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(*).
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?
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.