Fire Andy? Why not? At this point, the Eagles certainly look like a team that is imploding, and one that needs to start over with a coach other than Andy Reid.
So yeah, from this lonely outpost it looks like it’s time to cut the cord, time to go in a new direction.
Whether Jeffrey Lurie will make such a move is another matter. He has been notably loyal to his coach, notoriously slow to make drastic changes like this in the past.
But it’s time to make a move — if not now, then certainly after the Eagles, now 4-7, bring this disastrous season to a merciful conclusion. Certainly Lurie can sense that, and if not he certainly heard it during Sunday’s 38-20 loss to New England. The fans rained down fire-Andy chants on their team, which was easy pickings for Tom Brady and Co.
And that wasn’t the half of it. Reid benched DeSean Jackson late in the game, after Jackson dropped two Vince Young passes, both in the end zone. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and defensive line coach Jim Washburn had what was described by CSNPhilly.com as “a brief but heated verbal exchange” in the first half, and had to be separated.
If that doesn’t sound like a team that’s falling apart at the seams, I can’t imagine what does.
For the record, Reid said he didn’t hear the paying customers chanting for his head. But, he added, “The way we played, I could understand it.”
Of course he heard it. Everybody did.
“That ain’t bothering us,” defensive end Trent Cole said. “It ain’t bothering Andy, either.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever been through that,” added defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, who spent his first seven NFL seasons in Green Bay before signing this year with the Eagles. “It’s tough that Coach Reid is taking a lot of heat for a team game. … It’s on us as players.”
Reid, for his part, said it’s on him, which is what he always says. And at this point, why argue anymore? He’s the one who has a sizable say on personnel decisions. He’s the one who sets the pass-happy tone. He’s the one who transformed Juan Castillo from a very good offensive line coach into an inadequate defensive coordinator.
And now it’s all falling apart on him. Time to start over.
Names? Every talk-show caller worth his redial button wants to hire Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher. I would suggest going in another direction. I would suggest Arizona Cardinals assistant head coach/running game coordinator Russ Grimm, the old Redskins O-lineman.
Here’s why: He’s never been a head coach, and would presumably be eager to put his own imprint on a team. And just a wild guess here, but he would more than likely want to make the Eagles a tough, physical team, something they have never been under Reid.
Sure, they’re cute and put up lots of nice offensive numbers, but how do they do when need a tough yard, as was the case near the goal line in the third quarter Sunday? (No need to look it up: LeSean McCoy was stufffed on third-and-one from the 2, and Young threw incomplete to Brent Celek in the back of the end zone on fourth-and-one.)
And how, for that matter, do they do when they really, really need to stop the run, as was the case against a previously unknown Green Bay back named James Starks in last year’s playoffs?
These problems are not new. They seemingly crop up again and again. And now there are some new ones, like the Jackson imbroglio.
He ducked out of the way of linebacker Tracy White while dropping Young’s short pass in the end zone in the second quarter, a for-who, for-what moment if ever there were one. Then Jackson, who finished with four catches for 73 yards, dropped Young’s bomb after beating double coverage and crossing the goal line in the third period.
Afterward Jackson offered some brief remarks for the cameras before bolting the locker room. Said he was “upset” about the drops. Said it “wasn’t one of (his) best games.” Said he has to move on and do better.
“I know I’m a better receiver,” he said. “There are no excuses behind that, but I just didn’t have my best game today. It’s frustrating, but I have to figure it out.”
And the benching?
“As a player, I just have to live with it,” he said, adding that he has to keep working hard, etc., etc.
That would be a start. A little more harmony on the coaching staff would be another step in the right direction. (Nobody knows what brought on the Washburn-Mornhinweg spat, but the speculation is that Washburn was upset by a three-and-out on the part of the offense, after the Pats marched 80 yards in 12 plays for their first touchdown. New England then whisked 61 yards in four plays for the go-ahead TD.)
But more than anything else, the fans want to see a new head coach. They made that clear. And it’s hard to disagree.