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Monday, January 10, 2011

Eagles Season Ends on Familiar Note

Another Eagles season ends the same way all the others in my life have – without a Super Bowl championship. Quite frankly, nothing else matters.

The Eagles lost a very winnable game to the Packers, 21-16.

True, this season wasn’t supposed to be about a Super Bowl. But as another Eagles loss helped end my personal 38th year, I think I’m old enough to say that teams don’t have the luxury to assume that they will build on their progress.

In fact, if they weren’t so arrogant, the Eagles organization barely has to look over its shoulder to know that. Their youthful core was even more youthful a year ago today, and they are exactly where they were 365 days ago.

They are done their season without even a playoff win.

They do not know the identity of their quarterback of the future.

Many are questioning whether Andy Reid should be the head coach.

In all likelihood, Mike Vick will be back next year – if the NFL has a season – either on a one-year deal or as the ordained “quarterback of the future.” My guess is the former, assuming the Eagles can still franchise a player if and when a new collective bargaining agreement is signed.

It would apparently take an act of the supernatural to get Reid out of Philadelphia. The loyalty to this man proves that Jeff Lurie values what he sees as the stability of his business – that thing the rest of us call “our” football team – over hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

I said before that Reid and Donovan McNabb would never win a Super Bowl together.

Now, I’m saying that Andy Reid will never win a Super Bowl as a head coach.

He needs to be fired.

Reid himself frequently said this season that Vick was getting hit too much. The talk among the fans and media all week was centered on the Eagles countering the blitz, which had been used by the Giants (for 3 ½ quarters) and Minnesota to stop the Eagles high powered offense.

Yet, on the very first play on Sunday, Vick was sacked by a blitz.

LeSean McCoy was given 12 rushing attempts. Jerome Henderson was the only other Eagles running back to get an attempt – and he got just that, an attempt. As in one.

That simply doesn’t cut it.

And 12 years of evidence from Reid proves it.

By the way, McCoy rushed for 46 yards – not bad on 12 attempts.

The Packers came into the game known as a team that could not run the ball. Their head coach flat out admitted last week that they had a serious problem running the ball. And Green Bay still posted 138 rushing yards. Rookie running back James Starks had 123 on 23 carries.

The man played three games this season! Yet, McCarthy handed him the ball 23 times in a playoff game that was in doubt on the Eagles final offensive play because that’s how you win in the NFL.

Certainly, the lack of a running game wasn’t the only reason the Eagles lost. David Akers missed two very makeable field goals. (Sal Paolantonio is reporting that Akers had personal and contract issues, but he has to do a better job than that.) Michael Vick threw yet another interception – his 7th pick in his last 6 games. Yesterday’s pick, of course, came on the Eagles last offensive play of the season – a pass to Riley Cooper in the end zone for the potential game winning touchdown. There is plenty of evidence that Vick has been figured out by defenses. DeSean Jackson, even before he got injured, was essentially a non-factor. And, yes, the Eagles were jobbed a little bit by the no call when Brent Celek was hit as a defenseless receiver on the final offensive drive.

Surprisingly, the defense did a decent job, holding Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay to 21 points. They did come up with two turnovers, although they should have had a third on a fumble that Quintin Mikkell had in his gut and just didn’t see. That said, they certainly did make anything happen. The defense is a problem with this team, and they absolutely need a new defensive coordinator. Jim Johnson’s passing has left the defense lacking for a couple years now, and giving his protégé, Sean McDermott, the job was a mistake.

A lot of people are saying that they didn’t expect the Eagles to get this far, as if they’re not that disappointed in the loss. But to me, the loss is symbolic of what ails this team.

Sadly, an off-season of labor strife is already giving franchises the excuse to stand pat. I expect little more from the Eagles.

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