Eagles' Reid knows something - could it be that he'll be back next season?

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Andy Reid leaves press conference in which he seemed more self-assured than he had a week earlier.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Andy Reid leaves press conference in which he seemed more self-assured than he had a week earlier.
Posted: December 05, 2012

IT WAS unseasonably warm for the first Monday in December. The temperature in the NovaCare Complex hadn't been adjusted for the weather. It felt like the heater was running.

I began to sweat, but the other big man in the auditorium didn't. Frankly, I didn't get it. Wasn't the hot glare of the spotlight shining directly on Eagles coach Andy Reid? He was the guy coming off a 38-33 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. He was the coach who saw his losing streak extend to eight games.

Isn't Reid one of the NFL coaches almost universally believed to be ticketed for a pink slip as soon as the 2012 season ends?

So how come this guy talked and operated like a coach who was preparing for his 15th season in Philadelphia instead of clearing out his office?

"We haven't even gone there," Reid responded, when asked if he had spoken with invisible owner Jeffrey Lurie about his job security. "I'm sure we'll talk about it at some time, but that's not where we're at right now."

When your team is 3-9 and has the majority of its fan base numbed into disinterest by its pathetic play, exactly where else should we be right now?

I'm not saying Reid was like a coach sitting in a catbird seat, but he was 180 degrees different from the walking zombie who held the same day-after-game media conference last week after a loss to the Carolina Panthers. This Reid seemed like he might know something that the rest of us did not, and considering his close relationship with Lurie, he probably does.

Listening to Reid and reflecting on his actions since the Carolina loss, a shiver so icy that it was hot rushed down my spine. Could he actually come back as coach of the Eagles next season?

Last Tuesday, shortly after addressing the media, Reid called Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin and told him his services were no longer needed. His reason was that he wanted to open a door for younger players to get more playing time.

Monday morning, before talking to the media, Reid fired defensive line coach Jim Washburn and rehired former assistant Tommy Brasher.

"I will just say that there's things I was disappointed in," he said as a reason for sacking Washburn. "I'm not going to go into any great details why. This was not a move to try to save my job. This was a move that needed to be done now."

Apparently, another move that Reid needed to make was to announce that rookie quarterback Nick Foles will be the starter for the last four games, regardless of whether Michael Vick is cleared to play following a concussion.

"With where we're at right now in the season, that gives [Foles] an opportunity to play and finish it up," Reid said. "Each week he's come in and he's kind of been the replacement guy. Now he is the starter and we'll see how he does with that on his plate and see how he handles it. It will be good for him."

OK, let's review: Reid cut a high-priced defensive end, fired the defensive line coach he called a guru when he hired him, and then announced the rookie quarterback will start the final four games to see how he performs.

Reid also said there could be other changes in player personnel.

"I haven't quite gotten that far yet. The players have off, so I'm going to take some time and look at that," he said.

Do these seem like the actions of a coach who knows he is probably getting fired or one who knows he needs to re-evaluate what he has going into next season?

"When you have change, things happen," he said. "So, one of my responsibilities is that if I feel like it's going too far one way, then I correct that. That's what I've attempted to do and that's how I feel about that."

Could Lurie really do this? Would he really just shake off the clear desires of the fan base and bring back Reid for the final year of his contract? Maybe Lurie doesn't want to give Reid $6 million for doing nothing next season, or make up the difference if Reid gets a new gig at less money.

Lurie has been in Philadelphia for nearly 2 decades. He has to know by now what Eagles fans are about. Would he really risk the their wrath by giving them one more season of Reid?

There's been no vote of confidence from whatever hideout Lurie is in, but the deafening silence over a decision that seems blatantly obvious makes you pause.

Reid also said this about the Washburn firing, but it applies just as well to cutting Babin and demoting Vick:

"I think it's the best thing for the Philadelphia Eagles and this football team that I made that move," he said. "This is a move that I made. Nobody else made this move and that's important for you to understand."

Maybe these are just the chaotic reactions of a control freak who has lost a grip on his carefully planned empire. Maybe Reid is just doing right by Lurie and the Eagles in using these last four games to produce some kind of evaluation guide for a new coach.

Still, it was unseasonably warm on Monday, and Andy Reid sure didn't look like a coach who was sweating.


Email: smallwj@phillynews.com

Columns: philly.com/Smallwood

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