The Philadelphia Eagles were expected to be a Super Bowl contender in 2011 after a busy offseason saw the team lock up six former Pro Bowlers. However, Reid made several costly mistakes, and as a result, the Eagles are mired in third place in the NFC East, clinging to their last playoff ambitions.
This has been the tagline of Andy Reid’s coaching tenure in Philadelphia, and this season has been no exception.
Perhaps Reid’s most blatantly awful decision was the final play of the first half in the Week 5 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Facing a 3rd-and-10 with XXXXXX seconds remaining, Reid called for Michael Vick to run one last play. The result was an incompletion out of the back of the end zone, negating what could have been at least a field goal for the Eagles.
Would that have made an outcome in the 31-24 loss? Maybe, but maybe not.
It’s impossible to tell, but if the Eagles had gone into halftime with some momentum after a field goal, the end result may have been different.
Love him or hate him, DeSean Jackson is a playmaker. When he’s on the field, defenses have to play the Philadelphia Eagles differently.
Most teams keep their safeties deep so as not to get burned by Jackson’s blazing speed, which in turn opens things up for Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek and LeSean McCoy.
Jackson entered 2011 in a contract season, and the Philadelphia Eagles chose to let him play the season without extending him. Jackson responded by playing half-heartedly, appearing uninterested and unfocused at times. He missed a mandatory team meeting, which led to him being deactivated against the Arizona Cardinals, and he has dropped more passes (nine) than all but one NFC wide receiver.
As a result, Michael Vick’s play just hasn’t been the same. Without his deep threat, the Eagles offense just hasn’t been as threatening and explosive, and as a result, the Eagles have been losing games they should have won.
Andy Reid is the most pass-happy coach in the league, with a greater pass-to-run ratio than any NFL head coach of all time.
What makes this so perplexing for Philadelphia Eagles fans is that Reid has LeSean McCoy as his running back, arguably the game’s best running back. McCoy is averaging over five yards per carry, and he leads the NFL with 17 total touchdowns.
Reid has been reluctant to use McCoy fully. In consecutive losses to the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals, McCoy carried the ball four total times. That’s pretty shocking considering McCoy is averaging 6.7 yards per carry in the fourth quarter of games in 2011.
Utilizing McCoy more would take some of the focus off of Vick, a highly erratic passer who has had to compensate for Reid’s unwillingness to use McCoy by passing the ball more.
No one will really ever understand why Andy Reid decided to promote offensive-line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator.
What it ended up doing though was ultimately putting more pressure on Michael Vick and the offense to score points, especially because the Philadelphia Eagles rank 20th in scoring defense, 26th in defensive passer rating and 32nd in red-zone defense.
If Vick could be fortunate to have the New York Jets defense or the Houston Texans defense or even an average defense, it would free him up to be able to just play football and not have to worry about putting up 30 to 40 points in every single game.
Realistically, I will never get over this decision. Andy Reid let 35-year-old safety Brian Dawkins walk in free agency after the 2008 season, and as a result, the Philadelphia Eagles have gotten subpar play from their safeties and lack an emotional leader.
If you’ve ever seen a Dawkins motivational speech, you will know they’re amazing to watch. Dawkins simply wouldn’t have allowed the Eagles to blow five fourth-quarter leads as they have this season. Remember the game against the San Francisco 49ers in which Frank Gore said the Eagles didn’t want to play anymore?
That just wouldn’t have happened with Dawkins. No chance. And as a result, the Eagles wouldn’t have to rely on Michael Vick for fourth-quarter comebacks nearly as much.