QUOTE: “Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.” — Martin H. Fischer
The Eagles rewarded head coach Andy Reid with a contract extension for three more years Wednesday, keeping him in Philadelphia for the next four years — at a minimum. As I’ve said many times before, I agree with this decision because I think Reid is a very good coach, but he does have problems managing games — which always makes me nervous around playoff time. Overall, however, he does many good things for the organization — from player personnel to developing coaches — and the Eagles need to maintain continuity. In a league that is ever changing and ever evolving, sticking with a known quantity is the right thing to do. This Eagles team is very young and very talented, so to borrow a Bill Parcells phrase, the man who picked most of the groceries should cook the meal. Reid deserves to stay.
How the Eagles cure their game-management issues is a hard question, but I’m sure the subject came up in contract talks between Reid and the team — although it was never going to be a deal breaker, especially since he’s won more than 100 games managing the team in the same fashion. Bringing attention to the problem would be the right course of action for the Eagles brass. The approach to Reid should be the same approach that they would take with a player — express the positives, express the negatives and make sure everyone is willing to work on the specific problem. As today’s opening quote suggests, you gain knowledge by piling up facts, and wisdom lies in simplifying those facts. Reid is too smart and too hard-working to not learn from his past mistakes — at least one would think, maybe hope.
Reid won 10 or more games in five of his first six years as a head coach, but since then, he has accomplished that feat only once, in 2006. The past six years, the Eagles have been near the .500 mark and have made the playoffs just twice in that time. But given their offensive talent, the future appears bright. At 33, Donovan McNabb looks to be entering his prime, especially when you consider that Kurt Warner is excelling at age 38 and Brett Favre is playing his best football at age 40. McNabb looks great, his arm is strong, and he looks comfortable playing with all these talented young skill players.
There are not many areas the Eagles need to improve on offense to be a consistent scoring machine, and they are very close to the Saints in terms of team speed on offense. They have needs in some areas of their defense, but with McNabb playing as well as he is and Kevin Kolb looking good in his brief replacement role, the Birds have the most vital position in football covered. They can keep adding talent to their roster, so keeping Reid assures the front office of continuity on the roster — which is critical. The talent on the field, along with organizational continuity, is the main reason for the extension.
Can the Eagles compete for a title this season? They have the type of team that can give the Colts or Saints trouble because they can score points and they have an offensive mentality. To beat either of those teams, it will take a sophisticated passing game with offensive team speed and a quarterback who can make all the throws. But most important, it will take a team that understands that no lead is big enough — a team that will keep trying to score. That’s the Eagles.
For the Eagles to get to the Saints, or the Colts for that matter, they will need to win the NFC East first, which means beating the Giants for the fourth straight time. The Eagles’ speed on offense gives the Giants’ defense problems. The Giants are bigger and stronger, but they struggle to slow down the Eagles because they don’t have the players at linebacker or defensive back who can explode to the ball.
For the Giants’ offense, the key will be how Eli Manning handles the wind and weather this weekend at the Meadowlands. Manning struggles with the wind at home, and the Eagles beat them twice there last year. This is “do-or-die” time for the Giants, and Eli must prove he can handle the elements of December weather in New Jersey.
The Giants have tremendous heart and will not go quietly. In fact, they’re capable of winning if they get Manning to play one of his better games. This will be a great game. If the Giants lose, I doubt they’ll make the playoffs as a wild card, but if they win, they’ll be right back in the mix.
You’ve got to love December football.
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For more on the Andy Reid contract extension, check out this article from Bleacher Report.