Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Goodbye, Andy Reid

Goodbye, Andy Reid.

It's been a good run. A great run, in fact, in a lot of ways. Except the ones that *really* matter. But it really has been a fun 11 years here in Philly, especially compared to some of the schmike we had as head coaches during the 80s and 90s. And I truly have little doubt that at your next team (my money is on San Diego at the moment), you will have loads more regular season success.

I want to be clear about one thing as you leave this team following the unmitigated disaster that is the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles regular season. Obviously, a lot of the blame for this putrid year falls on the front office’s shoulders, for bringing in guys like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha, neither one of which, it is now clear, can cover their way out of a paper bag. And for not paying speedy wideout DeSean Jackson what he deserved coming into this season, and bringing in a guy like Asomugha at 25 times DeSean’s salary instead. How the front office could have expected DeSean to react, other than exactly the way he has, under those circumstances, is patently ludicrous. Those were hideous moves, obvious wrong moves and I don’t see how people can much blame you, Andy, for that stuff.

But that said, everything else wrong with this team in 2011 pretty much falls squarely on your shoulders. Lets put aside for a minute the fact that you have never won the big game in your life, despite being the #1 seed in the NFC three times in your 11-year tenure, and despite losing the NFC Championship twice at home to inferior teams. On a week in, week out basis, your clock management is laughably bad, and always has been. The use of time outs on this team under your tenure has been enough to make anyone physically ill, and clearly, you have been the major contributor to that. The 2011 season has, sadly, been no exception to this rule.

Similarly, the way you manage unhappy players should be the stuff of legends by now. DeSean was 100% right to be pissed off coming into this season, and after not getting a deal as the season wore on while guys like Chris Johnson did finally get their money and get pizznaid. But come on, Andy, with the benching and the sitting DeSean out for drives, entire halves of games, etc. Andy, you are just too much of a hardass to be able to deal effectively with today’s modern day NFL player, especially the prima donnas that populate the wide receiver position in today's game. We’ve lost parts of like four separate seasons now during your 11-year regime as head coach because of disgruntled wideouts whom you simply have no clue how to handle, while most other coaches in the NFL seem to have figured out how to coexist so much better than you have. Why is it Philadelphia that always seems to have these huge throwdowns between you and the wide receivers, while almost nowhere else do things ever seem to spiral this badly out of control, and result in multi-game benchings, kickings off of the team entirely, etc.?

DeSean will probably still make his money when he signs with the Giants in a few months, albeit probably a little less than what he should have been paid this year by the Eagles after what has been a pretty well disastrous 2011 for him as well as for this team. The Eagles did DeSean wrong, over and over and over again this year. Including you, Coach Reid, not insisting that offensive coordinator Marty Mohrenweig integrate DeSean better into the offense this year. Over the past couple of seasons, DeSean was *constantly* being targeted downfield, at the beginning of games and all the way through to the end, and that strategy undeniably worked very well for the Eagles. This season, however, right from the getgo, all of sudden DeSean just hasn’t been targeted downfield even close to as much, and our offense has suffered greatly as a result. Who (other than the Denver Broncos, obviously) has a good offense in today's NFL without any real downfield threat in this league? It’s an absolute joke, and you, Andy Reid, are about 80% at fault for that. DeSean has literally been targeted around 33% as much as he was last season, all while the team's offense has downright sputtered in many of its games despite being the top 1 or 2 most prolific offense in the league in 2010. How you, as the head coach of this team, could just stand by while this has occurred week after week after week this year is beyond me, and beyond any of us.

And lets don’t even expound on what has happened to the team's defense under your watch, especially here in 2011. Promoting this idiot Luis Castillo -- our former offensive line coach -- to Defensive Coordinator this past offseason has got to be the single stupidest decision made in the NFL by any team or any head coach in at least a year, maybe as much as a decade. I mean, who ever promotes an o-line coach to be a defensive coordinator on a team that struggled mightily on defense in the past season, and then on top of that who also added a number of big-name personnel through free agent signings and trades in the offseason to boot? Who does that? Who else ever thinks that could work in this league? Completely foreseeably, Castillo has been an abject failure, a complete and total bomb, as D-Coordinator, and that one falls 100% on you as the head coach of this team. Not 66%, not 80%, but 100% squarely on you and you alone. And to compound things, you have just stood by and let Castillo suck it up worse and worse and worse all season long, doing nothing to change things up and nothing to get more involved in calling the plays on defense. And my god, could our corners other than Asante Samuel be any worse? Possibly??? Rodgers-Cromartie and Asomugha have been the single worst cornerback tandem in as long as I can remember in the NFL, just two totally worthless players who cannot cover anybody, ever. Asomugha himself has probably been among the bottom two or three starting players in the NFL this season, either getting beat, or committing a blatant hold or pass interference because hes about to give up a touchdown what, 10 different times this year? And yet you do nothing. And this isn't even mentioning the tackling in general on this team, which has been atrocious ever since the very first play from scrimmage against the Eagles this season, when the Rams' Steven Jackson ran for a 54-yard score from behind midfield. Who knew what a harbinger of things to come that one play would be for the 2011 Eagles defense? Well, Andy, your hand-picked guy has led the way with this defense, starting with a couple of the team's biggest offseason pickups, and it has just gone from unthinkable to hideous to putrid as the season has worn on. Last Thursday's 31 points given up to the laughable Seahawks with my dead grandma at quarterback was just the latest in a season full of embarrassments on the defensive side of the ball, and all the while, you have done nothing, nothing at all, to improve things or shake things up. You have simply stood by and fiddled while the Eagles' season burned to ashes.

And lastly, while we're on the topic of Week 13's Seahawks loss, the way this Eagles team has just given up here these past couple of weeks, it is just inexcusable and, once again, absolutely, positively all on your shoulders as the head coach. There is just nobody else to blame for the complete and total lack of heart on this team, none. As far as im concerned, we could take Mike Vick, LeSean Mccoy, Brent Celek and Alex Cooper on offense, and Trent Cole and Jason Babin along with Asante Samuel on defense, and throw every single other player on the team out and start over. At first it was just DeSean Jackson throwing in the towel on the season out of frustration and anger, but now, in a very similar story during your 11 years leading the team in Philadelphia, it has infected the whole team just like it did with TO –- the Eagles are all now a bunch of non-caring losers on this team, plain and simple.

In summary, I blame you as our head coach about 75% overall for the problems of this year’s Philadelphia Eagles. Which, after 11 years of consistently blowing clock management in-game and of rock-solid consistency in stepping down in the big spots, it is clearly time for you to move on. We need to bring in someone new to head this team in 2012, someone with a fresh face for these players, and for these fans who so clearly deserve better. Someone who will not get embarrassed in almost every game by letting the clock run out before we can kick field goals, someone whose players are not so ill-prepared that they are constantly wasting much-needed timeouts before the time when we actually need them. Someone who, while being a disciplinarian, understands far better than you do how to coexist with the ridiculous personas and out-of-control mindsets that, like it or not, now populate all professional sports in this country, with football being absolutely no exception whatsoever.

I want to say again that I truly am thankful for what has been a solid 11 year run in Philadelphia. Believe me when I say, I honestly do not expect to bring in another head coach who will find a way to win five NFC Easts in 11 years. That's never happened before here, and it probably never will again. But like mostly all other Philadelphia Eagles fans at this point in time, I am way beyond the point where I would trade five division titles in 11 years, all for just one Superbowl victory. In a split second. And although I have little doubt that you will take the Chargers, who have long suffered under the hand of the legal idiot known as Norv Turner in San Diego, or some other similar team, and in just a season or two turn them into an 10-6, 11-5 or better type of team. When it comes to regular seasons, you have proven yourself to me beyond a doubt, and I don't doubt that you will have many successes in the regular season to come, nor that you will walk right back into a head coaching job should you so desire within weeks of your firing by the Eagles after this disastrous regular season comes to a close. But the fans of Philadelphia, which despite the recent success of the Phillies, has always been a football town first and foremost, deserve better than you. We deserve better than to go into every season just waiting for the implosion between you and our star player, and always knowing that no matter how good we perform in the regular season, the playoffs are always looming right around the corner, where we know going in we are going to come up just short, and get out-coached when it counts the most.

Give me Bill Cowher. Give me Jeff Fisher. For Christ's sake, go and find a way to bring Jon Gruden back here where he was the O-Coordinator many years ago and got his start before finding his way to the Monday Night Football booth. But most of all, just give me some hope. At this point, now that this disastrous regular season is more than 3/4 gone, Eagles fans just want hope for a championship more than anything else, and you, Andy Reid, are simply not the guy who can bring us back that hope.

Happy Trails, Andy. I will always think fondly of your 11 years here. And when we do finally host that parade down Broad Street with the Superbowl trophy floating by with our name on it, I will think back to the moment of your firing, with a smile.

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