Sunday, November 23, 2008

Andy Reid, Franchise Killer--
or, How I learned to get over the World Series and be a Philly fan again.

So Andy Reid benched Donovan McNabb at half today against Baltimore. After the game, he refused to name the next game's starter. These are acts of coaching malpractice and Reid should lose his job--perhaps tomorrow, but certainly at the end of the season. Let's give a quick rundown:

* McNabb was having a hideous game. He threw 2 int's and coughed up a fumble. Yet the Eagles trailed only 10-7. McNabb's replacement, Kevin Kolb, threw a couple picks of his own and didn't add any points to the scoreboard.

* Let's grant some premises that I don't think are necessarily true, but we'll do them just for argument's sake. Let's say that McNabb is done, that he either can't play anymore or can't play effectively as an Eagle. Let's say that Kolb is a promising young QB. Let's say that the Eagles are scrapping to get a playoff spot.

Even if you grant all of that, the decision to bench McNabb is still insane. You don't destroy the value of a franchise player by publicly benching him in the middle of a game. You don't start a new young quarterback in the middle of a game against a defense as vicious as the Ravens. And you don't switch horses on a four-day week--the Eagles have to play Arizona on Thursday.

* But of course, most of those assumptions are ridiculous. Kolb is not a starting NFL quarterback. He's a young Doug Pederson. And the Eagles have no chance--zero--of making the playoffs this season.

* Which leaves McNabb. Is he no longer able to be effective? I don't know. I suspect that no matter what, he'd be more effective than Kolb. What I do know is that by benching McNabb you assure that he can't come back as a permanent fixture on the team and that he'll have no value whatsoever on the trading block at the end of the season.

* So why in the world would Reid bench McNabb? Simple: Because it's now clear that Reid desperately wants to keep his job. If he's going to convince Jeff Lurie to keep him despite the team's recent poor campaigns, he has to have a scapegoat. And that's what today's benching of McNabb was, pure and simple: A blatant, pathetic attempt to blame a player for the team's failure in order to hold on to his own job. It would be bad enough, except that in so doing, Reid also showed that he's willing to hurt the medium-term future of the franchise in order to cling to his post.

Reid, it's now clear, is a cancer. The Eagles will never win a championship with him at the helm. He must go.

PS: For whatever it's worth, the great Phil Sheridan makes a persuasive case that whatever is wrong with McNabb is Reid's fault to begin with:

Anyone could see McNabb played poorly in this game. What is debatable is how this very talented, very successful quarterback got to this point. The short answer from here: He has been ground down by a coach who refuses to run the ball, who seldom keeps extra blockers in to protect him the way other elite quarterbacks are protected and who, with one notable exception, has insisted upon stocking his team with the most mediocre receivers available.

The offensive line is in marked decline. Brian Westbrook is at half speed due to injury. The play calling is hilariously bad. The tight end situation is incomprehensible.


Anonymous said...

Emo Eagles fan has a haiku for you:

McNabb rides the pine
Tears fall on my remote
Walrus eats my heart

Anonymous said...

The Emo Eagles re-write of the fight song.

Cry Eagles, cry
On the raod to misery
Cry Eagles, cry
Puke your guts out 1-2-3

Miss 'em low
Miss 'em high
And watch our Eagles open our thrice blinded eyes to reveal the tear-stained reality of life's utterly bleak landscape of unremitting dolor and disaster!

I think that works

An honest American said...

Wonderful mess...those Eagles. People find out I'm a BUCS fan and ask WHY? The pre-teens years of my life were full of this type of garbage from Philly teams...all of them. Welcome back to the slop years. Andy and his constant praise of McNabb has to find a way not to get chased out of time ahead of McNabb being shown the door.