CZAR'S NOTES: Reid has Eagles on right track

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foxsports admin

The catchy phrase in the NFL for the past five seasons has been "total control." For a head coach, it means two things: a big raise and basically authority over the personnel department. Some, like Seattle's Mike Holmgren, even carry the title of general manager. The best man at having dual power, I think, is Denver's Mike Shanahan. But since he's won two Super Bowls, his have stumbled the past three seasons and his overall record is 25-24. Everyone knows those aren't genius-like results. The system, plus injuries, caught up with Shanahan. Last year he went on a spending spree and ended up 8-8. Oakland's Al Davis laughed the hardest as Shanahan and owner Pat Bowlen missed the playoffs. Last summer, I wasn't sure coach Andy Reid was ready for total control. Reid didn't appreciate it, either, when I informed him of my doubts. Reid, of course, had the last laugh as he led an overachieving club within a game of the Super Bowl. Some even think that if they had blitzed more in the NFC championship game, they might have ended up in New Orleans. The believe they remain close to the top prize and most experts will pick them to win the NFC East this season. What is fascinating, though, is that they lack legitimate playmakers on offense and they are sitting on a salary-cap surplus of $9 million. No playoff team has that much money sitting in their checkbook. Reid and Joe Banner, the executive vice president, have done an exemplary job for owner Jeffrey Lurie. A recent case in point is how they decided on a veteran middle linebacker. With cast aside, they needed someone to help linebacker . They balked at paying 37-year-old a $1.5 million contract. Last week, they signed , who is four years younger, for $1.1 million. Total savings: $400,000. Plus, Reid made the right choice. Kirkland should provide some inside thunder to the defense if his weight isn't a problem. For running back insurance, sure-handed was a great signing. Levens can bail out as a receiver in the flat, plus he will block. I would have spent some of that money on , who landed in Tampa Bay, but Reid didn't want a possession receiver with a big price tag. Ditto: Reid wanted no part of the ' , a bona-fide deep threat. The believe Glenn will survive in Green Bay because there are so few distractions. Instead, the are gambling that , last year's No. 1 pick, will deliver this season. Receivers like , and simply don't ignite a lot of fear in many defenses.

Spurrier a home body

coach Steve Spurrier openly questioned the benefits of practicing away from home in tiny Carlisle, Pa., as training camp opened this week. We can only wait until the rookie NFL coach experiences travelling halfway around the world to Japan for an exhibition game Aug. 3. Then he'll really wonder what he got himself into by coaching in the big leagues. Believe me, there is nothing happening in Carlisle. Dorm life can be very dull. The are in Carlisle because that's what Marty Schottenheimer wanted last season. When he coached the , Schottenheimer loved River Falls, Wisc., a town half the size of Carlisle. The funniest thing is Spurrier would much rather be in La Jolla, where Schottenheimer is this season, training the San Diego . "I don't understand the importance of getting away, to tell you the truth," Spurrier said after arriving in Carlisle. It's a good bet that the will train at Park next season. Whatever Spurrier wants. Still no word on whether the team will charge $10 to watch and another $10 to park your car when that happens. One final note on Spurrier: He had it written into his contract that he wouldn't be at camp until after playing in last weekend's Lake Tahoe celebrity-athlete golf tournament.

Notes and thoughts

  • DT Darryl Gardener, who always seemed to have a pain in his back, had become a pain in the neck to coach Dave Wannstedt and that's why the released him. It's tough to release talented players, but Wannstedt has the guts for it. They key, though, is , acquired in a trade with Carolina, being as good as Miami thinks he is.
  • Saw Bobby Beathard at a weekend wedding, and he raved all conversation about owner Arthur Blank. There is no comparison, in Bobby's eyes, between Alex Spanos and his new boss, Mr. Blank. "The man knows how to treat all his employees, down to the guy cutting the grass," Beathard said. But Beathard's best story was how he rented his tuxedo at Sears in a department near the washing machines.
  • I keep reading saying nice things about backup quarterback . I wonder what he'll say if the kid starts ahead of him?
  • Before he was fired in New Orleans, GM Randy Mueller made a bad move in signing cornerback , who has been suspended three times for violations of the league's drug-alcohol policy. Carter was suspended again when tests revealed alcohol in his system. A lot of players don't realize they can't drink after they quit doing drugs. The alcohol test is similar to those administrated in most states by the police to alleged drunk driver.
  • With the dawning of free agency, president John Shaw has mellowed quite a bit. After losing the Super Bowl, Shaw wasn't keen on giving coach Mike Martz a new contract, especially with two years remaining at $1.05 million. But Shaw opted to keep Martz happy at $3 million a year for five years. It's a great deal for Martz, giving him plenty of security should his talented team fail to win again this season.
  • Tagged: Falcons, Broncos, Packers, Rams, Dolphins, Patriots, Saints, Eagles, Buccaneers, Redskins, Chargers, Dorsey Levens, Kurt Warner, Barry Gardner, Donovan McNabb, Freddie Mitchell, Jeremiah Trotter, James Thrash, Chad Lewis, Doug Flutie, Drew Brees, Jay Williams, Dale Carter

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