new post.

  • P_P_K

    “Can Reid win big doing things his way? I think so, but…and this is a big but…I do think he needs the right personnel.”

    I have been a big Reid supporter and have long felt his strengths were more significant than his weaknesses. This may still be true, but I don’t think Andy can win a Super Bowl. It’s not that he needs the right personnel, it’s that he needs his personnel to be freakin’ absolutely perfect in the manner that he has schemed. This is just not humanly possible. Absolute perfection and absolute consistency are abstract concepts, they don’t carry into human behavior. Certainly not in an arena like professional football where there are a billion variables. When the real world interferes with Andy’s brilliant plans, he fails to adjust to reality. This is why he is not a great game day coach.

    Andy seems like a fine man with many redeeming qualities. But he has been stuck in certain ruts for a long time now. He needs to grow up, or at least grow out of where he came from and expand his football education.

    For the first time in my life (I’ve been a fan for 42 years), I’m finding myself thinking it might not be such a bad thing if they have a losing season if it would result in a coaching change. My frustration has built to this point.

    Speaking of frustration, if I am Shady, I am a very, very unhappy camper.

  • http://twitter.com/daniel_suraci Daniel

    Thanks for the historical aspect here Tommy! As a young(er) fan, I remember hearing tons about the west coast offense when I was a kid (that talk seems to have gone away and all you hear now is pro and spread), but never really grasped just how different the mentality was.

  • bdbd20

    I do admire him for doing things his way, even if it’s incredibly frustrating at times.

  • Jack

    I understand that he wants to pass but is it too much to ask to work the short and intermediate routes instead of big plays that makes Vick wait too long for develeping routes? If he doesnt get us to the superbobow this year, just fire him bring in different philosophy someone like Jim Harbaugh (Im so jealous of the 9ers)

  • Ark87

    Was listening to helmet2helmet before the cardinals game (rough quoting here)-
    Kempski- The Cardinals are 9-2 in their last 11 games and haven’t scored more than 23 points in any of those games
    Lawlor- You know who else knows that? Andy Reid. He’s going to go for points, and how does Andy get points? He’s going to throw the ball.

    Eagles proceed to throw all through the first half, Vick getting clobbered.

    Clearly Ken Whisenhunt listens to H2H, I put this loss on you T-Law

    • SteveH

      Tommy is actually some kind of deep undercover spy for one of our NFCEast rivals who freely distributes information on beating the Eagles to their opponents.

      I imagine his favorite method of gathering information is the honeypot.

  • Steven Dileo

    I love Andy Reid and I think he’s one of the best coaches in the NFL. However there are times when I think that there needs to be a change. Andy hasn’t won a Super Bowl in the 14 years he’s been here and it may be time that both sides cut ties with each other. The Buccaneers let go of Tony Dungy, the Broncos let go of Shanahan, and the Titans let go of Jeff Fisher. There are good NFL coaches out there so it isn’t like Andy is some sort of mastermind. I don’t think Andy is any better than John Harbough, Mike Mcarthy, Sean Payton, Jim Harbough, or Jim Shwartz. I say let this year play out and if Andy doesn’t deliver, fire him.

  • SteveH

    I see Andy as the proverbial hero in greek theatre. He has a tragic flaw, and that is that he won’t adapt to the sitaution at hand until its too late (most of the time) and this will lead to his downfall.

    What this means to us fans however, is that he drives us freaking insane with his playcalling sometimes.

    It’s really close to unfathomable to me that after all this time and all the evidence to suggest that a more balanced attack would really be beneficial, he still sticks to his guns. Tragic flaw man.

    I feel like Lurie should hire someone to stand next to Reid on the sideline and chart called run/pass, and if the ratio is getting too out of whack Reid should be forced to call a running plays until it gets back to a 55/45 ratio, or he’ll be fined some absurd amount of money. I feel like that would force Reid to be more judicious about when to call passes because he doesn’t want to be forced into a situation where he has to run too many times in a row.

    • A_T_G

      Maybe we can all chip in to buy him one of those new cars that beep when you should stop.

      “Okay, Mike, let’s try to hit the midget on a deep post again-”
      BEEP.
      “Or, give it to McCoy.”

      • TommyLawlor

        Excellent.

    • Ark87

      Well he is up for a new contract right? Lurie could throw in like a Hawaiian shirt or something for every 200 yard game that Shady runs (strictly rushing yards!) Contract incentives baby!

      • TommyLawlor

        Also excellent.

  • Ark87

    I see where you are coming from, I’m a semi- young Eagles fan that inherited my love for the Eagles right after Buddy Ryan left. One of my greatest childhood memories was watching the Eagles actually win a playoff game against the Lions. There were no glory days for me. Andy Reid came here and changed my perception of the Eagles. There was a time when getting 1 win against the Dallas Cowboys in a season made for a good season. Now, missing the playoffs is unacceptable. In short, he made us Winners (again?). 2-1: unacceptable. I love that stuff.

    I don’t know, I think Andy can change for the short term. If he loses his trust in his o-line or Vick, he will play a more conservative/conventional game. And he would probably be successful enough to keep his job next year. But I guarantee next year he would be making roster moves in FA, trade, draft to get back to the Reid ways.
    What I’d like to point out is this. The Reid era has been the most successful era the Eagles have had since the merger. And for every Jim Harbaugh, there is a Mike Singletary, Mike Nolan, Derrick Erickson, and Steve Mariucci. Yeah, the 9ers, one of the storied franchises in the NFL, went though a decade and a half of being aweful to be contenders again. A decade and a half of bringing in new coaches, blowing up the old coach’s rosters, getting their own guys in there 3 seasons later, still stinking, and starting the process all over again.

    Sorry guys, I can’t go back to that. As long as the Eagles are in the chase every year, I’m happy. Honestly If the Eagles do win the big one, I’d probably be over it in a few days and depressed that i won’t be watching any Eagles football until next season.

  • SebastianAubrey

    I’m not sure if he is playing chess in some games, more like checkers. He is often one dimensional and predictable. I love putting up big numbers and scoring a lot of points but more importantly I love winning games. He makes it easy for the opposing defenses and makes life miserable for our defense by going 3 and out. When the offense clicks go for the jugular. When the offense sputters, quit trying to force it!

  • mcud

    I think Andy’s fatal flaw is his need for a dynamic QB. Or perhaps it is his confidence level when he has a dynamic QB. The Jeff Garcia six-game stretch in 2006 wasn’t my favorite to watch, but it is the offense I felt the most comfortable with. Now I have no idea if Kevin Kolb should have been the choice over Vick (considering the season Vick had in 2010 its probably safe to say Andy made the right call there), but I do think it would have been very interesting if the Browns took McNabb #1 (leaving us with Couch), or if Vick had a longer prison sentence.

    We’ve seen these bursts of very, very solid play from guys that Reid has coached up…Feeley and Koy in 2002, Jeff in 2006, Kolb had two NFCPOW awards, Foles being the top passer in the preseason,etc. While at the same time, it seems that the athletic guys seem to underachieve. He clearly wanted McNabb no matter who was there. Reached out to Vick and Young when nobody really wanted them. Liked Russell Wilson quite a bit from what I hear. It would be very interesting to me to see Foles back there, who really is the anti-thesis of what Andy is used to.

  • mcud

    By the way Tommy. Nice job on the article. There were a lot of things in there that I didn’t know. Very interesting background stuff.

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

    Great post.

    For once, I have no snarky comments. I didn’t know that was even possible.

  • austinfan

    Andy lost it when he replaced Childress with MM.

    Childress may have a West Coast background, but he also coached Wisconsin which perfected the power OL. And he’s WCO West Coast, not Coryell West Coast (as is Holmgren).

    With MM, Andy has gone Coryell, the thing to remember is the coaches who run high power offenses, Coryell, Turner, Martz, only Martz has a ring, and it required the Ram defense to peak one season.

    And did more with less from 2000-2003 on offense, since 2008, he’s done less with more talent than most NFL coaches. There’s a lesson to be learned there.

    • Ark87

      On that last bit you are exactly right, Andy’s greatest talent has provided the most damning evidence of his weakness. The man puts together talented rosters every year, and hasn’t won the big one yet. Feels like any other coach could have gotten 3 or so superbowls with the talent this team has had for the past 14 years.

      But then again, how many offensive players have gone to other teams and flourished, truly? I’m honestly asking, I can’t think of anyone. Closest thing is Danny Amendola I think. At the very least, the man can polish quarterback turds like none other….which is the most damning evidence against Mike Vick…

      • Anders

        The Packers was the best team last year, didnt win. In 2007 Patriots was clearly the best team, didnt win. The best team rarely win it.

        • drichwine

          This is so obviously true hardly anyone ever considers it when discussing Reid.

  • Cal Setar

    I think that Reid and Mornhinwheg are both fantastic coaches when it comes to X’s and O’s and the creative aspects of offensive football.
    But I honestly think that Andy’s biggest flaw, plain and simple as it may seem, is too often attempting to force players to fit his scheme, as opposed to tailoring his scheme to fit the players he has. Of course there are examples where he does this for a short time (Jeff Garcia, Koy), but it never seems to last, and those are simply because of the aforementioned “next man up” scenarios. Call it stubborness, call it hubris if you like…I sure don’t know what to call it. But when you watch someone like Bill Belichik win year after year by altering his scheme to fit the players he has, instead of vice versa, Andy’s approach begins to seem…unnecessary.

  • http://twitter.com/n3th3rman Christopher Miller

    I am not suggesting we start him now, but do you think a guy like Foles who is more passer than athlete affects the way Reid calls his offense? I keep thinking Reid is often counting on either the line or McNabb/Vick to buy time so big plays can develop. If he knows the line is struggling and doesn’t have a guy with elite escapability, does he finally adjust to shorter drops and running plays to get the defense to back off?

    Off topic question…how do you think Mudd’s blocking scheme complements Vick and these deep drops as compared to Juan’s? I love what Mudd brought to the running game last year, but I don’t see it as an advantage for what Reid likes to do with Vick at QB. Too often it feels like guys get a straight shot right at Vick where they may have been ridden past him under Juan’s scheme, and under Juan’s scheme he should theoretically have more natural passing lanes to throw or options to run. I don’t discount the success we had last year, but at least part of that was the pure physical dominance of Peters.

    • Anirudh Jangalapalli

      Similar to when Garcia took over for McNabb back in ’06 – 5 straight wins off of a much more conservative and balanced offense.

      Andy’s like a 16-year-old with a new car – give him a Mazerati and he’s going to drive it at 110. Give him your old Camry and he’ll probably be a little more responsible. (Or me with food – give me a full pizza and I’ll overeat; give me a salad and I’ll eat the right amount.)

  • D3Keith

    Pretty much said everything there is to say.

    My only contribution is that if we’re viewing Andy as a guy who’s set in his ways and must be accepted for what he is, it might soon be time to do the same with Vick. I love when Andy makes those adjustments against the Giants — it’s still outsmarting the other guy if you do it running the ball. It might be smart to make those same adjustments for Vick, both from the observer’s perspective (he is who he is) and from the perspective of it’s okay to play to his strengths. Or maybe I’m reaching to find a parallel here.

  • juggadore

    the scary thing is how he almost gets vick killed. i think in that giants game, the 8 consecutive rushes were plays to deal with the fact that vick had a concussion the week before, and probably got one earlier in that game. (i think that was the game that he ran out onto the field while they were in field goal formation and herremans had to push him back towards the sideline). they had to run it, their qb was in la-la land..

    • juggadore

      i bet kerry rhodes was like “i cant believe they let me get a free shot on the QB on this play.”

  • T_S_O_P

    Doesn’t Holmgrem and Childress run a more run oriented WCO? Didn’t Walsh and Mooch? I attributed a quote to the latter a few months back about how they would run DIFFERENT backs in the scripted play to see if their different styles caused their opponents different problems. I remember that here under Reid all the way up to the early part of ’06.

    Have Mooch, Childress, Holmgrem ever asked their rookie QB to drop back 60 times in a game? (It may have been 63 with Charlie Batch’s number being 60 the year before) What about a noodle armed journeyman being asked to drop back 57 times? Now I know Reid never asked Feeley to that in ’01, though ironically that is the year that the afore mentioned Ty Detmer dropped back 57 times (in one game).

    Reid greatest attribute is his trust in his players and his coaches. Hires like Mudd, Washburn et al, as well as the success of his coaching tree go to show how good he is at it… with one exception. Move the dreaded exception to the booth on game days, reverse the mid ’06 decision and reclaim game day calls with advise from the booth. Whatever, the dope has to go.

    • TommyLawlor

      There is no question that we run the most pass-oriented offense in the WCO family. I think that goes back to Reid’s BYU time. Holmgren was there as well, but I think his time under Bill Walsh was what had a significant impact on him.

      I know you hate Marty. He and Reid don’t bring out the best in each other. That’s where you do miss the presence of someone who genuinely believes in the running game.

      • T_S_O_P

        Hate is the wrong word because it implies that I am looking for any opportunity to sound off which is not correct. I want Reid and Marty seen as different entities but I agree that together there is no brake in their pass orientation.

        I am sure that if I surveyed the threads and posts after the game, the fault would have been put on Vick or Andy with Marty as an afterthought.

        If they are seen as separate entities, the problems seem much closer to Marty doing than they do of Andy’s (though as HC he is ultimately responsible for everything) or Vick’s. Games with crazy passing attempt numbers, using only one running back, the deep routes. I am guilty of beating this drum ever since the end of ’06.

        I think Marty is a much better coach from Monday through Saturday than he is on Sunday’s. I also mentioned ’06, because that showed the Reid was prepared to make in season coaching changes albeit his own relegation.

        • TommyLawlor

          You loathe Marty’s playcalling and obsession with the passing game. Better?

          As I said, they really do bring out the worst in each other. Childress liked the running game. He was a good influence on Reid. Mooch was that for Marty. Marty and Andy together fall in love with the passing game.

          They actually can run a great offense when they do make a point to be more balanced. And that’s the shame of it. They’d look like geniuses if they would just run a bit more. Doesn’t have to be 50-50.

          • T_S_O_P

            What i dislike most is that he catches the least flak. Really that is it. Sometimes I have fun with it but that is it. When everyone else is tearing their hair out at the brain fart Andy and the brain dead Vick, I am doing the same at Marty though I certainly don’t give the other 2 passes.

            The last time we beat the Cards wasn’t long after 2 terribly inbalanced games in 08 versus the Ravens and Bengals. No guesses on how we beat them. A heavy dose of thirty six. Marty deserves credit for it, more if it wasn’t that it seemed his hand was forced into a balanced game because of the debacles before. Who caught the flak? Donny, he had fallen in love with the big play, and Andy because he loves to pass. Marty? Not many were saying anything other than he doesn’t help with Andy’s passing tendencies.

      • austinfan

        Except Walsh ran the ball and used a balanced passing game that incorporated both RBs and the TE, and lots of short patterns.

        I’d say Jon Gruden is the closest to Walsh of any NFL coach.

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  • Mark

    Stop making excuses for Reid, Tommy…you’re starting to sound a little like Spuds.

    • TommyLawlor

      Perfect.

  • drichwine

    A lot of good stuff here, but I think you fundamentally misunderstand why Andy does what he does. Andy is the most well thought out people I have ever observed. He has a reason for each and every thing he does, probably including how he brushes his teeth in the morning. Every single coaching decision he makes he does because he has considered the matter both in detail and how this one thing might properly fit into the idea of his team’s success as a whole. Take for example his not running the ball more. People ask him why he doesn’t run the ball more. People get paid to write articles or talk on the radio about why he doesn’t run the ball more. The answer is pretty simple, really: Andy has concluded that his team would ultimately be less successful if they ran the ball more than they currently do. I’m quite sure if we all had the time and mental capacity and Andy the inclination, he would proceed to show us both by logic and statistical analysis that he’s right, and I’m quite sure he would convince anyone willing to enter in the discussion without preformed decisions. I promise you Andy has done many studies which review what the optimal run/pass mix might be. He has concluded that in the first half, you should throw something like 70-80% of the time (just swagging it here), and that if you do this with the right personnel, you will have a lead big enough in the 2nd half to run the ball more, like 50-60% of the time, which is basically what he tries to do. Fans see the runs he does call be effective and mistakenly assume if he ran the ball more, they would continue to be as effective. They would not because of the run/pass mix would cause defenses to tee off on the runner, limiting his effectiveness. To illustrate my point, let’s consider the pitcher Roger Clemens. Clemens had a fastball which was good enough that if he only threw that one pitch, he would have been an effective starter. But he didn’t want to be an effective starter, he wanted to be a great one, and in order to do that he had to mix in other pitches which, taken in a vacuum, were less effective. Then he had to determine the optimal mix of pitches which would allow them as a whole to make him the most effective pitcher he could be. While he may have gotten more outs on his change-up or curve, it was only because people feared the fastball so much, and if he threw the fastball less, the other pitches would not be as effective. Back to Andy, he has concluded that running his offense in the way he does will maximize his team’s chances of winning in the long run, even if the specific run/pass mix is strange in one particular game. If for some reason he does not build a lead in the first half, the run ratio goes down even more in the second, and the fans yell louder to run the DAMN BALL!!!!! Andy does not care what the fans think of his playcalling, he just wants to win games. We’ve seen Andy coach long enough that we know what an Andy Reid win looks like and what an Andy Reid loss looks like. Frankly, I think a lot of the dislike of the man stems from this very familiarity. People feel bored by his and assume his replacement would be just as successful (or more) without being so predictable. I have my doubts on both accounts.

    • drichwine

      For some reason my paragraphs didn’t appear, which makes the above less readable. Sorry, anyone who reads this…

    • TommyLawlor

      I agree with much of what you say. However, I think Andy talks himself into believing certain things. We hear broadcasters talk about Andy explaining how his theories are backed up by facts.

      To that I say, let me talk to Big Red. I guarantee you he’s “cooking the books”. He’s choosing bits and pieces of data to back up his point. He’s not being intellectually honest. Andy loves the passing game. Of course he’s going to gather data to support his ideas. I’m sure Mike Mularkey will explain to you how rushing attempts are the real key to winning. Or the Steelers will focus on the 3-4 and zone blitzing.

      Most coaches are very smart and they do what they do for a reason. The problem is that the coach often needs someone that they can listen to who will be the devil’s advocate and point out the flaws in their thinking. Remember the Rams SB win? Martz fell in love with the pass. NFL Films caught Vermeil telling Martz that Kurt Warner’s arm looked dead to him and he instructed Martz to start running the ball. They won. The next Rams trip to the SB ended in a loss, partially because Martz wouldn’t quit throwing the ball. He needed Vermeil there beside him.

      Andy has no Vermeil to nag at him about running the ball. Marty also loves the pass and that’s why they are such a dangerous combo. This is the equivalent of me asking my buddy Josh to let me know when I’ve had enough to drink. The blind leading the blind.

      • drichwine

        You may be correct, and that’s the nail head of any real argument for sacking Reid – intellectual dishonesty can affect even the brightest and best and no one is immune. I happen to think he’s not, but I don’t know enough to feel a high level of confidence in my opinion.

    • TommyLawlor

      Should have said earlier…good response.

  • The_Reddgie

    Tommy, you are my favorite writer to follow, but at some point we have to stop making excuses for AR’s obsession with HAVING TO WIN via the pass. We have one of the best RBs in the league, and he is severely underused on a WEEKLY BASIS. We have a QB who is extremely weak at reading the Defense pre-snap and is indecisive in the pocket. And yet, they have game-plans every week that are catered towards Vick’s weaknesses and under-utilizing a top RB. Unacceptable, and approaching grounds for termination.

    Once is happenstance, twice is a coincidence and hundreds of times is a trend.He is obviously incapable of doing what is most likely to succeed over what he wants to do. As the not-so-great Orator Emmit Smith once said, a zebra won’t change it’s spots.

  • http://twitter.com/ScottJ610 Scott J

    The bottom line is Reid is not a good game day coach. He can’t adjust on the fly and never will. He’s still bad at clock management and time outs. And taking a running QB like Vick and changing him late in his career has been a disaster. I don’t think Foles is the answer right now with this bad O-line.

  • http://twitter.com/ScottJ610 Scott J

    A good movie reference for the Eagles is Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. Every season we think this is the year where everything comes together. We look great on paper and our optimism is high. But every year it’s the same.