April 4, 2010, Donovan McNabb was traded to the Washington Redskins for a 2010 2nd-round draft pick and a 2011 conditional 3rd or 4th-round draft pick. This date marked the beginning of a new era for the Philadelphia Eagles. I didn’t know at the time, but as soon as Andy Reid traded away the first player he’s drafted as head coach, he would shortly follow as well.
Now I’m not going to scrutinize Coach Reid’s decision to trade McNabb. In hindsight it was a great trade; one of many QB trades the Eagles have gotten good value. I even wrote a blog about it defending the trade at the time. As tough as it was to let go of one of the greatest quarterbacks to wear the midnight green, I understood it. I only bring up this date because McNabb has been the last true franchise quarterback for the Eagles. Once he was gone, many fans believed Reid would be gone shortly after. Fortunately for the team, Reid proved his worth once again during that 2010-2011 season.
Kevin Kolb was named the starter with Michael Vick as his backup. Opening game, Kolb left at halftime with a concussion which brought officially started the Vick era. He finished the game with 175 yards passing and 103 yards rushing but unfortunately wasn’t enough to defeat the Packers. Vick was named starter until he got hurt (I know, story of his career) and Kolb started yet again. The Eagles ended the season 10-6 with a Wild Card game against the Packers. With 33 seconds left in the game, Vick threw what would have been the go-ahead score in the end zone but was picked off by Packers corner Tramon Williams. Little did I know this heartbreak would be the last playoff game Reid would coach for the Eagles.
During the lockout, transactions weren’t made until after the draft where Reid decided to put his chips all on Michael Vick’s frail body and trade away Kevin Kolb to Arizona for Pro Bowl CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2012 2nd-round draft pick. That same day the Eagles officially signed DE Jason Babin to a 5-year contract. Later they signed Pro Bowl CB Nnamdi Asomugha, thus forming the Dream Team that many thought the Eagles could become. The next day the Eagles signed DL Cullen Jenkins and my head exploded with excitement. With all of these pieces, Reid has finally built another Super Bowl team.
Alas, it wasn’t the case. The Eagles started the season 2-4 and looked terrible until the end of the season. Going 4-8, the Eagles pulled off wins against the Dolphins, Jets, and Cowboys before finally knocking off the Redskins and finishing the season at .500. Although there were no playoffs that year, hopes rose yet again when the Eagles acquired LB DeMeco Ryans from Houston for a 2012 4th-round pick. They also exchanged 3rd-round picks to finish the transaction. Finally, the Eagles fixed their problems and are now on their way to the Super Bowl! 15 games, several cuts and firings later, the Eagles are 4-11, the most losses in the Andy Reid ever since he first became head coach for the Eagles back in 1999.
With one game left, it seems it is all but over for Reid as the Eagles Head Coach. His gamble with Vick didn’t pay off, though there were obviously other factors that contributed to both failing seasons including injuries and many players underperforming. But something must change. After trading away McNabb, even though the Eagles won the division in 2010, they have not been able to put it all together for a playoff run. The last time the Eagles have a playoff win was back in the 2008-2009 season where they were one game away from going to the Super Bowl. Ever since then the Eagles have found ways to blow games.
I have been a huge fan of Coach Reid ever since I started to truly follow the NFL. We can make fun of his clock management skills or maybe his play calling that seemed to get him into trouble. After all, he is known for his “passing the ball to set up the run” philosophy, which drove many fans absolutely nuts.
However, no one can deny the amount of talent and effort he gets from his players, specifically the quarterbacks. He turned an aging Jeff Garcia into a playoff quarterback. Remember AJ Feeley? In the 2002 season when both McNabb and Detmer went down, Feeley filled in and won four of his five starts before McNabb finally took over during playoff time.
Reid has had his up and downs as the Eagles Head Coach. He has taken responsibility for every loss that he has coached. It’s a running joke for many people that Reid could just as easily take a tape recorder up to the podium because he is always taking the blame for every loss. I cannot remember a time where Reid has thrown any of his players under the boss for their bad performances.
This is a coach players should love to play for. Unfortunately for him, players will have to go somewhere other than Philadelphia because this Sunday will be his last game ever as an Eagles coach. In the offseason, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie stated 8-8 was not acceptable, thus promising many changes if a disappointing season comes into fruition. With 10 losses down and one game to go, it is all but certain that Reid is gone. Hell, even players in the locker room know this as it’s been a hot question throughout the final weeks of the season.
But Reid doesn’t care about his inevitable demise. He cares about this upcoming game against the dreaded New York Giants. The Giants need a playoff win plus a lot of help in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. It would make every Eagles fan happy if they can kill the playoff dreams of their division rivals. I’m sure the feeling is mutual among Eagles players like LeSean McCoy who has feuded with their rivals. This game will be just as important to the Giants as it is for the Eagles.
Trying to wrap things up as I could go on and on about the Eagles, Michael Vick is going to face a similar fate as Donovan McNabb. Reid loved both players but had to trade away McNabb for the good of the team. It looks like Vick will be playing his final game in midnight green this week due to an injury to the Eagles rookie QB Nick Foles (more on him in another post). The only difference with Vick and McNabb will be that while Reid stayed in Philly to lead the team past the McNabb era, it looks like he won’t be able to lead the post-Vick era.