The State Of The Eagles

Reid_vick
Adam Reigner is a producer at WIP. All year he has been hard on the team, mostly because they broke his heart. This is his season-ending column. You can direct all praise and vitriol at him.

 

They didn’t deserve it. And I refused to jump on the bandwagon.

With that being said, I deserve all your criticism. I flirted with the idea that maybe the Jets could beat the Giants and the Eagles would win out and make a magical playoff run, but it was all for naught as Mark Sanchez proved he isn’t “The Sanchize.”

My promise to anyone who has read my posts throughout the season is this: I will always be honest with you. Now, I also reserve the right to change my opinion at anytime, just as I defended Jason Avant when he changed his. The idea that you have to be “consistent” and that you can’t change your opinion is not only childish, but it’s flat out ignorant.

As a fan you pay attention to your favorite team, as a member of the media we make stories out of spilt milk. If writing about this disappointing 2011 Philadelphia Eagles season has taught me anything, it’s just that.

There might not always be a story to tell, but it’s the job of the media to make one, regardless of if it’s out-of-context quotes, leading people to a pre-determined conclusion, or allowing personal feelings to get in the way of being honest– we’re all human.

The game isn’t just X’s and O’s anymore. The NFL (and all sports for that matter) has been TMZ’d. For every fan that can tell you how important DeSean Jackson is to opening up the running game for LeSean McCoy, there are 10 who will tell you that he was late for a special teams meeting.

As a member of the media, I take responsibly for that. We are overly critical of things that don’t matter because it makes more people listen. Again, guilty as charged.

Were there things I wrote about this season that I made out to be bigger than they were? Yes. Were there things this year that you thought were going to turn out different? Yes.

So don’t judge me because this team underachieved.

Judge the fact that Michael Vick missed three games because he won’t slide. He has been told by everybody in the Eagles organization not to take the hits outside of the pocket that he took. In the interest of full disclosure, I was a kid when Randall Cunningham was “The Ultimate Weapon,” and was too young to understand what he was doing when he was doing it, so I will have to use Donovan McNabb for my comparison. 

Frankly speaking, McNabb was on par with Vick in terms of his understanding of the game. Where Vick excels versus McNabb is in athletic ability. McNabb made the decision somewhere in-between NFC championship games to stay in the pocket and secure himself a longer career.

Vick, much to his own shortcomings, hasn’t played as much football as McNabb. Vick has played in 110 regular season games to McNabb’s 167. His body hasn’t taken the punishment that 57 more NFL games will do to you.

What made Vick so good for those first seven games in 2010 was the fact that teams insisted that he was a running quarterback. He was able to sit in the pocket as that extra defender “spied” him. 

What changed, though, was that Sunday Night game against the Giants last year when the opposition sent that “spy” in on a blitz and demanded that Vick beat them with his mind, not his legs. Which leads to my biggest question going into the offseason: Is Vick smart enough to stand in the pocket and win football games?

Or not get hurt, for that matter.

There is not a shadow of doubt in my mind that the biggest long-term need of this team is quarterback. If Kafka was the guy, he would have been given a chance while Vince Young was having delusions of grandeur. He wasn’t. 

You can count on the fact that Vick will miss at least three games a year. I have no confidence in Kafka coming in and saving a season, making it that much more essential to address the quarterback position.

With a draft this deep at quarterback the Eagles would be fools to not move up and get one. How does a second rounder and Asante Samuel sound? Do what you do Howie… just let someone else pick the player.

As much as he drives me up a wall, Andy Reid, overall, is a good coach despite the fact that he sometimes believes he invented the game of football. Love him or hate him, one of his greatest stats is that he is a perfect 13-0 after the bye week, but perhaps one reason Reid is returning next season is because he is 39-15 in the month of December. 39-15! 

Notice I didn’t mention his record in February? That’s the funny thing about stats, you can use them to prove any point you set out to make.

Watching Juan Castillo learn on the job this year was about as awkward as comparing pinkies with Brain Baldinger. You feel bad for the guy that he was asked to do something he wasn’t capable of doing, but he has to be held responsible for his shortcomings.

Having Jaiquawn Jarrett cover Larry Fitzgerald on a 3rd and 10 with under three minutes left in the fourth quarter– Juan’s fault. Having 4th round draft pick Casey Matthews start at middle linebacker for the first three weeks– Juan’s fault. Having Nnamdi Asomugha play zone coverage when his whole career he has played man– Juan’s fault. Having Jim Washburn dictate to him that they had to play the Wide 9 regardless of down and distance– Juan’s fault. Therefore, there isn’t a shadow of doubt in my mind Juan will be gone next year. If he’s not– Reid’s fault.

But what we should all really be talking about is the play of Nate Allen. I was extremely high on Allen when the Eagles picked him 37th overall in the 2010 draft, and he got off to a promising start with three interceptions in his first four games. In his next 24 games he has come up with just one interception, and that was against the “grizzled veteran” Rex Grossman. In his senior year at South Florida he came up with five picks, and was considered to be a ball-hawking safety. We haven’t seen that player, and I don’t know that we ever will.  Kurt Coleman, a player taken in the same draft, 207 picks later, has been the better player of the two. 

Overall, the safety position needs to be reevaluated in this offseason. I honestly don’t think they are going to do anything at the linebacker position, even though they don’t have a single linebacker on the roster that could start for any of the other 31 teams in the NFL.

We will see what the teams’ fourth defensive coordinator in five years does with a talented bunch of players.

Reality check.

This defense was 8th in the NFL– leading the league in sacks, ranked 16th against the run, and 10th against the pass. All of those numbers are impressive considering the way they started the year, but think about how much better they would look if their offense wasn’t tied with a league-leading 36 giveaways. 

If there is one thing that you can take away from this season, it’s that the Eagles were legitimately beaten only twice, and beat themselves in every other game they lost. The Patriots and Seahawks manhandled them. No one else.

… 

We are a smart fan base and we all have our own opinions about this team. Let’s not devour our own because we aren’t “fan” enough. Instead, let’s circle the wagons, and realize that it still feels good to beat the Cowboys, Giants and Redskins. Ideas like wearing Phillies red to the Linc and not buying merchandise are silly. Banner and Lurie don’t give a damn about public opinion, and taking a couple pennies away from them isn’t going to put a dent in their billion dollar business.

Anybody telling you that winning these last couple of games doesn’t matter; ask the 2010 Detroit Lions what those last four games meant to them in 2011. It kick-started that franchise to a 5-0 start this year, and they clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 1999.  Ironically, Andy Reid’s first season as Eagles head coach.

Quite frankly, Lurie doesn’t have to do anything to sell the fans on coming back next season. We are all going to be there regardless of what they do or don’t do in this offseason. We always have been, and always will be. Whenever Reid decides to leave, or Lurie gets an offer he can’t refuse to sell the team–  we will still be there, standing outside in the freezing cold clinging to our hope that this is the year.

So hold your head up, Philadelphia. As is often said in this city…there’s always next year.

Time’s still yours.

… 

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25 Responses

  1. They finished well because they finished with crap teams. Arguably they have the individual talent on the roster to be so much better than they’ve shown, but they had ALL year to gel. They never really showed they were capable of beating a good team.
    Also, consistency is what wins SB’s, and they are nowhere near consistent. I’m banking on more of the same next year. Hope I’m wrong.

  2. Vick’s upside is limited. As long as he’s under center team is also limited. He was a TO machine. Does that change in 2012? Fairly simple.

  3. fair write up.
    happy to have Andy back – i hope he has a poster up on the wall that reads the following, “if you keep listening to fans, you’ll become one.”
    long term success in the most competitive of the professional leagues…just makes you appreciate how lucky you are to have legitimate hopes of winning a super bowl every year. How many cities can ACTUALLY say that?

  4. Rinkusan what city do you live in where you have “legitimate hopes to win the Super Bowl every year”?? Boston? If you’re referring to Philadelphia you certainly have drank Andy’s kool aid.

  5. John Smallwood on DNL is the absolute fattest slob I have ever seen. Brother puts on 10lbs between appearances.

  6. The Bills also manhandled the Eagles. The losses to the Giants and Bears were legitimate, as in just because you’re ahead in the 4th quarter doesn’t mean you beat yourself. If they could’ve finished off the 49ers and Cardinals like a good team would, they’d be in the playoffs.

  7. i really dont give a, shit about vick, reid , this guy or that i root for the eagles , i watch them play football, a game most of us have played in the back yard , stats,money,fans, i could care less i want the days back when reporters just stated the facts not all this non sensical bullshit. i still think you are a great writer

  8. What Cro said. And blaming Juan. Sorry, Ried is the head coach. Ried doesn’t throw interceptions, drop balls, fumble snaps or handoffs but he runs the sidelines. He had plenty of time to make an adjustment. I consider it just another in the long string of bad judgement calls from Andy on time management. We may very well win with this team on Ried’s watch but it doesn’t excuse the missed opportunities.

  9. can we move the eagles and the sixers out of the city? put the union in the linc. and become a three sport city? because the flyers and phils have been this citys two favorite teams since 2007-08. everyone needs to realize that banner and lurie dont care about winning. they care only about putting asses in the seats and selling a product that is mediocre at best in an uninviting stadium that houses a team that consistently underachieves with no repercussions. wake up philly nothing is gonna change. this is why i gave up on eagles in after 2007 and football in general. the only football team worth watching is tom brady (not the patriots – ill never root for a boston team) watch the flyers and phillies, yeah theyve underachieved but at least you know that the front office cares about the fans and about winning championships. at the very least the horizon looks bright. the eagles horizon has never looked dark and and never bright…always gray. definition of mediocrity

  10. Anyone who doesn’t like this article and disagrees with Adam are idiots. He stated nothing but pure facts to show how Andy Reid deserves to remain Philadelphia. Of course Juan Castillo and the defense was a majority of his doing, but look at how the last few games of he season turned out. I believe that the reason for the defenses crappy job at the beginning of the season should be blamed on the lockout. Which prohibited training camp from starting on schedule, and look at the defense, it was a completely new squad. These guys needed more time to work together, along with their coach to make the defense successful. Again, Andy Reid did make a stupid decision at putting Juan Castillo on Defense, but those stupid Eagles fans that overlook the game and only watch to see whether Andy wins or loses and criticize him according to that, make statements that are simply stupid. Everyone wants him gone for what? Because he didnt make it to the playoffs this year when hes taken the birds there for the past 9 years? People need to stop jumping on Andy’s ass and realize theres more that needs to bee done within the team before they get rid of the major role.

  11. Well it didn’t take very long for some of you to take the Castillo scapegoat bait. As if making Juan the DC was the only chink in Reid’s flabby armor. Dude still can’t manage on game day, can’t make adjustments to save his life, doesn’t utilize the run enough and hasn’t exactly wowed us with draft strategy. And the happiest man in Philly nowadays is probably Marty Mornhinweg. If Juan wasn’t this year’s human shield for Andy it would have been him.

  12. Kyle,
    Great write up. I think I agreed with every point in there, especially:
    “If there is one thing that you can take away from this season, it’s that the Eagles were legitimately beaten only twice, and beat themselves in every other game they lost. The Patriots and Seahawks manhandled them. No one else.”
    and
    “Anybody telling you that winning these last couple of games doesn’t matter; ask the 2010 Detroit Lions what those last four games meant to them in 2011. It kick-started that franchise to a 5-0 start this year, and they clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 1999. ”
    Glad to have Andy back, and excited for what’s in store for next year.

  13. vick will never play more than 10 to 12 games a year at best, the eagles will never value LB’s S’s or WR’s, reid will never use timeouts correctly, give up control of the 2 minute drill to the qb on the field, never make adequate offensive adjustments in game to counter act the oppositions D, he will never bring a stronger personality in at DC out of fear for his job, Lurie will never fire his hebrew school buddy who in turn will never get rid of Roseman, the eagles have not had a legit HOF player in years, Reggie went in as a packer not many safeties go in so Dawk is on the bubble, the fanbase swings to wildly positive and negative, they’ve become submissive massochists without even realizing it yet they’ll still be dumb enought to buy tickets and merch. The state of the Eagles is FUBAR and it will remain that way for a long long long long time…unfortunately.

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