By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Sunday Sun
ABOVE PHOTO: New England Patriots running back BenJarvis Green-Ellis (42) plows through Eagles defense avoiding Eagles DE Jason Babin (93) at last weekend’s game. Eagles lose to New England 31-13.
(Photo by Webster Riddick)
After witnessing last Sunday’s loss to the New England Patriots, I’ve come to the conclusion that Eagles fans have had enough of Andy Reid’s definition of insanity, which means pass, pass and pass on downs and situations in which you should run, and not executing in short yardage situations.
And there are other maddening things about Reid that fans are upset about that was reflected throughout this game. But, it was the bitter end to the Eagles first possession of the second half that basically tells you everything you need to know about the understandable frustration with the Eagles head coach.
Already trailing 31-13, the Eagles first drive of the second-half ended with yet another failure on short yardage. They failed to pick up one yard in two chances. On a rare carry in the game for LeSean McCoy, he was stopped for no gain on third and one. On fourth and one, the Eagles tried a ridiculous quarterback rollout play that resulted in Vince Young overthrowing the tight end in the endzone.
That was the end of the game and probably the season for the Eagles. By the way, McCoy had just 10 carries for 31 yards, emphasis on the “just.”
Then came the chorus of “Fire Andy” from fans as they were heading toward the exits. That frustration came not just from the failure of executing on short yardage or passing when players should run. It comes watching an inexperienced defense being coached by an inexperienced defensive coordinator who was once the offensive line coach.
Eagles fans are also upset about the idea that Reid didn’t think to bolster the linebacker position, something he has never taken seriously during his tenure in Philadelphia. The Eagles have had only one really good linebacker during Reid’s tenure in Philadelphia and that was Jeremiah Trotter and they didn’t realize his value until he left the team for Jacksonville after the 2001 season and then came back to the team in 2004.
The Eagles linebackers are just plain awful. They don’t make tackles until after a running back has gashed them for about 10 yards. The secondary, despite having highly-touted cornerbacks like Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, can’t cover anybody and are just plain confused. In Sunday’s game against New England, Patriots receivers were so wide open they could have walked into the end zone backward.
While Reid can’t catch the ball for DeSean Jackson, who had two drops in the end zone that could have kept the Eagles in the game, he deserves blame for this 2011 season being a complete disaster and it’s the same thing. He keeps saying he has to put the team in the right position to win.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t put them in the right position to win. If anything, it’s been the exact opposite.
Probably the most irritating thing for Eagles fans is not giving one of the best running backs in the NFC enough touches in the running game. If you look at the Eagles four wins this season, the common denominator is that when they have given McCoy the ball, at least 20 or more times, they win the game.
Why Reid gets away from utilizing McCoy is a mystery wrapped up somewhere between Reid’s stubbornness and his penchant for being too pass happy.
In Sunday’s game against the Patriots, there were times when the Eagles showed balance and they were effective. But, there were times in the game when giving the ball to McCoy might have helped the Eagles offense.
On their second drive of the game, the Eagles, leading 7-0, moved from their own 20 to the Patriots 25. On three straight pass plays, the Eagles got nothing and had to settle for a field goal. McCoy had been finding his way through the Patriots defense at that point. Late in the first half, the Eagles had first and goal at the five-yard line with 3:37 left in the second quarter and passed the ball three straight times including that terrible drop by Jackson in the end zone.
They settled for another field goal.
You would think they should have run the ball on at least one play with McCoy inside the five, but this is the kind of play-calling that has characterized the Reid era in Philadelphia and why fans want to run him out of town.
Granted, you can’t blame it all on Reid and the players like Michael Vick and the Eagles defense have played their role in what has been a terrible season, but maybe it’s time for the Eagles to hear a new voice.
In 13 years, Reid has an outstanding record in Philadelphia, but it’s not good enough for fans that haven’t seen an NFL championship in over 50 years. His bad qualities—lack of game time management, inability to adjust to game situations, not valuing the linebacker position, and his lack of balance on offense—have worn thin and not bringing home a Super Bowl ring has pushed this current relationship to a point of no-return.