Philadelphia Eagles: Andy Reid's Missing Qualities That New Coach Must Bring
Philadelphia Eagles' owner Jeffrey Lurie had plenty of well deserved praise for now former Head Coach Andy Reid. As frustrated as Philadelphians and Eagles fans have been with Andy Reid over his storied stay, no coach stays in one place for fourteen years without some semblance of success—actually, a lot of success.
Lurie gave his praise at Monday's press conference, and also spoke about the reasons why Reid is now a free agent. However, we fans know that we got somewhat of a political answer.
Perhaps now is the time to reflect on why Andy Reid frustrated the fan base so much over such a winning tenure, and what that means for the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Philadelphians, it's time to get excited about who the next coach of the Eagles is going to be.
Andy Reid has long been considered one of the best coaches in the NFL, but the vast majority of his praise pertained to his preparation from week-to-week.
Maybe the best evidence of his abilities to prepare for a game is his impeccable history in games coming after a bye. In his tenure with the Eagles, Andy Reid went 13-1 in such contests. The extra week allowed him to further dissect his opponents and strategize for the best game plan to beat said opposition.
Though Reid could prepare his team, there were numerous examples of the dichotomy between his ability to strategize and ability to execute.
We can't say that his game day failures were completely encompassed by a lack of execution of a game plan, but it was clear that Andy had his many faults on Sunday, those of which we will get into in more detail.
It's not like we can expect to land a Bill Belichick of game day prowess, but Philadelphia does need someone who we can trust for sixty minutes.
Andy Reid may not be completely to blame, but he definitely gets a minimum of eighty-percent blame for the Eagles' inability to manage the game clock.
Donovan McNabb is pictured because we all know that he deserves a good amount of blame for that as well.
Much of this fault has to do with calling timeouts at seemingly unneeded or poor times, like on a 2nd-and-7 at 7:26 in the first quarter. The accumulation of these timeouts over the years led to more scrambled 2-minute drills with a far smaller shot of success. At the end of games and halves, an additional timeout can mean the ability to open up the middle of the field, take a shot or two more into the end zone or have the ability to stop time to set up a field goal.
Of course, clock management also includes using timeouts on defense to try to get the ball back late in games. While I'll spare myself the research of specific examples, I feel in my heart the lingering frustrations of those instances throughout Reid's tenure.
Some of these fixes seem simple, others more of a complex art form. Either way, Philly needs a coach who can make the most of the three time outs allotted to him.
Running the Football
Andy Reid isn't known for "ground-and-pound," he's more of a "throw on first, second, third, fourth, and fifth down" (if they ever added that last one).
Despite falling for passing early in his boyhood somewhere along the way, Reid does deserve credit for drafting two of Philadelphia's greatest running backs: Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy.
However, Reid didn't hand (or pitch) the ball off to these great backs nearly enough. He found creative ways to get them the ball, hence his requirement to find backs that could catch the ball out of the backfield, but the lack of offensive balance often handicapped the Eagles.
In Brian Westbrook's career in Philadelphia from 2002 to 2009, he averaged 12.2 carries-per-game. After LeSean McCoy's first four seasons with the Eagles, he is averaging 15.2 carries-per-game.
The lack of a consistent run game is something that Philadelphia's new Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator need to make disappear.
Which brings me to my next qualm...
Short Yardage Situations and the Red Zone
There's a connection between Philadelphia's lack of consistent running and failures in short yardage situations and in the red zone.
The Birds learned to be out of their element when they ran the football, and the offense was built completely around passing. But when the yards on the field shrink and the field gets crowded, a certain mentality and physicality is needed. The Eagles just didn't have that very often in Reid's tenure.
Perhaps I am a victim of recency bias, as the Eagles' struggles in the red zone and in short yardage have inflated over the last couple of seasons, but the fact that these struggles did in fact inflate as of late had a lot to do with Philadelphia's 12-20 record.
I think I can spare you Eagles fans the stats and a long-winded reminder of Philadelphia's woes in the turnover category.
It goes without saying that this problem needs to go away, and immediately.
Winning football teams win the turnover battle; hence the Eagles' 0-2 playoff record in the past four seasons.
Fire and Excitement
There's nothing more exciting than Andy Reid. Except for basically everything.
Let's not lose sight of the fact that winning is really all that matters at the end of the day. Even still, it wouldn't hurt that the Eagles franchise has a leader that excites the fan base.
Of course, this is the typical call for action that swings the proverbial pendulum in the opposite direction. But despite this cynicism, I really do feel like this team, not only Philadelphia's fans, needs someone who brings energy, animation and enthusiasm.
The media will eat up having a new coach that actually says something worth quoting. But more importantly, this is a true time of excitement for the Philadelphia Eagles. The unknown of this situation is brewing a sense of optimism for what is to come; the exact opposite of our pessimism about Philly's future with Andy Reid at the helm.
The thought of a new coach with a new vision and change from the stale we had been accustomed to is, in its nature, exciting.
The next few weeks should be fun.