Blame Reid, and Reid only, for this fine mess

Andy Reid has been rather terse in his two news conferences after loses to the Falcons and Giants.
Andy Reid has been rather terse in his two news conferences after loses to the Falcons and Giants. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer)
Posted: September 27, 2011

Being the head coach of an NFL team for 13 years is not the same as being 13 years old, although you wouldn't realize that from Andy Reid's petulant behavior since his team got embarrassed by the New York Giants on Sunday.

The coach was more efficient Sunday, saying the same nothing in three childish minutes that it took him 15 minutes to say Monday. In both cases, his news conferences were little more than opportunities for him to act out his contempt for the media.

Reid provided some insight into his mind-set about his dealings with the media when he referred to them on his radio show as "crucifixions." Reality check: You coach football, sir. Let's not get melodramatic.

As long as we're covering this, fans also should understand that the media's role is not to vent your anger for you. We don't shout and scream at Reid or any other coach or player, even if that would make you feel better. Our job is to try in a professional way to get answers to the questions that fans have. If a veteran NFL coach such as Reid refuses to respect the fans' right to reasonable answers to those questions, that's on him. And it's on Jeffrey Lurie and Joe Banner for allowing him to represent their organization in such a manner.

Waterboarding him is not an option.

Whenever Lurie and Banner are asked about Reid's tenure, they stress his excellent leadership qualities. In a crisis, everyone from the owner to the club president to the players to the training staff looks to the head coach. Reid's level demeanor and calm assurance have helped him steer this franchise through some choppy waters.

Reid, they tell us, is always the same - win or lose.

Except that now, well, he is not the same. The news conferences have never been Reid's finest moments, but he has never been this churlish before. In the past, he seemed to have the answers, even if he wasn't willing to grace us with them. This change in Reid's demeanor reflects a deeper change. Right now, at least, the answers don't appear to be his to share.

Monday's key word was "hindsight." Reid has used it before to undercut questions about his decisions, especially some of those fog-of-war judgment calls that don't work out so well. He used it after he punted the ball and the season away in a playoff loss to New Orleans a few years back and he used it when asked about his game-changing decision to go for it on fourth and 1 against the Giants.

"I knew we had the momentum, obviously, and I've always been aggressive," Reid said. "And so I wanted to make sure that we stayed aggressive. And it was the wrong thing to do, obviously, with hindsight being 20/20."

That's meant to demean the critics who judge decisions after the outcome is known. The reality, though, is that Reid is paid millions of dollars for his foresight, his ability to anticipate problems and prevent them. Hindsight may annoy him, but foresight has been his problem.

You don't need 20/20 hindsight to see that handing the defense over to the longtime offensive line coach was an enormous risk. Is anyone surprised Juan Castillo has been outcoached in consecutive fourth quarters by experienced offensive coordinators?

You don't need 20/20 hindsight to see that playing a bunch of inexperienced late draft picks at linebacker would give offensive coaches easy targets - especially when you switched to a scheme that takes your front four out of many plays.

You don't need 20/20 hindsight to see that slapping an offensive line together a week before the regular season could result in the quarterback taking a beating.

You don't need 20/20 hindsight to see that shifting responsibility for blocking assignments from the center to a quarterback already struggling with blitz recognition could cause further problems.

You don't need 20/20 hindsight to see that drafting a 26-year-old with scant football experience in the first round might mean a longer learning curve.

You don't need 20/20 hindsight to see that spending a fortune on cornerbacks and nothing on safeties would create as many weaknesses as strengths.

You don't need 20/20 hindsight to see that giving the ball to your fullback twice at the goal line might not be as effective as giving it to your star running back.

Going for it on fourth and 1 backfired, and it was certainly a very questionable choice, but it was a contained spill. The Eagles couldn't stop the Giants or respond on offense because of that litany of decisions. The Eagles are 1-2 and in crisis because the problems created by those decisions can't easily be fixed during the season.

In hindsight, Reid has come up with answers in the past. In foresight, this is his toughest test yet.


Contact Phil Sheridan at 215-854-2844, psheridan@phillynews.com, or @Sheridanscribe on Twitter. Read his blog, "Philabuster," at www.philly.com/philabuster. Read his columns at www.philly.com/philsheridan

 

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|