I have to admit……when I saw Jeremy Maclin make that catch yesterday, all I could think was “Man, the way the season has gone for the Eagles, this thing is going to get turned over “after further review”. But, when the refs ruled it a completed pass, and Andy Reid and Duce Staley began hugging each other, it was as if a collective weight had been lifted from me, as an Eagles fan.
Now, I will also admit: This season has been a disappointment. But, I still fail to lay blame at the feet of Andy Reid. I mean, ask any football coach out there if he can win when: a) Four-fifths of his starting offensive line goes out with various injuries, b) His starting running back goes out with a concussion, c) His starting quarterback goes out with a concussion, d) One of his starting wide receivers goes out with broken ribs and an injured sternum, and e) His defense plays SO out of sync, that mid-season changes are needed in an effort to right the ship. I guarantee you that no coach, in his right mind, will say that he can win when all of those factors are present.
Now, will Coach Reid be dismissed at season’s end? Only Jeff Lurie knows the answer to that question. But, I can make a case for Coach Reid up to this point. The Arizona game? OK, that’s on the coaching staff. That was a horrible performance. But, to rebound the way they did, against the Giants, and just DRIVE the ball against them was a sight to behold. The losses to Pittsburgh and Detroit, coming the way they did, in the last seconds, while crushing, still have to bode well for Coach Reid. Blowout losses, like the ones against Atlanta might be charged to him, depending on how one views it. But, look at New Orleans: If Celek doesn’t tip that ball in the air, and that score is taken away, then that game is a different one entirely. And, on paper, the Dallas game at the Linc looks bad. I can argue two things from that game: special teams and an extremely confused secondary. Washington is hot right now, riding the wave that is RGIII. Carolina? I really don’t have an explanation for that one. Oh wait……yes I do, Bryce Brown. It’s called “Hold on to the darn football”. Reid didn’t make those fumbles, did he? Reid didn’t fumble that ball against Dallas that was returned for a score, did he? But, Reid had the foresight to take Nick Foles out of Arizona, and look what he did yesterday: 381 yards against a Tampa Bay team that is still in the playoff mix in the NFC.
What really does this all mean? Let’s wait for Thursday night’s game, and really see what kind of coaching job Reid is doing. It’s a short week, and he will be at home against a Cincinnati team that really let one get away from them on Sunday. Can Philadelphia play spoiler? Why not? I mean, this is their playoffs, right? In the remaining games, they will get their shot at division foes Washington and New York, and then, the debate will begin.
All I am saying is this: I urge caution when evaluating Coach Reid this season. Is there someone else out there that could do a better job with the current cast that is in Philadelphia? Certainly, Norv Turner is going to be fired out in San Diego, but, is that really an upgrade? Cam Cameron was just fired this morning, and we saw the disaster he created when he was a head coach in Miami.
With this being the Christmas season, and for all that Coach Reid has done for this organization, sporting a 130-90-1 record, with 7 division championships and 1 conference championship, shouldn’t we practice a little “good will toward men”, and give Reid another shot, when he has his full arsenal? If I was Jeff Lurie, Coach Reid comes back next season. But, then again, I’m just a writer, and I’m not the one signing the checks.
We all know that, in football, you get hired to eventually be fired. That’s the cold business side of it. If it happens, it happens, and the Eagles will move on, as will Coach Reid. Most people will say that there’s something to be said for a “fresh voice” and a “fresh set of ideas”. There’s also something to be said for continuity.