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Why the Philadelphia Eagles should keep Andy Reid

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Andy Reid has been around so long, many younger Philadelphia Eagles  fans barely remember where he came from. Let me refresh your memory.
 
Reid arrived from Mike Holmgren’s coaching tree. That is, he once was an assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers during Brett Favre’s prime.  
 
Prior to the Eagles, he had never coordinated a professional offense nor called plays. At that time, all Reid brought to the table was a host of good recommendations from well-respected football men.  Andy Reid photo: gcobb.com
 
Sure, he likely was a great interview but I believe what Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie  and his yes man, Joe Banner  found most attractive was Reid’s initial salary and his willingness to accept and respect their football acumen. Thirteen years later, it’s clear they still are, and that’s why Reid should return for his 14th season.         
 
Lurie and Banner both live in a fantasy world. They believe they know the best way to run a NFL franchise. They think the Eagles are on the same level as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers despite never winning the Super Bowl.  

It matters little to them that Eagles fans have had enough of Reid's play calling, his frustrating day after loss throat-clearing sessions, and his penchant for insulting their collective intelligence.  

I bet they can’t even hear the “Fire Andy” chants cascading through Lincoln Financial Field.  

There is no question removing the head coach is usually the best remedy when on field results and off field strife is this bad. But firing Reid isn’t the solution because the front office doesn’t see itself as part of the problem.  

In fairness, Reid has been a good head coach. His 122 wins are more than any coach in the team’s seventy-eight year history. He’s been to a Super Bowl and might have won it if the New England Patriots hadn’t generated a few home movies leading up to that game.  

Still, Reid is deservedly receiving the most scorn. The Eagles sit at 4-8, firmly entrenched in last place. Their most important wide receiver (Desean Jackson) acts as if he doesn't want to play anymore,  their coaching staff doesn't trust one another, and their defense displays poor chemistry, not to mention poor-tackling.  Will DeSean Jackson be cathcing balls somewhere else next year? Photo: http://blog.pennlive.com/pasports/2008/09/large_deseanjackson.jpg

But Lurie seems oblivious. He claims he is following in the footsteps of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, but Kraft understands an owner’s value to his football team. Also, Kraft doesn’t see himself as a serious football man or deft talent evaluator. He knows it’s in his best interest to open his checkbook and close his mouth.  

Lurie has yet to figure that out. Publicly he says most of the right things, but privately, I think he enjoys impressing his Hollywood friends with his football knowledge. Once he hires a superstar coach however, Lurie will most likely become irrelevant.  

Lurie may actually consider the merits of a new head coach, but even if by some stroke of good fortune he dismisses Reid, he won’t be looking for the likes of Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy. He’ll be searching for the next Andy Reid. Are you comfortable with that?  

In my view, the Eagles have experienced so much success Lurie can easily fool himself into thinking this season is an aberration, a mere head cold and not the debilitating disease it is.  

Does anyone honestly believe the front office is ready to take orders from a high-profile coach? Can you see Gruden or Cowher deferring to the likes of Joe Banner on any football related matters?  

Brian Billick and Jim Fassel are available options and would most likely obey front office demands, but are you certain either one is a significant upgrade?  

 Believe me, I see Andy Reid’s warts. He doesn't run the ball as much as he should and when games don’t go according to script, he struggles mightily. He doesn’t draft well and his ability to put together a cohesive coaching staff is now in serious doubt. Nevertheless, the Eagles’ existing framework makes him the best fit for this team next season.

Unfortunately, Eagles fans need to realize Lurie is unwilling to truly become a silent partner and he doesn’t posses the self-awareness necessary to hire the right head coach.  
 
Until he changes his own perception, the only Gruden he will consider hiring is Jay.

 

Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area.  He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention.  His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

Contact Earl at emyersiii@gmail.com

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Homepage and article photo: gcobb.com