Eagles: Home finale likely to be Andy Reid’s last
Published: Sunday, December 23, 2012
By BOB GROTZ
PHILADELPHIA — It wasn’t supposed to end like this.
Not with Michael Vick healthy, yet not playing.
Not with Andy Reid asked how he feels about what could be his last home game coaching the Eagles.
What went wrong, if you ask the players, is just about everything that could go wrong. Instead of a battle for the division lead, the Eagles’ game against the Washington Redskins today at Lincoln Financial Field (1 p.m., Fox 29, WIP 94.1-FM) is a footnote in the coaching album of Reid. With a 140-100-1 record, he’s the winningest and losingest coach in franchise history.
“Coach Reid is a great guy,” wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said. “I’ve been saying it since Day 1. I’m a Coach Reid guy. He’s a great coach. What he preaches, what he does, works. It’s proven. It’s just unfortunate that talks like this have even surfaced. So we will see. All we can do is go out there and hopefully get a win … for Philadelphia.”
The pause between win and Philadelphia was telling. With the anticipated change in regime, the past month has been one of uncertainty for Eagles players, coaches, personnel, scouts and other staff. Walking on eggshells applies here.
So many things have gone wrong for the Eagles (4-10), who have won just one of their last 10 games, it’s impossible to pinpoint the turning point in what a chunk of national media projected to be a Super Bowl season.
Reid says the way the season has gone has nothing to do with him losing his oldest son to a drug overdose at training camp.
Vick isn’t blaming the downfall on injuries along the offensive line, or the concussion that sidelined him five games, although by then it was obvious there wasn’t a rush to get him back on the field. Vick is unlikely to dress today, as he’s the No. 3 quarterback behind rookie starter Nick Foles and backup Trent Edwards.
The Eagles started the season with victories over the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens. Eagles Nation had just begun checking Super Bowl fares to the Big Easy when the wheels began falling off their team. The Eagles’ downward swing began with a 27-6 road loss to the Arizona Cardinals and Kevin Kolb, who lost the starting quarterback job to Vick when he was with the Eagles. At every step along the way to irrelevancy, the coincidences were almost too much to dismiss as coincidences.
“I don’t know, man,” Vick said. “It’s just like we got off to a rough start from the beginning. We were on the decline from the beginning. The media beat us down from Week 1. We got down on ourselves early. We lost one game. You know, we lost to Arizona, and it was like the world was coming to an end. It was like this year, the whole year we had a monkey on our back. And it just got worse and worse and worse. To the point where we are, right now. We never would have thought this would happen.”
Foles stepped in and what was a five-game losing streak turned into an eight-game disaster. Foles starts his sixth straight game today against the team he made his first NFL start against. The Redskins picked him off twice and sacked him four times in a 31-6 blowout at FedEx Field.
“There’s been two games this year when we just got flat-out dominated, and that was one of them,” Maclin said. “It was just frustrating. We couldn’t really get into a rhythm. Turnovers and probably everything that could go wrong went wrong. That’s kind of been the story of the season. Individually I didn’t have a catch that game. So that’s kind of motivation for me to go out there and hopefully make some noise, help my team.”
Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III threw four touchdown passes against the Eagles in that game. Though he’s nursing a sprained knee that could limit his mobility, a look at the film shows he’s almost as amazing on one leg, such as when he helped defeat the Ravens in overtime along with rookie backup Kirk Cousins.
“He’s good,” Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham said of RGIII. “He’s playing everything he played in college. He’s comfortable right now. We’ve got to get him uncomfortable. And he’s playing so he’s going to play 100 percent.”
The Redskins can clinch their first playoff berth in five years with a win over the Eagles and losses by the New York Giants, Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings.
The Eagles are tied with the Oakland Raiders (4-10) for the third overall pick in the draft.
Andy Reid is playing for a bit of redemption. The Eagles are 2-5 at the Linc. A loss today and they’ll have the worst home record since Marion Campbell guided them to a 1-7 mark in 1983.
“We haven’t given our fans the show that we wanted to give them,” Reid said. “This is one more opportunity to do that.”
A Freudian slip, perhaps? Win, lose or draw, the latter of which was the case in 2008, the last time the Eagles won a playoff game, the reception Reid gets for what now is a 140-100-1 record will be revealing.
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Posted 23 December 2012 - 09:30 AM