I guess with everybody in the world calling for Andy Reid's head, I just want it on record that I don't think he should be fired. This season has been absolutely heart-breaking, and the number of excrutiating losses has been absolutely terrible. My biggest beef with Andy Reid has been his insistence on not drafting linebackers. Im hoping this will be the season he realizes that football is not a game where you can neglect certain positions. Upgrading our D-Line and Cornerbacks mean nothing if teams can simply throw over the middle and run all over our weak LBs and Safeties. However I think this year has showed Andy Reid that, and he will address it in the early rounds of the draft or free agency. There was a time when Andy Reid didnt believe WRs were neccessary either. Then the Bucs manhandled James Thrash and Todd Pinkston, and Andy realized he had been wrong. Since then Andy has brought in DeSean and Maclin, both having horrible years yes, but both incredible talents when healthy and focused (DeSean). And in all fairness Andy has pulled 2 solid players (Chaney and Rolle) out of the 7th round of the draft. The problem is that these guys are undersized. Grab a mean 250-pound run stuffer in the 1st or 2nd round and all of a sudden our LBs could go from a liability to a young, exciting group.
Another colossal mistake was putting Juan Castillo in charge of the defense. He has been awful and has somehow managed to turn Nnamdi Asogmuha into one of the worst CBs in the league. Andy screwed up on that and it screwed up our season. However Andy also brought in Howard Mudd and Jim Washburn. These 2 have led our best 2 units this season the Offensive and Defensive Lines.
My major argument for keeping Andy is that his mistakes this year have been costly but somewhat understandable. He has known Castillo for 12 years and gave him a shot, it didnt work out. With a decent coordinator and a MLB and Safety next year I think our defense could be a great unit.
Something about Andys demeanor and the fact that the Eagles do seem to lose games in the worst fashion possible seem to mask the fact that he has been the most successful coach in Eagles history. There is a wrap on Andy that he cant win big games. His playoff record: 10-9. Lets look at recent history: From 1982 to 1987: No playoffs. From 1988 to 1996 the Eagles made the playoffs 6 times and went 2-6. Then no playoffs the next 3 years until Andy got us there in his 2nd year on the job. Why all the nostalgia for the Buddy Ryan years? The guy never got us to a conference title GAME. Andys done it 5 times and 1 Super Bowl. Doesnt the guy deserve a one year pass? After all weve never missed the playoffs in back to back years under this guy.
The fact is we have a team that could still be a Super Bowl contender next year with the right moves. Is it really time to bring in a young coach? The one argument ive heard is bringing Cowher in. Im not against that, I think Cowhers a great coach. Lets look at his illustrious career: His 1st 13 years in Pittsburgh they were perenial contenders making the playoffs 9 times. He had a playoff record of 8-9, went to 1 super bowl and lost it. In 2003 his team sank from 10-5-1 to 6-10. The next year he went 15-1, the next he won his one and only super bowl.
Basically the statistics say that Andys career path has been about the same, actually a bit more successful, than Cowhers. But because Andy does it with pinpoint passing and speed rather than a Jerome Bettis led running game and toughness, he is graded more harshly.
My feeling is this: Football is a game of inches. One injury, one oversight, one unhappy player-can make a talented team underperform. This year has been kind of the perfect storm of things going wrong. All I can do is hope it doesn't cost us the best coach we've ever seen.