Eagles Notebook: Heated exchange on the Eagles sideline

It makes sense that defensive line coach Jim Washburn would be unhappy with the pass-heavy approach by offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.
It makes sense that defensive line coach Jim Washburn would be unhappy with the pass-heavy approach by offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. (YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: November 28, 2011

THIS IS WHAT happens when you lose, especially when expectations were high.

As the Eagles plummeted to 4-7 yesterday, Comcast SportsNet reported that offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and defensive line coach Jim Washburn had to be separated on the sideline in the first half. A source close to the situation confirmed to the Daily News that Mornhinweg and Washburn then came onto the field for the second half having an animated disagreement.

There was no official word on what sparked the trouble, but speculation held that Washburn was not pleased with the Birds' pass-heavy approach during the three-touchdown spree the Patriots went on during a 9-minute, 18-second span of the first half. Washburn supposedly would have liked to have given his troops some time to recover and adjust, but the Eagles kept misfiring offensively, running the defense back on the field.

In particular, the Eagles had a one-play drive - a Vince Young interception - after which the defense held for a 39-yard missed field goal. That was followed by an Eagles three-and-out, which led straight to a Patriots touchdown drive, and a 21-10 New England lead.

The Birds' best hope for derailing the imposing New England offense and quarterback Tom Brady was to get pressure on Brady, who isn't considered nimble, but Washburn's charges managed only one sack, early, from defensive tackle Mike Patterson. Brady scrambled five times for 28 yards, easily eluding rushers.

"Yeah, that's a rarity," Brady said. "There's just a few times there where I felt it opened up in the middle and I just took off. I'm not moving very fast, they're converging pretty quickly, so I just [slid down] as fast as I could."

Vickless

Andy Reid said Michael Vick and his sore ribs were not on the sideline yesterday because "he couldn't play." In the past, Reid has sometimes kept an injured QB off the sideline so that TV cameras won't be recording the starter's reaction to every mishap that occurs on the backup's watch.

A head-scratcher, all right

Andy Reid took exception to being asked if he still stands behind his decision to hire offensive line coach Juan Castillo as his defensive coordinator, after the Birds' most lopsided loss of the season.

"Obviously, you didn't ask me that last week," when the Eagles beat the Giants and the defense played well, Reid said. "A bad game, I guess you feel comfortable asking that, but I think it's all the way around. We have to do a better job all the way around."

Reid talked about turnovers as a problem, but actually, the Eagles only turned the ball over once and the Pats got no points from that. A bigger problem was their 10 penalties, including a pair on third down on New England's first touchdown drive, which set the tone for a sloppy day.

Castillo's defense gave up four touchdowns in five red-zone situations, assuring it will remain last in the NFL there.

Fire alarm

Eagles players said what you would expect about the "Fire Andy" chants at the Linc yesterday.

"I thought the plays were there to be made, whether we made them or not. You hear the fans say, 'Fire this person. Fire that person.' I believe that the game plan on offense was an excellent game plan. I believe we botched it up as players, with our execution," wideout Jason Avant said.

"I heard it. Am I happy about it? No. It's all us. All us players, not executing on the field," tight end Brent Celek said.

Birdseed

The Eagles' 1-5 record at home is their worst since they were 0-6 under Marion Campbell in 1983 . . . As expected, Michael Vick (ribs), Jeremy Maclin (hamstring), Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (ankle) and King Dunlap (concussion) were inactive, as were Brandon Graham (knee), Julian Vandervelde and Phillip Hunt . . . Moise Fokou suffered a sprained ankle . . . plucky Jason Avant caught eight passes for 110 yards and a touchdown . . . Twenty-two of LeSean McCoy's 31 rushing yards came on one play. McCoy scored his 11th rushing touchdown of the season . . . Corner Asante Samuel, facing his former team for the first time in the regular season, called it "one of the worst losses I've ever dealt with."


For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' Eagles blog, Eagletarian, at www.eagletarian.com.

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