I can’t wait to listen to sports talk radio today here in Philadelphia, as I’m sure it will be a blood-bath calling for the firing of Andy Reid, the benching of Michael Vick and a slew of other venomous demands.
Last night’s game played right into everything that has been said about the Eagles this season.
We saw issues in the red zone for Philadelphia while we saw a passing attack from Drew Brees that is as flawless as any in the history of the game.
A few things really stood out to me, and it’s not what you would think. Here are five things we learned.
Its Not All Michael Vick’s Fault
Let me repeat that: ITS NOT ALL MICHAEL VICK’S FAULT!
Over and over again I hear calls for Vick’s benching, as if it is a deserved punishment for an interception or a fumble. None of that makes sense. What Philly fans seem to be in denial about is the fact that Vick’s turnovers aren't the reason the team is losing.
I’ve watched every Eagles game this season, and I have yet to see a Vick turnover that directly cost the team the game. Of all the interceptions and fumbles, none of them left the Eagles without a chance to still win.
I have eyeballs, and I see defensive ends in the backfield within a second of the snap, I see receivers who get jammed up at the line and can’t get open for a quick slant. No quarterback in the league would be successful under these circumstances.
I hear “analysts” who say Vick should get rid of the ball faster. Really? To whom should he throw the ball? I’m sure if he just threw it away he’d be criticized for his inaccuracy.
Eagles fans need to stop putting all the blame on the quarterback and focus on the real problems, because they have a lot more than Vick. Which brings me to my next point.
The Eagles Have No Identity and No Leadership
At first I thought identity issues were just on the defensive side of the ball, but after Monday night I realize there is an overall lack of identity for the whole team.
You can take your pick where to lay the blame for this. Most should blame Andy Reid, who has had 14 seasons to build an organizational identity, yet here they are with none.
This team is very reminiscent of the Redskins teams of the early 2000s who had a lot of talent, but no identity and no leadership.
The Eagles teams of old had players like Jeremiah Trotter and Brian Dawkins who could light a fire under the team at any given moment. The current Eagles have no one who can do this.
If you look at the Eagles' roster you see a lot of veterans, but none were drafted by the Eagles. Michael Vick, DeMeco Ryans, Cullen Jenkins, Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and many others were picked up from other organizations.
It’s hard to expect players from several different organizations to come together in one season and find continuity. If the Eagles want to be successful, they need to define who they are.
Drew Brees Is Being Fitted for a Gold Jacket
The Saints are good example of a team with identity (on offense at least). Without Sean Payton, the Saints are even more reliant on Brees to carry the offense, and he has delivered.
Brees went 51 straight games with a touchdown pass, more than any other quarterback in history. On Monday night, it was pretty clear the Eagles' secondary were no match for Brees and the Saints’ passing attack.
Drew is the kind of leadership that defines great teams. “There are defining moments through a season.” Brees said after the game. “Big plays, big wins, that kind of bring you together and let you see a vision of what you can be, what you can accomplish.”
“This is the type of momentum we want going into the second half of the season.”
What stands out about this for me is that the Saints and Eagles are both 3-5. The Saints, however, have the type of leadership from Brees and others to stick together and still believe they have a playoff shot.
Time will tell if they can do it, but with Brees, they’re never out of a game.
New Orleans May Be the Toughest Place to Play in the NFL
There are few places in professional sports where home field really is an advantage. You might think of some teams like the Boston Red Sox at Fenway or the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau.
For what it’s worth, my money is on the Superdome in New Orleans as a place opposing teams should be scared of.
Penn State’s Beaver Stadium in the loudest stadium I’ve ever heard, but last night I was blown away by the noise level. I felt like I had to yell in my own house to be heard.
No matter how the team is doing, the Saints are always at a considerable advantage when at home.
It’s Time for Andy Reid’s Tenure to Come to an End
It’s not an easy time to be Andy Reid. The untimely and tragic death of his son during training camp makes all criticism seem harsh and unfair.
Nothing negative can be said about Andy Reid on a personal level. He is one of the most likeable coaches in the league and in a league full of disloyalty, Reid is the most loyal of all – even if it is to a fault sometimes.
That said, however, it’s time for a change in Philadelphia. I’m usually a proponent of patience when it comes to coaches. When the Eagles went through troubles including three straight losses in the NFC Championship game from 2001-2003, I defended Reid’s job.
That was a long time ago. Since then Reid only made it to the NFC Championship game once with a disappointing loss to Arizona.
After 14 seasons, the picture is pretty clear as to what you get from Reid, and it isn’t working. Poor drafting, a refusal to commit to the running game and questionable personnel decisions have led to good overall regular season but little success in the ultimate goal in Philadelphia.
It’s time for a change, and I think one is coming sooner rather than later. Jeffrey Lurie likes Reid too much to fire him mid season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Reid “retired” shortly after the season was over.