The Day After: The Linc Embraces Our Long-Running Rallying Cry

Before we get into the abysmal excuse for a football game that occurred yesterday, we just want to make one thing clear to the local and national media who are just catching on to the whole “Eagles fans are sick and tired of Andy Reid” thing… Eagles’ fans don’t want Andy fired for this season alone. It’s the culmination of the last 13+ years and no Super Bowl that has gotten us to this point of boiling-over frustration.

Sure, this year has been the tipping point for many fans – particularly the group that wanted to see what The Walrus could accomplish with all that “talent” on the field. But the media needs to look past the “all in” sentiment and total disappointment that is the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles, and realize that the “Fire Andy” chants have been a long time coming. He has had season after season after season to put this team over the top and win a Super Bowl, yet continuously fails to do so. We’ve seen great Defenses, dynamic record-setting Offenses, elite playmakers and Hall of Fame-caliber talent… yet no Lombardi trophy. And that’s why his franchise-best record, franchise-best winning percentage and franchise-best playoff victories no longer hold water.

Take PFT proprietor Mike Florio’s Monday 10-Pack for example:

“Fire Andy,” and then what?
With the 4-7 Eagles needing to run the table and hope for plenty of help, what happens if (when) they fail to qualify for the postseason? The home crowd has begun chanting “Fire Andy!,” an indignity that hasn’t been loudly foisted upon anyone in the NFL since Matt Millen left Detroit for good. Given that the Eagles went “all in” for 2011, with president Joe Banner telling PFT Live that the line between success and failure resides at winning the Super Bowl, common sense suggests that failing to succeed means walking away from the table, not getting another stack of chips with which to go “all in” again.

So what happens if Reid gets fired? Does owner Jeffrey Lurie believe he can find someone as good, and hopefully better, than Reid?

Then there’s the issue of the front office. With Reid supposedly still in charge, Banner and G.M. Howie Roseman could be vulnerable if Lurie tries to hire someone like Bill Cowher, who would want to have the same power that Reid has enjoyed, along with the ability to hire a new set of lieutenants.

It becomes a complex and risky exercise for Lurie, making the status quo safer, and thus more likely. Even though things haven’t gotten better under Reid lately, they could get a lot worse.

Andy Reid may be the best coach in Eagles history, but that doesn’t mean anything to Eagles’ fans anymore. For all his winning and all his records, he will never have a statue built in his likeness. No streets will be named “Andy Reid Way.” The Linc will never be known as “The House That Reid Built.” And that says a lot.

Did the national media bash Tampa Bay fans when they knew Tony Dungy wasn’t the one to lead them to the pinnacle? Or Colts fans who couldn’t wait to see Jim Mora run out of town? Was there national scorn for the Titans fans that wanted Jeff Fisher ousted? No. Those coaches took the heat for their team’s losing ways. So why should Andy get a free pass?

Florio, and the rest of the football world, needs to realize that Eagles fans respect what Andy Reid has done for us – taking a miserable, directionless franchise and restoring them to great heights – but are tired of watching the team hit the same postseason wall year after year. Maybe there isn’t a better coach out there. Maybe the Eagles do regress without Reid at the helm. But we want to find out. He is not the end-all, be-all of coaches. We want to see someone new waddle stalk the sidelines. We need a change in philosophy. We need a change in direction. Whether it’s right or wrong, it’s what needs to be done.

Nobody – even us here at Fire The Walrus – can discredit what Andy Reid has done for this franchise. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t worn out his welcome. Multiple times.

Yesterday’s debacle against the Patriots provided a perfect example of why it’s time to move on.

With his starting Quarterback out, and the weak-armed Vince Young in, Andy decided to design a game plan that primarily featured deep passes?! Sure, the Pats’ secondary is a total mess and the Eagles were able to attack them, but Young can’t throw the deep ball unless the wind is helping him out. Every single deep pass – whether caught or not – was underthrown. On the third play from scrimmage Riley Cooper caught a 58-yard pass from Young, but had to slow his route to catch it, allowing Kyle Arrington to keep up with him and stop a sure touchdown. Desean caught a deep ball over the middle that, if thrown correctly, would have led him into the end zone. Instead the team inevitably settled for a field goal when the drive stalled.

Young may have amassed 400 yards in the air, but could only muster one touchdown. (Of course Desean didn’t do him any favors, but more on that soon.) Sure, the Pats’ secondary is suspect and vulnerable, but why does that constitute giving Lesean McCoy – one of the best Running Backs in all of football and, by far, the Eagles’ best Offensive weapon – a total of 14 touches. Total. All game.

Especially egregious was the lack of touches for Shady inside the 10-yard line. With 1st and 5 from the Patriot’s 5-yard line, the Eagles Offense ran the following sequence of plays:
1st down: Shotgun, Young sacked for no gain.
2nd down: Young drops back, scrambles out of bounds for a 1-yard gain.
3rd down: Shotgun, Young’s pass incomplete (ball hits Desean in the hands).
4th down: Field goal.

And with 2nd and 8 from the Patriot’s 9-yard line:
2nd and 8: Shotgun, Young drops back, scrambles for 7 yards.
3rd and 1: McCoy run, no gain.
4th and 1: Incomplete pass to Celek in the end zone… except Celek was out of bounds anyway.

Seven plays inside the Patriot’s 10-yard line. One called running play. Great job guys! No wonder Jim Washburn wanted to beat the living crap out of Mornhinweg.

In what universe did that game plan make sense?

And let’s not forget about the typically insane use of timeouts! The first of which came just six and a half minutes into the game, with the Eagles facing 3rd and 10 from the Patriot’s 25. The Eagles lined up with plenty of time on the play clock, but didn’t like what they saw, so Young called for a TO. And they came back to the line in the EXACT SAME PLAY! The second timeout came just five minutes later, with the Eagles on Defense and the Patriots looking at 3rd and 1, and threatening to score. The Eagles were seconds away from being called for too many men on the field (again), and burned their second TO… only to jump off-sides coming out of the timeout, giving NE a first down and eventually a touchdown. For those scoring at home, that’s two timeouts in the first 13 minutes of play.

Most maddening, and possibly telling, of all is the play of Desean Jackson. Three separate times Young hit him in the hands with the ball for what would have been a touchdown, and all three times Jackson alligator-armed the ball. It was simply Pinkston-esque.

Desean has never been one to shy away from contact, but obviously this team and this coach aren’t worth risking his body over. He may be worried about his contract and his health, but that is no excuse to completely give up. Clearly, he is not happy with The Walrus, and went out of his way to show it. No player has ever quit on Andy the way Desean has, and though that may be a testament to his personality, it’s also a telltale sign that Reid is slowly losing the locker room(*).

(*)Read Derrick Gunn’s piece on the Washburn-Mornhinweg argument, which sheds some light on the divide in the locker room, the lack of leadership and the complete implosion of this team as a whole.

But poor execution and poorer game planning aside, the real story from yesterday’s loss was the “Fire Andy” chants that rained down on this pathetic group of players and coaches, and continued all the way into the parking lot and subway. This wasn’t the first time there have been anti-Reid rumblings at the Linc, but it was the first time in his overstayed tenure that the home fans totally and collectively turned on him so vehemently.

Eagles’ fans are pissed off. Eagles’ fans are frustrated. Eagles’ fans have seen enough. The time has come for the team to hear our cries of anger. Those “Fire Andy” chants will only continue to grow louder and more frequent and more in unison.

And that’s a win in our books.

We just hope Lurie can take a break from counting his money to pay attention.

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