Phil Sheridan: Eagles' Reid doesn't sound like he's worried about being fired

Posted: January 02, 2012

Throw another Eagles season on the fire. Don't expect it to provide much warmth.

For now, at least, don't expect the Eagles to provide much light, either. Owner Jeff Lurie, president Joe Banner, and general manager Howie Roseman were incommunicado after Sunday's thoroughly meaningless victory over Washington. They are expected to remain silent Monday and possibly Tuesday.

Apparently, if Lurie emerges from his NovaCare Complex office Wednesday and sees his shadow, then Andy Reid will be coach for six more years.

There is significance in the silence. Just how much, or what it means, we'll know when it is finally broken.

For now, all we have is Reid's penetrating analysis of how his Super Bowl Express derailed and spewed toxic sludge all over the NFL calendar.

"Well, we were 8-8 and the other teams, they weren't," Reid explained. "They had a better record, so they made it."

You wouldn't expect that level of arrogance from a man who was worried about being fired. Indeed, Reid's whole postgame news conference was an exercise in denial and snark. But hey, he earned the right. His team was 4-0 in the postseason this year - that is, the Eagles won four games after their season was effectively over at 4-8.

Reid really seemed intent on selling this four-game winning streak - against Miami (6-10), the Jets (8-8), the unmotivated Cowboys (8-7 before Sunday night) and Washington (5-11) - as proof that his team was back on track and heading in the right direction.

"We're playing good football right now," Reid said, although the Eagles are not playing at all. "Obviously, that's a hindsight thing because we're not going to be able to see how we would do against playoff teams. I think we're playing good football the last four weeks. I think we could play anybody and win games."

There would be giggling in Green Bay, New England, New Orleans, San Francisco, and a few other outposts if any of those teams could be bothered to notice Reid's comment. They're all too busy, though, because they actually are good teams, playing good football, in games that actually matter.

If everything was super-duper and swell and Reid was a lock to return and Juan Castillo had shown enough improvement to hang on to his job, then Lurie would have no reason to wait a day, a week, a minute. He would have been waiting for reporters in the postgame locker room with a declaration of confidence in his coaching staff.

The delay could mean Lurie is at least considering a major change. It would take a day or two for the owner and Reid to meet and sort things out.

More likely, Lurie and the rest are waiting to see what the fallout is all around the NFL. If there is anything to the speculation that the Eagles would like to bring Steve Spagnuolo back as their defensive coordinator, it would help if the St. Louis Rams fired Spagnuolo as their head coach. Sunday night, despite Spagnuolo's touting his 2-14 team's "character," ESPN reported that he would be fired.

Until they know who is available, the Eagles really can't go forward with any significant moves.

Or how about this admittedly extreme long shot: What if Reid were to initiate talks of a buyout in order to pursue another job, such as the expected vacancy in San Diego? Impossible? Remember, Reid's agent is Bob LaMonte, the man who engineered Jon Gruden's move from Oakland to Tampa Bay. Setting Reid up as football czar for a franchise that might move to his native Los Angeles is exactly the kind of coup that LaMonte is capable of dreaming up.

OK, so that's probably just runaway imagination talking. The point is, there is going to be a lot of movement on the NFL chessboard over the next few days. While Lurie surely has been contemplating his options over the last month or so, it is only now that he'll find out which of those options are realistic and which are impossible.

The worst thing Lurie or Reid, assuming he's back, can do is proceed from the delusion that this is now a good team. It is unfortunate that Reid insults Eagles fans by spinning nonsense and refusing to explain what happened, but it would be much worse if he really believes the nonsense and hasn't spent most of the last month thinking about 2012.

"I'll start thinking about it when I want to think about it," Reid said.

Anything after Nov. 1 would be too late. Reid and Lurie have known this was a disaster since October. On their own, and possibly in consultation, they must have been laying the groundwork for what comes next.

So their silence in the immediate aftermath is understandable, but only on the condition that their actions speak very loudly, and soon.


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

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