Analyzing Andy Reid's Career In Philadelphia

Andy Reid was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999 after a tumultuous tenure under former head coach Ray Rhodes. Reid's hiring was questioned by many Eagles fans in Philadelphia, and they were garnering for someone with more NFL pedigree. Reid was an offensive assistant under Mike Holmgren in Green Bay, and coached future hall of fame quarterback Brett Favre.

As soon as Reid was brought in, he started putting together a coaching staff. He talked legendary defensive coach Jim Johnson to be his defensive coordinator, and hired Rod Dowhower as offensive coordinator. Reid's first season saw the Eagles finish 5-11, but 2nd overall pick Donovan McNabb showed promise for the Eagles future. The following year the Eagles went to the playoffs finishing 11-5 on the season and second in the NFC East. Dowhower was the offensive coordinator, later to be replaced by quarterbacks coach Brad Childress, but during both of their tenures Reid was the play caller on offense.

I think it's worthy to note who Reid's other assistants were during his successful turn around of the franchise during the 2000 season. Pat Shurmur was the tight ends coach, now head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Linebackers coach was Ron Rivera, now the head coach of the Carolina Panthers. Leslie Frazier was the defensive backs coach, now the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. Defensive Assistant at the time was Steve Spagnuolo who was formerly the head coach of the St. Louis Rams. Special Teams coach was John Harbaugh who is now the Baltimore Ravens head coach.

That coaching staff maybe was hardly realized at the time as important, but it was one of the best coaching staffs that could've came into Philadelphia when Reid started his career as a head coach. Majority of the names listed above have seen success as coaches after their stint in Philly, and Reid was able to have complete control of the offensive side of the ball with Johnson & Co. focusing on defense.

Consider this: Jim Johnson was the defensive coordinator for Reid from 1999-2008 when he resigned his position and later passed away at the age of 68. From 2000-2007, Johnson's defensive units ranked tied for 1st in the NFL with 342 sacks and 4th fewest in points allowed (17.6 per game). Under Johnson, Eagles defensive players were selected to 26 Pro Bowl's including the likes of Dawkins, Trotter, Douglas, Sheppard, Simon and Taylor. Johnson was a proven defensive coordinator and was a catalyst in the Eagles stretch of NFC titles in the 2000's.

After Johnson resigned as the Eagles defensive coordinator the defense was never the same. Instead of looking outside of the organization to bring in another proven defensive coordinator, Reid instead opted to give Sean McDermott a chance. McDermott had never held a defensive coordinator position on any level before being promoted from his previous stint as the linebackers coach. McDermott started as a scouting coordinator under Reid, and later moved up the coaching ranks within the organization. McDermott learned a lot under Johnson, but never got the defense unit rolling. McDermott was fired, and now is the defensive coordinator under former Eagles assistant Ron Rivera in Carolina. The Panthers are currently 2-6 and the defense under McDermott is ranked in the bottom third of the NFL.

Next, instead of again looking outside of the franchise for a defensive coordinator, Reid again opted to stay in house. He hired Juan Castillo, who had been with the Eagles since 1995 before Reid ever came along. Castillo never had a head coordinator job in the NFL, and the Eagles had been his only stop as a coach professionally. Castillo and Reid formed a friendship over the years, and Reid figured he'd give his longtime friend a shot to prove himself capable of running the defense. But, once again the Eagles defense struggled, and Castillo was fired earlier this season.

Todd Bowles is currently the defensive coordinator, and has more coaching credentials than McDermott and Castillo combined. But, a closer look at Bowles resume, and he isn't exactly the right fit either. Bowles coached mostly defensive backs for the Jets, Cowboys and Browns. When he coached at the Jets and Cowboys, the defenses were mediocre and neither made the playoffs when he was there. When he later left for Miami under then coach Tony Sparano they had a lone Wild Card appearance. He later was named interim head coach, which in the NFL, any time a coach is named an interim for some reason their stock rises to get another coaching gig somewhere else. Reid brought Bowles in to coach the secondary in Philly, and now has given him a shot as the defensive coordinator, which so far isn't looking good.

Now after all that has been said, you cannot discount Reid as not being a good head coach in one of the hardest jobs in sports. He has a 139-93-1 overall record and is 10-9 in the postseason. His .609 winning percentage ranks 11th all time and 2nd among active coaches behind Bill Belichick. But, Reid ultimately is an offensive-minded coach who currently doesn't have a reliable defensive coaching staff to compliment his offensive approach. The offense has underperformed all season, and Reid playcalling has been heavily scrutinized more so than ever. He's always been a questionable playcaller, and trying to turn Michael Vick into a pocket passer with a weak offensive line isn't helping. Also under utilizing Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy is hard to watch, even though he had a stellar game against the Saints on Monday night.

Comparing Reid to other head coaches around the NFL though, and you start to see why some of the other coaches have seen success while Reid has started to fall to his preeminent fate. Bill Parcells, who won two Super Bowl titles with the New York Giants in the late 1980's and 1990's was a defensive coach first. Taking a closer look and you'll see that Parcells defensive coordinator was Bill Belichick who has coached the Patriots to three Super Bowl Championships in the last decade.

John Gruden, the favorite of the Philly faithful to take over the Eagles won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gruden, like Reid has been more of an offensive mind during his coaching career. During his Super Bowl run, his defensive coordinator was Monte Kiffin. Kiffin has been involved with football since the late 1960's, and like Jim Johnson is revered around the league as a pioneer on the defensive side of the ball.

Mike Tomlin, current head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers has only been the head coach for a couple of seasons but already has two Super Bowl appearances. He has a credible resume as a defensive coach, with stops in Tampa Bay (under Kiffin), and in Minnesota. His defensive coordinator in Pittsburgh currently is Dick LeBeau, who already is in the NFL Hall of Fame and is largely considered one of the greatest defensive minds ever.

Reid had the balanced attack on both sides of the ball when he had Jim Johnson on the defensive side of the football. But now, Reid has shuffled through defensive coordinators and it looks like its going to cost him his job. The offense itself is a mess in its own right, but if Reid would've looked for a proven defensive coaching staff outside of the organization, they could potentially be in better shape as they sit now. Some of his draft picks since Johnson's last year with the Eagles have been complete head scratcher's, especially on the defensive side. Reid is known for developing quarterbacks in Philadelphia, but never had a quarterback with the abilities that Vick has. So far, Reid's experiment of using Vick as a pocket passer with a patchwork offensive line has proved to be a complete bust.

Overall, I don't have any hard feelings towards Reid, and he has brought many winning seasons to Philadelphia. The Super Bowl against the Patriots was the closest the city has come to winning it all in a long time. His tenure has been mainly positive, but it is time for the franchise to move in a different direction. Reid is losing the faith of the fanbase, the locker room and probably executive brass at this point. Bringing in a new coaching staff that is proven winners in the NFL is what the Philadelphia Eagles and its fans need. Hopefully after this so far dismal season concludes, we can see sunnier days in Philly. Lord knows the Philadelphia faithful deserves it.

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