November 6, 2012, 2:49 pm
There was a nasty fire in my neighborhood recently. Intense flames consumed a three-story house and thick clouds of black smoke billowed up into the sky. You could see it from miles away.
Lots of people stood on the corner and watched. I was one of them. The firefighters arrived before too long and got set up. When they turned on the fire hydrant, there weren’t enough men to secure the hose. The untamed force threw one fireman backward and onto the sidewalk. The hose went shooting into the air and water sprayed everywhere but on the house. They had to turn everything off and start again.
That’s what it’s been like watching the Eagles this season. The team burst into flames a month ago, and the fire gets hotter and harder to control with each successive loss. Each time you think the Eagles have finally figured a way to stamp it out and control the damage, something goes wrong.
It makes you wonder what the organization will look like when the season is over. Will the foundation of the franchise, so carefully built over, be reduced to a smoldering, ashy heap? Will the Eagles be forced to start over and build something new from the ground up? Has it gotten that serious?
It has been suggested – by the media and the fans – that things are exactly that bad. It has also been suggested by members of those same groups that the head coach is mainly responsible, and that he needs to go. Not later, but right now.
You’ve no doubt heard someone suggest that course of action. Perhaps you’ve advocated for it yourself. If you’re on Twitter or listen to the radio, you’re well aware of how prevalent the position has become. Fire Reid immediately – it’s a popular platform.
It won’t happen. It shouldn’t happen.
The Eagles are 3-5. They haven’t won a game in a month. Their four straight losses match the worst stretch in Reid’s history as the team’s head coach. This is a bad team, a team that has underperformed in every possible way.
That doesn’t mean Jeffrey Lurie should stuff Reid into a cannon and launch him into the unemployment stratosphere. This thing is already a circus. Adding to the calamity wouldn’t accomplish anything. Sacrificing Reid won’t suddenly undo the many mistakes that have been made this season, and it won’t make the Eagles a contender, either.
It’s entirely possible that Reid will be held accountable for a grim, disappointing campaign this year. That judgment shouldn’t be rendered now, however.
Reid has been with the organization for 14 years. It’s impossible to imagine that Lurie would ignore the man’s loyalty and service and then humiliate Reid with a public, messy midseason dismissal. No, if you’ve paid attention, you know that’s not the owner’s style. Nor should it be.
Whatever you think of Reid, he’s earned the right to see this thing through. That’s no great prize, by the way. The offense can’t score, the defense can’t stop anyone and the respective lines have been beyond terrible. The calculations required to solve this equation are so complex that John Nash couldn’t pull it off with a grease pencil and room full of windows.
In private moments, if he’s honest with himself, Reid probably knows this team can't be fixed this year. Not that he would ever admit it to anyone. He said he’s still confident in himself and his coaches and his players and their collective ability to turn things around.
“You get yourself a win and it can snowball from there,” Reid said. “Right now, it’s going the opposite way.”
That is impossible to deny. At the moment, the Eagles' situation isn’t a snowball so much as an avalanche of on-field errors and off-field miscues. (Someone should tell Marcus Vick to stop tweeting. Jason Babin, too.)
After the debacle down in New Orleans, Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson and several other players struggled to explain what went wrong. They looked and sounded defeated, which was appropriate given the circumstances. Is there any concern that the players have given up, or that they might no longer buy what the coaches are selling?
“I didn’t sense that,” Reid said. “Is there a frustration that things aren’t going well? Yeah, absolutely. These guys want to do well. Coaches want to do well. Players want to do well. They’re battling to get that done. They’re working hard to get that done.”
There are eight more games for them to battle and work hard and attempt to get something done. Reid should be with them for it. That seems more like a punishment than a reward.
E-mail John Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org