The hot seat.
It’s something coaches find themselves on often when a team is struggling or a fan base is getting restless.
Tom Coughlin knows far too much about the hot seat. It seems like he’s on it every year—such is the life of a coach in New York. Forget the fact the Giant’s have won two Super Bowls in the last five years. Those bought him about a summer’s worth of breathing room each, before fans and the media were back down his throat.
Andy Reid hasn’t earned any such breathing room, and in turn the heat of the seat he finds himself on is beyond boiling.
If you were to supplant the current Eagles team and place them anywhere in or around the Big Apple, Reid would have been fired YEARS ago.
I’ve long been a supporter of Big Red, but I’m starting to have second thoughts. My patience is wearing awfully thin, and my faith in the system that Philly has in place is running on empty and no gas station is in sight.
But are we (Eagles fans) overreacting? Should this coach be given “yet another chance”? Or would we actually be better off without the longest tenured coach in franchise history?
Off to the good old-fashioned Pro-Con list to find some answers.
So what’s there to like about Andy?
When you’re the head coach of a team for 14 years in the NFL you’re almost a shoo-in to be the all-time leader in a few coaching categories. Still, Andy’s got some impressive numbers as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Looking at a few:
- Currently has a .600 regular season winning percentage (franchise best)
- 216 regular season and 19 post season games called (both franchise records)
- 129 regular season wins, and 10 post season wins (again, both franchise records)
- 9 playoff appearances
- 5 NFC Championship appearances
- 1 Super Bowl appearance
- Eight 10+ win seasons
With numbers like that he’s easily one of the best coaches this franchise has seen
walk stand on the sidelines.
Aside from the 90-95% of the fan base constantly calling for his head, everyone loves and respects every square foot of Andy Reid.
Listen to any analyst on ESPN, NFL Network, or some other sports talk show when they’re on the subject of Reid and the Eagles. They all talk about how brilliant a football mind he is.
There’s no better example of the respect that everyone in the football industry has for Reid than the outpouring of support he and his family received following the unfortunate death of his son Garrett. Over 900 people showed up to support the coach and his family including many former players, coaches, and league officials from all across the country.
The media seem to think fans are crazy calling for Reid’s tenure to come to an end. And they’re likely right that he wouldn’t be out of a job for long if the Eagles were to let him go. (I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up with that other team in the NFC East struggling right now.)
Prior to taking the head coaching job in Philly, Reid was the Quarterbacks coach for the Packers, a role he filled for two years.
Reid has been an exceptional quarterback developer throughout his career.
Say what you will of Donovan McNabb, he was a major factor in all of those franchise leading numbers that belong to Reid. His coach put him in a system that allowed him to flourish and succeed despite his shortcomings as an accurate passer.
What did McNabb do in his two years following the trade to Washington? Zilch.
And when it comes to backups (because with QBs like McNabb and Vick, having them is more than just a necessity), Reid always had them prepared to step in and start on a moment’s notice. Guys like A.J. Feeley, Jeff Garcia, and Kevin Kolb had opportunities to step in for extended periods of time as the Eagles starting QB. In each case they were gone within the next year—their value rose and they became a nice bartering chip or were too expensive to keep as a backup.
Then there’s the Michael Vick project. I’m on the fence about calling this a success right now (thanks to the play of late), but just look at 2010. Vick caught the league by surprise with outstanding numbers that put him in the thick of MVP conversations and earned him his second $100 million contract.
ROT: Return on Talent
The defense always had big names: Dawkins, Trotter, Vincent, Brown, Simon—the list goes on. The offense was a constant mish-mash of talent, especially at the wide receiver position. Somehow this team made runs to four straight NFC Championship games with names like Thrash, Pinkston, and Mitchell.
Andy was able to maximize the return on such a mediocre group of individuals. There was never that one marquee player (until Owens showed up for that hot minute) for McNabb to hurl the ball towards. But still they managed to be a consistently great team.
Now the bad.
With great power…
You know the rest. Since Andy was given greater control of the team, he’s made some decidedly awful decisions. It’s been sort of like a terrible domino effect. Should we go through them?
First, there’s the mismanagement of Juan Castillo. Moving him from offensive line coach to defensive coordinator was baffling in and of itself. He never coached a defense at the professional level—in any capacity whatsoever—but all of a sudden he was going to step in and assume to role with the greatest responsibility over the unit. Sure the lockout-shortened preseason didn’t allow for much lead time in implementing his system, and the last four weeks they looked better than average, but all-in-all they were a pretty underwhelming bunch (this after having three all-pro caliber corners, and a dominating defensive line).
That continued into this season and ultimately led to Castillo’s firing.
And how about the man who replaced Castillo as offensive line coach? Howard Mudd.
Mudd is a very well-respected coach in the league, but to say he’s sucked since joining the Eagles would be an understatement. Michael Vick—who Reid has turned into a pocket passer, more on this later—has been running for his life in his just over two seasons as the starter for this team. Sure, there’ve been some injuries to deal with. But if you’re job is to prepare players to perform at this level, and they’re not, well then that falls squarely on you—in turn this reflects poorly on the person that hired you… Reid.
Back to Vick. When he did have that re-breakout year in 2010, he was the perfect mix of a mobile and pocket passer. He still got out and ran like the pre-incarceration Vick, but showed the ability to hang in the pocket and sling the ball downfield. It’s gotten far too unbalanced since then. Reid has been trying to hold Vick in the pocket longer and longer—and he’s taking an extremely high number of hits because of it. If it wasn’t for him being Michael Vick, he surely would be dead.
One move that Reid should have made, but likely never will because doing so would essentially mean admitting his system has failed, is removing and replacing Marty Mornhinweg as offensive coordinator. The two are essentially connected at the hip, so the only way I see it happening is if Reid himself is let go.
This offense for years has been far too predictable:. Pass. Pass. Pass. Play action pass. Pass. Run. Pass. Pass. Play action pass. Pass. Screen. Screen. Run. Pass. Pass.
Lots of throwing. Little running. Using play action despite having failed to establish the run. It’s been the same story for 14 years.
Note to Andy: Teams have caught on! It’s time to try something new, now.
His idea of new this year, mainly because of the lack of protection and time provided by the horrendous offensive line, is quick out passes. Typically this team would try a few deep passes a game, and were pretty successful. What’s new now is that they’ve completely abandoned the deep play. It’s absolutely amazing how a team with Michael Vick, Desean Jackson, and LeSean McCoy could be one of the lowest scoring offenses in the league? So much speed and so much talent—something Reid didn’t have the first half of his tenure—and it’s being wasted.
We made the New Orleans Saints, statistically one of the worst defenses in the history (the HISTORY) of the NFL, look like a top five defense. It’s pathetic! Teams know what the Eagles are going to do, they know the line can’t protect, and they continue to run the same “game plan.”
Everyone wants to do better for Reid’s sake. They really do. They say it every week, after each loss. But nothing continually gets done to make improvement. Media have noticed it. I notice it. I’m sure plenty of other people have too.
One thing that I’ve become so sick of in postgame press conferences with Reid is this phrase: “That’s on me.”
If I had a nickel…
Reid’s favorite phrase should provide enough evidence for why the man will be out of a job. Maybe it’s him being a humble coach. But the truth is, it is on him to correct mistakes and improve this team. The same mistakes are being made. Something clearly isn’t working. In my opinion, he’s lost the locker room. Not that they don’t care about what he says—they’re behind their coach. They want to win for him. But his voice isn’t doing enough to put them back on the winning path right now.
The Eagles are in a holding pattern, but the plane isn’t flying level. It’s pointed right at the ground.
Reid has some great positives, but the negatives are pretty glaring.
The thing about the pros. They’re all things that happened in the past. While the resume is ever changing, the rest happened during his early years. The team has far more talent now than we had in 2004. The backup quarterback, while developing just fine, is a rookie. He’s respected, obviously, but that means little if we’re not winning.
That’s what it all boils down to. We’re not winning.
It’s not like a lot of rebuilding has to be done with this team. The talent is in place. They just need to hear a different voice, and be told to do things differently. A fresh face might be the spark they need to correct that flight pattern before we crash and burn.