3 Reasons Andy Reid and Eagles Coaching Staff Should Be Blamed for Lack of Wins
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They sit at 3-5, tied for second in the NFC East, as they welcome division rival Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon.
It is only the fourth time the Eagles are on this kind of losing streak; once in 2011 and twice in 1999.
It would be easy to put the blame on quarterback Mike Vick and his turnovers. However, this year the blame is on Reid and the rest of the coaching staff.
This time Andy Reid’s job is presumably on the line. According to ESPN, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said that he won't decide on whether to offer the 14th-year coach an extension until after this season. Yet, Reid doesn't seem fazed by Lurie's statements.
It’s not just Reid who is to blame, though. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is hurting the team by not letting LeSean McCoy rush the ball more than 20 times per game. Reid is also creating a disadvantage for the defense by having non-defensive minds in charge.
The Eagles are a very talented team, but the current coaching staff is making it hard for fans to see that.
Play-Calling in the Red Zone
LeSean McCoy rushed the ball only 3 times in the end zone on Monday night.
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In the Week 9 game against the Saints, the Eagles were 2-for-5 in red zone attempts. The two scores in the red zone were field goals.
The first trip in the red ended with a 99-yard interception returned for a touchdown.
On the second time in the red zone, the Eagles settled for a 22-yard field goal after running back Bryce Brown rushed for no gain and Mike Vick threw two incomplete passes to LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson.
Their third time ended with another Alex Henery field goal as Vick threw two more incomplete passes and was sacked for an 11-yard loss.
The fourth and fifth time ended with a fumble from tight end Brent Celek and a turnover on downs.
In total, Andy Reid called 16 pass plays in the red zone compared to only three rushing plays.
Reid should have rushed the ball at least 10 times in the red zone because McCoy could not be stopped. He rushed for 119 yards on only 19 carries on the league’s worst rush defense.
Vick has not been efficient in the red zone this season. He is 17-for-40 with seven touchdowns, two interceptions and six sacks.
The Eagles need to rush McCoy more in the red zone for the rest of the reason or they will be leaving valuable points on the field.
Reid’s Choices of Defensive Coordinator
Juan Castillo last only one year as Eagles defensive coordinator.
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When Andy Reid became head coach, he sought out and hired Jim Johnson as defensive coordinator who is regarded as one of the best defensive coordinators in the NFL. During his time in Philadelphia, the Eagles won five NFC East titles.
From 2000-07, Johnson's units rank tied for first in the NFL with 342 sacks, second in the league in 3rd down efficiency (34.3 percent), red zone touchdown percentage (43.0 percent), and fourth in fewest points allowed (17.6 per game)
In 2001, the Eagles were the fourth team in NFL history to go all 16 games without giving up more than 21 points.
Johnson left the Eagles to undergo treatment for melanoma. Sean McDermott took over in May 2009 and continued Johnson’s success with his various uses of the blitz.
Juan Castillo was promoted to defensive coordinator after spending 13 years as the offensive line coach. Castillo hasn’t coached the defensive side of the ball since his days at Kingville High School in Texas back in 1989.
Castillo didn’t last long in that position as he was fired on October 20, 2012. The Eagles then announced Todd Bowles as the new defensive coordinator.
In the two games against the Falcons and Saints with Bowles as defensive coordinator, the defense gave up 736 yards and a total of 58 points.
I will not judge Bowles’ success at the end of the 2012 season. Bowles should use every day of practice for the rest of the season to wean out the wide-nine scheme and instill a new scheme.
The 2013 season will be a better sample to judge Bowles' success as coordinator, if he can make it that long.
Reid’s Lack of Commitment to Mike Vick
Mike Vick has been sacked 6 times in the red zone this season.
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All season Andy Reid has been asked the question about whether Mike Vick will be the starting quarterback for the rest of the season.
Every time, Andy Reid pretty much answers the same way, “Michael Vick will be the quarterback.”
However, every time I hear Reid answer that question, he seems hesitant. Reid has yet to state that Vick will be the starter for the rest of the season. He has been taking this question on a week-by-week basis.
After the 27-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3, Reid said, “Right now we're with Michael. We'll evaluate it as we go.”
Reid’s lack of commitment to Vick as the starter is not helping anyone. Vick may not admit it, but he would be more relaxed if Reid would just come out and commit to Vick for the rest of the season. He won’t need to be looking over his shoulder for Nick Foles.
The only way that question will disappear is if Andy Reid comes out to the press, regardless of the game’s result, and says “Vick will be our quarterback for the rest of the season.”
Those last six words will quiet critics and let reporters ask about other topics that need to be addressed, like the defense and play-calling.