The Philadelphia Eagles will not fire head coach Andy Reid at the end of the 2011 season. I am also saying this with the assumption that the Eagles will not make the playoffs this year.
Basically, I do not think that Reid has been given a “make the playoffs or get fired” ultimatum this season.
During the Eagles’ four game losing streak, fans were calling for Reid’s head in an angry, venomous way. The frustration grew to a feverish pitch and the overwhelming feeling was that all of the team’s failures ultimately boiled down to mistakes from Andy Reid.
For the most part, I agree with that sentiment. He is, after all, the man who put all of this together.
The angry mob hasn’t returned with their pitchforks and torches just yet after the loss to Chicago. However, it’s just a matter of time before this topic is front and center again.
But here’s the thing: If you sit back and think about things for minute and apply logic, common sense and your knowledge of how the Eagles’ front office operates, you’ll understand why Reid will not be fired at season’s end.
The Eagles will likely finish this season with an 8-8 record, give or take a game. The feeling within the organization will be one of disappointment but not of complete and utter failure.
If things continue the way they’ve been going thus far, with the Eagles being competitive and “almost” winning most of these games, Reid will be given a pass.
The rationale will be that there was too much change that happened in a shortened offseason and the team needed time to come together. In fact, Reid might be praised for his effort in orchestrating all of this and still “almost” making the playoffs.
I know this is a “tired excuse” for many people but while it may be an excuse, it doesn’t make it any less true.
It takes time to undergo the kind of changes the Eagles have made for this season. It would have been difficult, to say the least, even if they did have a full offseason to implement things.
Just to refresh your memory, here are all of the predominant changes the Eagles made:
- New offensive line coach, new scheme
- New defensive line coach, new scheme
- New defensive coordinator, new scheme
- Almost entirely new offensive line
- Six new starters on defense (seven if you include nickel CB)
- Rookie kicker and punter
Then you add in other various factors and changes that impact the team such as Ronnie Brown as the back-up running back, Vince Young as the back-up quarterback and DeSean Jackson’s contract-related disappearing act.
All of those factors have a direct impact on the product you see on the field.
New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck explained things pretty well when he offered this to say about the Eagles’ problems:
“I think everybody expected a little bit more [of the Eagles],” Tuck said. “I think with the talent they have on their football team, they can be one of the most dangerous teams in the league. When they put it together, the thing I was quoted saying is, ‘You can’t buy championships.’ And what I meant by that is, you’ve got to build chemistry.
“You can have all the talent in the world. (But) if you’re not out there playing as one, if you’re just 11 individuals, you’re not gonna beat anybody in this league. And I think right now that’s some of the issues that they’re having. Nobody can question how talented they are, nobody can question how good of a coach Andy Reid is. Everybody knows that. You need more than talent in this league, because every team has talent.”
I agree 100% with what Tuck said and that is exactly what the Eagles lack: chemistry. Though, I will add in that the Eagles also lack strong vocal leadership, particularly on defense.
And it takes time for all that to develop with a team full of newcomers. Chemistry doesn’t happen overnight and leaders won’t emerge while everyone is trying to get acclimated with one another.
Furthermore, the Eagles just invested a lot of money and time into bringing in all of this talent (both players and coaches). Why would they blow it all up after just one season?
And when they gave Michael Vick his contract, most, if not all, of the guaranteed money will be paid in the first two years. That means they were basically giving him a two-year window to bring Philadelphia a championship.
I don’t think they’ll want to separate Vick from Reid just yet since Reid is the main reason why Vick has played as well as he has (for the most part).
It is for all of these reasons why the Eagles’ front office will give Reid one more year to get it done.
If the Eagles were not competitive and getting blown out or completely out-played, it might be different. But the fact is, the Eagles have lost mostly due to dumb mistakes that are seen as easily correctable for the most part.
They will keep most of the current team intact for next season, with the exception of a few players, then add a few pieces and make a final run for the Super Bowl in 2012.
If they come up short next year, it will be Andy Reid’s last as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. For now, though, expect at least one more year with the guy we call “Big Red” (among other colorful things).
So…Andy Reid says: