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
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
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
”Late in the game, we are not going for the jugular and
finishing the game in the right way,” running back LeSean McCoy
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
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
”(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
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
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.