As expected the Eagles have fired Andy Reid after an awful 4-12 season, marred by high priced free agents failing to live up to expectations , the firing of overmatched assistant coaches, and, most damaging of all, the team quitting on the coach. Yes, it was time for Reid to go, yet he was, and by a large margin, the best coach the Eagles have ever had. Their run of success, 9 playoff appearances in his first eleven years was unprecedented in the teams mostly sorry history. He had his weaknesses, certainly, most of them stemming from his strengths. He was a meticulous planner, he famously claimed the Eagles job as a dark horse candidate by displaying a thick binder detailing every facet of his plans for a team as head coach, and he firmly believed his plan was the correct, and only way. While this generally resulted in his teams being well prepared and ready to play, it became his downfall when things went awry. He couldn’t adjust midgame (as evidences by wasted timeouts, inability to switch to the run when teams took away his passing options, options he firmly believed were the best way to run an offense). When his plan worked, the Eagles often appeared unstoppable( the 2000 season opening game against the Cowboys (the pickle juice game ) where the Eagles started with an onside kick and won going away 41-14, and the Monday night game against the Redskins where Michael Vick led the Eagles to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter before winning 59-28 come to mind. When it didn’t, well the last two seasons are full of examples of what could result. It always perplexed me that such a meticulous planer couldn’t see his own weakness, and hire a coach to help him make these adjustments in the heat of battle. Late defensive coordinator Jim Johnson excelled at in game adjustments on the defensive side, and this often helped the Eagles while he was here. The Eagles haven’t been the same since his passing.
I believe Reid will get his due as we look back on his tenure and the memory of his two most recent seasons fade, and I firmly believe some other team will quickly snap him up and benefit from his strengths. Hopefully, the Eagles will strike gold again with their next coach, someone who can come in and build on the expectation of excellence that Reid engendered in a formerly forlorn franchise.