NFL Coach of the Year: Look No Further Than Philadelphia Eagles' Andy Reid

Darren GrossmanCorrespondent IDecember 25, 2010

NFL Coach of the Year: Look No Further Than Philadelphia Eagles' Andy Reid

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    Every year the NFL picks a Coach of the Year.  It is normally a guy who takes a bad team and turns them into a good team.  This year's leading candidates are Tampa Bay's coach Raheem Morris, KC's Todd Haley or perhaps Lovie Smith of the Bears. 

    However, this year, Bill Belichick should get a ton of consideration for doing a fantastic job with the Patriots, and in my opinion, Andy Reid should ultimately win the award.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't think Reid will win it, but what coach has taken more risks than Reid?  He traded away his franchise QB because Kevin Kolb was ready, then had the guts to bench him after half a game to play Michael Vick.  Vick got hurt and Reid turned back to Kolb and still managed to get two big wins with Kolb at the helm.

    He lost DeSean Jackson and still managed to win games.  The Eagles have had numerous injuries on defense, yet Reid, who coaches the youngest team in the NFL, has a chance to take this team to the Super Bowl. 

    Join me as we run through reasons why Reid should be Coach of the Year.

5. The Eagles Overachieved Significantly This Season

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    After making the playoffs as a wild card last season, this year's Eagles seemed worse than last year.  They traded away franchise QB Donovan McNabb and they had huge question marks on the offensive line and on defense.  Then in the first game, they lost Pro Bowler Leonard Weaver for the season, leaving a huge hole at the fullback spot. 

    Despite almost pulling off a great second half comeback, the Eagles would lose to the Packers on opening day, and then lose their second home game to the Redskins to start the season 0-2 at home.  In that game, the Eagles also lost Michael Vick for almost a month.

    Since then, the Eagles have encountered numerous injuries on defense, losing four starters to injured reserve.

    Despite it all, the Eagles are in a position to win 12 games, which is more than even the most optimistic person could have imagined.

4. The Eagles Are So Young

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    The Eagles youth is a main reason in my opinion why Reid should get coach of the year votes.  With the youngest team in the NFL, Reid has won and won often.  He has related well to this young team, which never quits on him, as last weeks' miracle comeback showed.  Not many coaches could win with a team so young, but Reid's team is 10-2 in their last 12 games.

    Youth is a good thing in a lot of ways but young teams usually need time to grow and mature.  Reid has gotten this young team to consistently play at a high level, and that's not easy to do.

3. Strength of Schedule

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    This might be more an argument against the other main contenders than it is for Reid, but Reid's team has beaten 12-2 Atlanta, Indianapolis, the Giants twice, at Jacksonville, the better version of the Cowboys who are 4-2 under Garrett.  While that is not amazing, it is better than most of the other contending teams.

    The Tampa Bay Bucs have not beat a single team with a winning record all season.  The KC Chiefs have beaten San Diego once, but other than the Chargers, also lack any real quality wins except a home game vs. Jacksonville.  They also got thumped in San Diego by the Chargers.

    Even the Bears, who beat our Eagles and Packers, but lack any other real significant wins. 

    The one team who has beaten a lot of quality teams is the Patriots, which is why Reid and Belichick should be getting the most consideration for the award.

2. Dealing with Adversity

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    This year's Eagles team has had to deal with a ton of adversity.  When Reid made the switch from Kolb to Vick, many people felt it was not fair to Kolb, who lost his job due to injury.  Then despite Kolb playing well against Atlanta and San Francisco, Reid had the guts to go back to Vick when he was healthy.

    Having Vick on your team is always going to make everything your team does overly scrutinized.  You have to deal with protesters and drama on a daily basis.  Couple that with Vick not being protected as a QB and the Eagles rarely getting a call for Vick, and Reid has handled a lot of obstacles well.

    This year's Eagles team also has had to deal with a slew of injuries, including fullback Leonard Weaver, defensive end Brandon Graham, center Jamaal Jackson, linebacker Stewart Bradley, FS Nate Allen, CB Asante Samuel, QB Michael Vick, QB Kevin Kolb, WR DeSean Jackson, OT Winston Justice, CB Ellis Hobbs, returner Jorrick Colvin, and more. 

    Many of these injuries were for long periods of time, where guys missed two to four games or more.  Several of them were season ending, yet the Eagles plugged in unheard of guys and rookies like Kurt Coleman, Owen Schmitt, King Dunlap, Riley Cooper, Jamar Cheney, and still got high level play and most importantly, wins.

    Finally, Reid's team probably has their worst defense since he has been coach, and their worst OL since he has been coach, yet they have found a way to win games and likely the division again. The Eagles have the best record in the NFC over the last decade and a good reason why starts with Reid.

1. Michael Vick, Enough Said!

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    Vick is the main reason Reid should be Coach of the Year. 

    First off, how many NFL head coaches would have had the guts to put their ego aside and play Vick after Week 1?  Remember, Reid traded away McNabb because he said Kevin Kolb was ready to be the guy.  Many coaches would have stuck with Kolb no matter what for a long time because they hyped Kolb so much, but Reid had the guts to play the better guy.  That shows he puts winning in front of his own ego.  That was impressive.

    Also, have you watched Vick?  Vick is better than he ever was in Atlanta mostly because Reid turned Vick into a quarterback.  He can pass the ball now along with running, making him a dual threat.  Reid has found a way to let Vick be the exciting, dynamic runner he has always been but also run the Eagles offense at the same time.

    Michael Vick is far and away the story of 2010 and none of it would have been possible if not for Reid, who had the courage to give Vick a chance when no one else did, then had even more courage to bench a guy he anointed as the future for Vick after just half a game.

    Reid has had all the right answers this season and for that reason, Andy Reid should be the Coach of the Year.