Just because Andy Reid is the NFL’s longest-tenured head coach doesn’t mean his position with the Philadelphia Eagles is secured by any means. Ever since taking over in 1999, Reid has been able to elevate the Eagles franchise from mediocrity into the upper echelon of the league, but has never been able to deliver the City of Brotherly Love what it desires most.
Despite his Super Bowl shortcomings, Reid has been so successful mostly because he has proven to be a master in judgment and has made the right calls in terms of personnel — most notably his often crazed quarterback situation.
The decisions to trade Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb carry heavy influences from Reid, and have undoubtedly favored the Eagles in terms of value. Reid also had an undeniable role in Michael Vick’s resurgent 2010 season — a season that proved Vick can still be one of the NFL’s supreme talents. However, after a disappointing 2011 season coupled with his four-interception Week 1 performance have many questioning Reid’s decision to stick with Vick.
Big Red has always gotten the most out of players because he in turn, has had their back during their darkest hour. Last season, during what many considered as an off year for DeSean Jackson, Reid stuck by his disgruntled wideout and ultimately rewarded him with a long-term contract with the faith that he’d return to Pro Bowl form.
Now while it is this kind of faith that has made him such a player-friendly coach, it is this type of loyalty that may ultimately cost him his coaching gig.
Vick undoubtedly played his worst game in an Eagles uniform against a Cleveland Browns team that is considered to be widely inferior. His four picks and two fumbles are only masked by the fact he was able to orchestrate a 91-yard game-winning drive. And to be quite honest, if it weren’t for a come-from-behind victory, many fans would be calling for the debut of rookie backup Nick Foles in Week 2.
Even with all of Vick’s miscues, Reid (via ESPN.com) was quick to point out, “It wasn’t a one-man show. Everybody had a piece of this pie. From me to the coaches … to the play-calling, the penalties.”
And although these are all reasonable claims, Vick’s lack of ball security and poor decision making ultimately fall upon his shoulders and his alone. If Vick continues to play so recklessly, the Eagles will have no chance at an extended playoff run and might as well look towards the future and jumpstart the Foles era.
As of right now, Philly fans have no choice but to trust that Reid will do what’s best for the team, and chances are that he’ll continue with Vick as his No. 1 quarterback. But if Vick continues to falter, Reid’s decision (or lack thereof) to pull his starter just might be what shows him the door out of Philadelphia.