Philadelphia Eagles: How Many More Scapegoats Can Andy Reid Find?
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The 2008 season was Andy Reid's 10th with the Eagles, along with his handpicked quarterback, Donovan McNabb. The season was a rocky one, and it ended in an NFC Championship Game loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Many speculated during and after that season that either Reid or McNabb—or even both—would be gone. It was deemed that there was enough luster on their resume together that they deserved another shot.
In their 10 years together, they missed the playoffs just three times. Once in McNabb's rookie year, once when McNabb went down with a season-ending sports hernia and finally, the year after he came off an ACL injury.
When they got to the playoffs, they always managed to advance. In their seven postseason trips, they won at least one game each time and advanced to the NFC Championship Game five times. They even reached one Super Bowl.
In the offseason, the organization suffered a great tragedy when defensive mastermind Jim Johnson passed away. One of his pupils, Sean McDermott, was promoted to take his place.
In 2009, the Eagles managed to start 11-4 before losing their final regular season game in Dallas 24-0. The next week they lost a Wild Card game in Dallas 34-14. It was the first time McNabb or Reid ever failed to win a single playoff game.
The Eagles defense fell from third overall to 12th. They dropped from fourth in scoring defense to 19th. It was viewed as McDermott being a young coach who would improve with time.
McNabb made comments about their late-season collapse being due to "youth." Before spring had ended, McNabb was gone, ostensibly the fall-guy for the disappointing season. The keys to the franchise were handed over to Kevin Kolb.
2010 came around, and McDermott's defense continued to struggle. They stayed at 12th in total defense and dropped two places to 21st in scoring defense. The real problem was their last-place finish in red-zone defense.
Reid lucked out with Michael Vick's surprise season, but they lost in the Wild Card round once again, 21-16 to the Green Bay Packers. Consecutive seasons without a playoff win would not be tolerated by the Eagles brass, and McDermott was fired. Their failures were his fault and his alone.
The Eagles needed to right the ship. They would settle for nothing less than the promised land. A young and inexperienced defensive coordinator cost them their 2010 season, and it was time to change course.
Andy Reid decided to hire Juan Castillo to replace Sean McDermott. Somehow he managed to get even less experience.
Not shockingly, the defense struggled most of the year, only to round into form late in the season. This year, the Eagles failed to even make the playoffs. Clearly someone must pay for failing to meet expectations.
Will it be Andy Reid? He replaced Jim Johnson with an inexperienced coordinator in Sean McDermott. His plan to fix that mistake was hiring someone who wasn't even coaching defense in any capacity, let alone being a coordinator.
Reid will not be held accountable, though. This year, the scapegoat appears to be Juan Castillo, assuming the rumors are true that Steve Spagnuolo will return to Philadelphia as the new defensive coordinator.
To be fair, Spagnuolo would seem to be a great hire. He won a Super Bowl as a defensive coordinator and he has even had head coaching experience.
With that being said, doesn't Andy Reid himself have to be accountable for his own failures at some point?
Who is left to blame if they fail again next year?
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