NFL

Don't expect sweeping changes in Philly

Highlights of the Eagles' win over the Redskins
Highlights of the Eagles' win over the Redskins
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A.J. Perez

A.J. Perez previously worked at USA Today, AOL and CBSSports.com, covering beats ranging from performance-enhancing drugs to the NHL. He has also been a finalist for an Associated Press Sports Editors award for investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter.

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ROAD TO INDY

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Andy Reid made the flashiest moves in the days after the lockout, even if one backfired just as the backup quarterback he signed entered Philadelphia Eagles camp training.

Trading quarterback Kevin Kolb to Arizona for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a pick along with free-agent signings of cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and defensive end Jason Babin were overshadowed by two words uttered from former Tennessee signal caller Vince Young.

“Dream team.”

The Eagles, who wrapped up a listless regular season with a 34-10 victory over the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, proved to be nothing of the sort and Reid as the Eagles’ longtime head coach, and who typically has the final say on personnel decisions, rightfully deserves much of the blame.

He also may deserve another year.

“I have no answers for you on all that,” Reid told reporters after the game. “I haven’t thought about all of that and I’m not going to start right now. I’m going to enjoy this win and the new year.”

As to whether he actually wants to return, Reid quipped, “I’ll think about that when I want to think about it.”

Thirteen seasons — none which led to the Eagles' first Super Bowl title — may be plenty for many around here, who took to the “Fire Andy” chant in one game this season. The pieces, however, are largely there to be a contender next season and even the player Reid outwardly lost in terms of message (wide receiver DeSean Jackson) fell into line as the Eagles finished the season with four consecutive wins to pull to .500.

“Yes sir. Everybody,” Rodgers-Cromartie said when asked about Reid’s support among players. “We’d love to have him back. Andy is a great guy, a great coach. He’s fair. I like him. We all like him.”

Quarterback Michael Vick advocated for the status quo as well. “I don’t think there will be any changes,” Vick said. “You have to take all the positives, the things that we were able to make happen and build on down the stretch. As a football team, we know what we did and what we’ve done to put ourselves in the position of winning the last four games. We were able to come together and make it happen.”

That’s not to say changes aren’t on the horizon when owner Jeffrey Lurie begins the evaluation process, which includes the first five games where the Eagles won just once. Maybe a hint (or demand) in changing defensive coordinators is more likely than showing Reid the door.

Juan Castillo, the team’s longtime offensive line coach, was promoted to coordinator despite never calling defensive schemes in the NFL. The team struggled, especially in what was supposed to be an improved secondary, early in the season before the final four games where the Eagles allowed an average of 11.5 points.

“He came in with a plan and we altered it,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “It worked out.”

A possible replacement for Castillo could be on the market as soon as Monday as Steve Spagnuolo, who spent eight seasons as an assistant under Reid in Philly, could be fired after three losing seasons in St. Louis.

Don’t expect many changes on the other side of the ball if Reid is brought back.

Reid, whose expertise on offense stretches back to his days as an assistant under Bill Walsh with the San Francisco 49ers, also remains the key to whether Vick can be a Super Bowl quarterback. The fact that Vick’s six-year deal signed last summer is fully guaranteed through next season is another reason the two could remain attached at the hip.

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Jackson was contrite after Sunday’s game, a deviation from the norm for the typically brash wide receiver. He apologized to the fans and the organization over how he handled his contract dispute, which began with holding out at the start of training camp.

Jackson went on to miss a team meeting, which led to his benching against Arizona in November. His demeanor on the sideline has also been called into question.

“I can admit to certain things affecting me during the season,” said Jackson, who had 62-yard TD reception on Sunday. “I want to apologize for that. I could have handled it differently. Now that the season is over, I can say I was able to put it behind me and fight for my teammates and fight for my organization.”

It should be noted, in the same conversation Jackson said it would be nice if the home fans didn’t boo the Eagles — something that’s not likely to ender himself to many here.

END OF THE ROAD

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Still, the Eagles’ top playmaker not named “Vick” also said he wouldn’t have a problem with the team putting the franchise tag on him. It’s thought that the Eagles would do that and then possibly trade Jackson so not to suffer another season with the disgruntled receiver/punt returner.

Jackson, like Reid and the rest of the Eagles, doesn’t want those doing the grading too look too far back.

“I’m still young,” Jackson said. “I went through what I went through. I was able to make to shake myself and out of it and come back and really give it my all and play hard. You can tell a lot (about) a person and who he is by how they finish, not how they start.”
 

Tagged: Eagles, Michael Vick, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, DeSean Jackson

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