Philadelphia Eagles: Andy Reid's Biggest Mistakes of 2012
Andy Reid may have taken the Eagles to five NFC Championships over his career, but he failed to win even five games in 2012 and has finally been ousted as head coach after 14 long years. A season that had potential due to the supposed strength of its roster crashed and burned and was the worst season in recent Eagles memory.
While some may blame the team's failure on a deficiency of talent, the team had a great deal of potential to be great, roaring to a 3-1 start before winning only one more game to close the year at 4-12. Reid made costly mistakes that cost him his job and cost the Eagles their season.
Here are his five worst mistakes of the season...
1. Firing Juan Castillo
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Castillo may never have been qualified to be an NFL defensive coordinator, but his defense in 2012 still kept the Eagles close in its games. When he was dismissed, Todd Bowles took over and the defense got much worse, particularly the secondary, allowing big play after big play.
It is not so much Bowles' fault for messing things up, or Reid's failure to see Castillo's genius. But by firing a defensive coordinator halfway through the season there are always risks. Castillo spent an entire offseason working with Jim Washburn to devise a scheme for both philosophies.
With Castillo gone, you place Bowles into a very difficult situation. It was a move that was doomed from the start.
2. Failing to Fire Jim Washburn Until It Was Too Late
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After leading the league in sacks last season, the Eagles hardly recorded any under Jim Washburn. Washburn's stubborn insistence on his wide-nine scheme cost the Eagles many games.
Opposing offenses figured out how to negate the wide-nine and take its players, most notably Jason Babin, out of games. But Washburn would not change his scheme and continued to insist upon it.
When he was fired the line finally jumped to life, showing signs of its talent and promise and finally getting consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Unfortunately, by then the season was already long over.
3. Failing to Address O-Line Depth
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When Jason Peters was lost after a season-ending Achilles tendon tear, the Eagles tried to fill his gap on the left side with a free-agent acquisition, Demetress Bell.
Bell turned out to be a huge bust. They then trusted King Dunlap with the left tackle position. Dunlap played poorly for most of the season.
The rest of the O-Line overall did not play well this season, but there was not good depth behind it. Jason Kelce's injury was equally as disastrous as Peters'.
The failure to address such a weak O-Line over the offseason for a team that prides itself on its offensive talent was a huge failure of Reid's.
4. Inability to Adjust Offensive Playcalling
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For half of the season, the Eagles kept Michael Vick as the starter, believing he gave the Eagles the best chance to win. But behind a porous O-Line, they continued to call passing plays, knowing that Vick has a slower release than most NFL quarterbacks.
Only when Vick was lost essentially for the season with a concussion and the Eagles were forced to play Nick Foles did they finally adjust their game-planning. They finally called more screen passes and more running plays to greater success.
Had they adjusted their game-planning sooner, the Eagles may have won more games and those additional wins could have sparked some momentum.
5. Overall Abandonment of His Own Philosophy
Reid's biggest failure is that he turned his back on what made him a good coach in Philadelphia. Reid's greatest strength has always been his consistency, but his uncharacteristic decisions were very costly to his team's success.
Previously known for his insistence on building a team of quality character individuals, Reid allowed Mike Patterson's pay to be slashed and Babin to remain unpunished for most of the season. He allowed Jim Washburn and his divisive attitude to dictate the defensive locker room, rather than putting a stop to it early.
And he attempted quick fixes rather than calculated decisions, such as hastily firing coaches and players hoping it would generate a spark. This reversal of his own philosophies, the very philosophies that made him a success in Philly, contributed to his downfall.