There have been subtle changes in Reid's version of the West Coast offense over the years. The running game, once bolstered by Duce Staley and Brian Westbrook, has diminished in importance, even with the development of a sturdy alternative like LeSean McCoy. The reliance on screen passes and quick routes by the tight ends as a means of extending drives has lost some of its shelf space on the weekly laminated play chart.
But, really, Reid is still playing the game as he always has, using takeaways by the defense to set up easy scores, and game-planning for big plays to take care of the rest.
With the surprising transformation of Michael Vick from out-of-shape backup to out-of-sight MVP candidate, and with burners DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin on the receiving end of things, Reid found the lightning he needed to make the philosophy work.
And, man, it worked. The Eagles set a team record by scoring 439 points in the regular season. That meant only two things were really needed to make the team a Super Bowl contender: protection for the quarterback, and a defense capable of spending a lot of time on the field after those quick-hitting series came to an end.
Unfortunately, the Eagles were 0 for 2 on that.
It might be that Reid is entirely correct in his faith in the system. The system works with the right players. Where the Eagles fail is in either getting those players or in properly coaching the players they do get. It has to be one or the other.
Reid has earned a reputation as a great preparer of teams, a guy who is the best coach in the league from Tuesday through Saturday, but one who might get happy feet during quick decision time on Sunday. There is some evidence to support that, but let's not endure another seminar on clock management and run/pass ratio this time.
It would follow that a coach like that would excel at devising proper adjustments to turn around a regular-season loss when meeting the same opponent in the postseason. Sunday's wild-card game against the Packers was one of those opportunities, and the Eagles had four other similar playoff opportunities under Reid against teams that beat them in the most recent (or only) meeting that season. The previous occasions came against the Giants in 2000, the Rams in 2001, the Saints in 2006 and the Cowboys in 2009.
Including Sunday's loss, The Great Adjuster is now 0-5 in those games. (And that's leaving out the NFC championship losses to Tampa Bay, Carolina and Arizona - teams the Eagles beat in those regular seasons.)
All right, maybe the Eagles just didn't have the talent to beat any of those five teams. Maybe the other teams were simply better. As excuses go, that isn't a very strong one for the guy in charge of assembling the roster to make.
Certainly, the Eagles had injury issues this season and had to put some players in bigger roles than expected. That goes for 31 other NFL teams as well, and the best of them manage to have better depth at key positions.
It is as if Reid believes he has the staff and the system capable of winning the Kentucky Derby with whatever plow horses wander into his stable. You can get lucky with players sometimes, but it isn't how the NFL really works.
Look at the team on the field Sunday against Green Bay. There were 10 starters among the 22 on offense and defense who entered the league either as undrafted free agents or seventh-round draft picks. There were seven starters among the 22 who entered the league as either first- or second-round picks, a number that includes both Ernie Sims and Winston Justice, one of whom is probably gone and one of whom wasn't a starter by the end of the game.
The old basketball coaches always say, "It's not the X's and the O's. It's the Jimmys and the Joes." That's the case here. The Eagles aren't talented enough. Whether that is because the player personnel department hasn't done a good enough job of identifying and acquiring the talent, or whether the coaching staff hasn't done a good enough job of developing it, is a fair question.
The problem, however, isn't the system. Plenty of championships have been won by teams that had lesser systems and better players. When Reid emerges from his ritual self-scouting, it would be a shock if he decided an overhaul of philosophy is necessary.
What is needed is a roster overhaul, and not just the cosmetic one of this season, in which some guys who definitely couldn't play at high levels were replaced by guys who probably can't play at high levels but haven't failed just yet.
Eleven of the 13 players taken in the April draft got on the field for the Eagles this season (all but Mike Kafka and Charles Scott), and that sounds great. Let's see how many are still here in two years.
And, two years from now, if there isn't a sharp uptick in both the talent level on the team and in the January bottom line, don't be surprised if the coach isn't among the missing. After a dozen years of ultimately fruitless effort, that self-scouting nugget should be obvious.
Contact columnist Bob Ford at 215-854-5842 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/bobford.