If you have been listening to the sports radio talk in Philadelphia this week you likely have heard a question or conversation about when and how the Philadelphia Eagles should cut ties with head coach Andy Reid. The Eagles have lost four consecutive games and have dropped to 3-5 overall but somehow remain in second place in the NFC East as they prepare for a division game against the equally disappointing Dallas Cowboys. With owner Jeff Lurie stating in the off-season 8-8 would not be good enough for the Eagles, many seem to feel Reid is coming down to his final days in Philadelphia but wonder when that final game will be.
Will a fifth straight loss this season, something a Reid-coached team has never done, against a division rival be enough to push Lurie to relieving Reid of his duties immediately? Will Reid somehow manage to stay on board and have Lurie evaluate the situation in the off-season and make a move for a new head coach, possibly even inquiring about Sean Payton or (gasp) Chip Kelly?
I have been asked this question a few times now as well and I remain firm in my opinion on this issue. No matter how ugly things may get this season for the Eagles, there is no way Reid is not the head coach for the remainder of the year. Fourteen years of service in turning the franchise around and taking them to five different NFC Championship Games and, let’s not forget, making the Eagles a much more valuable asset for Lurie, is well-deserving of the dignity of coaching an entire season for better or for worse. Couple that with the emotional stress bearing down on Reid and his relationship with Lurie, I fail to see any scenario that sees Reid cut loose before the final game.
That is not to suggest a decision will be made before the final game, but I feel it would be a surprising move to not have Reid coach the rest of the season. Despite his shortcomings and the opinions of some vocal fans, Reid deserves at least that much.
I do not feel there is much of a chance Reid returns to coach in Philadelphia next season. At some point in time the status quo must change, and Reid has started to run out of options and excuses for making a case to return to Philadelphia in 2013. The Michael Vick experiment was a nice change of pace but has regressing over time. The decision to promote an offensive line coach to defensive coordinator with no defensive background was a mitigated disaster and the Plan B has been equally ineffective so far. I do not fault Reid for the catastrophic injuries on the offensive line, but it is fair to criticize the moves made to provide depth for a line that is tasked with protecting one of the quarterbacks who takes the most hits in the league on a regular basis based on his style and approach.
The problem with making a coaching change during the season is the Eagles have no reason to do so. With an offense and defense performing the way they currently are, there is no postseason picture to paint in Philadelphia. Does anyone honestly anticipate Marty Mornhinweg will be the coach to take over and turn things around in a flash? With that offensive line? No, I did not think so. With that being the case, what is the point of firing Reid and keeping him off the sidelines for the remainder of the year?
Reid is, without hesitation, one of the best coaches the Eagles have had in franchise history. Reid may be the best coach in franchise history. He was instrumental in creating many great memories for the franchise and the fans. But after 13 seasons and just one failed trip to the Super Bowl, and some questionable decisions made with the roster and coaching staff, it is time to change the variable in the equation.
It will be changed, after the season.