When the subject of Andy Reid comes up it almost always incites a variety of emotions. The most common reaction is to vomit, followed by uncontrollable rage, then slipping into deep depression (I kid, of course :)). But seriously, the most common reaction I’ve noticed is frustration and anger. People are tired of Andy Reid. Tired of his own “Reid-isms” such as “we have to do a better job there” and “I have to put them in a better position”, etc etc. Tired of his pass-happy philosophy. Tired of his game management skills. Tired of him drafting badly at certain positions…particularly at DE and LB. People are more recently tired of his lying (“I did not have sexual relations with that woman”…oh wait, that one wasn’t Reid, but he did say he was keeping McDermott and Kolb would remain the starter after week 1, etc).
With all that said, the thing people are most tired of is LOSING. How can people say they’re tired of losing when Reid’s overall record is 118-73-1 (.618 winning percentage) and is the winning-est coach in Eagles history? Well, it is most likely due to his lack of a Super Bowl victory after 12 seasons in charge. Reid’s Eagles have always come up short of the ultimate goal for one reason or another. From 01′ through ’03 the main culprit seemed to be a lack of a stud WR. In ’04 it was the lack of in-game adjustments and urgency, though McNabb took the majority of the heat for the Super Bowl loss.
From ’05 up to the present, there has been a myriad of reasons for falling short including the T.O. fiasco, McNabb’s injuries, McNabb’s decline in play, Reid’s imbalanced run/pass ratio, and most notably, the decline on the defensive side of the ball. But there has been one thing that has been permeating in the back of my mind for a while now and it was recently brought up by Mike Missinelli on talk radio’s 97.5 The Fanatic. He brought up a subject (and a stat to back it up) that brought my nagging thought to the forefront of my mind: The Eagles always seem to have trouble beating the more competitive teams, aka those with winning records.
A buddy of mine is the one who heard this on the radio and it inspired me to check into it. In my quest to find the actual stat Mikey Miss was talking about, I found this site, another blog about the Eagles. But this blog, titled “Fire The Walrus”, is dedicated to reasons for firing Andy Reid. It is an interesting read, especially if you’re of the opinion Reid should be ousted. However, it shows Reid as being 48-55 (.466 winning percentage) against teams with a .500 or better record. The site further shows that Reid’s record in the playoffs is 10-9 with a breakdown of 4-1 against playoff teams with either 8 or 9 wins and is 6-8 against teams with 10 wins or better.
This shows a compelling trend that Reid’s Eagles beat the teams they should beat and struggle against better competition. Fire The Walrus goes on to show that, in comparison, Bill Belichick’s career record against teams with winning records is 61-41 (.598 winning percentage) and has been compiled against much tougher AFC opponents. Belichick has also coached in 19 playoff games and has compiled a 14-5 record with all but 1 game going against teams with 10 or more wins. I won’t even mention the fact he also has 3 Super Bowl rings (oh wait, I guess I just did). Belichick obviously is on a different coaching level than Reid, unfortunately for us.
By beating the teams they should beat, it shows that the Eagles are a good, well coached team. And for the record, I can say without hesitation that Reid has been the best coach the Eagles have ever had. But what does having a losing record against winning teams mean? To me, that boils down to coaching and overall philosophy of how to win when the stakes get higher. Reid’s philosophy has been to score points early by passing the ball, getting a lead in the 1st half, then trying to run a more balanced attack in the 2nd half. By scoring points early, it theoretically puts the other team in passing situations so that our “fastball” defense can tee-off on the opposing QB.
The problem is, that philosophy doesn’t seem to work in reality. We set a franchise scoring record this past season and could not generate pressure on the opposing QB. And by the time of the Packers playoff game, did you feel that we would be scoring a lot of points or sacking Aaron Rodgers? I sure didn’t…for the same reason, we struggle against good teams. Heck, we came out and stunk it up against a bad Vikings team in a game where, had we won, we could have earned a bye week.
Something needs to change. Whether it’s changing the head coach or Reid altering his philosophy, something has to change in order for us to reach our ultimate goal of…WINNING A SUPER BOWL. Reid’s way has not been getting it done. But alas, we know that we at least have 1 more season with our beloved head coach. Personally, I’m hoping we load up in free agency to make a serious run next season before Mike Vick breaks down and our nucleus of good young skill players gets broken up.
For those who want an image of Reid that may amuse you, make you ill, or haunt you…check this out. Someone out there has a pretty strange (but funny) sense of humor: