The day Andy Reid lost his way

YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Andy Reid's Eagles tenure has been marred by panic moves.
YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Andy Reid's Eagles tenure has been marred by panic moves.
Posted: November 14, 2012

FOR ME, ANDY REID became a different guy on Sept. 21, 2010. That was when he made the first of several panic moves, none of which has worked out, panic moves that have transformed a stable, winning franchise into a smoldering ruin in the space of a little more than 2 years.

Sept. 21, 2010, was the day Reid announced he was switching quarterbacks, from Kevin Kolb to Michael Vick, because Vick had played six good quarters while Kolb was sidelined by a concussion.

You certainly could defend the decision - it looked like a stroke of genius for about 3 months - but there was no getting around the fact that, as I wrote in the Daily News the next day, it might have been "the most unReidlike turnaround of the Reid era."

This was a man who stuck with Todd Pinkston and James Thrash through three NFC Championship Game losses, whose hallmark was careful, deliberate decision-making. He'd spent 5 months selling the idea of Kolb as the future of the Eagles, even getting snippy with people who dared wonder if he might be tempted to go with Vick. Then, boom.

I was shocked, not just because of all the Kolb buildup, but because Vick was 30 and had never been that effective over the long haul. The late Jim Johnson had no problem whatsoever solving Vick when he played for Atlanta. Reid was selling us a new, pocket-passer Vick, and for a while people bought in, but how many QBs change their careers around after 30?

The Minnesota Vikings solved Vick in the snow-delayed game played Tuesday, Dec. 28 at the Linc, holding him to a season-low 74.1 passer rating and sacking him a season-high six times. That led to a quick playoff exit at the hands of the Packers, Vick held to a 79.9 passer rating.

Vick compiled a 100-plus passer rating in four of his first eight starts with the Eagles. He's done it seven times since, in 26 starts, including that playoff game.

There never was a new Vick, just a Vick riding adrenaline for a while after getting out of prison and getting back in top shape. I'm not saying things would have turned out better with Kolb - he's always hurt and has a middling arm - but Kolb was the guy Andy drafted in the second round to succeed Donovan McNabb, then spent 3 years nurturing.

In no universe was it a good idea to make Juan Castillo the defensive coordinator. This was something the Reid of 5 or 10 years ago would never have done; he would have been less impatient, would have had a deep enough list of smart young assistants around the league to come up with a better move. Howard Mudd? Jim Washburn? "Hey, maybe I don't know who the up-and-coming position coaches are anymore, but I've sure heard of these guys, they're famous. Let's take something really esoteric that worked in somebody else's setup and scotch-tape it into ours." Again, not the old Andy Reid doing that.

After last season, nobody needed six more games to know that a middle-linebacker upgrade wasn't going to make Castillo a defensive savant, but firing him during the bye week shocked most of the players and did more harm than good. It came off like a panic move. It was a panic move.

Reid had one more panic move left in his tenure, but the Cowboys made it for him, when they bounced Vick's head off the turf Sunday afternoon. At this point, Nick Foles is going to have to throw the greatest Hail Mary of all time to save his head coach, who has forgotten the qualities that were his strengths.

Developing Storylines

* Andy Reid said LeSean McCoy got only seven carries (for 62 yards) in the second half because McCoy was sick all week and got tired easily Sunday. McCoy said after the game he didn't think his lack of work was an issue.

* Reid confirmed that he had to call a timeout to get King Dunlap on the field for a field-goal attempt because Dunlap was caught up in angst over a penalty he'd just taken and went to the bench instead of staying on the field. "That happens during the game, and you can't let that happen. King and I talked," Reid said.

* Wonder if a call to Mike Kafka is likely now? If it happens, we know Vick is down for a while.

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