Despite loss, Andy Reid likes his 2012 Eagles

Posted: October 09, 2012

TURNS OUT, reporters had the right impression Sunday, when there was much discussion in the press box following Andy Reid's postgame press conference about how the coach really wasn't devastated, or beside himself with anger.

Reid sometimes is both of those things, despite his reputation for stolidity. He ranked pretty high on that scale after the 27-6 loss at Arizona a couple of weeks back.

Sunday in Pittsburgh, Reid seemed a little soggy from the chilly drizzle, and he certainly wasn't happy to have lost, 16-14, on Shaun Suisham's 34-yard field goal in the final seconds.

But on Sunday and again in Monday's day-after media session, Reid made it clear he thinks his 3-2 team is progressing and is not fatally flawed.

"You surely don't feel good about a loss, but what you do is, you're 'real' with it. That's my responsibility. I sit there and I evaluate it and I give it to the team like I'm trying to give it to you and the fans, what's real," Reid said. "So, there are a lot of good things that you can take out of this football game. There's a lot of good things. The errors that we had are fundamental errors that we can go back and we can correct these things. We'll get this right.

"So, from that standpoint, it's a bit different than the Arizona game, where I thought all three phases, we didn't play well . . . this is a little bit different than that."

Obviously, Sunday was a missed opportunity to get to 4-1 with what would have been a signature victory over a presumed AFC contender that almost never loses at home. But it also was a game in which the Eagles competed evenly with the Steelers, minus the Michael Vick fumbles. On the critical Steelers' third-and-12 from the Pittsburgh 18, Ben Roethlisberger was Ben Roethlisberger, the NFL's third-down passing leader. He shrugged off a grab from Jason Babin, stepped up and split two rookies in zone coverage, Mychal Kendricks and Brandon Boykin, for Roethlisberger's longest completion of the day, 20 yards to Antonio Brown.

That was a disappointment, for a defense that has prided itself in getting off the field on third down, but it also was the kind of thing that happens, playing the Steelers in their stadium.

Reid noted Monday that opposing offenses are going to great lengths to blunt the Eagles' pass rush, max protecting and three-step dropping and giving up on hitting the long ball. If you'll recall - and Reid did, just in case we didn't - last year's Eagles defense got the sacks but gave up long touchdowns. This defense, sack drought and all, has allowed 99 points in five games. Last year, when the Eagles were 1-4 after five weeks, the defense had allowed 131 points.

"I like the grit of this football team. I like the toughness of this football team," Reid said. "There's some fundamental things we have to get taken care of. I like it. We've got some young guys that, they've got to grow fast. There have been a few - like I said before, you're going to have some hits and misses in there. You've got to figure it out. You've got to figure it out fast.

"I like the makeup of this football team. We've got to take care of a couple of things. They're a competitive and tough bunch. We've got skill and good coaches and that combination is a good thing. That part I know after these five games."

In response to another question, about the lack of long strikes in the offense, Reid noted how teams are game-planning against those, but concluded: "Really, we haven't been stopped as much as we're stopping ourselves."

Birdseed

Andy Reid said he looked into whether Michael Vick's rib protection is playing a role in fumbles, and concluded it isn't . . . Linebacker Mychal Kendricks (ankle) and running back Bryce Brown (shoulder) should practice Wednesday, Reid said . . . Linebacker Casey Matthews played three snaps when Kendricks hurt his ankle and got a solo tackle and an assist.


Contact Les Bowen at bowenl@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LesBowen.

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