The 2011 campaign for the Philadelphia Eagles is turning into a disaster as they fall to 4-8 on the year. Of course, many Philadelphia fans are pointing their fingers at Andy Reid, a coach who has consistently led the Eagles to success over the past 13 years.
While Andy Reid should take some of the blame for the highly disappointing year, there are so many other factors that are holding this team back that he should not take the blame for.
The biggest issue to me is the lack of team chemistry, especially on defense. While Reid should take the blame for some of this, I think that much of the reason for the lack of chemistry is simply all the new faces in the Philadelphia locker room that did not get a chance to practice with their team in the offseason due to the lockout. In many ways, this was the worst possible season to make a big splash in free agency, because many of these new players had significantly less time to learn new systems.
Another by-product of the free-agent frenzy for the Eagles is the fact that they weren't able to pay DeSean Jackson and Asante Samuel, and while Samuel appears to have accepted this and hasn't done much to cause a distraction in the locker room, Jackson certainly has. This was clearly evident last night against Seattle, where he was barely a factor and spent much of the night sulking on the Eagles sideline.
Unhappy players can be poisonous for a locker room, especially when that player is one of the best players on the team. Because Jackson is not playing at nearly the level he was last year, and Michael Vick has been battling injuries for most of the year, the explosiveness on offense has faded from its strong performance in 2010.
This Eagles locker room, offensively and defensively, has not had the maturity or the veteran leadership that it has in the past. In fact, newly-acquired defensive end Cullen Jenkins made a comment after an Eagles loss that this team didn't have the right mindset at halftime when they were up 20-3, and consequently ended up losing the game 24-23.
Andy Reid should certainly take some of the blame for the locker room issues, but I just feel there is so much more to the story than simply pointing the finger at a head coach who has accomplished so much in his career with the Eagles.
He has taken the Eagles to five NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl, with a playoff berth in nearly every season with the team. Should he really get fired after one bad season, when there are issues with chemistry, maturity and a team that perhaps did too much in a short offeseason?
To me, this failed Eagles season rests on the players who seem to have lost any interest in winning. Why lose the coach who still cares, and is trying to turn things around? In 2012, if Reid is still on the coaching staff, I have full confidence that he will make a concerted effort to turn things around and improve the atmosphere of this team. Given his track record as a coach, I think that he will succeed.