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Old 11-22-2008, 03:42 AM   #1
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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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Old 11-22-2008, 06:14 AM   #2
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Er, wait....Reid won't run on third down? Didn't he just recently get *****ed at for trying to run on third- and fourth-and-short and failing?
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Old 11-22-2008, 06:23 AM   #3
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Er, wait....Reid won't run on third down? Didn't he just recently get *****ed at for trying to run on third- and fourth-and-short and failing?

Which is exactly one of the points I made when I sent her an e-mail critiquing the column - while at the same time pointing out that since Reid is also heavily involved in player-personnel decisions, this situation is still largely his fault; specifically, I cited the Eagles drafting Ryan Moats in 2005 when Brandon Jacobs was still on the board as the key blunder here (I also pointed out the pattern of stubbornness displayed by Reid in these matters, including the never-ending search for a big-play receiver that ended only with the drafting of DeSean Jackson, and Reid and Jim Johnson's adamant refusal to get bigger defensive linemen, particularly tackles).

In addition, I also mentioned that the tie is actually all but as good as a win for the Eagles, because now their 0-3 division record won't come into play.

Otherwise, it's an awesome article, and I told her so.
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Old 11-24-2008, 03:40 AM   #4
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This is a great day.

McNabb is finished in Philly - and in five more weeks, Fat Boy will be gone too.

Change is breaking out all over!

And the day after the Pro Bowl, the Eagles need to ring up Al Davis, and have a nice discussion about Justin Fargas or Michael Bush.
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Old 11-24-2008, 06:23 PM   #5
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Not too surprising, but Anthony and myself are on opposite ends of this one. Especially in saying that it is a great day. If it's the day the signals the Eagles get rid of both Reid and McNabb, it would just seem to be the first of many dark days.

This is the best QB and the best coach in Eagles franchise history and no other QB or coach even comes remotely close. I won't ever consider it a great day to gloat at their going through difficult times. If one of them has to go, I think it should be McNabb. Getting rid of Reid just doesn't play as an option to me. I just don't understand why they would do it and what the benefit would be.

With McNabb, I wouldn't mind seeing him going to a team like Chicago and making another playoff run there or something, which is the main reason why I don't mind seeing him go as much.
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Old 11-24-2008, 08:37 PM   #6
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Andy Reid the best coach in Eagles history? What about Greasy Neale and Buck Shaw? And the same goes for the quarterbacks: Tommy Thompson and Norm Van Brocklin.

For someone who is known as a progressive voice on this forum, though not quite as strident as CKFresh, it is very surprising that Doug would display the same mindset as the neoconservatives advising George W. Bush on foreign policy. Just as Condoleezza Rice & Co. have insisted on seeing the Middle East the way they want it to be rather than how it actually is, Doug sees the sports world the way he wants it to be rather than the reality, which, for decades, has held that if a coach, quarterback etc., doesn't win a championship, they are a failure. I wish it wasn't this way either, but I prefer to live in the real world, however reluctantly.

After ten years of failure, it's time for Reid and McNabb to go.
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Old 11-24-2008, 09:24 PM   #7
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Well, OK, so I'm seeing it the way I want it to be. But, given that during my life the best years of the Eagles have been under Andy Reid, I don't give a damn about whether he has won a Super Bowl. That just seems like a waste of time point to make. Who gives them a better chance to be an entertaining, good team the next five years? I'll take Reid over the unknown.

Reid gives them a chance to be a competitive team that is going to have a shot at the playoffs each year and has the past track of getting a team to the NFC Title game and to a Super Bowl.

As well, I don't see the Reid tenure as a "failure". If you could have ten years of what Reid has done or 9 years of a team at most winning 6 games (obviously no playoff appearances in 9 years), but with a 13-3 Super Bowl winning team mixed in, I'll take what Reid has done hands down. Wouldn't even think too hard on it, either, seems like it'd be a no brainer to take it as well. A Super Bowl win alone doesn't mark failure or success.

Not every coaching move works out, with Reid, you know what you're going to get, and I have liked the hell out of what I've got.
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:14 PM   #8
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Well you're certainly right about knowing what you're going to get with Andy Reid: A morbid, fixed refusal to adapt to changes in the game.

At the running back position, the pendulum has undeniably swung toward physical, power runners like Adrian Peterson, Brandon Jacobs, LenDale White, Marion Barber, Matt Forte, Ryan Grant etc. Yet Reid insists on sticking with what is clearly an outdated approach.

And you can't have it both ways: What is so "competitive" about (almost certainly) finishing last in the NFC East two years in a row - the first time any team has done so since the division was reconstituted with the 2002 realignment? What's so great about being 30-30-1 over the last four years?

Furthermore, this is a small, weak, finesse team that is totally contrary to what the local fan base stands for.

There is nothing here worth continuing - absolutely nothing. Reid is George W. Bush. The Eagles need a Barack Obama - which Bill Cowher would undisputedly provide.
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
At the running back position, the pendulum has undeniably swung toward physical, power runners like Adrian Peterson, Brandon Jacobs, LenDale White, Marion Barber, Matt Forte, Ryan Grant etc. Yet Reid insists on sticking with what is clearly an outdated approach.
This is hilarious.

Adrian Peterson is not representative of a change in approaches to winning football games. He is just flat out awesome.

Ryan Grant had one good season and Forte has had an excellent rookie season.

What is the one thing that Jacobs, White and Barber have in common? They are at their best with a change of pace running back in there, and in White's case, the smaller slashing running back has been absolutely the most important aspect of the Titans run game.

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What is so "competitive" about (almost certainly) finishing last in the NFC East two years in a row
Right, I just think that their best chance in getting back on track is different than you do. I don't think McNabb is the biggest issue that they have. Defensively they just aren't as good as a football team as they have been in the past. I'm not too concerned about RB or WR, I think that's a waste of time for the most part. They're fine enough at both those spots. Would I like a more physical runner to go with Westbrook? Absolutely, but I'd rather have Westbrook healthy before anything else.
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Old 11-24-2008, 11:24 PM   #10
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This is hilarious.

Adrian Peterson is not representative of a change in approaches to winning football games. He is just flat out awesome.

Ryan Grant had one good season and Forte has had an excellent rookie season.

What is the one thing that Jacobs, White and Barber have in common? They are at their best with a change of pace running back in there, and in White's case, the smaller slashing running back has been absolutely the most important aspect of the Titans run game.

Well where is the Eagles' "change of pace running back" from Westbrook?

And don't hand me the salary cap as any kind of excuse: How does Tennessee fit both White and Chris Johnson under their cap? Or Jacksonville, with Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew?



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Right, I just think that their best chance in getting back on track is different than you do. I don't think McNabb is the biggest issue that they have. Defensively they just aren't as good as a football team as they have been in the past. I'm not too concerned about RB or WR, I think that's a waste of time for the most part. They're fine enough at both those spots. Would I like a more physical runner to go with Westbrook? Absolutely, but I'd rather have Westbrook healthy before anything else.

Not as good on defense as in the past - 6th in total defense? Leading the entire league in sacks?

And I'm not concerned about WR, at least not anymore: DeSean Jackson too small to be anything but a kick returner? That one is right up there - or down there - with Rashad Evans being too small to fight at light-heavyweight, whose UFC title Rashad fights for next month against Forrest Griffin (with me being there!).

So far as Westbrook being healthy: Therein lies the problem! The big backs are far less injury-prone; this has been true since the dawn of time in the NFL.

And I hope Lurie and Banner are paying you well for all the P.R. work you're doing for them. Let me guess: A lifetime supply of Kool Aid!
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Old 11-24-2008, 11:51 PM   #11
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Well where is the Eagles' "change of pace running back" from Westbrook?

And don't hand me the salary cap as any kind of excuse: How does Tennessee fit both White and Chris Johnson under their cap? Or Jacksonville, with Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew?
I think if they got one it would be a good thing.

At least we agree on DeSean Jackson, though, right?

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And I hope Lurie and Banner are paying you well for all the P.R. work you're doing for them.
****, I wish.
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Old 11-24-2008, 11:59 PM   #12
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Well where is the Eagles' "change of pace running back" from Westbrook?

And don't hand me the salary cap as any kind of excuse: How does Tennessee fit both White and Chris Johnson under their cap? Or Jacksonville, with Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew?
Because LenDale White and Jones-Drew are both 2nd round picks still playing out their rookie contracts and Chris Johnson is a late first rounder. We all know unless you go at the very top of the draft your base salary is not terribly high until you get to that second contract.






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And I'm not concerned about WR, at least not anymore: DeSean Jackson too small to be anything but a kick returner? That one is right up there - or down there - with Rashad Evans being too small to fight at light-heavyweight, whose UFC title Rashad fights for next month against Forrest Griffin (with me being there!).
Size may not be an issue with him but keeping his head out of his rear does seem to be. He drops too many balls and seems to just zone out at times out there. He has a good rookie season he just needs to dedicate himself to becoming an elite player. When he does that he will be downright scary out there.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:30 AM   #13
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Because LenDale White and Jones-Drew are both 2nd round picks still playing out their rookie contracts and Chris Johnson is a late first rounder. We all know unless you go at the very top of the draft your base salary is not terribly high until you get to that second contract.

Well where's the Eagles 2nd-round change-of-pace runner? Or even 7th-round for that matter? And if I'm overlooking Tony Hunt, didn't Reid overlook him too?

Fat Boy simply doesn't think a power running game is important. It's pure denial - and I'm not talkin' about a river in Egypt.






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Size may not be an issue with him but keeping his head out of his rear does seem to be. He drops too many balls and seems to just zone out at times out there. He has a good rookie season he just needs to dedicate himself to becoming an elite player. When he does that he will be downright scary out there.

Good rookie season? He's on pace to get 68 catches for 1,017 yards. Talk about damning with faint praise!

And if you want a receiver who doesn't "drop too many balls," you can have Joe Jurevicius or Drew Bennett.

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Old 11-25-2008, 12:30 PM   #14
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I think the notion if of getting a 'power' back is rather moot right now no matter who the coach is as I don't think their o-line is good enough to pull it off. Those plays that Reid was roundly criticized for failed in large part due to ineffective blocking up front. If memory serves the RB had no real daylight to run to and was met in the backfield.

The Eagles running game has gone from 4.7 yards per carry to 4.0 yards per carry this due in large part to William Thomas and Jon Runyan being past their prime and not having anyone good enough to beat them out for their jobs just yet. It also has not helped that Shawn Andrews has barely played this year.

I am not saying I expect Jackson to catch every ball thrown his way but it bothers me that he drops a lot passes that he should be catching. And there have been games where he has completely disappeared at times and you would not even know he was in the game. I just think with a bit more dedication and concentration on his craft he put numbers akin to a guy like Steve Smith who had similar knocks on him about being too small and dropping too many balls when he first came into the league. But Smith had the drive to want to be better and be an elite player and I am just not sure I see the same in Jackson just yet. Jackson has the ability to catch 80-85 balls for 1,300 yards a season. Jackson is probably the best option they have right now but I would just like to see more out of him than what he has done thus far.
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Old 11-25-2008, 07:59 PM   #15
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I think this is Reid and McNabb's final season. Reid benching McNabb in the middle of the game against the Ravens and inserting Kolb was brainless. But as bad as McNabb was playing, most of his turnovers seemed to be because he wasn't getting protected and defenses were knocking the ball out of his hands.
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