Are Jeff Lurie and Joe Banner insane? Well, if you remember Joe Banner’s quote about the definition of insanity at the end of the 2009 season, maybe they are! At the time of that statement many people weren’t sure exactly what Banner meant except that obviously changes needed to be made. But by sticking with Andy Reid as head coach, the Eagles are in fact doing the same thing over and over yet expecting different results.
This is not to say Andy Reid is a bad coach. In fact, I think he’s a very good coach who would be considered great if he could ever just get that ever-so-elusive Super Bowl title. It’s amazing how close he has gotten but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, right?
Think about it for a minute. If I were to tell you that that an NFL team would make the playoffs nine times in the next 12 years, play in five conference championship games (three at home), and be favored in four of them, what would be your guess as to how many Super Bowls that team would win? Wouldn’t you guess at least one? Buffalo Bills fans certainly know what I’m talking about.
As good of a coach Andy Reid is, at what point is it just time to move on? We all know that Reid’s head coaching tenure in Philadelphia has been the exception and not the rule according to NFL averages. The ultimate question is: Will the Eagles ever win a Super Bowl with Andy Reid as head coach? Tough question. Let’s make a quick list of the top reasons why he will and won’t and see if one list is more compelling than the other.
Reasons why Andy Reid will win a Super Bowl
He fields a competitive team almost every year. In doing so it increases the chances of catching lightning in a bottle at least once. You can’t win a Super Bowl if you don’t make the playoffs. The law of averages says that the more times you can cast your line in the water, the better the chances you’ll have of catching the prized fish.
He has a fantastic set of core players now. He has amazingly and steadily rebuilt this team and now has the best group of core players he’s ever had. Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Brent Celek have the capability to be better than the offense that played in the 2004 Super Bowl. This offense is on the verge of greatness.
He is a great leader and planner. Not many coaches have done what Reid has been able to do. He has transitioned the team seamlessly into a second era while remaining competitive. Players like and respect him and will play hard for him. You can’t accomplish what he has without having excellent leadership abilities.
Reasons why Andy Reid will not win a Super Bowl
His run/pass ratio; aka, his play calling. This subject has been discussed ad-nauseum amongst Eagles fans but in my opinion, it really is the biggest reason why his teams falter in the post season. I briefly discussed this in a previous article and showed that when you look at the Eagles’ overall run/pass ratio statistics, they are skewed because of Michael Vick’s running.
Since the majority of his rushes were actually originally a pass play (it was a called pass, not run), it means that last year’s ratio in terms of called plays was more like 70 percent pass, 30 percent run. Being one dimensional on offense leads to being too predictable. It just doesn’t get it done against playoff teams and not to mention playoff weather which isn’t conducive to passing the ball.
His failure to identify defensive talent. The majority of the best talent on defense he’s ever had was inherited from Ray Rhodes. Brian Dawkins, Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor, Hugh Douglas, and Jeremiah Trotter were all here when he got here and were key components of his early success. He brought in the likes of Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown, Jevon Kearse, and Corey Simon and while they were good, they weren’t of the same caliber.
The defense has steadily declined under Reid and was obviously their biggest weakness last season. Jim Johnson did the best he could with what he was given and had success in spite of Reid, not because of him.
His philosophy. This encompasses the above two reasons as well and it is why he is the way he is. He believes that passing the ball as much as he does is the way to win a championship. He fails to see the importance of the linebacker position and continues to acquire the same certain types of defensive players that never appear to work out. He needs to tweak his overall philosophy if he ever hopes to win a Super Bowl.
In weighing Reid’s pros and cons, I feel he has more going for him than against him. However, there are many fans who feel his time has run out and he needs to go. There are good arguments to be made for both keeping and firing him.
After a frustrating loss when I see his coaching weaknesses rear their ugly head, I fly off the handle and want him gone. But after I cool down and I am in a more rational state such as now, I ultimately ask this question: Who out there is better?
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. If the Eagles fired Reid, the odds of finding another coach who can accomplish what he has are long. Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, or Jeff Fisher? Though two out of those three have Super Bowl rings, they are not as good of a coach as Andy Reid is.
The funny thing is that I’d take Reid or Fisher with no Super Bowls over Gruden and Cowher who each have won a Super Bowl. To bring up an analogy, would you rather have Dan Marino as your quarterback or Trent Dilfer? Dilfer won a Super Bowl but Marino didn’t, does that mean he’s the better QB? Exactly. Reid is the best option right now.
Having said all that, I think that the ticking of Reid’s clock in Philadelphia is getting louder. Back in February of this year Joe Banner did an interview and was asked about Andy Reid’s contract and his future in Philadelphia. He gave high praise for Reid but also hinted that there could be an impending expiration date on Reid’s coaching services if we don’t win a championship soon.
If you wish to read the interview you can view it on Philly.com and judge for yourself to see if there is a hidden message in Banner’s words.
At most, I give Reid 2 more seasons with the current team to win a Super Bowl. If he doesn’t get it done by then he’ll be gone because it’s the nature of the beast in the NFL. Time catches up to the best of coaches and change is inevitable. However, if he wins one that will ensure several more years of Reid and his “Reid-isms”. Instead of “time’s yours” it will be “time’s his”.
What do you think about Andy Reid?