The greater Philadelphia area is a little giddy these days.
The start of summer is upon us. Thousands of Philadelphians will flock to the Jersey shore for some fun in the sun. The defending World Champion Fightin' Phils are in first place. And perhaps the most glorious of all, the Eagles are seven weeks away from opening their 11th training camp under head coach Andy Reid.
Eagles fans have had this date marked on their calendars for months. And as the frenzy builds every year at this time, this June has a little bit more expectation to it. The fan base and media have clamored for certain things from Reid and the front office. There were issues that needed to be addressed. A team that had reached the NFC Championship needed some tinkering. And tinker they did.
Fans pleaded for a wide receiver. Shockingly, the Eagles traded up to draft Mizzou standout Jeremy Maclin.
Tight end was a little thin. Welcome Cornelius Ingram, a 6' 4", 245-pound mammoth out of Florida. Throw in Jason Peters and Stacy Andrews on the offensive line, and Sean Jones at the safety spot and you have yourself a pretty solid squad.
Reid and team president Joe Banner have done a marvelous job this offseason, but we all know Super Bowls aren't won in June. With the heightened expectations of this coming season and the teams offensive stars Donovan McNabb and Westbrook not getting any younger, there is an interesting question to pose.
If the Eagles do not reach the Super Bowl, or in fact totally disappoint and don't even reach the playoffs, will Andy Reid be on the sidelines in 2010?
Reid's time in Philadelphia has been remarkable despite not delivering a Lombardi Trophy to the championship starved "Iggle" fans. In 10 seasons, Reid has amassed a .610 winning percentage, five division championships, five trips to the NFC title game and one Super Bowl appearance. He has a 10-7 playoff record, and has kept the Eagles perennial contenders in a league of parity.
His tenure has not been all "honeymoon." Releasing fan favorites, often ignoring the running game, and hosting less-than-informative news conferences have drawn the ire of many in Eagle Nation. Suspect play-calling and his inability to win a championship have created many a conversation on local sports talk radio.
In a "What have you done for me lately?" profession, Andy Reid has done plenty. But in Philadelphia, maybe not so much. Eagles fans expect a Super Bowl victory. They expected it in 2004 and came up short against the New England Patriots. There can be no coming up short this year for Reid. Much like the QB position, an NFL head coach receives too much credit when his team wins, and too much blame when his team loses.
Reid must come into Lehigh University on July 26 and instill an attitude that they are the big dogs on the block. They will be playing for a championship in January, and anything less than winning it is unacceptable. The pieces are in place—now it's time to execute the plan.
Failure is not an option for Andy Reid this coming season. If Andy and his team don't execute, tune in to Philadelphia sports talk radio. You will hear "Andy Reid" and "execute" a lot.