Giant Misunderstanding

by | December 8, 2008 at 5:41 PM | General, NFL, Philadelphia, Sports

After playing their two best games in back-to-back must-wins, the Eagles’ bandwagon is filling up and the calls for Andy Reid’s head have been silenced.

Call me crazy, but I’m going against the tide (shocker) and saying this: The last two games shouldn’t save Reid’s job—they should be the final nails in his coffin.

The 7-5-1 Birds went up to New York and manhandled the best team in football. They treated the Giants like the Giants have treated the rest of the league.

The Eagles pounded the ball over and over again into the Giants’ line. They controlled the clock, kept third downs manageable, and tired out the G-Men’s defense. In short, they looked like the Giants.

It was everything every fan and writer in Philly has been asking Reid to do for 11 weeks—a grind ’em out, dominate-the-trenches-on-both-sides-of-the-ball strategy.

And it is inexcusable it took Reid this long to do it.

In a year as wide open as this one, any team that makes the playoffs has a legitimate shot at winning it all (aside from the Cardinals).

Sure, the elite teams—the Giants, Titans, and Steelers—are all very good. But they aren’t unbeatable. It’s not as if any of them has an exorbitant edge in talent. After all, the Eagles have already beaten two of the three.

What separates the three from the rest of the NFL is their coaches’ commitment to physicality. When you play any of those three teams, you know you are going to be sore Monday morning.

The Steelers proved that that’s how you win in the NFL back in ’06 when they won it all. The Giants reinforced it during last year’s run. Even the Colts, who won in ’07, did so behind 190 yards in the Super Bowl from Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai.

So why does it take Andy until December to realize the error of his pass-happy ways?

Better yet, why does it take him until December every year to figure it out?

During the last two games, the Eagles ran the ball more than they passed. They won both.

Last year, when the Eagles focused on a run-pass balance, they took the eventual-champion Giants to the wire and finished with three straight wins.

Two years ago, it took a Donovan McNabb injury to force Andy to even out his offense. That balance led to a five-game winning streak and a Jeff Garcia-led playoff berth.

How many times do we have to watch the same script play out?

Every time the Eagles dedicate themselves to running the football, they go on a run. And yet, it still seems the players have to convince Andy Reid to pound the ball.

“The coaches stuck with it,” Tra Thomas said. “They didn’t get discouraged when there was a two-yard run.”

“Coach stayed with it,” Brian Westbrook added. “He was very committed to it. I give a lot of credit to him because usually we’re not that committed to it. But he saw we were getting it done.”

Daily News writer Les Bowen asked Andy Reid about why he was committed to running the ball Sunday despite only five yards on the first nine carries. Reid didn’t say, “Because I wanted to win,” or “Because I wanted to control the ball.”

He said, “the weather conditions were the biggest factor.”

Bowen quipped, “Do fans who want to see you run the ball more hope for really high winds the rest of the season?”

And yet Andy seemed to miss the joke. “I think the fans just want to win. They don’t care if we run it or pass it.”

That’s true Andy…we just want to win. But you win by running the football. Why is it you seem to be the only one in this city who still can’t see that?

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Over the past few years, Andy Reid has proven he falls under that definition.

The sad thing is, those of us who keep expecting Andy to finally “get it,” are just as insane.

 

Email me at russakoffrules@comcast.net; follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/leerussakoff.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.