Reid faces criticism amid Eagles’ struggles

A stonefaced Andy Reid sat at the podium, giving the same answer

to each question about his future and the Philadelphia Eagles’

dwindling playoff prospects.

”I’m not even thinking about the playoffs, I’m thinking about

playing the New York Giants,” Reid said several times

Wednesday.

The defending NFC East champion Eagles (3-6) face the

division-leading Giants (6-3) in their latest must-win game Sunday

night. They are one loss away from being all-but-mathematically

eliminated from playoff contention in a Super Bowl-or-bust

year.

Reid has been heavily criticized for the team’s miserable

performance and its failure to even come close to living up to

enormous expectations. Fans, media and even former players have

said it’s time for Reid to go.

But the stoic coach isn’t worried about getting fired.

”I’m concerned about getting ready to play the New York

Giants,” he said when asked about his job security.

Losing the locker room isn’t on Reid’s mind, either, even after

he deactivated star wide receiver DeSean Jackson for being late to

a meeting last week.

”I’m concerned right now about getting ready to play the

Giants, and that’s it,” he said, repeating himself. ”All the

other stuff you guys can work with. My job is to get our football

team ready to play the Giants. That’s what I’m going to do.”

Reid has dealt with intense scrutiny before, particularly early

in the season after a 1-4 start had people loudly calling for his

dismissal. Players staunchly defended Reid, blaming themselves for

the poor start.

It seemed the Eagles had turned things around after consecutive

wins in October, including a dominating 34-7 victory over Dallas in

front of a national audience. But they lost the next two games at

home, blowing fourth-quarter leads in both. They’ve lost five games

this season in which they led in the final quarter, including four

at home.

”Late in the game, we are not going for the jugular and

finishing the game in the right way,” running back LeSean McCoy

said.

Reid has led the Eagles to nine playoff appearances, six

division titles, five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl in

his first 12 seasons. He is under contract through 2013 and has an

excellent relationship with team owner Jeffrey Lurie and president

Joe Banner.

But the Eagles were built to win now. They uncharacteristically

spent wildly in the lockout-shortened offseason and added six

players who have been to Pro Bowls. Lurie, Banner and others made

it clear that winning the Super Bowl is the only goal.

So perhaps Reid will take the fall. He has made several

questionable decisions, including moving Juan Castillo from

offensive line coach to defensive coordinator.

”Every year is different, and this is no more different than

other years as far as challenges go,” Reid said. ”It’s not more

challenging or less challenging.”

Injuries are now a factor, too. Michael Vick broke two ribs on

the second play during Sunday’s 21-17 loss to Arizona. The starting

quarterback played through the pain, but missed practice Wednesday.

His status is uncertain against the Giants.

”He’s still sore. These next few days will tell, so we’ll

see,” Reid said.

Reid wouldn’t name a starter if Vick can’t play, saying Vince

Young and Mike Kafka would share reps in practice. Young was 30-17

as a starter in Tennessee and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in

2006. Kafka, a fourth-round pick last year, has thrown 16 passes in

the NFL.

”(Young) has worked hard to know the offense,” Reid said.

”Both those two have done a great job with it. With Vince being

the newer of the two, I think he’s done a heck of a job of

learning.”

Wideout Jeremy Maclin has shoulder and hamstring injuries and

cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has a high ankle sprain.

Maclin is making progress, but Rodgers-Cromartie likely won’t

play.

Notes: The Eagles promoted wide receiver/kick returner Chad Hall

from the practice squad and released safety Jarrad Page. Hall

played in eight games last year, making 11 catches for 115 yards

and one touchdown. He ran for 29 yards on nine carries. Page

started five games this season.