Armed with an idiotic game plan in Arizona, Andy Reid’s days in Philadelphia might be numbered. The Eagles coach has two weeks — against two big opponents — to get his tired act together.
There is no rational explanation for Andy Reid’s game plan against Arizona. No sane football mind would devise a strategy calling for the best receiver in football, Larry Fitzgerald, to run free all day. And only a blithering fool would expose Mike Vick to wave after wave of pass-rushers behind a porous offensive line.
Yet, in this pivotal season for the Eagles coach, that’s precisely what he tried against a Cardinals team that coasted to a 27-6 win. In the course of this debacle, the Eagles also called a timeout between the first and second quarters, and lost track of downs during an offensive possession.
“I did a terrible job,” Reid said after the game.
No one disputed his claim.
In fact, Reid’s performance was so hideous that it raised questions about everything associated with Reid. Has his love for the forward pass doomed this team and his future here? Does he — or anybody on his staff — have any clue how to coach defense? How did that lost soul win more games than any coach in Eagles history?
With the Giants and Steelers next on the schedule, Reid will either put the Arizona nightmare behind him quickly, or he will need to make plans for a change of venue at the end of the season. Andy Reid cannot survive many more 27-6 drubbings, not after owner Jeff Lurie said another 8-8 record will seal the coach’s fate.
The really mystifying part of Sunday’s disaster is that the coach appeared to pre-ordain his own failure with a game plan that defied logic. For example, with no special attention from the Eagles’ defense, Fitzgerald converted all nine passes he was thrown, for 114 yards and a demoralizing early touchdown.
After the game, the new secondary coach, Todd Bowles, said he had convinced Reid and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo that there was no need to place any extra emphasis on covering Fitzgerald. Those wondering if Reid or Castillo know anything about defense can add Bowles to that list, too.
Even worse was the decision to run LeSean McCoy only four times in the first half, despite the fact the Eagles were using inexperienced Dallas Reynolds at center and human turnstile Demetress Bell at left tackle. Bell managed to do the impossible. He made fans pine for King Dunlap.
Because of this idiotic game plan, Vick absorbed 20 hits by the Arizona defense, many in the first half while the Birds were falling behind 24-0. After the game, the new, improved Andy Reid sounded just like the old one.
“We probably could have run the ball a little more,” he said.
For Reid, the insanity must end right now, this minute. If he doesn’t do a better job next week and beyond, he’ll need to find a better job real soon.
Stop bashing Ryan Howard
Chase Utley and Ryan Howard have been the catalysts for the most successful run in Phillies history, and yet they are never seen as a tandem. Utley always gets the benefit of the doubt. Howard often gets the shaft.
By any realistic analysis, Howard is the more important player, a slugger who has been one of the top three run producers in baseball throughout the Phillies’ reign. Utley has been solid when healthy, but also a disappointment in recent years. Howard also is a generous player, always ready with a cheery remark and a wink of the eye. Utley is a bore.
Last Wednesday night, Utley walked with two outs in the ninth inning and the Phillies trailing, 2-1, in New York. He had to be told to go to first by home-plate umpire Bob Davidson because the usually, savvy second baseman had lost track of the count. Howard then won the game with a home run. The next morning, more fans called my radio show to praise Utley’s at-bat than Howard’s homer. Huh?
I know what you’re thinking, and it’s not true. This is not a racial issue. The most beloved player on the Phils is Jimmy Rollins, and this adulation includes many of the Howard bashers. No, the real reason is a deep prejudice against strikeouts.
Howard has struck out once every three at-bats in his career. He has killed a lot of threats with helpless swings, not to mention a season in 2010 when he ended it with the bat on his shoulder. Utley fails almost as often, but always with a sneer on his face and dirt on his uniform. Philadelphia hates strikeouts, loves dirty uniforms.
But our harsh treatment of one of the greatest sluggers in Phillies history is not right. The fans booing Ryan Howard are really the ones striking out.
Sixers dropped ball on GM search
The new-look Sixers have promoted an old face. After an embarrassing three-month search, Tony DiLeo is the new GM. You probably don’t remember the name. He was the dullest coach in Sixers history three years ago, and has been a personnel guy in the organization for 23 non-descript seasons.
DiLeo’s selection is the latest move in a bizarre summer by our basketball team. It is now entirely safe to say that Andrew Bynum may not be the savior of the team, but he definitely is the savior of the offseason. Kwame Brown and Tony DiLeo aren’t exactly a formula for raised expectations and hot ticket sales.
The Sixers, under quiet owner Joshua Harris and loud CEO Adam Aron, are fan-friendly, but also prone to gaffes that suggest inexperience — if not outright incompetence. And the best example of their bumbling is this GM search.
At least three higher-profile candidates with better winning pedigrees than DiLeo rejected the job before the longtime house man got the consolation prize.
DiLeo is the wrong choice, and not just because he has not dazzled as a procurer of talent. He is the wrong choice because, at a time when the Sixers are trying desperately not to be ignored, they picked a GM who wants to be.
In a city with sports behemoths like the Eagles and Phillies, the Sixers needed somebody with big ideas and a big personality to command the spotlight.
Instead, they got a wallflower named Tony DiLeo.
— Angelo Cataldi is the host of 94 WIP’s Morning Show, which airs weekdays 5:30-10 a.m.