The message from the Philadelphia Eagles’ players this week is to not blame Andy Reid for the team’s struggles. Put the onus on them, they say.
Michael Vick, Jason Kelce, Evan Mathis and Cullen Jenkins all publicly came to Andy Reid’s defense in one way or another this past week. Plus, Jason Avant called for a players-only meeting that was intended to motivate the players to play better.
I wrote earlier this week, while everyone was spewing venom at Andy Reid, that an argument can be made that the players are just as responsible for the Eagles’ 1-4 start as Reid is, if not more.
We could say that the players are “just saying” to put the blame on them simply because they want to defend their coach.
Well, I don’t think they’re “just saying” it, I think they’re saying it because it’s true.
For all of Reid’s faults, and I’ve listed them here countless times, the Eagles could have a winning record right now if not for some crucial player mistakes. Mistakes no coach would have any control over.
However, actions speak louder than words.
I applaud the players that have come to Reid’s defense. I think it shows great team solidarity that the players aren’t letting their coach fry on the hot seat all alone.
Unfortunately, though, all of this tough talk by the players will ring hollow until they start backing up their words on the field.
In case you missed it, here is what Michael Vick said in defense of his coach as reported by Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“We’re going to fight for him every minute,” Vick said. “It’s not Coach Reid’s fault. Coach can’t go out and hold onto the ball. Coach can’t throw the ball down the field. Coach can’t go out there and do it, he can only give us what we need – the recipe for victory, and that’s what we’re getting.
“I’ve been around the game for a long time, and I know the intricacies and the ins and outs, and it’s not Coach. Bottom line. Put the heat on the players. . . . Don’t put it on him.”
What Vick says is true. Especially this line: “Coach can’t go out and hold onto the ball.”
Let’s hope he follows his own advice here. Michael Vick’s name is attached to 10 of the Eagles’ 15 turnovers this season.
Vick has fumbled the ball a total of seven times, losing three of them. He’s also thrown seven interceptions. Although, I will point out that not all of those seven INTs were Vick’s fault.
Nonetheless, Vick needs to practice better ball security as does Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant. Therefore, practice what you preach Mr. Vick.
Jason Kelce, the other player receiving a lot of attention for making a few fans take down a sign about Andy Reid, also needs to back up his talk with better play.
It’s great hearing Kelce stand up for his coach and team, but back it up by not missing blocks. We can attribute several instances this year where it was his mistake that caused a play to break down.
I realize he’s a rookie and mistakes are part of the learning experience. That’s fine, but since he’s now in the public eye with some tough talk, he needs to play better or his words become meaningless.
The best way these players can defend their coach is by playing well and winning games. If they don’t want to see their coach fired at season’s end, they better start playing some inspired football.
Andy Reid is well respected and admired by his players. One of the reasons for this is that he never calls them out publicly. In essence, he has their backs when it comes to the media.
Now it’s time for them to return the favor with actions, not just words.