It is easy to point the finger at the lockout, which made it difficult for the Eagles, who had a new defensive coordinator, a new OL coach, a new DL coach and several new players.
While it is not completely unfair to partially blame Reid or the lockout, the main reason the Eagles will not be in the 2012 postseason, despite being the most talented team in the NFC East, is because of ridiculous mistakes from the players on the field.
Some people may say turnovers or mental errors are the coach's fault. I disagree.
Do you really think Reid needs to tell a player not to fumble the ball? Or that a veteran like Juqua Parker should be coached to not jump offsides when a team is obviously trying to draw him offside? Sometimes, the players on the field need to take responsibility for their own errors.
Despite the win against Dallas yesterday, we saw another one of those mistakes when Jason Avant, for no apparent reason, let the ball go short of the goal line, fumbling it out of bounds and giving the Cowboys a touchback. Instead, Avant should have secured the ball and gone down at the 1-yard line, setting up 1st-and-goal. These kinds of silly mistakes have plagued the Eagles all season.
It started in Week 2, when after Michael Vick went down, Mike Kafka came in and led the Eagles down the field for a game-winning drive, only for WR Jeremy Maclin to drop a wide-open pass for a first down that hit him in the hands. The Eagles lost.
The Eagles led the 49ers by 20 points in the third quarter and allowed the Niners to come back to win, 24-23. While the scheme may not have been great, the players on the field have to step up and make plays, and no one did. They allowed San Francisco to run the ball all over the field.
The comedy of errors hit a new high in Buffalo a couple weeks later, when Avant had two key fumbles when the Eagles were trying to come back on the Bills.
Even despite that, the Eagles were going to get the ball back down one score, when Parker inexplicably jumped offsides when Buffalo was looking to punt. The Eagles lost again, and the players only had themselves to blame.
Against the Bears, the Eagles blew their fourth lead of the season in the fourth quarter thanks to sloppy play, penalties, turnovers and, most important, one of the worst passes I have ever seen on a fake punt.
The Eagles had a brilliant play call and a wide open Colt Anderson. Punter Chas Henry, a former high school quarterback, looked like he never threw a football in his life when he tried to throw it to Anderson.
I think a blind 90-year-old could have thrown a better-looking pass. It wobbled to the ground incomplete. Later in the game, Maclin fell down a yard short of the first down, ending the game. The Eagles lost again.
The point here is that while many people want Reid to be fired, or changes to be made on the coaching staff, at the end of the day, the coaches are not the ones on the field. It is ultimately the players' responsibility to execute. The Eagles did not do that in 2012, and as a result, they will be watching the postseason from home.
Reid will be back in 2012. I will be shocked if he is not.
The Eagles will have a similar-looking team, but I believe they will be a contender next year. The comedy of errors cannot continue, and I think this team will do next year what everyone thought they would this year. I hope I'm right, because if I'm wrong, Reid won't survive next season. Many of the players won't, either.
The irony in this entire article is that, despite all the mistakes, the Eagles still had hope until yesterday. They needed the Jets to beat the Giants (the Jets were favored to do so) and they had to beat Dallas, and they still would have had a chance to win the NFC East. The Eagles handled their part of the equation, but the Jets lost.
To that, all I have to say is Merry Christmas to all, except Mark Sanchez, who put on one of the worst performances by a quarterback I've ever seen yesterday when the Giants beat the Jets. Sanchez made Vince Young look like Joe Montana.
My girlfriend texted me in the fourth quarter of the Jets vs. Giants game and said, "wow, I think I might be better than Mark Sanchez." The truly funny part is she might be right, and I was thinking the same thing.
How Sanchez has survived as the Jets quarterback is one of the great mysteries of the world. If the Jets keep Sanchez next season as their starting quarterback, you can pretty much guarantee the Jets will never win a Super Bowl.
Sanchez could have given the Eagles life yesterday and kept them in the hunt, but he didn't, largely because, well, he just stinks.
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