The Biggest Need

Posted: November 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 102 Comments »

Back in 1998 the Eagles went 3-13.  Ray Rhodes was the coach.  He set the tone for the organization and it wasn’t a good one.  He was a players coach and trusted his guys.  Ray had been a fringe player in the NFL and motivated himself.  He didn’t always understand that more talented players might not have the same mentality.  Bad habits set in and that team accepted being bad.

A young assistant from Green Bay named Andy Reid was hired to clean up the mess.  Reid came in with zero credibility because of a limited track record.  He had been the QB coach in Green Bay.  He wasn’t a coach that players knew anything about.  Reid ran a tight ship and made that clear early on.  Training Camp was harder, more physical, and more intense.  OL George Hegamin got on Reid’s bad side in the summer of 1999 so Reid had him drive a sled up and down the field after practice.  Soon after, Reid cut him.  In early November the Eagles lost to the Carolina Panthers 33-7.  DT Bill Johnson was joking around in the locker room afterward.  Reid didn’t like that so he cut him.

It was Andy’s way or the highway.

The Eagles went 11-5 in Reid’s second season, 2000.  Think about that locker room.  The offense had Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas.  They were literally giants, but also had a big presence.  When Brian Westbrook went down at the 1-yard line in Dallas in 2007, the world raved about what a heads-up move that was.  Westy didn’t think of it.  Runyan ordered him to do it in the huddle prior to the play.

The defense had a few clowns, but young MLB Jeremiah Trotter was a fiery leader on and off the field.  Brian Dawkins was scary enough on the field that I’m sure players listened to what he said in the locker room.  Troy Vincent was more soft-spoken, but was a natural leader who wasn’t afraid to get on his teammates.

When I watched A Football Life – Jimmy Johnson recently, Johnson blew me away when he admitted the key reason he left Dallas was that he got tired of being the bad guy.  Jerry Jones could celebrate the wins.  The players too.  Not Jimmy.  He had to find something new to complain about to keep the team motivated.  The Cowboys feared him and that is what drove them.

That got me to reflect on Reid’s good teams.  Reid wasn’t like Johnson, but he was a different coach in the early days than he is now.  We now see LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson doing hip-bump celebrations with him on the sideline.  Back then Hugh Douglas was the biggest clown on the team.  He knew to ride on the bus that Reid didn’t when the team was on the way somewhere.  Hugh wanted to have his fun.  Reid didn’t want to be around that stuff.

Reid was different and so was his staff.  Andy’s OC was a veteran coach named Rod Dowhower, who could be tough on players.  The DC was Jim Johnson, who was also a tough, veteran coach.  The STs were run by John Harbaugh.  He was young, but was a fiery coach who wasn’t afraid to get in a player’s face.  Brad Childress started as the QB coach.  He could be demanding.  Tommy Brasher was an old school DL coach.  Young assistants Ron Rivera and Leslie Frazier had played for Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan.  You have to believe they had thick skin and could be hard on players.

Players had to answer to each other, to the assistants, and to Reid.  Now compare that to the 2012 Eagles.

Reid is a different guy these days.  He has his moments, but time and circumstances have changed him.  Do Juan Castillo, Marty Mornhinweg, Bobby April, or Todd Bowles seem like tough, confrontational coaches?  I think Howard Mudd and Jim Washburn fit the bill, but they aren’t enough.

As for the players, you have Vick, Shady, DJax, Herremans, Celek, Trent, Jenkins, and Nnamdi as key leaders or prominent players.  I think  you could also describe them as…nice. That word would also describe Reid, Marty, Todd, Juan, and Bobby.   The NovaCare Complex is full of nice guys.  Too damn many nice guys.  That’s not good in the NFL.  The old sports adage is that nice guys finish last and that’s right where the 2012 Eagles sit in the NFC East.

The Eagles need some strong personalities.  Or jerks.  Or bad guys.  You choose whatever word you like, but there is a need for some people who know how to push buttons and make players uncomfortable.

We all gave Tom Coughlin a hard time back in 2010 for screaming at his Punter after the DeSean TD return.  Maybe we should have seen that as a good thing.  Eli Manning has gotten on some of his teammates publicly, most notably Ahmad Bradshaw.  The Saints won the Super Bowl in 2009.  We know Sean Payton and Gregg Williams could be pushy jerks when they wanted to.  Brees can be a forceful leader.  Think about the past.  Payton’s mentors were Jon Gruden and Bill Parcells, both coaches who could be pushy jerks when they wanted to.

The head coach doesn’t have to be an over the top personality.  Tony Dungy won a title, but having Peyton Manning at QB made that possible.  Bill Walsh built a dynasty without a lot of yelling.  He had Joe Montana and Jerry Rice running the offense.  He had Ronnie Lott on defense.  These were great players, but also very demanding people.  They expected excellence and would not settle for less.  Walsh’s assistants were guys like Bobb McKittrick, Mike Holmgren, Dennis Green, and George Siefert.  Walsh had the right type of guys playing for him and working for him.

It takes the right blend of personalities for an organization to work.  The Eagles had that blend a decade ago, but not anymore.

There will be a lot of firing and hiring going on in the month of January.  I sure hope they bring in the right type of people.  Just say no when it comes to nice guys. Find some demanding people who know how to keep players on edge when that’s needed.  And please avoid free agents who can spell and use the word “equanimity” correctly. They don’t tend to be natural leaders.  Or tacklers.

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  • Iskar36

    Fantastic post Tommy. While I was reading it I was curious if you were going to comment in DRCs post game quote.

    ““That’s one thing about Coach,” cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. “I get mad with him sometimes. He always says, ‘I’ll take this one and put it on myself.’ You’ve got to tell that man at one point, ‘You’ve got to put it on us. You can’t take everything because it’s not your fault. You’re not the out there making the plays.’ It falls down on the players.”

    (I found it in an article by Geoff Mosher: //www.csnphilly.com/football-philadelphia-eagles/eagles-talk/Eagles-performances-are-only-getting-wor?blockID=803575&feedID=692)

    I took the quote at the time to be DRC simply defending his coach, and I still think that’s mostly what it is, but maybe there is a need for AR to call out some players and push certainly players buttons publicly. It’s never been his style and it is something I normally would say is a strength of ARs, but somehow this season, even more than last season, it seems that almost every single player has under achieved. It seems AR hasn’t managed to push the right buttons for this team and maybe doing something out of character would be a needed change. I’m not sure it really matters at this point, but it would be nice to see this team play a quality game at some point this season

    • DanJ3645

      I always got the impression that AR just said “its on me etc etc” to the media and then explained the truth of the situation to his players behind closed doors.
      If he isn’t explaining that dropping the ball, missing every tackle you come near to and not running the correct plays is not appropriate behaviour then AR is right – Its all on him.

    • Skeptic_Eagle

      I’m actually hoping it mostly is on Andy, because if Howie had a huge role in building this incarnation of the Eagles, the problems are not going to be solved when Reid walks away in January.

  • nopain23

    Hey T
    looking forward to your post on why David Shaw should be the next HC of the eagles and what we should do with our top 10 pick in the draft.

    • Arby1

      There’s a new Luke to root for this April.

      • D3FB

        But just imagine what kind of dinner conversations could be had in training camp with two Matthews on the roster.

  • mhrinda

    Intensity Fire AND TALENT… its not good enough to have players (and coaches for that matter) that are just ok .. we need to always be looking for the best.. no more mediocrity and defending players that should defend themselves with THEIR PLAY ON THE FIELD EACH GAME… I really hope we get a GM/Coach that has some guts and cuts guys that we the sympathetic fans make excuses for every week (and continue to delude ourselves that “oh next season he will break out..”) Theres pleny of targets everywhere but just to get the ball rolling I think the illusion of the Safeties has come full circle and Coleman can be reduced to role player and Nate Allen: just cut the bum (Earl Thomas Eric Berry anyone)… Again guys no second best — I dont care the odds shoot for number 1 (Apologists and excuse makers not wanted)

  • birdsofprey

    Awesome post Tommy. Very well explained and put together. How long does it take you to write one of these?

    I think it was easier to come in and shake things up in 1999 because the team wasn’t Reids guys, whereas now cutting someone would be admitting to a mistake. I also think that Reid had no idea how to deal with T.O. and has sought high character guys since. You also can’t cut someone for being a high character guy and it does seem like they’ve over-corrected their course.

    • TommyLawlor

      You are correct that those weren’t Reid’s guys and that did make it easier. That’s where having players and Asst coaches be the bad guy can work. Somebody must be there to push buttons and keep players motivated.

      This piece took a couple of hours. I had to do research and then do some re-writing to get it to come out how I wanted.

    • xeynon

      I think you get at one of the reasons most coaches have a shelf life. The longer a guy is around, the more power over personnel decisions he tends to accrue, and the more power he accrues the more of the team are 100% “his guys”. At that point personal loyalties may begin to cloud his judgment. Furthermore, having say over personnel re-aligns the coaches incentives in shaping the roster from trying to find the best 53 players to trying to find the 53 players which reflect best on him as a talent evaluator. Reid has generally been pretty good about admitting his mistakes (though sometimes, as with Teo-Nesheim and Winston Justice, he’s appeared to make a mistake in admitting his mistake). But once the entire roster is players he’s brought in, even small errors can be magnified.

  • http://twitter.com/sjampendk Patrick

    One thing about Bill Walsh that I remember Tommy talking about on the podcast, is the story of how Montanas completed slant pass to Rice, wasn’t accurate enough for Walsh who had them run in again. It might not be the same kind of tough, mean and yelling as Jimmy Johnson, but the expectation of perfection and the implied: do this better or i’ll find someone who does, mentality is just as effective. Im sure that even though he didnt yell that they were idiots, players knew not to mess with Walsh.

    • TommyLawlor

      The standard should be excellence, not “good enough”. I think that mentality is lacking in this team.

  • Skeptic_Eagle

    Interesting perspective. BB/Brady are definitely strong leaders in NE, not a lot of levity there, just wins; Coughlin, Tomlin, McCarthy, etc.

    I think it’s also an issue of talent. The safeties were never good enough. A lot of people tried to point that out in the offseason, but were labeled as malcontent fans with unrealistic expectations. Not being able to judge the talent on the roster has been a critical fault for the last few years. The line being decent last year was a miracle, and the Eagles were lucky Herremans could slide out to tackle. Serendipity bailed them out of piss-poor planning, but that’s only going to last so long.

    The acquisitions in free agency have not been good enough. The acquisitions in the draft have not been good enough. If Andy has been behind it, his ability to judge players has fallen off a cliff. If it’s someone else (Howie & The Scouting Department)–which honestly, seems more likely to me, given the sea change in tone and approach to roster building–then the Eagles problems are systemic and unlikely to be resolved with a coaching change alone.

    • TommyLawlor

      I disagree about the talent and that’s part of the point of this. The talent here should be winning 11 games. The problem is that they’re not playing up to their talent level with any consistency. Think about SF before and after Harbaugh got there. Many of the same players, but very different results.

      • JofreyRice

        But where, exactly is that talent? Cornerback? Asomugha is not who we thought he was. DRC has been inconsistent, and has some huge flaws in his game. Safety? Neither of these safeties should be starting. The bench? The o-line is in shambles because of lack of viable depth, Vick has not been able to recapture his 2010 form, etc. Defensive end? Where are the results? I’m beyond just talking about how they are “talented”. It’s time to wake up and realize this is one of the worst teams in football, and it’s not all coaching.

        In fairness, DeMeco Ryans was a great addition. Evan Mathis was a solid pickup. Shady McCoy & (it looks like) Fletcher Cox will be top 5 players at their positions. But it’s not enough.

      • ceteris_paribus1776

        An Andy Reid team hasn’t won 11 games in 8 years. This team won 10 games when Vick was playing at a career level and defensive coordinators had not tape. Half a season later they were not lighting the world on fire. Fast forward a season and it took a 4 game winning streak against mediocre teams and backups to get to 8 wins. Now with no Oline and evidently aging D they are wretched.

        They lack difference makers all over the roster besides McCoy. Jackson is a supplemental receiver, not one you build a passing game around. Maclin plays when he wants. They don’t have anyone who is a match up problem in the slot. The secondary has one player that deserves to star, but barely in DRC. Ryans is worthy, Kendrick’s is still learning, WILL sucks, Cox looks fine but isn’t collapsing lines like a dominant player, Jenkins is ok in his old age and Babin and Cole simply look slower to the QB. Tapp, Hunt, & Graham are solid role players. I’m sorry, but this team is simply not dripping with talent like everyone thinks. They are average, with poor coaching, no Oline and terrible QB play. What does that get you??? One of the worst records in the league.

      • BobSmith77

        Winning 11 games?! No way. It is a better team than is producing on the field but this was a WC playoff team at best with a 10-win ceiling max coming into the season if most things broke their way and 8 wins if they had a so-so season.

  • bdbd20

    Tommy, is there any value to firing a coach mid-season? I know that we’ve all heard that Lurie will give AR the entire season. Could anything be gained (as far as player evaluation) by firing Reid and seeing how the players react?

    • Eagles4life

      The only eagles can gain by firing Reid in Mid season is we can possibly have worst record in the NFL and can get the 1st pick in the draft which we can use it to trade if to cowboys for multiple picks!! lol

  • Kevin_aka_RC

    There’s something VERY important to consider: Jeffrey Lurie cares about character and community involvement. Nnamdi Asomugha talked about that being one of the selling points in coming to Philly in his original press conference. The Eagles have been nominated for “best orgainzations” in the WORLD when it comes to non-profit initiatives.

    I don’t see Jeff doing a 180 on that.

    • xeynon

      Yes, but he can find a coach who’s high character but also tough as nails in the locker room. Reid was that, early on. The Harbaughs appear to be that. There will be options.

      • eagles2zc

        Is there a third Harbaughs that the world don’t know about that we can hire?

        • D3FB

          I think Indiana’s basketball coach is their brother in law. Probably worth a shot at DC.

  • austinfan

    I think there’s a very simple explanation, Reid’s problems with his kids. It made him more sympathetic to his players while making the team the emotional center of the universe, his players supported him and football provided an escape from his personal problems. Which would have been fine if he was an assistant coach, but an absolute disaster if you’re a HC.

    An HC is a CEO, he has to keep a distance from his players and even his coaches, because he must be willing to fire underachievers and light a fire under the others. Which is hard to do when you’re dependent on those same people for emotional support.

    When was the last time Reid held a player accountable? “I got to do a better job” gets really old when everyone knows the players have to do a better job. When has a starter really worried about losing their job due to nonperformance – Bell might be the only guy I can remember getting benched, maybe Fokou for Rolle.

    I don’t think the players consciously take advantage of Reid, they like him, but they play as if they have no sense of urgency, no fire, and most importantly, no concern about execution. Do you think Coleman would start this week for Couglin? Do you expect him to be benched for SIms? If players subconsciously know they won’t be held accountable for mistakes, unless you have a team of incredible self-starters, who is going to spend the extra time at practice and in the film room to ensure they don’t repeat mistakes?

    This team has plenty of talent, they need to dump the overpaid veterans to send a message, change the schemes to become easier to execute, then execute any player who doesn’t execute the schemes. They need Andy 15 years ago, a young hungry coach who wouldn’t accept excuses for losing.

    • Skeptic_Eagle

      Coleman can’t move, is a poor tackler, and doesn’t have good ball skills, I don’t think that’s an issue of watching tape. Allen’s instincts are terrible, and he’s not a very good tackler. Nnamdi cannot run the way he used to, and we’ve found that he’s out of his element in zone defense. Demetress Bell & Dallas Reynolds are not good at blocking defenders. Jeremy Maclin does not make contested catches. Those aren’t things that can be fixed by benching & watching tape, particularly, when there are no better alternatives on the roster. I’m just not seeing this unrealized “talent” the players are talking about, and folks are echoing here. I see bad players making bad plays; there are some talented players on this team, but not enough of them, and in the context of a team game, other players failures are preventing the showcase for that talent.

      • http://www.facebook.com/michael.w.cho Michael Winter Cho

        I think it’s a little more mysterious than that. Some of these guys were good players even last year. Read the scouting report on Maclin and Watkins. The question is not why some of the players aren’t very good, but why are none of them playing well?

        • Skeptic_Eagle

          Scouting reports are irrelevant.

          Danny Watkins has never been a good pro. He has had moments, in games, of looking like he could develop into a contributor, but has never played at a high level consistently.

          According to his scouting report, Jeremy Maclin was supposedly a very good kick returner coming out of Mizzou. We learned pretty quickly that not all the “positive” bullet points on a scouting report are going to transfer to the pros. He left his abilty to gain YAC at Missouri, as well, and he has a tough time making contested catches, in general.

          Maclin has shown a lot more promise than Watkins, but never enough to warrant a 1st round draft selection.

          The talented players are playing well. McCoy is doing a lot with an absolute train wreck of a line in front of him. DeMeco is flying all over the field and has been a huge upgrade at linebacker. Fletcher Cox is causing havoc, and is starting to come on as a passrusher. A guy like Desean is dependent upon a lot of things happening that aren’t happening right now, but he’s played well when the offense functions well enough to use him.

          It’s not rocket science here. Bad players play bad. When you have a lot more bad players than good players, you have a bad team.

          • TommyLawlor

            You are way oversimplifying things.

          • austinfan

            Typical Eagle fan.

            If bad players play bad, how come so many bad players become good players when they move to different teams with different HCs and schemes?

            Now there are bad players, Reynolds should not be on a NFL roster next year, and Tennent must be a bad player if he can’t push Reynolds to the bench. Hughes keeps getting cameos and keeps blowing them.

            But I watched Coleman single handedly stop AP repeatedly in the open field, bad players don’t do that. Watkins was a consensus late 1st/early 2nd rd pick, and had he been 23 instead of 26, he would have gone in the top 20 – maybe he’s a flop, but ask Justice, Austin Howard, McGlynn – maybe it’s the scheme.

            Then there are mystery players, Bell was a pretty decent starting LT in Buffalo with a lot of upside, now he’s maybe the worst LT in the NFL.

          • Skeptic_Eagle

            I believe they call this the denial stage…A lot of the Eagles are still there “We’re talented, we just have to turn it around and stop making all these bad plays”, I think, is the general sentiment. Not seeing all this talent you guys are referencing.

            Kurt Coleman should not be starting for an NFL team at safety, regardless of making a handful of tackles on Adrian Peterson–which admittedly, is impressive. I won’t go so far as saying he doesn’t belong on an NFL roster, but starting him on a regular basis is going to result in medium plays turning into big plays, and increase the success rate of “shot plays” by opposing offenses. He might have played pretty well in that one Vikings game, but has been a liability in many, many more instances, against both the run and the pass.

            It really surprises me that so many people continue to beat the drum for Coleman. The Eagles, themselves, were chomping at the bit to replace him! They told you what they think of him. Were the pick they used to do so not such a miserable failure, and if there were a viable backup safety on the roster right now, he would be benched.

            For as lackluster as McGlynn, Justice, & Austin Howard are–and make no mistake, none of those guys are more than average, particularly, McGlynn & Justice are made to look better by Luck–the guys they replaced them with are a lot worse. Once again, we’re playing roll back the clock on Danny Watkins, referencing his scouting reports. What does the theoretical projection of what he’d be in the NFL got to do with the actual body of work he’s put together as a below average NFL lineman?

          • Skeptic_Eagle

            It’s certainly possible, but I think point I’m raising calls for a more complicated examination of the organization as a whole, rather than just releasing a few underperformers and hiring a new coach that isn’t cozy with the players. Maybe it’s not as comfortable to go there.

            I don’t think any of us truly knows who has crafted this roster, so nothing can categorically be said about who should be held accountable for the systemic problem of signing the wrong free agents, making the wrong draft picks, and filling out the roster with the wrong depth. And by “wrong” of course I mean “more of them being wrong than right”–they have made some good moves, in fairness; just not often, enough. I think you’re looking for the solace of a magic bullet solution to a much larger scale problem.

    • Ark87

      Losing someone close tends to put things in perspective. Hard to get fired up about bad punt coverage after that. Then again he did fire Juan for blowing that lead on the Lions.

      I have no idea where Andy’s head is at this year. But I think the combination of his personal tragedy followed up by the ultimatum on his job has made a toxic mix of desperation and vulnerability. How can you possibly lead in that situation? Who would follow a man in that situation. You would have compassion for that person, but he is in no position to lead you.

      • http://www.facebook.com/michael.w.cho Michael Winter Cho

        The first thing I thought when I began to hear about Andy’s personal problems was–well, it’s hard to be an effective parent when you are climbing the career ladder. 16 hour days do not make for an available father. It may well be that the recent tragedy has put life in perspective (or the beginning of that process), which unfortunately, seems to not the right one for effective coaching. Too bad, I like Reid…

        • A_T_G

          A colleague of mine who knew Reid’s kids in school had similar parenting comments. Sad, but true.

          • SteveH

            I never understood why people who have aspirations of being a professional coach have kids. You’re never going to be able to devote enough time to them and they suffer because of it. A harsh reality, but traditional family life and coaching are just not compatible.

    • A_T_G

      I had similar thoughts. It certainly feels like Vick is a proxy for the son that Reid was unable to get onto the right path. That part has been a huge success and is a tremendous accomplishment. Unfortunately, it also creates a blind spot for Reid as far as being a coach.

  • http://twitter.com/daniel_suraci Daniel
  • Ark87

    I don’t know Tommy….are you sure we as fans aren’t just looking for somebody to whoop this team’s butt all week for a terrible performance, terrible season. Someone who mirrors our feelings?

    I’m not so convinced that it’s because we don’t have enough A-holes on the team. Washburn and Mudd have that right? Their units are terrible. Washburn’s unit is the most underachieving unit on the team.

    Would you re-assess your opinion of parting ways with Joe Banner? He was the type of prickly personality that this organization suddenly needs right? TO was an A-hole who tried to hold his QB accountable for poor play. Jay Cutler humiliated one of his lineman on national television. Is that the sort of thing this team needs. I know it would make us feel better to see once. But does it help?

    Maybe we do need some mean guys, I don’t know. We need a leader. A guy to hold the HC position down. As I mentioned in my response to Austin. Andy’s tragedy and the ultimatum on his job have made him vulnerable and desperate. Sinking ships cannot be the flagship of the fleet. You want to help this ship, but you certainly can’t follow it.

    Also we are using HEAVY rationalization on what championship teams look like. Write off Walsh and Dungy because they had amazing HoF players. Yet we don’t mention the HoF players Jimmy had? No he was an A-hole genius, that’s why the Cowboys were so good.

    • TommyLawlor

      I’m not talking about “kicking butt” to punish them for bad play. That would be dumb.

      I’m talking about a coach who sets a certain standard in January and holds players accountable from that moment forward. Reid did that early on. He’s a kinder, gentler guy now. That’s fine if you have players within the locker room who can be demanding. The Eagles don’t have those players or assistants like that.

      • Ark87

        I don’t mean to be dumb.
        “The Eagles need some strong personalities. Or jerks. Or bad guys. You choose whatever word you like, but there is a need for some people who know how to push buttons and make players uncomfortable.”

        If not punitive, it sounds like we want somebody to light these dudes up, yea?

        “Reid is a different guy these days. He has his moments, but time and circumstances have changed him. Do Juan Castillo, Marty Mornhinweg, Bobby April, or Todd Bowles seem like tough, confrontational coaches? I think Howard Mudd and Jim Washburn fit the bill, but they aren’t enough.”

        Again, the guys who fit the bill have the two worst units on the team. Keep in mind people like Herremans and Watkins were not playing to their ability before their injuries.

        Rex Ryan has about as strong a personality as there is. I get the feeling he doesn’t pull any punches in that locker room. That team is devouring itself from the inside out.

        I will agree with your response. I think the guy up top is tired, desperate, vulnerable and unfit to lead this team at this point. But I don’t think it is essential that his replacement be an especially strong personality or jerk or bad guy. Get me the guy that wins. Don’t care if it’s the next Vince Lombardi, Jimmy Johnson, Bill Walsh, Bill Bellicheck, or Bill Parcells. Though in review i think our next coach should be named Bill.

    • Ark87

      Here’s a thought. Institute a a team policy of hiring coaches for 3 year terms. And you can only serve for 2 terms. Coach becomes eligible for a 3rd term if they win a superbowl in their second term, and a fourth if they get another superbowl in their 3rd. Makes these sorts of things impersonal and helps us cut our losses when our hearts are still hanging on.

      This seems like a question you might be privy to ACV, how many coaches have won their first superbowl with a team in their 7 season or later?

  • http://twitter.com/akuatuta nathalie a

    you sure make a good case again nice guys. thank goodness the players who can spell and use ‘equanimity’ are few, so the mistake won’t happen again ! ,)

  • eagles2zc

    I never imagined Reid to go the way of Wade Phillips. This team is underachieving just like Wade’s Cowboys and a laughingstock within the NFL just like the cowboys

  • Noah D

    I just made this graphic to sum up all of my opinions on personnel.

    • Ark87

      Very neat. I’m pretty much on the same page as you. I’m interested in your opinion on McBriar being gone for sure. In your opinion he is just over-paid?

      Stuff like this is why we’re the best fans in the nfl. They give us a garbage season and we are still here, making graphics. Thinking and bleeding green. Props to you sir!

    • eagles2zc

      I would put Allen and Hughes in the yellow group. Hughes, specially, is someone with which I have a bone to pick after the Det game

    • goeagles55

      Good stuff. The changes I would make are:
      Brent Celek to blue
      Jason Babin to yellow

    • GermanEagle

      Awesome work!

    • TommyLawlor

      Is that really Darryl Tapp’s first name?

      Nice work. I need to write about the roster going forward in the near future.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548999324 Matt Hoover

        Dude that was amazing, love the graph a few I don’t agree with, I think Peters is back for sure for examples

    • P_P_K

      Great work.

    • A_T_G

      Awesome. Just awesome. I am sure there are varying opinions on where certain guys fit, but the categories and approach are great for starting the conversation.

    • pkeagle

      Kudos for the great work – I agree with goeagles55 re Celek and I’d prob put Marsh in blue too (maybe over Hughes)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548999324 Matt Hoover

        I agree Hughes is more of a scheme fit guy, he could easily be a cut in august

    • Miami_Adam

      Nice breakdown. I think you left Kelce off the pie chart, although you listed him as probably safe.

      Also, I think Trent’s salary is guaranteed for next year, so he’s probably more in the safe for sure category, in spite of the down year.

    • SteveH

      Nice graph, the only player that I might have a major difference of opinion on is Stanley Havili. I like him a lot as a versatile fullback, he’s actually looked really good blocking and is obviously a talented reciever/runner for a fullback. Thats just me though coaches might see it differently.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=508479001 Richaud Jeaffreson

      I don’t think Nnamdi is definitely gone. They must really like Menkins to keep him stashed on the roster all year.

  • ACViking

    Re: A Tired Old Coach

    T-Law:

    An observation that may not be worth the virtual paper it’s printed on.

    The Eagles have had no tougher, demanding, discipline-obsessed head coach than Ed Khayat. Probably too much so. Khayat replaced “nice guy” Jerry Williams 4 games into the 1971 season. And Khayat led a pretty lousing bunch of Eagles to 6-4-1 record by getting the players to elevate their performance.

    In 1972, Khayat’s Eagles — after trading hold-out MLB Tim Rossevich, a California odd-ball but the team’s leader — went 2-11-1. And the team nearly mutinied.

    So owner Leonard Tose brought in “nice-guy” Mike McCormack. Not a great coach. Lost control of his team. But he was a damn good evaluator of college players. (His problem was he traded most of those picks for lousy pro players.)

    Then in 1976, Tose hired Dick Vermeil — after watching Vermeil’s undermanned UCLA Bruins absolutely out-scheme and out-play the top-ranked OSU Buckeyes led by Woody Hayes.

    Vermeil came to Philadelphia as a young, relative unknown. Not unlike AR.

    And, like AR, Dick Vermeil was tough on his players, took no nonsense, and demanded excellence.

    Little remembered is that on the 5th day of his first training camp, Dick Vermeil cut RB Ron “Po” James — who led the Eagles in rushing in ’72 and had been a pretty solid back-up and 3rd down receiver under McCormack. James was not Vermeil’s kind of guy. And Vermeil sent a message.

    In 1978 training camp, Vermeil cut a back-up center named Dennis Franks. Not to set an example. Vermeil loved the kind of player and teammate Franks was. Vermeil cut Franks because a better player had come along.

    In 1981, the Eagles raced out to a 6-0 start. Then grew old right there on the TV every Sunday. Just as very young Giants team was maturing. And a 1st-year coach named Joe Gibbs was leading the Redskins to a 6-2 finish.

    After the 1982 season, with 7 years as the Eagles head coach, Dick Vermeil walked away. He was, by his own account, burned out. As the teams’ core grew old, Vermeil didn’t find replacements. And he’d become more attached to his players. He wasn’t cutting guys like Dennis Franks anymore.

    MAYBE — and it’s just a shot in the dark — Andy Reid’s burned out. He may not express it the way Vermeil did, as they’re night and day emotionally. But both were, when their teams were winning, great leaders and motivators.

    Now — as you vividly expressed — AR’s become a different kind of coach. A “nice guy.”

    Andy Reid may just be worn out . . . or “burned out,” as Dick Vermeil called it.

    And AR may not even realize it.

    (I’m not psychoanalyzing AR. Just postulating that he’s burned out after 14 years in the meat-grinder that’s NFL football in Philadelphia.)

    • H_Manders

      Yeah…. similarities between Andy and Napoleon are astounding…

      Successful, dynamic, creative, self-aware, surrounding himself with the right people… As years wore on, all these declined (sharply), and the rest caught up with him… By the end, he was surrounded by yes men (or at least those who did not dare go against him too much), tried the same thing all over again, was unable to surround himself with the right people…

      Andy seems to have done just about the same… when was the last time a player or coach was openly (or loudly) criticizing Reid? I think Runyan was the last one. Coaching staff is mediocre (at least in senior positions). Reid (and Mornhinweg) have been extremely predictable since forever. No creativity.

      • A_T_G

        So, are you suggesting we banish Reid to an island and feed him arsenic? Seems a bit harsh. I hope he goes for Hawaii and Mai-Tais.

        • Ark87

          Yes! Big Red deserves the peace. He could channel his competitive energies into surfing.

    • TommyLawlor

      Interesting perspective.

      There are lots of reasons for this mess. AR’s psyche is likely one of them.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548999324 Matt Hoover

        how much is to blame on the garret death? Former players have come out saying the team is still in a ‘hang over’ state.(winston justice, mcnabb, westbrook ect)

    • TheRogerPodacter

      awesome post, man!

    • Ark87

      Here’s a thought. Institute a a team policy of hiring coaches for 3 year terms. And you can only serve for 2 terms. Coach becomes eligible for a 3rd term if they win a superbowl in their second term, and a fourth if they get another superbowl in their 3rd. Makes these sorts of things impersonal and helps us cut our losses when our hearts are still hanging on.

      This seems like a question you might be privy to ACV, how many coaches have won their first superbowl with a team in their 7th season or later?

      • Ark87

        I researched it:
        1971 season: Tom Landry won his first Superbowl in his 12th season with the Cowboys.
        1976 season: John Madden won his first superbowl in his 10th season with the Raiders.
        2005 season: Bill Cowher won his first superbowl in his 14th season with the Steelers.

        Other fun fact: Almost 20% of the Lombardi Trophies were won by a Coach named bill, with 9 among them.
        2 things:
        A)Should we rename it the Bill Trophy?
        B)Our next coach should be named Bill.

        • TommyLawlor

          Walsh – 3
          Belichick – 3
          Parcells – 2

          Who am I missing?

          • DanJ3645

            cowher

          • Ark87

            oops you beat me to it

          • Ark87

            Cowher

          • ACViking

            Landy started 0-11-1 in the ‘Boys inaugural season of 1960. Dallas faced two problems in getting organized: (1) the expansion draft back then and up through 1976 with the Tampa Bay Bucs provided the worst of the worst from each team and no extra draft picks, and (2) the AFL came into existence, creating even more competition for lesser players.

            But by 1964, Landry — a tremendous defensive coach and innovator — had allowed the 4th fewest points in the NFL while ranking 12th in points scored. He had a talented QB finally hitting his stride in year 5 (normal back then), the fastest WR in the universe, and an All Pro HB: Don Meredith, Bob Hayes, and Don Perkins.

            And, yes, Landry did get that 10-year extension despite having never done better than 5-8-1. But his offense was about to catch up to his defense and take the Cowboys to the playoffs for the next 9 straight seasons.

            In ’65 and ’66, the Cowboys lost the NFL title game in heart-breakers to Lombardi’s Packers. And from ’67-’71, Landry’s Cowboys won their division. But they floundered once there.

            Because Landry couldn’t get to the SB, he and his team had solidified the reputation of not being able to win the Big One.

            So when the Cowboys finally won the SB against the Dolphins (after the ’71 season), the players who’d been there since the mid-’60s and earlier (all on the defensive side of the ball) — Bob Lilly, George Andrie, Jethro Pugh, LeRoy Jordon, Chuck Howley, Dave Edwards, Mel Renfro and Cornell Green — they just talked about how winning the SB was a huge relief.

          • Ark87

            You know ACV, I was worried when i asked you that question that you wouldn’t know off the top of your head and you would have to go through the pain of researching it. So i decided to not be an ass and researched it myself. But I bet you could have come up with that list of the top of your head. Your a great football resource and we’re lucky to have you. Thanks man!

            Never seen Landry in action. Can you imagine that scenario today though? “Well I think things are starting to look up Tom, you havent had a winning record yet but it’s really starting to look good. So I’m going to extend your contract, not for one year, nor 3 years, nor 5 years. NAY! You have 10 years to get your act together mister!” Imagine Reid getting a 10 year extension for finishing 9-7. Oh man! The Linc would burn!

          • phillychuck

            Cowher

    • Midnight_Greenville

      Great post and great points. Who wouldn’t be burned out after the run he’s had, compounded by the personal crises he’s endured the last few years? He clearly has changed in personality. And, similar to Vermeil, he has been unable to replace his great, core players.

      Additionally, I wonder how long you can continue to coach in this league and not have the rest of this league catch up with you. I mean, if I can predict about 75% of his plays before he runs them, you have to figure a decent DC can do that about 95% of the time. Their offensive production this year seems to support that.

      So, making a parallel to Dick Vermeil succeeding Mike McCormick, I want David Shaw from Stanford as our next coach (I believe Tommy has mentioned him before). Like Vermeil with UCLA, he is beating teams with superior talent by gameplanning and executing. He runs a pro-style offense, has worked with a couple superior QB’s, and was there under Harbaugh, who seems to know what he’s doing in the NFL. And, he has about 9 years in various NFL positions, including a year with the Eagles (albeit under Rhodes).

  • SleepingDuck

    Peter King on Chip Kelly “Could Oregon coach Chip Kelly, his national title hopes dashed, be waiting in the wings? I believe he’ll be a candidate to take the Eagles job after leaving the Bucs at the altar last year.”

    • D3FB

      I would imagine that if he comes in for an interview, he’s going to be the coach. There is just no way that other powerhouse programs would let a recruit forget that “that coach at Oregon is gonna ditch you for the NFL anyday now”.

  • Cal Setar

    I really could not agree more with this article. Andy Reid teams used to be known for discipline and focus. For getting better as the season wore on and circumstances got more difficult. Nothing about the last two years comes close to offering even a fleeting reminder those old teams.

    I’ll be sad to see Andy go because of what he’s done here in his 14 years, but I’ll be really excited for what the future may hold as well. Here’s to hoping we see David Shaw or Chip Kelly on the sidelines next year, and not Jon Gruden.

  • Eric Weaver

    Part of the issues are there are no long-term veterans on this team. Yeah, there’s Shady and DeSean and Celek, but are they leaders of men? Vick claims to be the leader, but he’s new and after all the turnovers, what players want to listen to him? The list goes on and on.

    I think part of the reason the Colts have had some success is you still have guys like Reggie Wayne and Dwight Freeney there who know how to win and know how to lead men. Don’t you think it’s beneficial that when Luck is struggling he has Wayne to help him along. Who does Foles have in the huddle? Herremans is about the closest thing on the current offensive roster and he’s out.

    The team has been too full of journeymen, hired assassins and fresh meat since 2008.

    • A_T_G

      I have a lot of beefs with Vick, but getting men to listen and follow him is not one.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548999324 Matt Hoover

        I think shady is a leader on the field

  • Eric Weaver

    Tommy,

    For years I thought Andy covered up for some of Donovan’s failures as a QB. Lately, I’ve come 180 on that thought. I now think that all the success Reid teams had were because of Jim Johnson running the D and McNabb covering up for Reid’s failures as a coach. Think about it. As McNabb declined. so did this team. As Johnson got sickly and passed, the team declined. If not for 2010 Vick doing his best early-years McNabb impression, that team was probably no better than 8-8.

    I think it’s very safe to say McNabb and Jim Johnson carried Reid teams to almost near greatness, almost near dynastic proportions, but they could only do so much. Reid’s failures as a coach were what held the team back from the ultimate prize.

    • http://www.facebook.com/michael.w.cho Michael Winter Cho

      Recall that the Eagles’ up years coincided with NFC down years.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548999324 Matt Hoover

        Not true, the division has always been fiercely tough in the reid era, even with the Deadskins we always had a fight with them, Dallas and NYG were always in the hunt

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548999324 Matt Hoover

      Dmac never had a wr? Really Small Johnson then Trash and Pinkston? Thats awful, give him a Owens and boom super bowl the only year he had a target, what a shame…Plus we had Buck and Westy in there prime we should have been grounding and pounding, back then it worked just look at the steelers, at one point we still had Duce with them..ill never forget Reids reaction to Bucks coming out game for Denver…quote we should have used more!

  • doublgee

    Tommy! For your worries:

  • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

    What we need (ironically enough) is a Juan Castillo-type coach in terms of we’re going to outwork you (instead of out-smart you).

    I’d love to see this franchise adopt the old NFC East approach: Tough D and a balanced O. Stop trying to be like the Pats and be more like the Giants, Niners, Ravens, Texans and Steelers – you know, the prevailing “gold standard” these days.

    No more trying to out-smart the other team by running 3 pass plays on the opponents 1 yard line. No, instead we’re going to line up, mano-a-mano, and beat the living daylights out of you for 60 minutes.

    Bill Cowher-type coaches, Dawkins-type d men and Runyan-type o men.

    Bring them in and we fans will go all William Wallace for this team again!

    • http://www.facebook.com/michael.w.cho Michael Winter Cho

      I have never really understood the criticism that Andy thinks he is smarter than the rest of the league and that we should just get a bunch of big, tough guys and roll over people. There are 31 other teams competing for those same big, tough guys. I always thought, you had better hope Andy actually is smarter than everyone else, or else–why should our team perform any better than average?

      • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

        1) Well, it’s proven out now that – without McNabb and JJ – AR isn’t smarter than anyone else – and mediocrity has reined.
        2) You can have this pansy-soft group – I’ll take those other teams mentioned above.

        • http://www.facebook.com/michael.w.cho Michael Winter Cho

          That seems to be the case. And we’ll be quite lucky to get as good as those teams, you’ll agree.

      • http://twitter.com/sjampendk Patrick

        Do you have to think you’re smarter than everybody else to try and outsmart them. I agree that way too often Andy tries something completely insane because its unexpected or creates something weird. The simple solution in that situation would be, i dont know, give the ball the LeSean McCoy and pound it behind Jason Peters and Evan Mathis when those 2 were last years best OL on the team, maybe the NFL. How many times have we seen that incredibly stupid bootleg play in the redzone, simply because Vick can move?
        I think Rob Ryan is the perfect example. Although he is a good coach, he is a hardly a mastermind, but sometimes he tries to pull the craziest shit, instead of just keeping it simple. I can only assume he does it because he wants to utilize something that nobody thought of, or else he is just an idiot.

  • doublgee

    Two weeks ago, I made this comment after the Monday Night Debacle, “Culture of this team needs to change. No one can say that Foles could’ve done a better job.”
    There goes my hope that I was wrong! However, I do believe we have a very bright future ahead of us. I’m not right now too concerned with a coaching change, as this season (I’ve reverted to these games feeling like they’re preseason again) will be in the wash in a month and a half. It sucks, but i think Andy has earned the right with Lurie to try and figure things out. Hopefully not at the cost of injury to more of our star players. Once the season ends, Lurie will makes the best decision for the Eagles. I truly feel that the new hire will be someone not well known, as Tommy noted they did with Andy. Past behavior is the best predictor of the future.

    –Thanks Tommy, for the tireless work you do! Barry (Sagitarius) and Levon say they have a $240 present for you. Don’t worry about where they got it.

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

    When Andy was in his thirties, he knew which young coaches were good. He also knew which older coaches had been unfairly passed over. He gave responsibility to guys like Johnson, Harbaugh, Spagnuolo, etc.

    But as Andy has aged (he’s 54), he has become more distant from the young talent, so he hired experienced veterans like April (59), Jauron, Washburn (62), Morninweg (50), and Mudd (70) to run his team. He took a chance on McDermott, but when that didn’t work, he immediately turned to Castillo (53).

    These guys may be great coaches. But I can’t help but suspect that the team is no longer on the cutting edge. This can happen in any profession. It’s just that when it happens in business, millions of fans aren’t watching.

  • A_T_G

    Irrelevant fun fact: we are 3-2 against teams with 7 or less days since their last game.

    • Mac

      Not totally irrelevant… the scheduling insanity just added to the ****storm that is the 2012 eagles season.

  • P_P_K

    I don’t think the problem with the team is Andy’s leadership style. I’m not sure he’s really changed dramatically during his entire tenure with the Eagles. He’s a fairly stable and systematic person. I think the problem has to do with the recent personnell decisions he has made, both in terms of players and coaches. There’s not enough talent on the field or the sidelines.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Andy is distracted by family matters and/or somewhat burnt out. These may be impacting his decisions, his enthusiam, and his commitment.

  • SteveH

    Completely off topic, but did anyone else watch Aldon Smith destroy the Bears tonight? I mean it was Winston Justice-Osi debacle bad out there tonight for the Bears OL. Smith is a hell of a pass rusher and his counterpart Justin Smith isn’t too shabby himself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548999324 Matt Hoover

    I keep seeing articles or hearing on tv how Reid needs to be fired now because he is hurting the team, my response, The staff is so thin we have NO ONE to replace him with. If you fire him
    and promote the offensive coordinator Marty Morhinweg who is already
    the playcaller, it wont matter, he is the reid clone, and you can trace
    our downward spiral to the point he was promoted to ocord after Brad
    Childress left. Prior to his promotion after we mistakenly fired Juan
    Castillo(boy was I wrong on him) I think Todd Bowles would have been the
    guy since he was just the secondary coach and we could replace that in
    house, moving him now after the Defense has regressed under him, he is
    no longer an option. We have no one, Reid also has earned the right to
    go down with the ship…Tommy seriously Marty is an awful ocord, I miss Dana Bible!

  • GermanEagle

    Can we trade Foles for Kaepernick?!!

  • shah8
  • quest4fire

    2010 and 2011 were awful drafts. This is what is killing us now, With injuries we have no depth as a result. This is a just a bad team that great coaching cant fix. Andy is a very good coach but has horrible with drafting/FA, I suspect that Lurie is going to pull his final say on personnel decisions and let Howie run the show and Andy just focus on coaching.

  • BC1968

    Hey all, found this, maybe you’ve seen it. I didn’t even take the time to watch it all, but here it is for people who need a laugh. (If it’s funny)

    Taylor Swift – PARODY – We Are Never Ever Gonna Win With Andy

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z447qc4ZRRA&feature=player_embedded

  • ACViking

    Re: Roger Staubach

    In a string below, the Tom Landry Cowboys are discussed.

    Despite struggling the first five years, the team — Owner Clint Murchison and GM Tex Schramm — gave him a 10-year extension.

    All Landry did was take the Cowboys to 9 NFL/NFC title games during 18 playoff appearances over the next 20 years.

    Landry’s Cowboys’ had their greatest success during the ’70s — actually starting in 1971.

    That’s when Roger Staubach became his starter mid-way during the season and stayed there through the ’79 season, when he finally retired — and since made 10s of millions in real estate — because of concussions.

    In the Staubach era, the ‘Boys went to 8 playoffs in 9 years, finishing 1st in the NFC East 6 times, and playing in 4 SBs and winning 2 Lombardi Trophies.

    After Staubach’s retirement, Landry made QB Danny White his starter — and White led the ‘Boys to 3 NFC title games in a row (losing to the Eagles, the 49ers because of “The Catch,” and the Redskins after being knocked out of the game and replaced by Gary Hogeboom).
    ______________

    Point of the Story: Great QBs make for SB winners — unless you have the 2000 Ravens’ defense.