Back in 1994 I worked for a radio station in Myrtle Beach, SC. My boss and I didn’t see eye to eye very much. I’m generally pretty easy to get along with, but he said and did some really strange things. I bit my tongue as much as possible, but did have some times when I just couldn’t. I wasn’t the only one who had issues with him so the office didn’t have the greatest vibe.
Then the station got sold. The new owner decided to switch formats and dump the sports programming. We could have jobs as full time salesmen, but not doing any sports broadcasting. In the month or so between the sale and the coming format change, the boss changed his personality completely. Instead of trying to be the boss, he lightened up and became part of the group. We had a ton of fun in those final weeks. I can’t tell you how many times I sat at my desk, doubled over in tears, as we laughed at something bizarre. That was an incredibly fun month. The end was liberating. It changed us all.
I bring this up because some Philly writers are now reading into Andy Reid’s actions and trying to figure out if he’s coming back. They say that firing coaches and cutting veteran players are the moves of a coach getting ready for next year, not playing out the final month of his career in Philly. I completely disagree.
Reid knows he’s done. He doesn’t have to worry about the playoffs. There is no 8-8 record to shoot for (always good for coach/team to say they didn’t have a losing season). The 2012 season is over, it just hasn’t finished playing out. Reid now has the freedom to do what he wants. When there still is a chance of turning things around, you sell your soul to the devil. You play the best players, even if they’re flawed. You do whatever it takes to keep the peace (putting up with Washburn’s crap). Once you know it’s meaningless, you have the freedom to do what you want.
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I discussed bringing Andy back the other night with Jimmy on a podcast. It doesn’t make sense for a variety of reasons. The most important point is that Reid wouldn’t just come back for one season. You either hand Reid an extension or you fire him.
Say Andy did come back in 2013. He’d likely have Nick Foles as his QB. I literally cannot imagine any circumstance in which Reid and Vick both return, shy of that being a demand from a terrorist who has nuclear weapons. And even then I’d have my doubts.
So you’ve got a young QB in Foles. Maybe the Eagles take a QB with their Top 5 pick. Either way, you’ve got a young guy running the show. If the team starts slowly and sits at 2-4 or something like that, the screams for Reid’s head would be deafening. That’s why Lurie would have to commit to him for a minimum of 3 years. It would give Reid the chance to do things with long term vision. Can you imagine the outcry if Lurie handed Reid a 3-year extension? That would be insane.
If Reid came back, he’d have to replace a lot of the staff. Jim Washburn is gone and Tommy Brasher is 72 so he’s not your long term answer. Todd Bowles did a solid job as DBs coach, but there are no guarantees he’d stick around. RBs coach Ted Williams will turn 70 next November. Does he retire? Howard Mudd is out as OL coach. Bobby April is likely done as STs coach. The team desperately needs a veteran DC.
Does Lurie trust Reid to make all these changes? I doubt it.
The other x-factor in all of this would be Reid’s return to Lehigh next summer. How would he handle going back to the dorms where his son Garrett died? Reid might find that cathartic. I tend to think it would affect him in a negative way (the way it would most of us). It would be like returning to the scene of the crime. That would overwhelm most people in an emotional way. Reid will have worked through a lot of feelings by then, but going back there could easily stir them up and really get to him.
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I think Reid must be fired, because of the development of Bryce Brown. He and Shady McCoy look like the top 1-2 RB tandem in the league right now. The 2013 offense must be built around them. Reid and Marty Mornhinweg have not shown the ability to focus on the RB position. They feature a star RB, but not a group.
I know the Eagles did just that in 2003, but Brad Childress was the OC back then. Brad does believe in utilizing RBs. Marty and Andy love to throw the ball, especially down field. The 2013 offense needs to be built on getting the ball to Shady and Bryce. That doesn’t mean the old Bill Cowher line up in the I-formation and pound the ball. You can be creative with the run game. You can throw passes to RBs. You just need to make them the focal point of the offense. That will never happen with Marty as OC. And I can’t imagine Andy firing his longtime friend. Therefore, they both need to go.
Very ironic that finding and developing a star player like Bryce Brown could work against you keeping your job. But it should.
Bringing Andy back doesn’t make sense in a variety of ways. It is time to move on, for him and for the Eagles.
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NFL Gimpy posted a new MAQB column. I don’t think I linked to it yet. Gimpy touches on the Bears defense suddenly looking old and slow. They were great for a while, but are struggling here recently.
Here is the podcast where Jimmy Bama and I discussed Reid, Washburn, Foles, and some other things. I still didn’t get Jimmy to reveal his famous cornbread stuffing recipe, but I’ll keep trying.