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Old 11-22-2008, 03:42 AM   #1
Anthony
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Smile Just How Secure ARE Reid & McNabb In Philly?

This comes not from any nattering nabobs of Negadelphianism, but rather from Friday's San Francisco Chronicle:



Philadelphia's McNabb and Reid look bad
Nancy Gay

Friday, November 21, 2008

The NFL's first tie game since 2002, last week's 13-13 deadlock between the Eagles and the Bengals, has taken on a life of its own.

It very well could cost 10-year veteran Donovan McNabb his starting quarterback job, as the cries to bring on Kevin Kolb are growing louder. It could be the final straw that breaks the back of Eagles coach Andy Reid, whose 10-year run as coach and personnel chieftain in Philadelphia is threatened.

Philadelphia may be the City of Brotherly Love, but only when the Eagles are winning.

Across the NFL, this game is being mercilessly dissected in front offices and meeting rooms because of its improbable outcome.

The tie isn't being debated. The manner in which it came about - with two experienced head coaches, Reid and Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis, stubbornly passing the ball in a maddening series of three-and-out drives at the end of regulation and during the overtime period - is leaving the rest of the NFL questioning the clock management skills of both men.

Then there is this: How could McNabb not know that regular season NFL games can end in a tie?

"No, I didn't know that," McNabb said afterward when pressed about why the Eagles (5-4-1) - locked in a weekly battle for survival in one of the NFL's most difficult divisions - played such strategically bad football in the waning seconds of regulation as well as in the 15-minute overtime period.

That helps explain why the final play of the lone extra period that is allowed in the NFL was a what-the-heck Hail Mary pass by McNabb that failed.

Now we know - McNabb figured he'd get another overtime, so why not air it out to the middle of the field?

"I've never been a part of a tie," McNabb explained. He wasn't out of line with that statement. There hadn't been a tie in the NFL since 2002, when the Falcons and Steelers battled to a 34-34 outcome.

Here is where McNabb may have finally destroyed whatever confidence Eagles fans had left in him.

"I never even knew that was in the rule book," McNabb continued. "It's part of the rules and we have to go with it. I was looking forward to the next opportunity to get out there and try to win the game."

Wow.

It got worse.

Reid, who is under increasing fire in Philly for his team's deteriorating play, including losses to all three division rivals, came across after the game as being completely unaware of how costly a tie could be.

"I've never been in a tie, so I don't know how this thing works in the standings," Reid said. Hint: It's half a point. At this stage, the Eagles can't afford to surrender half a point in the standings.

Reid's critics are befuddled why he doesn't run the ball, especially with a capable player like Brian Westbrook in the backfield. Why not run on third down, instead of relying on McNabb to convert? Opponents are convinced that Reid is afraid to hand off the ball and they play defense accordingly, blitzing McNabb on third down and forcing Westbrook into a pass protection role.

Against the Bengals, the Eagles had 18 third downs - five in the first half. They passed every time. And converted on only three of these third down opportunities.

On one hand, all that heat McNabb typically would have endured for turning over the ball four times (including tying his career-high with three interceptions) has been lost among the controversy over his lack of overtime knowledge. To be fair, McNabb has been adept at protecting the ball this season. He had five interceptions entering the game. Anyone at the game or watching it knew the windy conditions were a factor in the turnovers.

At issue is the Eagles' inability to win close games, and that falls on the shoulders of McNabb and Reid. Their four losses and the tie have been by six points or fewer.


Not working anymore

Across the NFL, there is growing certainty that the head coach-as-general manager business model, one that prominent sports agent Bob LaMonte pushed for his many coaching clients in recent years, is as passe as a prevent defense.

Mike Holmgren struggled with that dual role in Seattle. He is a fine coach but simply wasn't as adept in personnel evaluation and lost his general manager title in 2002, when the Seahawks finished 7-9. Mike Nolan failed miserably given that kind of autonomy with the 49ers.

Reid has a team president in the Eagles organization, Joe Banner, and a general manager, Tom Heckert. It's a well-staffed personnel department overall. But Reid has final say over personnel decisions, giving him carte blanche.

As Bill Parcells once famously complained after the 1996 season - his last in New England before bolting to the Jets - if a team wants you to cook the meal, they ought to let you buy the groceries. Even Parcells won't promote that business model in Miami, where he now presides as executive vice president of football operations for the Dolphins.

If Reid is allowed to remain with the Eagles, owner Jeffrey Lurie - one of the NFL's best - should think long and hard about telling Reid he should focus strictly on the cooking.

Last edited by Anthony; 11-22-2008 at 03:50 AM.
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