"Bob is a great agent who we have an outstanding relationship with. As much respect as all of us have for Andy Reid, it is the nature of the profession that all coaches, executives and players are evaluated each year," Lurie said Saturday, when asked about LaMonte's assertion. "That's the way we have always operated. But our focus right now, and I know Andy feels the same way, is solely on the 2012 season."
Why was it necessary for Lurie to even say this? Well, LaMonte was making his annual visit to camp, and reporters asked about Reid's contract, which expires after the 2013 season, and LaMonte wanted to be a forceful advocate for his guy. This is the same Bob LaMonte who last year, when told that then-team president Joe Banner had said Andy needed to win a Super Bowl to get a new deal, opined that moving into a team president role might be Andy's next move.
So, yeah, it was awkward, but in the end, nothing is any different than it was before. You can get caught up in the rhetoric, or you can pan back a bit. The Eagles expect to be good this year. If they aren't good, if they don't make the playoffs, there probably will be a new coach, and a new quarterback. Everybody understands that. But there is no obvious successor on Reid's staff. If Andy leaves, the Jim Washburn and Howard Mudd experiments go with him. Key players who fit Reid's offense have been signed to big-money, long-term deals.
Fourteen seasons in charge is an eternity in the NFL. Getting rid of Andy Reid would require an awful lot more than changing a few pages in the team media guide. And although it might seem inappropriate to bring it up in this context, one thing we learned from last week's tragic death of Garrett Reid was how much Jeff Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman (a LaMonte client) really care for Andy. They don't want to change coaches. They will if they feel they have to.
What, exactly, does Andy have to do to get an extension? A real good start to the season might do it, but I'd be a little surprised. A playoff berth and a win or two in the postseason almost certainly would do the trick, at least for 1 or 2 years' grace. (And it isn't like he still couldn't be fired after the 2013 season if it all goes bad. A contract guarantees you money, not a job.) I don't think he has to win the Super Bowl. That's an unreasonable expectation for any single season.
But for a new deal to happen, Lurie is going to have to conclude when the season is over that winning the Super Bowl with Reid is still a reasonable expectation, sometime soon. Of course, no coach that has been with his initial NFL team more than 14 years has ever won the Super Bowl.
Juan: Wasn't THAT bad
Reporters spoke with defensive coordinator Juan Castillo Sunday for the first time since his first-team defenders struggled badly in the preseason opener Thursday against the Steelers.
Specifically, tackling and getting off the field on third-and-long proved to be a challenge, just as they were last season, which made it more alarming than the first few series of a preseason opener might normally have been.
"There are some things we have to improve on," Castillo allowed. "Initially just the third-down package, you saw that we worked on third down [Saturday], really some of the scenarios we had in the game, trying to get some things in and work on some coverage things."
Same problems as last year? Castillo pointed out that the Eagles weren't doing a lot of those things during their 4-0 stretch run to end the season. (Which might indicate these are correctable problems, but also would seem to be pretty darn frustrating, implying the defense has to relearn last year's painful lessons.)
The highlight of Sunday's afternoon practice came in a red-zone drill, when Derek Landri popped Clay Harbor well after Harbor entered the end zone — in fact, Harbor said he was hit as he was heading back to the huddle — and Harbor took exception. Landri then ripped off Harbor's helmet and threw several punches. Harbor, sealed off by teammates but not looking all that intent on throwing down, drilled Landri with the football.
King Dunlap replaced Demetress Bell as first-team left tackle over the weekend, probably a Howard Mudd attempt to light a fire under Bell, who didn't make anybody forget Jason Peters in the preseason opener. Dunlap had a difficult day with Trent Cole Sunday, but on the second team, Bell wasn't faring that much better against the likes of Darryl Tapp and Brandon Graham … Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who tweaked a hamstring in warmups for the preseason opener, did individual drills but didn't do the full-team stuff Sunday. Ditto linebacker Jamar Chaney (also a hammy). This was the plan going into the day.
Contact Les Bowen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @LesBowen. For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read his blog at www.eagletarian.com.