Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Eagles need action, not Reid's hollow words

Great assessment of Andy Reid by local sports journalist, from yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer....

By Ashley Fox

Inquirer NFL columnist

Until the Eagles actually score a go-ahead touchdown to win a close game in the final couple of minutes, I'm done believing anything Andy Reid has to say. It's all just meaningless words now, non-explanations, catchphrases, and taking responsibility for things that don't make any sense.
Apparently, after losing yet another NFC East game by single digits, Reid thinks the Eagles are just fine. He knows what he's got. There's plenty of time left. He's got the pieces he needs.

The only addendum to Reid's normal postmortem yesterday after a 36-31 loss to the New York Giants was this: "We all need to step it up here now another notch down the stretch."

Seems when you "lose three games by three feet," you have to make sure that you work things out and get that taken care of. At least that's what Reid said.


In the battle of potential vs. production, I'm taking production right now. And the Eagles' production is this: five wins, four losses, zero wins in the NFC East, resulting in a spot in the divisional cellar right next to the Dallas Cowboys.

That road to the NFC championship? It doesn't run through Philadelphia anymore. In case those inside the protective gates of the NovaCare Complex haven't realized it, that road hasn't run through here in a while.

While Reid chose to focus on how the coaches could do things "schematically" to put the players in better positions, the reality is not pretty.

The Eagles are 0-3 against their biggest rivals and 0-4 this season in close games. They can't gain 1 measly yard when they have to have it. They can't get a big stop when they need one. They can't stop the run. They're getting manhandled at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Their coach is calling desperate challenges.

And now, in the latest troubling trend that has developed over the last two weeks, the Eagles can't run the football. Brian Westbrook has had back-to-back insignificant performances. Blame the scheme, or blame the player, but the Eagles' most dangerous weapon has been a nonfactor two weeks in a row.

But everything is A-OK. Just listen to the head coach, who knows more than anyone else in town because, you know, he's the head coach and he's been the head coach for the last 10 years. It's going to be fine because Reid knows what he's got. It's no time to panic. There's plenty of time left.

"I know what I have as far as coaches and players, and I know what we have to do," Reid said yesterday. "And we're going to go do it."

Sure you are. Maybe against the 1-8 Cincinnati Bengals. But what about against the Giants again? Or the Redskins again? Or the Cowboys again?

The Eagles' five wins this season have been against teams that, as of Monday, were 18-26. Their four losses have been against teams that are 24-12. The meaning in that is simple: The Eagles can beat the less-competitive teams, but they're toast against the winners.

That means the Birds are in the middle of the pack, at best. And really, is that any better than being, say, St. Louis? Not here.

While he did make the players report for work yesterday - something that hasn't happened on a Monday in a while - Reid seemed to have determined, after what had to be a sleepless night in his office, that the Eagles' glass is half-full.

Pointing to the positives in the game, Reid said that he was happy that "when the Giants were in a passing situation" - and boy, they didn't need to be often - the Eagles' defense was "able to pressure Eli, hit Eli and sack Eli." The truth is, the Giants rumbled right over the Eagles, gaining 219 rushing yards so that Eli Manning didn't have to be perfect with the passing game. Sure, the Eagles pressured Manning from time to time, but he had plenty of time to step into his throws, and the reality is the Eagles sacked him once and he had 31 pass attempts.

Reid also said that the Eagles' offensive line did "an excellent job of protecting the quarterback." True enough. But where was the run blocking? Keeping the quarterback upright is great, but how about providing Westbrook a few holes? He gained 26 yards on 13 carries. And when the Eagles really needed 1 yard late in the game, Westbrook couldn't get it because he had nowhere to go.

But at least McNabb was on his feet.

Everything else Reid said was pretty much a blur about taking responsibility for this and putting guys in a better position to do that and some overused blather about doing something or other schematically. It's now the scheme, and the execution of the scheme. How insightful.

Until the Eagles get a meaningful win - and Cincinnati, Baltimore and Arizona don't count - I'm not buying any of it. Show me, don't tell me. If you can't do that, don't bother with anything else.


pilgrim99 said...

Well, Romeo Crennell could be your coach instead. And you could have a worse record.

Just sayin'.

Lee Mazzola said...

how 'bout a meaningful tie against cincy?

spacejace said...

good one Lee!