Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid: To Be or Not to Be for 2011

The Philadelphia Eagles fans haven’t been clamoring to take Andy Reid off the payroll for this season, unlike season’s past. Partially it is some of the Eagles adoration for their new toy and their new hope, their Pro Bowl quarterback Michael Vick.  But history is bound to repeat itself with this quarterback, as it already has this season with the balanced and potent offense of sixth-seeded Green Bay winning over the Philadelphia Eagles at home nonetheless.  This season, the offensive tactics of Michael Vick, the lack of balance on offense, and the lack of sustainable defense are among its many problems.  However, Andy Reid diverted attention from himself with the firing of defensive coordinator Sean McDermott recently.  But is he the primary source of the problems with the Eagles, or is it something or someone else?

In 1999, he became head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles after being the quarterbacks coach for the Green Bay Packers two years prior.  With Donovan McNabb in tow, he and the defense of Jim Johnson led the Eagles to the NFC Championship in four successive years from 2001 to 2004, losing this game first three times during these years.  The 2004 squad was noted to have defeated all its NFC East rivals twice during the same regular season.  However, in 2005, Terrell Owens, although proven useful in 2004, proved disastrous as his divisive talk against the Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb and finally against Andy Reid.  Recently, as of 2008, he led the Philadelphia Eagles to another NFC Championship game against the Arizona Cardinals, but the Eagles ultimately fell to the Cardinals.  In 2009, he was named executive vice president of football operations, giving him the power of a general manager, similar to the ranks of New England Patriots Bill Belichick and Washington Redskins Mike Shanahan.

So far, his current coaching statistics have shown he has the best win total at 107, win percentage at 61.8% and best playoff victory totals at 10 in team history.  He had also had more divisional playoff appearances at 7 since 1999 than any other coach other than Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots at 5.  Among coaches with 100 games, his 61.8 winning percentage puts him 11th in NFL history and second among active coaches, with only Bill Belichick ahead of him at 62.7%. Since 1990, he is only six of 73 head coaches that have remained with their respective team for 8 years or more, stacking in the ranks with Pittsburgh Steelers Bill Cowher among others. His statistics put in him some elite company.

In this current season, however, he has been waffling at the expense of other people’s jobs.  First, it was Kevin Kolb, who initially started, but after the Green Bay Packers game in which he was injured and Michael Vick replaced him, Kolb became a forgotten memory of sorts — until the very last regular season game against the Dallas Cowboys. Recently, as of this week, it was Sean McDermott, now former defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles, who was recently fired.  Both were declared mainstays originally, but they have been replaced or soon will be.

However, the Eagles offense has maintained at an elite level, being second-ranked total offense in the league at the close of the regular season.  With the addition of Michael Vick and the wide receivers playing at near-elite levels, they had jumped from 10th in overall offense to second.  However, the Eagles defense did not improve signficantly, as they remained 12th overall from the previous season. In fact, the Eagles defense could not stop anyone in the red zone as they were dead last, behind the short-lived Cinderella story of the playoff season, the Seattle Seahawks.

Although most Eagles fans had wanted Reid’s head in 2005 and last year, this year it appears he deserves to escape his fate.  However, his power as executive vice president has permitted him to toy with personnel a bit too much recently. Although he is a bit overweight for a youthful, agile Spiderman, there’s the saying: With great power comes great responsibility…

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