Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day
Flyers Stanley Cup Champions Parade From The '70s

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Didn't Want To Say This, But...

Sam Donnellon of the Daily News does for me.

The Philadelphia Eagles are on the decline and in need of some drastic changes (emphasis is mine):

Repeat this slowly, so as not to choke on the words:

The local franchise in most disarray these days is the Philadelphia Eagles.

Not the Flyers. Certainly not the Phillies. Not even - and what a thing to type - your Philadelphia 76ers.


They are 29-28-1 in the regular season since their Super Bowl appearance in February 2005. Brian Westbrook's knee and ankle injuries have rekindled the thought that he cannot be leaned on too heavily. Donovan McNabb's lack of scrambles, which once were his signature, suggest he is either not the player he once was, or is cautiously eyeing his future beyond this season.

The Eagles are flat-out awful in close games. They seem anything but the "tough-minded bunch" their coach claimed they were after a surprising - and foreboding - Week 4 loss in Chicago.

The coach, Andy Reid, has come under increased criticism for his playcalling and drafts. The team's president, Joe Banner, whose press guide biography has for years trumpeted him as "one of the league's brightest football minds,'' recently failed in attempts to trade for tight end Tony Gonzalez and passed on wide receiver Roy Williams, two glaring needs in Reid's West Coast scheme.

The Cowboys traded for Williams instead, giving away a No. 1, No. 3 and No. 6 pick to Detroit.

Said Banner, on the Eagles' Web site: "Our goal is to win a Super Bowl, forget win a playoff game, which is something they are still working on.''

Smug? Well, just a little. And unduly so. In Banner's tenure - which coincides with Jeffrey Lurie's ownership - the Eagles have reached one Super Bowl. That was after they traded for a disgruntled wide receiver, Terrell Owens - but you all know how that went.

Since then, this team has made more headlines off the field than on it: Owens' holdout, suspension, and ultimately, his release. Reid's kids. McNabb's sports hernia and then, knee. Westbrook's contract.


This team is far more interesting between Monday and Friday than it is on Sunday. Its notable news often derives from some chaotic episode.

Or from a reluctance to recognize it as such.

It smacks so much of the old Phillies way, the way things went with Ed Wade. It's as if someone swapped their manuals, or at least recovered the old Phillies one and passed it off as Bill Walsh's. Even when they were winning 11, 12 and 13 games a season, this Eagles ownership group seemed a bit too self-aggrandizing for its own good. But now it seems outright delusional. Win a Super Bowl, get to a few even, before you dismiss another team's gambit to upgrade in midseason.

Make a bold move yourself even, something a little more tangible than adding a free-agent cornerback in the offseason. The Flyers fired a Stanley Cup winning coach, Ken Hitchcock, and accepted the resignation of Bob Clarke, their most popular-ever player, to begin their makeover. The Sixers traded away their only big name, found a new, sharp general manager, and now look at them.

I never thought, after all these years, that the Phillies would end the drought, but now we all need to realize that the Eagles cannot continue on the same path. Don't get me wrong, Reid and McNabb have done a lot for this city, it just may be time to move on. A coaching spot should come open after this season, and all candidates are welcome to apply.

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