At his press conference today, Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie announced that Andy Reid will be the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles next season. Despite the fact that the Eagles finished the season winning four games in a row, there was still speculation about Andy Reid’s future since the team finished with a mediocre 8-8 record and failed to make the playoffs. In addition, Jeffrey Lurie announced that General Manager Howie Roseman will return next season as well. Finally, he stated the future of defensive coordinator Juan Castillo remains in the hands of Andy Reid. That means that at this moment, the Eagles are set to return with the same people at the top of the organization that constructed the team this past season.
To Jeffrey Lurie, the reasoning behind the decision to keep head coach Andy Reid is simple: he wins. In 13 seasons with the Eagles, Andy Reid has a record of 126-81-1, making him the winningest coach in franchise history. The team has only had two losing seasons during his tenure (and two seasons in which the team finished 8-8). Under Reid, the team has won division titles, been to five NFC Championship Games (including four in a row), and made a Super Bowl appearance. Although the Eagles have not won a Super Bowl under Reid, Lurie believes it is important to remember that he has given the Eagles a chance to win almost every year by making the playoffs. Besides praising Andy Reid, Lurie also expressed that he is not afraid to undergo a coaching change if necessary and stated that Reid needs to do a better job.
Well, doesn’t that saying sound familiar? At every press conference, Andy Reid has repeatedly stated that he needs to do a better job. Over the years, Andy Reid has claimed that he needs to do better, but he hasn’t seemed to deliver on that message. Andy has continued to mismanage the clock, still refuses to run the ball consistently, doesn’t seem to make adjustments at half-time, and has failed to deliver a Super Bowl to the city of Philadelphia. While I appreciate everything Andy Reid has done, and think he has been a great coach for the Eagles, his inability to adapt and deliver in the playoffs in recent years illustrates a decline in his ability to deliver as a head football coach.
Furthermore, much of Andy Reid’s success was built upon the great defenses coached by the late Jim Johnson. After Jim Johnson sadly passed away in 2009, the Eagles were forced to find a new defensive coordinator. After Sean McDermott was not successful as the defensive coordinator, the Eagles, led by Andy Reid and Howie Roseman, fired McDermott and made the awful decision of hiring Juan Castillo. While Juan Castillo is probably a great guy, and has been successful as an offensive line coach, he was not fit to coach the defense this past season. The Eagles brought in a great deal of talent on the defensive side of the ball, but under Castillo the team underachieved. He did not construct an effective game plan each week, did not get the most out of his players, and saw his defense blow too many fourth quarter leads. And to those who believe the defense improved greatly over the past four weeks, remember that it faced Matt Moore, Mark Sanchez, Stephen McGee, and Rex Grossman. Besides Matt Moore, none of those quarterbacks were that impressive and Stephen McGee replaced Tony Romo in what became a meaningless game for both teams involved. Since Andy Reid will be back, and needs to succeed in this upcoming season, it would be in his best interest to fire Juan Castillo.
The Eagles should bring in Steve Spagnuolo, who was fired by the St. Louis Rams after the team finished 2-14 this past season, in order to bring the defense back to the days of Jim Johnson. In 2008, Spagnuolo was the defensive coordinator for the tenacious New York Giants defense that went on to win Super Bowl XLII over the New England Patriots. Before Spagnuolo was defensive coordinator with the Giants, he actually worked on the defensive side of the ball for the Philadelphia Eagles under Jim Johnson and Andy Reid from 1999-2006. Spagnuolo will most likely be looking for another head coaching job, but if he is unable to find one, the talent on the Eagles roster would be appealing enough to bring him back to Philadelphia.
After a disappointing season, the announcement by Jeffrey Lurie that the Eagles will be bringing back Andy Reid is disheartening. Andy Reid has done a great deal for the Eagles organization over the years and may be the best coach in team history. However, a coach in the NFL does not deserve a pass based only upon his past success. Andy Reid has continued to make many of the same mistakes he has made for years and, in recent years, has negatively contributed to crucial personnel decisions. Despite all this, the decision has already been made that Andy Reid will be back and it appears that his team will be very similar to that of this past season. With a similar team, Andy better hope the results are not the same or this will certainly be his last year in Philadelphia.