Then again, given that this was his first game back after sitting one out for a missed meeting, maybe there's no message left to be sent.
Except maybe, for this:
There is no such thing as an Andy Reid-type player anymore.
Maybe no such thing as an Andy Reid-type team, either.
There are just wins and losses and survival.
The Eagles beat the Giants last night, 17-10. They beat the Giants because their defense played inspired and because the Giants made even more mistakes than the Eagles. The Giants tight end, Jake Ballard, could not hold onto a pass. Their touted defense, the one that leads the league in sacks, got to Eagles backup quarterback Vince Young just once. And their punter, once again, put the ball in Jackson's hands as time wound down, this time in the first half.
Jackson's 51-yard return to the Giants' 14 after the 2-minute first-half warning set up the Eagles' first touchdown. Some will call it a redemptive play, and there is something to be said for a player who played the second half on what he described afterwards as a sprained right knee or right ankle, saying, "I'll be all right," and that someone had stepped on his foot, before he walked from the locker room in a knee brace and foot boot.
And maybe he will. But just as likely is the inevitability of a future game, like those in the past, when his silly sins outweigh the redemptive plays and cost his team the victory that his punt return helped to procure last night.
Once, and it seems like ages ago now, the Eagles' characters had character. Brian Dawkins, John Runyan, Tra Thomas, Jeremiah Trotter, Hugh Douglas, Troy Vincent and on and on and on. You had a sense of who those teams were, even amid their less successful campaigns. They had an identity. More importantly they gave you, the fan, one, too.
There was an Andy Reid-type player and there was the type of player who would never, ever, play here. Any good Eagles fan could easily dissect another team's roster into one category or another.
Now you have taunting and mouthiness and mind-numbing penalties. You have after-the-whistle scrums like the ones that permeated the first half last night, the foolish and selfish behavior not by any stretch an exclusive attribute of their best receiver.
But Jackson, who negated a rare long completion from the author of the albatross "Dream Team" tag with his sideline actions is among the most prominent faces on this team, along with Michael Vick and Asante Samuel, an identity maker. And what that identity says, this season anyway, is that the Andy Reid kind of player, the Andy Reid kind of team, no longer exists.
Maybe it started with the whole Terrell Owens experiment, reaping the benefits of that one magical run to the Super Bowl, sacrificing at least the season after that and maybe more in the contract chaos that ensued. Maybe it accelerated because of those repeated aborted playoff runs, lowering or abandoning reservations about who they are if the talent seemed gaudy enough.
Certainly they were warned this could happen with Jackson. What's astounding, given what we used to think about an Andy Reid team, is how it's continually tolerated, even amid a season that seems, even with last night's victory, unlikely to be salvaged.
Don't misunderstand: The Eagles still have some character guys with talent. Jason Avant, Brent Celek, Jason Babin and Nnamdi Asomugha to name a few. Maybe that's enough, maybe all you can expect in an NFL assembled this season on the run.
But when each week now seems pockmarked by misdeeds and downright dopey ones, it sure makes it hard to get that warm and fuzzy feeling about some of your guys. Your team won its fourth game last night; with some of the same warts they lost six.
My question today is, do you like them that much better than you did yesterday?
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