Reason #1,976 to Fire The Walrus

October 18, 2012

The Eagles Have Been A .500 Team Longer Than You Realize

During the week 8 bye of the 2010 season, Andy Reid officially handed Michael Vick the keys to the franchise. Vick had been splitting time with then-“Franchise QB” Kevin Kolb, but Kolb’s injuries and ineffectiveness opened the door for Vick to take the reigns. Since that time, the Eagles have played exactly 32 games (including the 2010 playoff game against the Packers) or the equivalent of two full seasons.

In those 32 games, the team has gone 17-15. If you take away the first two games, both wins, the Birds are 15-15 over the past 30 games. They are the epitome of a .500 team. Perfectly mediocre!

Yet, has The Walrus done ANYTHING to help morph the Eagles from a categorically average team to a winner again? No! He has been running out the exact same players (save for a worse Offense Line), gameplan, scheme and failed execution on Offense since this disaster began. Hell, he hasn’t made a change to his Offensive philosophy since he took over in 1999(*). And that’s before we even get into the yearly clusterfuck that has become the Eagles Defense. But yeah… Lurie should keep paying him millions to continue this charade.

(*)Which is another “Reason to Fire The Walrus” entirely.

Look, teams that perpetually go 8-8 are mired in mediocrity, and the Eagles are no different. .500 teams don’t have an open championship window… They need to tear up the foundation and rebuild. It’d be one thing if this franchise was on the upswing – improving to 8-8, rather than residing there(**) – but in reality, the Eagles haven’t had a legitimate shot at a Super Bowl appearance since losing to the Cardinals in the 2008 NFC Championship Game(***). That’s why it’s time for a change four years ago now.

(**)In a league where parity truly is king, maintaining a .500 record for multiple seasons is a rather remarkable feat!

(***)The loss that should have been the bookend to the Andy Reid-era.

Again, there is no “window of opportunity” with this current Eagles team, as Andy Reid’s Eagles have been stuck in “rebuilding mode” for far too long… Even if they refuse to admit it. And it’s a complete shame, because this team features possibly the best Running Back in team history – and Barry Sanders 2.0(****) – and the team’s best Wide Receiving corps in our lifetime. But the Eagles have no Quarterback, no Offensive Line and – besides DeMeco Ryans – very little Defense. They are what they are: a middling football team.

(****)Shady is officially the ONLY player to ever be deemed Barry Sanders 2.0, now that Barry Sanders himself gave his blessing!

Unfortunately, that’s what they’ve been for the last two-plus years. But, maybe there is a small sliver of hope…

Today, Reuben Frank unleashed 25 random (mostly) Eagles facts, and the first two should make us all feel slightly better:

1. The Eagles are 3-3. The last three times they were 3-3, they went to the NFC Championship Game (2001, 2003, 2008). The last eight times they were 3-3, they went to the playoffs seven times and went 10-6 the one year they didn’t. The last time they started out 3-3 and didn’t finish over .500 was 1967. So … ya never know, right?

2. Here’s more: In 14 years under Reid, the Eagles are right at .500 before the bye (45-45) but 45 games over .500 after the bye (84-39-1, .681).

So, there’s that!

And while it’s nice to have a Walrus whisker crumb-amount of hope, this team is missing two major components from those 2001, 2003 and 2008 teams: Jim Johnson and Brian Dawkins. Not-so coincidentally, the Eagles have not won a playoff game since losing those two, following the 2008 season – Dawkins to free agency, JJ very sadly to his battle with melanoma.

In fact, the entire Andy Reid-regime has been on a sharp, downward spiral since losing their Defensive Head and Heart. Which just goes to show: the Philadelphia Eagles were never Andy Reid’s team… They were JJ’s.

Without a Defensive genius and one of the greatest Safeties in NFL history, Andy Reid has proven what he has been all along: an above-average Quarterbacks Coach/shitty Offensive Coordinator. Which is exactly why the Philadelphia Eagles are a .500 team.

And exactly why The Billionaire must Fire The Walrus.


Reason #864 To Fire The Walrus

September 28, 2012

Drafting Brandon Graham over Jason Pierre-Paul

It’s Eagles-Giants week, Fire The Walrus Nation! To celebrate the nationally-televised Sunday Night affair – and to honor our favorite rivalry not involving those assclowns from Texas – we’re running back one of our favorite features here at FTW… Reasons to Fire The Walrus. And this one has a Giant twist.

The 2010 NFL Draft was not a particularly good one for the Philadelphia Eagles(*). Highlighted by “The Donovon McNabb Pick”(**), which turned out to be Nate Allen, and 7th-rounder Kurt Coleman (who’s a nice player at best), The Walrus swung and missed on nearly all of his 13 picks, most notably first-round pick Brandon Graham. Sure, the team found its current Safety tandem, but Mike Kafka is no longer here, Riley Cooper has done absolutely nothing and Clay Harbor is, at most, a backup.

(*)Hmmmm, what were the odds of that?!

(**)The second-round pick the Eagles received from the Redskins for McNabb.

The Eagles sent the 24th overall pick and two third-round picks to the 49ers in order to move up to the 13th spot and take Defensive End Graham out of Michigan. With 29.5 sacks, 8 forced fumbles and 56 tackles for loss over the course of four seasons, Graham had a fairly productive collegiate career; but at 6-1 263, he was, and is, clearly undersized to play DE at the pro level. Andy fell in love with Graham’s intelligence and “high motor,” but neither of those characteristics have translated onto the field.

In fact, none of Graham’s traits have translated to the field, as he hasn’t seen much playing time in his three year career. Whether due to injuries – and there have been a few(***) – or poor performance, Graham has only appeared in 19 games over three seasons, and those appearances haven’t amounted to much. For his career, Graham has posted a total of 3.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles to his credit.

(***)Is it any surprise that Graham is currently questionable for Sunday’s game?

While the Eagles traded up to grab Graham, they also did so to prevent the New York Giants from taking the top DE on their board, as NY was hellbent on adding a pass rusher in 2010. Two picks after the Eagles traded up, the Giants happily let Jason Pierre-Paul fall into their laps.

Unanimously described as a raw talent with tremendous upside, but a longterm project, JPP was one of the biggest mysteries of the draft. Experts had him projected all over their mocks, from the top-ten to the bottom of the first. And of course, a team that is known for pumping out All-Pro Defensive Linemen, snatched him up.

In 35 games, the 6-5 270 JPP – a physical specimen and the prototype for a Defensive End’s body – has 22.5 sacks, a Pro Bowl appearance, All-Pro honors and has looked absolutely dominate at times. He’s leapfrogged D-Line stalwarts Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora to become the Giants’ premiere pass rusher and signature Defensive player. And these were things we expected when the Giants drafted him.

Now, there’s no way of knowing if JPP would have developed so quickly in Philadelphia and blossomed into the terrifying threat that he has become? In fact, as history has proven, Pierre-Paul likely would have sustained a freak injury his rookie year and eventually faded out of the picture like every other DE that Reid has drafted high(****). Graham, Victor Abiamiri, Jerome McDougle, Derrick Burgess… Andy spent one of his first three picks on all of them (sometimes more, as he traded up to get Graham and McDougle), and they all flamed out quickly. And that doesn’t include two second-round picks on Trevor Laws (a pass rushing DT) and Daniel T’eo-Nesheim (another DE Andy tried at LB), and a third-rounder on Chris Gocong (a hybrid DE-LB that the team tried at OLB), none of which panned out.

(****)Remember, Trent Cole, who was a 5th-round pick.

But regardless of The Walrus’ propensity to draft undersized, “high motor,” hybrid-type pass rushers, Graham over JPP was a phenomenal mistake. While Graham is still trying to find his footing with the Eagles, JPP is quickly becoming one of the most feared Defensive players in the league, with the potential to be an all-time great. The Eagles gave away two third-round picks to take a guy who can barely see the field, while their biggest rival stood pat and got exponentially better (and, oh yeah, went on to win another freaking Super Bowl, courtesy of their dominating Defense). Good work, Andy!

Just another in a long line of reasons to Fire The Walrus.


Reason #74 to Fire The Walrus

February 22, 2011

The Andy Reid School of Clock Management

Andy Reid manages the game clock like a monkey manages its feces… improperly, inappropriately timed, and just way too hands-on.

To say his clock management skills are abysmal is the understatement of his regime – it’s literally his biggest flaw as a Head Coach. And this is universally known.

After twelve seasons at the helm, you would think he would do something about it? Hand the duties off to one of his many assistants. Hire someone specifically to handle the clock. Outsource it to India… as Mike Lombardi famously suggested(*).

(*)The New York Times ran a piece on the poor state of clock management overall in the NFL, with this gem:

Michael Lombardi, a longtime NFL executive who managed the personnel departments in Oakland and Cleveland, and who now works as an NFL Network analyst, has little patience for such coaching mistakes. In weekly online analysis, he often rails on coaches for giving away games with bad judgment. He wrote this season that Philadelphia Coach Andy Reid was “my all-time worst game manager.”

“Andy Reid should outsource it to India,” Lombardi said in a telephone interview this week.

No. Not Andy Reid(**). Nor The Devil or The Billionaire, who early on decided to give The Walrus full autonomy and haven’t questioned any decision he’s made since. At what point do they need to intervene?

(**)Of course, we covered his abject stubbornness and inability to ever admit a mistake, here.

He’s already reached the pinnacle of game clock mishaps, with his infamous Super Bowl XXXIX timefuck against the Patriots. ESPN’s John Clayton, in his Eagles Super Bowl postmortem, Eagles had some explaining to do after game, details the coach’s blunders… with some inspiring Andy quotes, no less:

Down by 10 points with 5:40 left in regulation, McNabb and the Eagles didn’t go into a no-huddle offense. The Eagles ate up too much clock on that 13-play, 79-yard touchdown drive.

“I don’t know what happened,” Eagles tight end L.J. Smith said.

The Eagles were unable to explain their clock management at the end of the game.

“Well, we were trying to hurry up,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “It was the way things worked out.”

The beleaguered Eagles coach took even more criticism at the end of the first half. The Eagles, with the scored tied 7-7, had the ball at their 19-yard line with 1:10 left. Donovan McNabb completed a 10-yard pass to Todd Pinkston, but Reid didn’t call a timeout. The clocked went from 43 seconds to 17. McNabb hit Pinkston for a 15-yard completion, and Reid called his first timeout of the half.

Suddenly, the Eagles were at their 41-yard line when maybe they could have gotten in range for a David Akers field goal. Instead, they ended up having two unused timeouts and had to answer questions from the media.

“I don’t remember that at all, to be honest with you,” Reid said of the halftime question.

Yet he remains the Head Coach.

Sure, that was five years ago, but it’s not like it’s gotten any better. In Week one of the 2010 season, Reid spoiled a potential comeback against the eventual champion-Packers, with a typical mishandling of his timeouts. In his post-game recap, Rich Hoffman wrote(***):

(***)In the article, Hoffman discusses John T. Reed’s book “Football Clock Management.” A future Eagles Fan Book Club inclusion, indeed!

The time-management issue du jour concerned Reid’s use of his timeouts on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. Lost in all of the Kevin Kolb/Michael Vick business, and all of the concussion business, was the decision by Reid, trailing by seven points in the fourth quarter, to call his three second-half timeouts with 5:25, 5:17 and 5:11 left to play.

It was jarring to some, who asked, essentially, why so soon? It was reasonable enough to others, who figured that there wasn’t a whole big bunch of difference between getting the ball back with 4:13 left and no timeouts (as Reid did) or getting it back with 2:23 left and three timeouts (which is what likely would have happened had Reid waited).

Again, this was Reid’s 12th season as a Head Coach. That’s more than a decade of similar timeout screwjobs. But it’s never been solely about his timeout (mis-)usage, as simply getting plays called in a timely fashion is incomprehensible to Reid. Week four of this past season against the Redskins perfectly summed up Andy’s ineptitude – but did give us the now classic Walrus-ism “I goofed” – highlighted in The Daily News’ Eaglterian blog:

Reid said he “goofed” on the play at the end of the first half that led to the Eagles taking a delay of game penalty.

He said the team had a play called for inches and that when they got to the play it was more like a yard.

“That’s my fault,” Reid said. “I’m trying to explain the thought process on it and that’s where I’m going to end it. We had the play called for inches and inches weren’t inches when that thing were started … The position of the ball wasn’t where we thought. From where it was originally was and where it ended up being were two different spots. That’s my responsibility. I’m not here to complain about the officials. I’m not here to complain about anybody else. I goofed.”

Replays showed Kevin Kolb walking on the field with the play clock at 11 seconds remaining.

“I wasn’t surprised that the clock was moving,” Reid said. “I was surprised with how quick it was moving with when it was started with the spot.”

(The aforementioned) Mike Lombardi wrote a phenomenal piece at the National Football Post, naming Andy Reid the NFL’s worst game manager, following a particularly ugly loss at home to the Raiders in 2009. Read it, and you’ll agree(****)… piss-poor clock management is yet another reason to Fire The Walrus.

(****)Even if Lombardi doesn’t, though that was 2009.


Reason #3,283 to Fire The Walrus

February 10, 2011

His Abject Stubbornness and Refusal to Admit a Mistake

The Walrus and the Fonz have one thing – and only one thing – in common: they can never admit to being wr-wr-wr-… Wr-wr-wr-wrong(*).

(*)Click here and go to the 9:15 mark.

There are a plethora of examples of Reid’s refusal to admit his plans went awry – the Wildcat, which was forced down our throats and NEVER worked; his running philosophy, which is a 2,000 word piece unto itself; any time Reno Mahe ever stepped onto the field… The list goes on and on, but it’s specific positions in particular that Andy consistently overlooks.

The Eagles are missing a big, powerful running back for short yardage situations? Not in Andy’s plans.

Linebackers are important to defense? Don’t try to convince Reid of that.

He always claimed he didn’t need a great Wide Receiver, but in reality he was constantly searching for one (mostly through the draft) and was horribly unsuccessful (Na Brown, Todd Pinkston, Freddie Mitchell, Reggie Brown) until he finally (though temporarily) signed Terrell Owens. But then the problem returned until he struck gold with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.

We get it, Andy… coaches don’t like to admit mistakes because it makes them look weak and unprepared. But at what point does it become detrimental to the organization?

Each season the Eagles have a glaring hole; an achilles heel that is apparent to anyone who’s paying attention to the team on a daily basis:

  • 2000 – Wide Receivers are easily the weakest link of the team, with starters Charles Johnson and Torrance Small equating to one good wideout. Chad Lewis led the team in receptions and yards. Also, Duce Staley went down in Week 5 and the Eagles never found a replacement. McNabb led the team in rushing.
  • 2001 – Again the Wide Receivers bring down a good team, with the reign of James Thrash and Todd Pinkston just beginning. Thrash leads the team with 833 yards.
  • 2002 – The trend continues as no Receiver reaches 800 yards for the season, but even an atrocious receiving corps couldn’t derail one of the best teams in Eagles history. Middle Linebacker was the “Death Star Reactor Core” of the 2002 team, as Andy Reid stubbornly refused to pay his star Defensive play-caller, Jeremiah Trotter, letting him walk away to a Division rival. Not having Trotter in the middle was the downfall of what-should-have-been a Super Bowl champion… And Joe Jurevicius will haunt our dreams forever.
  • 2003 – No Wide Receiver has more than 575 yards. The NFC Championship Game versus the Panthers – aka “The Ricky Manning, Jr. Game” – was proof positive. Also, aside from Westbrook returning punts – Andy never fills the hole left by legendary return man Brian Mitchell.
  • 2004 – It’s hard to find a weakness on a team that: A) Finally fixed its biggest problem by bringing in TO; and B) Fixed its second biggest weakness by welcoming back Trotter(**). But… Andy let the very underrated Carlos Emmons walk – stating that he simply couldn’t afford him – and hasn’t been able to find a Linebacker that can cover Tight Ends since. Dhani Jones, Emmon’s replacement, was a huge part of the Eagles second-half-Super-Bowl-meltdown against the screen pass. Also, Andy replaced veteran Punter Sean Landeta with Dirk Johnson – not a good move – and still couldn’t find a viable Kick Returner.(**)Almost made a “Welcome Back Kotter” joke, but one ancient TV reference per piece is enough.
  • 2005TOOOOO TO-TO-TO… TOOOOO… TOOOOO… The unraveling begins. A Super Bowl hangover and injuries also derail team.
  • 2006 – McNabb getting hurt and Jeff Garcia stepping in was the best thing to happen to the Eagles, forcing Reid to establish a legitimate run game. The issue was the Defense, primarily due to the gaping holes at Strong Safety and Outside Linebacker – better known as Sean Considine and Matt McCoy. Reno Mahe, Kick Returner didn’t really inspire confidence either. Poor drafting = lack of talent.
  • 2007 – Again with the Linebackers – this time Omar Gaither, Takeo Spikes and Chris Gocong. And again with the return game.
  • 2008 – A very strong team with few weaknesses, but the Linebackers still held the team back. That and the fact that – besides Trent Cole – the Defense didn’t have one standout playmaker that could get into the Quarterback’s face (see: Kurt Warner, 2008 NFC Championship Game).
  • 2009 – The Offensive Line – which got brutalized in back-to-back games against the Cowboys – short-yardage situations and Donovon McNabb, who wore out his welcome (at least) one year too late. Middle Linebacker again hurts the Eagles, as Stewart Bradley (not that good in the first place) blows out his knee in a practice known as “Flight Night,” which we’ll be getting to soon enough…
  • 2010 – Defensive Tackle. Linebacker. Cornerback. Offensive Line. The Redzone. Third Downs. Take your pick.

Where does it end? Each year the Defense truly lacks Linebackers. Each year the Offense struggles to convert third-downs or short yardage. It’s been 13 years and still the Eagles can’t admit that Linebackers matter or that they struggle gaining one, two or three yards when it really matters. And how about the team’s much publicized struggles in the Redzone (on both sides of the ball)? Fans have been clamoring for a real Offensive Redzone threat for years, and still, the Birds can’t run a simple fade pattern inside the 20-yard line.

What about his play-calling; his challenges; his pointless, excruciating timeouts that result in NOTHING; the fact that he refuses to allow his Quarterbacks to call audibles or make hot reads? Andy Reid is relentlessly stubborn and unwavering in the way he does things. Sometimes that’s not a bad thing – his players have yet to ever quit on him. But change is a good thing, and in the NFL especially, you need to be able to evolve. Look at Tom Coughlin. A pissy, miserable bastard, that used to put his players through hellacious practices and fine them for not showing up 5 minutes early to meetings, changed his ways (albeit with near-mutinous players on his hands), became softer and gentler, inspiring his team to an impressive Super Bowl run.

Andy Reid can’t make adjustments in-game, and he can’t make them during the Offseason. What position will The Walrus overlook this year? We’ll see. He’s already kicked it off with Defensive Coordinator.

Just another reason to Fire The Walrus.


Reason #459 to Fire The Walrus

February 8, 2011

He can’t draft Wide Receivers, Offensive Linemen, Defensive Ends, Linebackers or Defensive Backs

Even before the awesome infuriatingly-intriguing bizarre rumor of Jon Gruden replacing Andy Reid as Head Coach – with Reid possibly staying on in a Front Office role –  it was evident that Andy Reid has little-to-no clue about how to evaluate certain talent in the rookie pool. I’ll never understand the Eagles fans who claim that The Walrus’ track record in the draft is stout and his resume makes him worthy of his (on-again-off-again) General Manager title. It doesn’t. And the only thing stout about Andy Reid is the beer he drinks… no I’m kidding, it’s his build. He’s fat.

Sure, Reid has an eye for talent at the Quarterback position, and he’s had decent luck with Running Backs and Tight Ends… But it ends there. Let’s take a deep, comprehensive look at Andy Reid’s career drafting record from 1999 to 2009(*).

(*)Please note a few things: 1) We will disregard the various GM’s that helped Reid overlook the drafts throughout his tenure (Modrak, Heckert, Howie). For our intents and purposes, Reid had final say over every pick, regardless of what may or may not have happened behind closed war room doors with real personnel men and scouts. 2) We will disregard the 2010 draft because it’s simply too early to call. 3) The draft is a crapshoot, particularly after Round 3, so earlier picks are weighted with more significance. In the same regard, we will not even think about going into who the Eagles passed over (as hindsight is 20/20).

Over Reid’s eleven drafts from ’99 to ’09, the Eagles selected 92 players. Of those 92, there are 30 players you would consider to be good to great players. Without looking at any other team’s drafting accuracy, I’d say that hitting on one-out-of-every-three players in the draft is pretty good. And again, I’m not saying that Andy Reid doesn’t know how to draft… I’m saying he only knows how to draft certain positions.

The deceiving thing about those 30 good-to-great players is the severe lack of true superstar players. Donovon McNabb, Brian Westbrook, DeSean Jackson and Trent Cole are the only players drafted by Andy Reid to be national stars; players whose jerseys you can find in any sporting goods store across the country, or whose name casual fans associate with the franchise (and Cole might be a stretch outside of Philly). LeSean McCoy could (and should) be the fifth. And McNabb is the only first-rounder to be a real stand out star.

Reid’s hit on seven of eleven first round picks – McNabb, Corey Simon, Lito Sheppard, Shawn Andrews, Mike Patterson, Broderick Bunkley and Jeremy Maclin – a pretty good percentage, except only three of those players are currently on the team (and Patterson’s on the low side of “good”).

Positions Reid Can Draft:

  • Quarterbacks – McNabb (Round 1), Kevin Kolb (2)(**) and A.J. Feeley (5)(**); Missed on Andy Hall (6) (**)In the sense that Reid can develop QB talent and leverage it for high draft pick trade bait.
  • Running Backs/Fullbacks – McCoy (2), Westbrook (3), Correll Buckhalter (4), Cecil Martin (6); Missed on Ryan Moats (3), Tony Hunt (3), Thomas Tapeh (5) and three late round picks.
  • Tight Ends – L.J. Smith (2)(***), Brent Celek (5), Jed Weaver (6)(***); Missed on Tony Stewart (5) and Cornelius Ingram (5) (***)As far as good Tight Ends go, Smith actually ranks up there in Eagles all-timers…. but, full disclosure: I hate him. Weaver bounced around the league, playing sparingly. Remember though, before the last few years, good Tight Ends were few and far between.

  • Defensive Tackles – Simon (1), Patterson (1), Bunkley (1); Trevor Laws (2) is still up in the air, but definitely not worthy of the team’s first pick in the draft; Missed on a few late rounders

Positions Reid Can’t Draft:

  • Wide Receivers – Maclin (Round 1), DeSean Jackson (2) and Jason Avant (4); Missed on Freddie Mitchell (1), Todd Pinkston (2)(****), Reggie Brown (2)(****), Billy McMullen (3), Na Brown (4), Gari Scott (4), Freddie Milons (5) and a few other late round scrubs. Brandon Gibson could have been counted in the good pile, but he couldn’t crack the active roster and was traded to St. Louis (with a 5th Round pick) for Linebacker Wil Weatherspoon. (****)I’ll argue with anyone that wants to on either Pinkston or Brown. I don’t care how much production they had here, they were both second round busts and, coincidentally, never caught on anywhere else.

  • Offensive Linemen – Andrews (1), Winston Justice (2), Doug Brzezinski (3), John Welbourn (4), Todd Herremans (4), Max Jean-Gilles (4); Missed on Bobbie Williams (2), Scott Peters (4), Trey Darilek (4) and eleven more. Mike McGlynn (4) is leaning towards the latter group, though maybe Howard Mudd, and a move back to Guard (his natural position) could spark his career.  Seriously though, look at that list. Andy Reid – a guy that’s considered to be a really good judge of Offensive Line talent (not to mention the fact that he’s publicly claimed Offensive Line is the most important position in football) – has only drafted six good linemen… Six good lineman out of 20 selections in eleven years! Two of which, Brzezinski and Welbourne, came in his first draft (and haven’t been on the team since 2003) and one, Andrews, who flamed out with mental issues.  And are Justice and Jean-Gilles even that good? Reid’s two best lineman (Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas) came from Free Agency and Ray Rhodes, and all of his other linemen were undrafted and “coached up” by his new Defensive Coordinator.
  • Defensive Ends – Derrick Burrgess (3), Cole (5) and Raheem Brock (7); Missed on Jerome McDougle (1), Victor Abiramiri (2), Bryan Smith (3) and Jamaal Green (4). Even though Reid “hit” on three ends, Trent Cole is the only one that counts. Burgess had one good year here and then was offered a contract (though to be fair, Oakland greatly overpaid him), and Brock was dropped because the team had no room for him, a seventh-round pick. Cross your fingers on Brandon Graham.
  • Linebackers – Stewart Bradley (5) and Moise Fokou (7); Missed on Barry Gardner (2), Quinton Caver (2), Matt McCoy (2), Chris Gocong (3), Omar Gaither (5) and on and on (nine in all). Awful. But we all knew this already. And yes, I’m putting Fokou in the good column, he’s one of the only Linebackers on the team that can actually hit the crap out of someone.
  • Defensive Backs – Sheppard (1), Michael Lewis (2) and Sheldon Brown (2); Missed on Matt Ware (3), J.R. Reed (4), Sean Considine (4), Quintin Demps (4), Jack Ikegwuonu (4), C.J. Gaddis (5); Macho Harris (5) and so on (eleven total). Besides Offensive Linemen, Defensive Backs are the biggest misconception of Andy Reid’s drafting abilities. He inherited Brian Dawkins, Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent. He bought Asante Samuel and Quintin Mikell was undrafted. The triumvirate of Sheppard, Brown and Lewis didn’t last long and certainly didn’t live up to its expectations or predecessor. Besides those three, Reid hasn’t drafted one successful Cornerback or Safety. Again, cross your fingers for Nate Allen.

Pressuring the Quarterback. Disrupting the rhythm. Covering down field. Stopping the run. Covering tight ends. Locking down receivers. Those are the components of a good Defense. You need blue chip players at Defensive End and Linebacker and Cornerback and Safety. The Eagles, under Andy Reid’s regime, have not been capable of drafting players of that ilk at those key positions. In fact, Andy Reid flat out chose to ignore the importance of Linebackers, and still does. Sure, you could blame Jim Johnson and his scheme, but that was his achilles heel and Reid, as Head Coach, should have overruled him.

The 2010 Eagles had glaring issues at each of those four positions (whether due to injury or not) and Defensive Tackle and, particularly, on Offensive Line. How does Andy plan on fixing them? Even if he buys a stud like Asomugha, he’ll still have to settle for a second-tier Free Agent Lineman or Linebacker, and then roll the dice in the draft with another Lineman, Linebacker and/or Defensive Back.

Wide Receiver was the team’s missing piece forever. It took him eight drafts to finally find a decent wideout (Avant) and ten to find a stud (Jackson). How long are we going to give him until he finally hits on a Defensive End or Cornerback? What about a real Linebacker, which has basically become the Walrus’ white whale? I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t trust Andy Reid to draft any of the positions of need. And the Eagles need a lot.

I guess it’s a good thing that Howie’s been quickly taking control of things behind the scenes… Yikes, did I just say that.

Fire The Walrus… We’ll gladly take Gruden!


Reason #12 to Fire The Walrus

January 31, 2011

The Deceiving Regular Season Record

Andy Reid is a good coach.

I don’t disagree with that statement. The guy is the all-time greatest coach in Eagles history, records-wise – leading all Eagles coaches in wins, winning percentage, games coached, division titles, playoff games and playoff wins. His overall record speaks for itself: 118-73-1, a .618 winning percentage. Or does it?

Yes, Andy’s regular season record is impressive, but when you look deeper, the numbers seem slightly (or more-than-slightly) skewed.

Of the 192 regular season games played under Andy Reid, 103 have come against teams with a record of 8-8 or better, and 89 against teams 7-9 or worse. A pretty even split.

Andy Reid’s record/winning percentage versus losing teams: 70-18-1 (.787)

And Reid’s record/winning percentage versus winning teams: 48-55 (.466)

Those are telling numbers.

Sure, Reid’s winning percentage against losing teams is nearly 80 percent – meaning his teams beat the teams they’re supposed to beat. Of course, each season there is always one inexplicable lose, a game the Eagles have no business losing going in but but somehow come out on the wrong side (see: Raiders in ’09 and Vikings in ’10). For the most part, though, Andy Reid’s teams beat bad teams.

But they don’t beat good teams.

Here’s how it breaks down per season:

The four seasons of the Andy Reid-Donovon McNabb apex in particular, 2000 to 2004, stand out. The Eagles won 11, 11, 12, 12 and 13 games during that time-frame – dominating losing teams 41-5…  yet only going 18-16 against teams .500 or better. That five-year span saw some of the worst years of the NFC in league history – and the Eagles handled those teams rightfully so. But for some reason, they simply struggled against teams that were competitive.

It seems to have leveled off in recent years – the huge disparity between beating lesser teams and being mediocre against good teams – but at no point during Reid’s tenure have any of his teams been dominate against good teams. In fact, this past season was his best against winning teams – beating the Colts, Falcons and Giants as underdogs(*).

(*)Though – as I’ve pointed out before –  two of those wins (the Colts and the Giants) can be attributed to things Michael Vick did on the field that determined the outcome of the game.

Look at those winning percentages again. The team wins 78% of the time against bad teams and only 46% of the time against decent-to-good teams. That’s a 32% drop-off when the competition gets tougher. And it goes even further…

The Eagles have played 19 playoff games under Reid, winning 10 of them for a .526 winning percentage. Against teams with 8 or 9 wins in the playoffs, the Eagles are 4-1, with all four wins coming in the first round they played and the one lose against the Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game. The trend continues, as the team is 6-8 versus teams with 10 or more wins in the playoffs. That’s 80% to 43%, almost identical to their regular season splits.

Translation: the deeper they go in the season, the better the team they face, the worse the Eagles are.

That’s an abysmal trend, and certainly one you don’t want to see over the tenure of one Head Coach.Again, the 2008 NFC Championship Game was the tipping point of the Andy Reid-era. That’s the furthest he can go as a Head Coach. Unless he can get a 13-3 or better Eagles team to a Super Bowl against an 8-8 or worse AFC team…

It’s time to Fire The Walrus.


Reason #1,018 to Fire The Walrus

January 25, 2011

The Terrell Owens Debacle

Aside from the late-80’s/early 90’s Reggie White-era underachieving Eagles, this has got to be the most frustrating and infuriating episode in Eagles history.

The whole Terrell Owens-on-the-Eagles thing felt doomed from the start(*). We all remember the long, drawn-out soap opera (including his agent, David Joseph, forgetting to file papers voiding the final two years of TO’s 49ers contract, the “trade” to Baltimore, the subsequent protest and arbitration) that famously culminated with TO signing a seven-year, $49 million deal with the Eagles on March 17, 2004.

(*)I was “in college” at the time – meaning I sat in my apartment all day, not going to class, getting stoned, watching movies and furiously following every move the Eagles made. I’ll never forget turning to my roommate after the whole Eagles-TO acquisition finally played out and (honest to God) saying “this isn’t going to end well.” I think it was due to the fact that McNabb and Owens instantly became best friends in an odd, forced way. Watching the two of them playfully joke around during interviews on ESPN almost felt like watching a Hollywood sham-marriage – where two stars are “set-up” by publicists to further an agenda (ie. Tom Cruise not being gay).

2004 was one of the most memorable and exciting Eagles seasons ever. Thirteen wins, the most by any Philadelphia Eagles team. The third-highest point total in franchise history (at the time). NFC Champions for the second time in franchise history. The team that finally got over the hump and went to a Super Bowl – though unfortunately without finishing the job.

With the 8th ranked scoring offense (would have been in the top-five had TO not broken his ankle in Week 15 and Reid not sat his starters in Weeks 16 and 17) and the 2nd ranked scoring defense, the 2004 Eagles were arguably the best Eagles team to ever take the field. But then the 2005 offseason happened, and everything fell apart.

After playing the Super Bowl on that semi-healed broken ankle – miraculously catching nine balls for 122 yards, but not getting into the endzone – and realizing that the “$49 million” contract he signed the previous year was only worth $20.27 million, TO signed with superagent/superasshole Drew Rosenhaus and demanded a raise. This led to:

  • The Eagles balking, and rightfully so. Though Owens was definitely a top-ten NFL receiver, he wasn’t paid like it. But he signed the contract the Eagles offered him and nobody held a gun to his head to do so.
  • Owens taking shots at McNabb’s Super Bowl choke-job, and rightfully so.
  • Owens attempting to play in the NBA Summer League with the Sacramento Kings, and the Eagles denying him.
  • Owens threatening to hold out, but not following through, choosing to submarine the team’s season instead.
  • Owens wearing a Michael Irwin jersey following a brutal loss in Dallas, just to piss off the fans.
  • Owens continuing his assault on McNabb, dividing the Eagles locker room.
  • Owens and a retired Hugh Douglas coming to blows in the locker room in front of the team.
  • The Eagles not celebrating Owens’ 100th career touchdown reception, leading to TO calling the Eagles “a classless organization,” and rightfully so.
  • The Eagles suspending Owens for four games for conduct detrimental to the team and then deactivating him for the remainder of the season.
  • Owens’ famous driveway sit-ups.

Whether TO was deserving of a raise or not is beside the point. The Walrus, The Devil and The Billionaire allowed their diva wide receiver to hijack a championship-caliber team at the height of its talent, causing an irreversible divide in the locker room and officially outing McNabb – a supposed leader – as a big puss who couldn’t fight his own battles(**). Even worse, the mess was documented on a national stage. Owens was the lead story on ESPN on a daily basis and his antics totally outshined an Eagles team that went 6-10 in 2005.

(**)Though the turmoil did give us the classic Sam McNabb “Black-on-Black crime” line, so at least we got that.

Sure, the Andy Reid-led Eagles have been back to the playoffs four times since 2004, including one NFC title game appearance, but the Terrell Owens debacle was the unraveling of the Reid-era Eagles.

 


Reason #222 to Fire The Walrus

January 20, 2011

We already know how next season will end

With an interception and disappointment… At least, if you look at The Walrus’ very consistent track record.

Not counting the 1999 season – his first as Head Coach – Andy Reid’s teams have annually dashed the city’s championship hopes in very similar fashion.

Following The Walrus’ 5-11 inaugural season, the Eagles overachieved in 2000, winning 11 games in a weak NFC, beat an equally-overachieving Tampa Bay team in the Wild Card Round and then got trounced by the eventual NFC champion-Giants at the Meadowlands, playing from behind the entire game.

Then the streak started:

  • 2001 – NFC Championship Game vs. St. Louis Rams
    In a back-and-forth game, the underdog Eagles got the ball for one final time, down five points, with 2:20 left on the clock. McNabb drove the team to mid-field, but then – with time – stepped up in the pocket and fired a pass to Freddie Mitchell… except All Pro-Cornerback Aeneas Williams was standing right in front of him, and ended the game (and season) on an interception.
  • 2002 – NFC Championship Game vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    Also known as the second worst day of my entire life (and I refuse to link to this game, due to the fact that I’ll stab myself in the eyes if I see even one second of it). After driving 73 yards to the Bucs’ 10 yard-line, the Birds had 3:12 to score 10 points and take the game to overtime. But then McNabb threw a pass DIRECTLY to Ronde Barber, who returned it 92 yards for a NFC clinching-TD, thusly ending the game, the season, and Veterans Stadium, on an interception. By far, the worst Eagles loss I have ever witnessed.
  • 2003 – NFC Championship Game vs. Carolina Panthers
    Also known as the Ricky Manning, Jr. Game. A game marred by three McNabb interceptions in 10 minutes (all by the aforementioned Ricky Manning, Jr.), horrendous play by the Eagles’ Wide Receivers and McNabb getting his ribs bashed in so badly that Koy Detmer had to come in to throw the game/season-ending interception, with the Eagles down 11 points and 5+ minutes on the clock.
  • 2004 – Super Bowl XXXIX vs. New England Patriots
    Tragic… Another back-and-forth contest that was tied through the third quarter before the Patriots took a 10-point lead midway through the fourth. McNabb led them back to within three (on the most controversial drive in Eagles history – lack of urgency, not going to the no-huddle and, of course, puke-gate), and the Eagles got the ball back with under a minute to go. But McNabb kept the streak alive by forcing a pass right to Rodney Harrison. Another game, another season, ends with an interception and no Lombardi trophy.

In 2005, the Eagles suffered from the dreaded “Super Bowl Hangover.” McNabb had a miserable season before injuring his groin and missing half the year. And even though the team only went 6-10 and missed the playoffs, the streak of Eagles’ seasons ending on interceptions continued in Week 17, with Koy Detmer (replacing the putrid Mike McMahon) throwing a pick with just over two minutes left against the Redskins.

The Eagles made the playoffs three of the next four seasons, with the following results:

  • 2006 NFC Divisional Round Game vs. New Orleans Saints
    Eagles trailed by only three points with just over three minutes to play, go three-and-out and punt (way to play to win the game Walrus!), never to get the ball back and have Jeff Garcia end the season with a pick.
  • 2008 NFC Championship Game vs. Arizona Cardinals:
    Down 7 with 2:53 left in the game, McNabb drove the team over mid-field before throwing four-straight incomplete passes to end the game.
  • 2009 NFC Wild Card Game vs. Dallas Cowboys
    Eagles got completely outplayed and never really had a chance to win the game, but still ended the final drive of their season with four-straight incomplete passes.

Of course, that brings us to this season… And we know how that ended. Different Quarterback. Same Coach. Same Result. A chance to win a playoff game, in which the Eagles controlled the ball, the clock and the momentum, only to under-throw it away to Tramon Williams and the Green Bay Packers with under two minutes to go.

How many more seasons can end like this? More importantly, how many times does the same outcome need to occur before Andy Reid is finally held accountable? Though McNabb can certainly take a heaping of the blame for his small performances in big situations, we’ve seen the exact same conclusion with Detmer, Garcia and now Vick (who rightfully took the blame). But at what point do we need to step back and look at the guy whose responsibility it is to put these players in the right position and make sure they don’t force stupid mistakes?

If all of those seasons ended on a bad pass by McNabb, fine. But that’s not the case. This trend needs to end and there’s only one way to end it… Fire The Walrus.

Until then, 2011 will just be another Groundhog Day.


Reason #3 to Fire The Walrus

January 18, 2011

Freddie Mitchell

Ugh. I feel like this doesn’t need any further explanation, but let’s rehash this horrid experience from Eagles history anyhow:

  • Desperate for a real playmaker on offense, and armed with the 25th pick in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft, The Walrus, then-GM Tom Modrak and the Eagles personnel team took Mitchell and passed on four Pro Bowl Wide Receivers, two Pro Bowl Tight Ends and two other wideouts that weren’t great but would have been an insurmountable improvement over that talentless assclown known as FredEx:
    • Reggie Wayne, 1st round, 30th pick (Pro Bowler)
    • Todd Heap, 1st round, 31st pick (Pro Bowler)
    • Quincy Morgan, 2nd round, 33rd pick (decent #2-3 wideout)
    • Alge Crumpler, 2nd round, 35th pick (Pro Bowler)
    • Chad Johnson (aka Ochocinco), 2nd round, 36th pick (Pro Bowler)
    • Robert Ferguson, 2nd round, 41st pick (decent #2 wideout)
    • Chris Chambers, 2nd round, 52nd pick (Pro Bowler)
    • Steve Smith, 3rd round, 74th pick (Pro Bowler)

The Eagles could have also taken anyone of these playmakers (though Morgan flamed out once he was traded to Dallas), but instead went with the smallish (maybe 6′ and definitely under 200 lbs.), speedy and cocky wideout from Los Angeles (sound like someone else we know?).

But, again, hindsight is 20/20.

  • The fact that Freddie Mitchell was the sole Eagle to provoke the Patriots through the media leading up to Super Bowl 39. Even Terrell Owens kept his mouth shut (though he was slightly busy getting his broken leg ready for the game). The only good thing to come out of that, was Bill Belichick calling Mitchell out after the game saying, “He’s terrible. I was happy when he was in the game.”Mitchell, by the way, caught one ball for 11 yards in the game.
  • “I’d like to thank my hands for being so great.” Sorry Freddie, but I hate to break it to you… your hands, not what you think they are. In four years, Freddie caught 90 balls. He did however average 14 yards per catch. Maybe he should have thanked his feet.
  • The nicknames… I know you remember them. Of course there’s the aforementioned “FredEx”, but his most (in)famous is probably “The People’s Champ” – you may remember him carrying around a WWE-style belt to press conferences and such. What championship did he ever win, I always wondered. Then there was “The Sultan of Slot,” which would have been a clever for the Madden version of Freddie Mitchell (who could absolutely destroy the middle of the field in Madden 02); Hollywood, because he was from Hollywood (get it?) and because he was once on the show Blind Date (I guess?); First Down Freddie, which actually carried some weight, because it seemed he’d always pick up a first the few times he did catch the ball; and of course Fourth Down Freddie or 4th and 26 Freddie.Which brings us too…
  • 4th and 26. Freddie Mitchell’s shining moment. Listen up fellow Eagles fans… Yes, 4th and 26 is a nice memory, but guess what, it proved to be meaningless in the end and is FAR from the Eagles greatest plays.Sure, the win against Brett Favre and the Packers was a great win, but it was a Divisional Round game – the first of the postseason for the Eagles, who secured homefield and a bye – and was made entirely moot the next week, when they lost at home, as favorites, to the Carolina Panthers. If Freddie Mitchell had any real talent, maybe he would have been able to get off the line of scrimmage and catch a freaking pass in that game. Instead, the Panthers Defensive Backs and Linebackers absolutely destroyed the Birds’ receivers at the line, blowing up their routes and their confidence. But that’s neither here nor there.4th and 26 was a really awesome play, totally memorable and endearing, but (again) its far from one of the best Eagles plays of all-time. It doesn’t come close to 4th-and-1 against Dallas (my all-time personal favorite). It doesn’t measure up to DeSean’s return this year (which similarly feels a little less special, considering it was the absolute apex of the 2010 Eagles season). It’s not nearly as good as the legendary Wilbert Montgomery game-sealing touchdown against Dallas in the 1980 Championship Game, the original Miracle in the Meadowlands, Randall Cunningham jumping over Giants Linebackers or even Donovon McNabb juking two Redskins defenders out of their shoes. 4th and 26 is great, but its forever tainted by the egotistical jackass who caught it.


Reason #627 to Fire The Walrus

January 18, 2011

The $138 Million Mistake: Building the Offensive Line around Shawn Andrews

$138 million combined for Shawn “Getting my Michael Phelps on” Andrews, his big brother Stacy “I have a girl’s name for a reason” Andrews and Jason “Turnstile” Peters, Shawns’ best friend and college roommate.

Shawn Andrews, the 16th overall pick in the 2004 draft and heir apparent to John Runyun’s Right Tackle throne –thoroughly covered here – received a healthy (no pun intended) contract extension (seven years, $40 million), following a dominating Pro Bowl season in 2006. Andrews continued the trend the next season, going to a third-straight Pro Bowl, but then strange mental health and back issues limited him to just two games in two seasons, eventually leading to his release in 2009.

With Andrews’ mental health becoming a major distraction – he missed 17 days of training camp in 2008 for no apparent reason, grew an odd faux-hawk and, again, got his “Michael Phelps on” – and with the team already investing multiple drafts picks and chunks of cap space in him, The Walrus and The Devil thought it a good idea to surround this guy with people that would keep him in line.

Right at the start of Free Agency, the Birds snatched up Shawn’s older sister brother Stacy, ranked as one of the top-five free agents, even though he was coming off a major knee injury – it wasn’t the strongest class – for $38 million over six years. The week of the NFL draft, the team traded the 28th overall pick (they still had the 21st overall) and a fourth-round selection to the Buffalo Bills for disgruntled Pro Bowl Left Tackle, Jason Peters. The Eagles subsequently gave Peters a six-year, $60 million deal, with $24 million guaranteed, as Reid called him the best Left Tackle in football… even though Peters gave up the most sacks of any starting lineman the previous year (not a red flag for anyone?).

So what did $138 million in contracts, two first-round picks, a second and a fourth add up to:

  • Two games from Shawn Andrews, who was then cut, drafted by an UFL team (though he didn’t sign), picked up by the Giants during the Pre-season – who gave him a six-year, $32 million deal!??! – where he started seven games (and played very well) before hurting his back. Again.
  • Ten games from Stacy (two starts), who was constantly injured, forced to take a pay cut (dropping his base salary from $2.95 million to $1.15) and then shipped to Seattle for a seventh-round pick in 2011 (where he started 12 games?!). He lasted 18 months in Philly.
  • Twenty-eight starts from Peters, who has been decent (at best) at Left Tackle, and has inexplicably made the Pro Bowl each year as an Eagles (on reputation alone). Much like Tra Thomas before him, Peters gets called for holding and/or offsides WAY too often, and can be confused for a turnstile against good Defensive Ends.

Oh and by the way, the reason they invested two draft picks and a ton of money in Jason Peters, was to protect McNabb’s – and then Kolb’s – blindside. With Peters blocking Vick’s weakside, guys like Antoine Winfield, DeMarcus Ware and Clay Matthews absolutely maiming the Eagles’ Quarterback all season.

Yet another reason to Fire The Walrus.