Andy Reid Hot Seat: Why Eagles' Recent Victories Have Cooled It Down
The Philadelphia Eagles have won three straight games, all but assuring Andy Reid will not get fired during the offseason. The Eagles have vastly underachieved for 15 games, performing below expectations that had the Eagles easily winning the NFC East and challenging the Green Bay Packers for conference supremacy.
However, there are enough positive signs that Reid should book on coming back for the 2012 season.
Andy Reid has proven himself to be a winner over his 13 years as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. He’s finished with just two losing seasons and made the playoffs nine times, advancing to five conference championship games and a Super Bowl.
While he hasn’t been able to win a ring, he has gotten the Eagles to the postseason enough times that Jeffrey Lurie likely won’t want to move on to an unproven guy.
Andy Reid’s Contract
Andy Reid is signed through the 2013 season. He will probably be allowed to at least finish his contract. Firing Reid means the Philadelphia Eagles may have to change up their whole coaching staff.
The team has almost all of the pieces necessary to make a serious playoff run. Bringing in a new coach could push the team in the right direction and finally get them over the edge (remember the Tampa Bay Buccaneers going from Tony Dungy to Jon Gruden?), but it also could backfire.
I don’t think Jeffrey Lurie or Joe Banner will want to take that risk.
Howard Mudd and Jim Washburn
The Philadelphia Eagles went to a lot of trouble to lure Howard Mudd and Jim Washburn to the team. Mudd was brought out of retirement after 12 extremely successful seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, and Washburn was brought (along with All-Pro pass rusher Jason Babin) from the Tennessee Titans.
A new head coach may not want Mudd or Washburn, and both were very successful this season. Mudd coaxed an All-Pro season out of journeyman guard Evan Mathis. Washburn’s wide nine defense started shaky, especially because the Eagles don’t have the linebackers to support it, but it racked up a ton of sacks and got to the quarterback often.
The Philadelphia Eagles gave Michael Vick a much-debated six-year, $100 million contract. It is unlikely the Eagles will keep Vick for the duration of the contract, as he has proven to be extremely injury-prone and inconsistent.
A new head coach coming in may easily look to upgrade over Vick. The Eagles have too much money invested in Vick to allow that to happen. Reid is an extremely loyal head coach, and he will likely stick with Vick for at least several more seasons.
Improvement to Finish the Season
The Philadelphia Eagles had a nightmarish beginning to the season, losing four of their first five games, three of them via horrific fourth-quarter collapses. Juan Castillo’s defense was frighteningly awful, and the Eagles looked like nothing like the so-called Dream Team Vince Young had dubbed them.
As the season went on, the Eagles still had growing pains, notably the awful losses to the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks that were ultimately the nail in the coffin. There were also strong signs of improvement. The Eagles dismantled the Dallas Cowboys twice, shut down the New York Giants in a midseason matchup, and are currently in a three-game winning streak.
Andy Reid may have gotten the axe if the season had ended after the Patriots or Seahawks losses but not after three straight (and likely four) wins.
The Time to Win Is Now
The Philadelphia Eagles are this close to making the playoffs. Despite an NFL-record number of fourth quarter collapses, the Eagles are still just one game away from controlling their own fate for the postseason. The Eagles should have no trouble handling a subpar Washington Redskins team, meaning if any one of the blown losses—Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals—had gone the Eagles’ way, they would likely be continuing their season in January.
The Giants and Dallas Cowboys are average football teams. Despite their incredibly disappointing season, the Eagles will probably be considered favorites to win the NFC East in 2012. The core of the team is there, and the Eagles are as talented as any team in the league.