Now looks like a good time for Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to fire coach Andy Reid

Posted: November 28, 2012

Andy Reid roamed the Eagles sideline just after the national anthem and it was hard not to look at the coach and think: "This might be the last time Cap'n Andy steers this ship."

If the Eagles had delivered another dud and the ship had sunk to 3-8, calling to mind Jeffrey Lurie's preseason declaration that another 8-8 record would not be enough, there was the smidgen of a chance that Reid would not open Monday's day-after news conference with "Injuries . . . "

Lurie would have taken Reid out back and done the coach a favor and fired him with five games and many more moments of misery remaining.

But the Eagles showed some heart for their falling leader, if not enough in the execution department. The Birds did indeed hit the feared eight-loss mark with a 30-22 defeat to the Panthers with a battered and mostly beaten team.

So Reid is done. Turn off the lights. This season of disaster will be dissected for months. But what is certain is that Reid's finish came Monday night at a less-than-half-full Lincoln Financial Field that was mostly too exhausted to boo lustily.

"I'm going to control what I can control - and that's getting better as a team, and I've got to do a better job with that, obviously," Reid said. "I'm not worried about all the other things. I'm worried about winning football games.

Near the end a large sign was rolled out. "Jeff, This Is On You," it read.

It's hard to believe that Lurie didn't see the sign. Nevertheless, Lurie will likely wait until the season is over to do what he should have done in January when he called last season "unacceptable."

That was his modus operandi before, waiting until Rich Kotite and Ray Rhodes finished lame-duck seasons in 1994 and 1998. If Lurie gave those two coaches the benefit of the doubt, surely he'll give Reid until after the season finale against the Giants at the Meadowlands on Dec. 30.

Reid said he hasn't spoken to Lurie about his job security. The argument could be made that Lurie should release Reid now, as the Eagles have done with two other executives in the last week.

Chief marketing officer Tim McDermott was fired Monday - although the team termed it an "amicable" split. You don't fire someone on the day his brother is returning to face his former team and call it amicable.

The Eagles also dismissed their senior vice president of communications, Rob Zeiger, last Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving. If anyone thought Lurie wouldn't have the intestinal fortitude to fire Reid, going gangsta on McDermott and Zeiger may have settled that debate.

Lurie has his team to think about, and letting Reid go now would be within the best interest of the Eagles. Injuries have already forced the coach to play a bunch of rookies.

There is no excuse for Reid not starting Nick Foles ahead of Michael Vick the rest of the way.

Reid will likely face that crossroads this week. Vick is nearing a return from concussion and he surely wants to play out the season to prove to other teams he isn't brittle and that the season's failure wasn't his fault.

Foles, no matter how poorly he has looked in more than 11 quarters of play, must play out the string. Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman need to see whether the rookie can resemble anything close to a franchise quarterback. If not, they will be forced to look elsewhere - the draft? San Francisco? Seattle? back to Vick? - for a starting quarterback in 2013.

While the Eagles are at it, they should bench defensive end Jason Babin and start Brandon Graham. They should give Nnamdi Asomugha a rest and allow Curtis Marsh to start at cornerback. And they should see what safety David Sims is all about. Are these players any good? Who knows? But now is the time to find out.

Reid has always made these decisions before. But the time has come to relieve the coach of any major decisions, if not his job. If Reid objects, then Lurie has his reason to fire the coach.

Reid knows it's coming at this point. He's been a defeated man at the last few day-after news conferences. He's lost his compass.

As he walked the sideline Monday night before the game, he stopped quickly and turned around. It was almost as if he thought someone was on his back.

The weight of the Eagles has been on his shoulders for 14 years. It's time for Lurie to relieve him of that burden.

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