Philadelphia Eagles' Andy Reid Wears Two Hats That Don't Fit
Are you joking, Andy? You really must be.
By throwing Donovan McNabb under the bus, Reid basically admitted to the fans, media, and his players that he lacks accountability for this travesty of an Eagles season we have witnessed.
He couldn't even personally tell McNabb he was benching him? That's pathetic.
Reid wears two hats with the Eagles' organization, and neither is particularly fitting right now. Reid's inability to even become a competent play-caller has drawn most of the ire of Philly fans over the past several years. He has failed just as miserably in his executive role, which has, in turn, made his coaching job that much tougher.
Let's start with this year. He neglected to even have a fullback on the roster! Not only do they not have a good fullback or a decent fullback or even a mediocre fullback, they do not have one at all. Does Reid know that you're supposed to fill out all the positions on your roster?
He never has been one to respect the position much, entrusting the starting jobs to guys like Cecil Martin, Josh Parry, and Thomas Tapeh—pass-catchers who did not play the majority of the team's offensive downs. But this year has been ridiculous.
In a year where fullbacks are gaining back respect in the league, and guys like Madison Hedgecock and Tony Richardson are gaining acclaim right up I-95 for their stellar blocking for the New York teams, Reid tried to convert running back Tony Hunt to a fullback.
Hey Andy—Hunt can't even power through the line to move the chains on a 3rd-and-1, how do you expect him to lead block?
Then things got even more comical, or miserable, when they Eagles decided to make Dan Klecko, a defensive tackle, into their fullback.
Yes, Klecko played some fullback in goal-line situations with the Patriots. No, that does not make him a viable option.
The Bears never started William "The Refrigerator" Perry at tailback.
And we wonder why we can't pick up a yard on the goal line? This isn't college—you have to play smash-mouth football in the NFL, and the Eagles are playing a man or two down.
Andy has also failed to address the perennially pathetic tight-end situation. Since the retirement of Chad Lewis, the Eagles have tried to get by with the disappointing L.J. Smith, their former second-round pick out of Rutgers.
Look, I'm actually not an L.J. Smith hater, and I think he has good speed and receiving skills that could be used to be successful in this league, but the guy is by no means an NFL starter.
To be a starting tight end in the NFL, you have to be able to BLOCK. Smith doesn't know this, and anyone who saw the way he was mauled by the pathetic 49ers defense can attest to this.
Smith would do well for himself in a situation like the Indianapolis Colts, where they often put their tight end in the slot and let him run routes out of the middle of the field. But, as a conventional TE, he hasn't been able to get the job done adequately.
And those who say Brent Celek is the answer are missing the point as well. He had one big game against Seattle but is far from a complete package.
It's astounding that in an era where the tight end has become so vital to the team, three of the league's best have actually played in the NFC East all along. Reid has still missed the point.
Jason Witten, Chris Cooley, and Jeremy Shockey (now with the Saints) have all faced off against the Eagles as division rivals and have all given them fits. That's because these guys are the complete package and represent the new NFL.
Instead of trading out of the first round this year for the second straight season, why not draft Dustin Keller, who has already become a playmaker for the Jets?
Greg Olsen went 31st last year. He, too, could have been had if the Eagles didn't decide they would rather not use their first round selections.
The other three positions that Reid has failed most pathetically to address are getting a power running back, big defensive tackles, and a go-to wide receiver.
When did this team actually have their last power runner? Duce Staley, if he counts as such. Ricky Watters?
Not since Reid has taken over the reigns as GM has this team acquired any type of power goal-line running back, and this year, they are paying dearly. The Eagles have always struggled on goal-line offense for this reason.
They also struggled because they did not have a power back, and Reid had to often throw the ball on the goal line—one of the hardest things to do in the NFL. How about just drafting somebody?
Tim Hightower went in the fifth round of this year's draft and now has nine touchdowns as a goal-line runner for the Cardinals. LenDale White is one of the best goal-line backs in the NFL.
He went 45th overall in 2006; six picks after the Eagles selected offensive tackle Winston Justice. Justice is best known for becoming Osi Umenyiora's personal turnstile in last year's Eagles-Giants matchup.
In 2005, the Eagles drafted Matt McCoy, a useless linebacker, 65th overall. Two picks later, Frank Gore went to the 49ers.
Then, 77th overall, the Birds were happy to take a smaller, less-talented, less well-rounded version of Brian Westbrook—with Ryan Moats.
Are you kidding me, Andy? Do you even have scouts on the payroll?
As far as defensive tackles go, the current starters are very talented guys, and I actually like Bunkley and Patterson a lot. But they're not big DTs, like every dominant defense has.
Jim Johnson is one of the game's best coordinators, but if he's not given the tools to work with, his defenses suffer.
The Eagles haven't been able to stop the run consistently for several years, and the main reason is they don't have lane-clogging tackles. Patterson and Bunkley would be great as part of a three-man rotation, but they need that big guy in there.
Kris Jenkins and Marcus Stroud, two of the league's best defensive tackles, could have been easily had on the open trade market this off-season. They would have solidified this defense.
Look what they've done for the Jets and Bills, respectively. The Jets, in particular, had the fourth-worst run defense in the league last year and now have the third-best.
The last time the Eagles had a stud defensive tackle was Corey Simon. Coupled with Hollis Thomas, a wide-bodied run-stuffer, they had one of the best defenses in the league.
Probably the most highly publicized deficiency has been the lack of any big time wide receiver outside of Terrell Owens. Sure, he was a pain, but the guy was a playmaker, and Donovan McNabb was never a better passer than when he had T.O.
This is with Owens being the only competent receiver on that team, unless you think Todd Pinkston and Freddie Mitchell were competent.
Adding a top wideout to this year's supporting cast would have worked wonders for the offense. Curtis, Jackson, and Brown, if healthy, could all be very good complementary receivers.
I know the Eagles tried hard to get Randy Moss, but I really wish they had done everything they could, even if it meant overpaying.
In the 2001 draft, the Eagles passed over Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson, Chris Chambers, and Steve Smith to pick Freddie Mitchell. Ouch. Any one of those guys could have made this an elite offense for a long time.
So yes, Andy Reid is an awful play-caller. Yes, he has been doing a terrible job of coaching his team the past couple seasons. But most of the fault lies on the GM.
Unfortunately for Reid, he is also the GM, so it's still his fault. Had the Eagles hired a better GM years ago when they granted Reid full control, I think this team would have been in multiple Super Bowls.
But for now, they'll just have to settle for throwing McNabb under the bus and hoping Kevin Kolb is some sort of savior.
Hey, can Kolb play fullback?
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