In a few days, the dust will settle in the wake of the Reid-Jenkins sideline confrontation, the jokes will all have been made, the clip will stop getting airplay. But a larger question will remain: Why isn't this defense fixed yet?
If you're focused on how much you liked seeing Reid express some emotion for once, you might be missing the point. After 14 years of stolidity, Reid found it necessary to bellow in the face of the guy he identified as his principal defensive leader, because coordinator Juan Castillo's defensive starters had just watched New England's backups march 80 yards in 13 plays, with two key penalties, for the game's first touchdown. Then the Eagles were penalized for an illegal substitution on the extra point, so the Patriots went for a two-point conversion and made that, too.
Despite the fact that the Pats weren't playing Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski or Wes Welker, New England converted seven of its first 10 third downs, against a defense that had stressed exactly that point since struggling to get off the field in a brief encounter with the Steelers' starters in the preseason opener.
That was why Reid was yelling. That was why Jenkins was upset. Yes, it was just a preseason game, but the Eagles have been telling us for months that the opportunity to work through a full offseason, plus the addition of talent such as DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks and Fletcher Cox, would fix last season's problems, which helped keep the Birds out of the playoffs. Raise your hand out there if you think the problems are fixed.
"I'm usually a pretty easygoing person," Jenkins said Wednesday. "There were a lot of emotions going at the time. I felt like we could be playing a lot better. That was the game we were really going to take advantage of as a tuneup.
"The effort, the coaching, all that is fine. Winning's not easy. There's a fine line between winning and just being close in this league. I don't want to get off to the start like we did last year, put ourselves in any type of hole.
"I just, right now, want to see perfection, want to see it all coming together. We're not taking it for granted going into the regular season."
Reid, who seems to spend much more time involved with the defense than in the past, was asked Wednesday if he would have preferred that Castillo be the one to get in Jenkins' face right then.
"Juan was talking with the linebackers, and no, I wouldn't," Reid said. "There's a time and place where that's my responsibility to do some things there."
Reid reiterated that he and Jenkins are fine now.
"I like a little fire. That's OK, that's all right. It means something to him, and he's one of the leaders of that group, and so I get it. I understand," Reid said.
But Jenkins had a pretty good insight into why, despite what Reid said, you want to avoid that sort of thing.
"Because in the end, it turns out to be a distraction . . . It turns out to be something that now they're talking about on TV, you know, a distraction toward the team, or more rumors about what is or isn't going on here," Jenkins said. "That's not what you strive to do, or, that's not what you want."
So, exactly what is going on here?
One problem Monday probably was that playing against New England's backups was a letdown. Jenkins acknowledged that the Birds thought they were going to test themselves against Brady and the first team. Seeing Ryan Mallett just reinforced the reality that this was the preseason, that not much was at stake.
But there are other issues. Kendricks, the rookie, has been by far the team's best linebacker, and that doesn't reflect real well on Ryans, who continues to insist he is very comfortable in the defense. Reid said Wednesday that he "thought [Ryans] took a big jump this week," but that one of the new challenges for Ryans is that when you play behind a wide-nine front, the gap the linebacker is responsible for can change during the play.
Nobody seems to have an answer to why the Eagles commit so many defensive penalties, or why their aggressiveness is so easily turned against them on screens.
"All of those situations eventually work themselves out," Ryans said Wednesday, when asked about the penalties. "Certain situations, you have to play smarter, come off the quarterback when it's time. Those things will definitely get better with time."
Contact Les Bowen at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @LesBowen. For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' blog at eagletarian.com.