Say what you want about the Eagles under coach Andy Reid, how they haven’t won enough big games, and the BIG GAME itself.
Knock his clock management, the team’s over-reliance on the passing game, its square-peg-in-a-round-hole plans for Michael Vick and, to a somewhat lesser degree previously, Donovan McNabb.
Pick apart anything you like. Just don’t call that crazy, mixed-up outfit in Philly ever boring.
You’d kinda think that would be the case with Big Red at the helm. He’s a Mormon, a Brigham Young grad, and had a pretty nondescript coaching background before wowing Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie during the interview process to replace Ray Rhodes back in 1999.
His first major decision was to draft McNabb, causing an uproar among fans who pined away for Ricky Williams. The amazing thing is, that reaction seemed to hang over McNabb his entire career, where he’d also point back in subtle and none-too-subtle ways at how he was mistreated.
The team improved, its profile increased. T.O. joined the squad in 2004. A Super Bowl trip commenced after four previous missteps at the front door to it.
T.O.’s hyperbaric chamber talk subsided and was replaced by him doing pushups in the driveway of his South Jersey residence for all to see during a holdout.
Michael Vick found his way to town after a jail stay. McNabb ultimately fell out of favor with Reid and left for Washington. His savior-in-training Kevin Kolb lasted one concussion before giving way to Vick.
Somehow, Brian Dawkins managed to squeeze a Hall of Fame career in there, too … not to mention join the list of aging veterans who were summarily dismissed with nary a kind word from management for a job well done, never mind a new contract.
The team has had on-field woes and off-field woes. Just this offseason, Lurie bid adieu to both his right-hand man in Joe Banner and his better half in wife Christina. Reid lost his son, Garrett, during training camp as well.
Then, after a relatively short mourning phase, Reid returned … and not long after that, he had an “8-8 is unacceptable” noose placed around his neck by Lurie, with the point being that things better improve if he hoped to return for a 15th season next year.
Yeah, other teams have things pop up. It’s a way of life, with professional sports, and, well, life.
It’s just the Eagles, under Reid, seem to have taken NFL reality to a new level, or at least one you wouldn’t expect with him as coach.
Now 3-3 following Sunday’s disheartening, if not dreadful, 26-23 OT loss to Detroit, that repeat of last season’s 8-8 looms large – especially with the unbeaten Atlanta Falcons awaiting in two weeks after the Birds enjoy their bye.
Vick remains an island unto himself, whereby his game is dissected like none other – criticism warranted or not. In many circles, Reid is given much the blame for putting his QB in no-win situations. In others, Vick shoulders the entire load. Of course, the defense takes a few shots, too – especially with Reid having hired his former offensive line coach Juan Castillo to man the controls prior to last season.
Even the big fella’s biggest supporters raised a few eyebrows on that one.
Of course, there are the growing legion of Nick Foles backers, who want the rookie signal-caller with the prototype look and the classic NFL arm to take over for Vick.
He does, after all, play the game more the way Reid intends it to be played is how the story usually goes.
Amazing thing is, you add all that up and you get one of the most dynamic, and followed, organizations in all of sports – which is remarkable considering its lack of success in big games, and especially in rarely ever reaching the BIG GAME.
Lurie bought the franchise for $195 in 1995. Forbes estimated its value at $1.164 billion in 2011, with the large part of that jump coming during Reid’s reign.
But that bottom line might not make a difference in the end; nor may the entertainment quality that has been brought to the table.
Maybe, in fact, it’ll turn out boring was the better way to go.
Hate to break it to NFL defensive types, but Washington’s Robert Griffin III has had a much easier time running the ball on Sundays than he did on Saturdays. The 2011 Heisman winner never averaged more than 4.9 yards per carry in a single season at Baylor. Right now, following his 13-carry, 138-yard effort in beating Minnesota, 38-26, has RG3 averaging 6.9 yards per carry – which ranks second in the NFL to Buffalo RB C.J. Spiller’s 7.6 … Ravens LB Ray Lewis had 14 tackles in Sunday’s 31-29 win at Dallas, but suffered a torn triceps and out is out for the rest of the year. At 37, perhaps “out” may be permanent … Kudos to Seattle for rallying to beat New England, scoring the game’s final 14 points in a 24-23 decision. Passer-rating wise, Seahawks rookie QB Russell Wilson outplayed Tom Brady (133.7-79.3) … St. Louis outgained Miami, 462-192, and lost – 17-14 at Sun Life Stadium. Somehow that not only seems impossible, it just doesn’t right … Both Vick and Detroit’s Matthew Stafford threw for 311 yards on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.