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Monday, October 6, 2008

Eagles Drop to 2-3

As much as Andy Reid and Jeff Lurie would like Philadelphia sports fans to ignore what is quickly becoming another debacle of a season and bask in the glory of the Phillies – and, quite frankly, as much as we’d like to – we can’t. It’s the Eagles; it’s the team that for so long was the only team in town with a chance to win a championship.

Sounds funny, but this team may now be the one with the least chance to win in this town. A last place record of 2-3 in the NFC East doesn’t begin to scratch the surface.

The Eagles were 8-8 last year with 3 consecutive meaningless wins to end the season. In 2006, they were 11-5, but only 6-3 with Donovan McNabb, and Jeff Garcia won a playoff game. He may have won another had Reid not decided to punt the game away. In 2005, the Eagles were 6-10, with McNabb going 4-5 as the starter despite the faded memory of many who claim he was off to a stellar start before his injury. He simply was not.

That puts the Eagles at 17-19 in meaningful games with McNabb starting since he blew chunks at the Super Bowl. I’d like to say that yesterday is a prime example of how this team is going downhill, but it was really more of a typical example of how this team consistently finds a way to look completely unprepared once or twice a year.

While focused on the Phillies, which wasn’t really my plan but it was just such a more enjoyable game to watch that I changed things up, I saw enough to know that football might not be much fun in this town for a long time. I saw Lorenzo Booker almost catch a pass, which would have given Brian Westbrook’s insurance policy a whopping 6 receptions on the year. I saw Clinton Portis run through the Eagles defensive line with little trouble. I saw the Eagles offensive line fail to produce a touchdown at the goal line for the second week in a row. I saw Asante Samuel have to commit interference so a receiver didn’t toast him. And I saw David Akers continue to look like he’s done, and Westbrook look pretty weak on a play late in the third.

Westbrook may have an excuse for that play – Reid actually said something of value today, announcing Westbrook has cracked ribs. So before it even gets cold in Philadelphia, this season may truly be over.

To be fair, the Eagles did score on their opening drive, and DeSean Jackson continued to flash brilliance as he returned a punt for a touchdown. Too bad Reid took 10 years to draft a good wide receiver.

But this team isn’t about flashes of brilliance at this point. They are very much at the end of their window to win, or at least they’re supposed to be. I think the window closed when Terrell Owens left.

I used to think Reid would never win with McNabb as his quarterback. I thought either guy might win without the other, but not together. Now, it’s just over. Reid won’t win a Super Bowl in Philadelphia.

The biggest problem is Reid cannot adjust. He gave all of his usual “I got to do a better job” garbage at his press conferences today and yesterday. Ok, who cares what he tells the media? Quite frankly I don’t get why the media even covers the press conferences.

But he clearly believes what he says. Today, as just one example, he said Akers will be fine. If he was just saying it to protect Akers, it would be irrelevant. But he’s acting on it. Look at the stats: Akers is 3 for 14 from 40 yards or more on field goals since last year. (I first heard this on ESPN, I believe from Harry Mayes.) He’s just 1 for 6 within those numbers from 50+ yards, and didn’t even attempt a 50-yard field goal in 2006. If I remember, he was injured that year.

In any other city, Akers would have been gone. Instead, Reid keeps trotting him out there. Of course, Reid thinks he can pass his way through the NFC East, do it with receivers that are barely adequate, and never adjust a game plan at half time. He’s even scared to death to move on from McNabb and begin rebuilding.

Even worse, this is par for the course for the entire organization. Where is Lurie? The team’s owner prattles on about being the “gold standard” of the NFL despite the fact that the franchise has never won a Super Bowl, yet the common perception is that Reid’s job security is perfectly fine.

Reid has said this team’s problems are his fault. It’s time for Lurie to take him at his word.

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