Last year, about this time, I wrote that I thought it was time for Jeff Fisher to go in Tennessee, that the message was stale, and that even though Fisher was a good (not great) coach, it was probably just time for the two sides to separate.
Yesterday in Philadelphia, a vocal group of Philly fans, in the second half of the Eagles’ home drubbing at the hands of the Patriots, started a “Fire Andy” chant. Eagles fans aren’t the easiest fans in the world, from what I hear. (I’ve never actually observed one in the wild). The fact that Andy Reid has lasted 13 seasons in Philadelphia is a testament to how successful he has been. Eagles fans may be spoiled – this has been the best run for the franchise since the late 1940’s, though it has not resulted in a title.
It has been a gravely disappointing season in Philadelphia. Expectations were high after a playoff appearance last year and adding what appeared to be several key pieces in the offseason. The defense struggled, though, with the move to long time offensive assistant Juan Castillo at defensive coordinator. The offense has struggled with injuries to Vick and the receivers, with offensive line turnover, and with execution at key moments and in the red zone.
They still have talent, and despite the 4-7 record, the Eagles have still outscored their opponents on the season. The wins over Dallas and New York show what they are capable of, but the other bad losses show their flaws. Long term, the team may be trending down because we can legitimately question whether Vick will stay healthy in 2-3 years, and whether the signings like Asomugha, Babin and Jenkins will still have value in two years. Shorter term, as in next year, they are a bounce back candidate because of the underlying talent. The question is whether Philadelphia should have a different coach leading that bounce back.
Andy Reid has coached more games with one organization among coaches with just one conference title, other than the aforementioned Fisher. Despite what some Eagles fans would suggest, he is still among the top 12 coaches in the league. If he was let go, he would have little difficulty finding employment. Still, I think it is fair to ask whether the time has run its course in Philadelphia. Is the sum of the parts now equaling less than the whole, where Reid would be better with a fresh start in a new city, while Philadelphia would be better getting a different top coach to step in and bring a new passion to the position.
I know this. Andy Reid will have left this job in much better shape than when he arrived before the 1999 season. Regardless of how the rest of this season plays out, Eagles fans should probably be thankful. They can do that while still wanting a change.
[photo via Getty]