Reid faces criticism amid Eagles' struggles

BY foxsports • November 17, 2011

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.

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