Sam Donnellon: Eagles always taking 'the next step' but going in circles

Andy Reid's sound bites are as predictable as the Eagles' final outcome each year.
Andy Reid's sound bites are as predictable as the Eagles' final outcome each year.
Posted: November 10, 2009

Nov. 9, 2009 - Eagles head coach Andy Reid blamed himself for Sunday's debilitating, 20-16 home loss to the Dallas Cowboys, saying, "It is my responsibility to make sure that we win those games.

"All in all, it was a tough NFC East loss," he said yesterday.

Reid added that there were too many penalties called on his team, that he could have given DeSean Jackson "a few more opportunities" and that losing two second-half timeouts to unsuccessful challenges "were my responsibility."

He said the Eagles' 1-8-1 record in their last 10 games decided by six points or less was "a pretty good stat, so there probably is some form of a link.

"I'm not sure what that link is other than that stat," he said.

The loss dropped the Eagles to 5-3. Four of those victories have come against teams with a combined record of 7-25.

Of the game, Reid said, "We can learn from it and we will learn from it. We'll move forward here rapidly."

* Feb. 2, 2010 - Announcing a 10-year extension for Andy Reid, Eagles president Joe Banner said yesterday on Comcast SportsNet that the team last season was "one or two bounces away" from its first-ever Super Bowl championship, and he is optimistic that free-agent acquisitions and the draft will give the Eagles more talent for the upcoming season - an even better roster than last year's "best roster in the league."

The Eagles were 10-6 in the 2009 season and trampled the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings by large margins before succumbing to eventual Super Bowl runner-up New Orleans, 23-18, in a turnover-plagued, penalty-marred NFC Championship Game. In the game, Donovan McNabb completed 31 of 50 passes for 450 yards but was picked off four times, sacked seven times and fumbled twice.

Banner refused comment on McNabb's assertion afterward the loss that he needs more running backs, more receivers and more blockers if the Eagles are to reach the Super Bowl next season. Of his quarterback's performance in the game, Banner called it "a lot of rotten luck" and added, "There are dozens of NFL teams who would be happy to have Donovan McNabb as their quarterback and Andy Reid as their coach."

He mentioned Washington, Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Oakland. Asked about the Eagles' 1-6 record in NFC Championship Games, Banner called it "a pretty good stat, so there probably is some form of a link.

"I'm not sure exactly what the link is other than that stat."

Of the NFC Championship Game loss, Banner said, "I think we learned from it. It will help us take the next step."

* Aug. 9, 2010 - Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was all smiles as he met with the Philadelphia media at Lehigh University for his annual training-camp news conference.

"I couldn't be happier with the way this team is shaping up," he said. "I have all the confidence in the world that this team will vie for a championship this season. Maybe we will finally get a few of those bounces that have eluded us all these years."

Lurie was effusive in his praise for head coach Andy Reid, citing his nine playoff appearances in 11 years as Eagles coach. Told that no other first-time coach had been with a team that long and failed to win a single championship, Lurie smiled widely and said, "That's a pretty good stat so there is probably some form of a link.

"I think we can learn from it. It will help us take the next step."

* Nov. 8, 2010 - "All and all it was a tough NFC East loss," Eagles head coach Andy Reid said after a heartbreaking, 24-20 loss to the Washington Redskins at the Linc. The Eagles marched 71 yards in the last 2 minutes but ran out of time after Donovan McNabb was tackled 2 feet short of the goal line.

The Birds were plagued by penalties, drops and curious play-calling. Washington ranks last in the league in rush defense, but the Eagles only ran the ball 15 times after falling behind 7-3 early in the first quarter.

"We've got to do a better job with that," Reid said.

Two timeouts at the start of the second half left McNabb with none on the final drive. "That's on me," Reid said. "I've gotta do a better job there."

The loss dropped the Eagles to 5-3 and 1-12-1 in their last 14 games decided by six points or less.

"That's a heckuva stat," said Reid when a reporter mentioned it to him. "It's got to mean something, but I don't know what it is."

Of the game Reid said, "I think we can learn from it. It will help us take the next step."

* Jan. 23, 2011 - Eagles coach Andy Reid blamed himself for Sunday's debilitating, 20-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game. Reid said there were too many penalties called on his team, that burning two second-half timeouts "were my responsibility" and that the trick-play pass from Leonard Weaver to Kevin Kolb on fourth and inches from the Cowboys 21 with less than a minute left "was probably a mistake on my part."

"We can learn from this," added Reid, the second-longest tenured coach in the NFL. "And we will learn from it. We'll move forward here rapidly."

Send e-mail to donnels@phillynews.com.

For recent columns, go to

http://go.philly.com/donnellon.

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