Jim Washburn was fired as defensive line coach. Six weeks ago, Juan Castillo was forced out as defensive coordinator.
Executives Rob Zeiger and Tim McDermott couldn’t survive this season. And Jason Babin took his big mouth to Jacksonville.
Does anything strike you as odd here? Are any of these employees as responsible for the spectacular failure of the 2012 Eagles as coach Andy Reid? You will find no argument here that Washburn and Babin were performing well, or that Castillo was the second coming of Albert Einstein, but none of them has ever been a main character in this ongoing drama.
The leading man (the villain) is Andy Reid. And yet here we sit, Reid all but assured of a full season despite an eight-game losing streak and an increasingly bad attitude. All it took for him to clear the final hurdle was his decision yesterday — if it was his to make — that Nick Foles will start at quarterback for the rest of the season.
That announcement at Reid’s news conference, just four days after snapping at reporters who challenged his statement that “Michael Vick is my starting quarterback,” completed the sell-out of Reid. He has sold his friendship to Castillo, his loyalty to Washburn and his soul to the Eagles.
The Washburn firing, at 7 a.m. on the morning after a 38-33 loss in Dallas, was stunning not just in its timing, but also in what it said about the state of the Eagles. The veteran coach’s Wide-9
defense has been a disaster, but Washburn’s job appeared safe until he did the unthinkable. He let his dissatisfaction over Babin’s release be known to his bosses.
If there’s one thing owner Jeff Lurie and GM Howie Roseman simply won’t tolerate, it’s the truth. Washburn felt that Babin was his best pass-rusher, despite a dramatic drop statistically and a negative locker-room presence. The assistant was certainly entitled to his opinion — as long as it never reached his paranoid bosses. Once it did, Washburn was done.
And that’s not the worst part of this latest development. No, the worst part is that Reid once again did nothing to rescue his friend, just as he sacrificed Castillo for his own survival. A coach with 14 years of experience in one city, with far more wins than any coach ever here, doesn’t have to go out this way. But Reid has chosen to save his neck instead of his dignity.
Barring any sudden shifts in the winds of change, Reid will follow all of these victims out the door in four weeks, a fate long overdue for a coach who has forgotten how to do his job or how to leave gracefully.
In the end, Reid will not survive this season of shame, and neither will his legacy. From this day forward, he will always be the coach who preached loyalty to the very end, but didn’t bother to follow his own words.
Babin’s exile gives us small shred of joy
In a season of terrible performances, Jason Babin staked his claim last week to the most obnoxious, most maddening season by a Philadelphia athlete in recent memory. He was leading a pitiful defense with a puny 5.5 sacks when the Eagles could tolerate his grating personality no longer. So they cut him.
A one-dimensional mercenary whose aggressiveness was far more evident on Twitter than on a football field, Babin actually had the audacity last month to lecture Eagles fans on loyalty. He even posted a definition of the word on the Internet, in his tireless effort to look stupid and ungrateful.
Then, in a sweet twist to a bitter season, Babin was claimed by one of very few NFL teams worse than the Eagles, a 2-10 Jacksonville club playing in a terrible football city in the worst pro sports state in America. Babin responded by saying he was happy about the move because the Eagles had become “stagnant” and were looking at even harder times ahead.
Jason Babin collected $11 million in his second tour of duty as an Eagle, and still he couldn’t summon one moment of class for an organization that had covered for his outrageous behavior every day he played in Philly. Who needs to review the definition of loyalty now?
Every once in a while, even in a miserable football season like this one, a happy image pops into the mind. For Eagles fans, it will be a joy to witness Babin failing to sack the quarterback in front of empty seats for the brief period before he becomes the nonentity he so deserves to be.
Double trouble for Ruiz
Carlos Ruiz had a career year in 2012, and now we know why. He was cheating.
The beloved Phillies catcher will miss the first 25 games next year because he tested positive for Adderall, a MLB-banned drug normally prescribed for ADD victims. The real story isn’t that he got caught; it’s that he got caught twice.
In other words, Ruiz was willing to risk suspension to enhance his own accomplishments. And make no mistake, the effect of Adderall was extraordinary. Ruiz hit .325 last season, 23 points higher than in any of his six previous years. He also hit 16 homers, almost double his normal total and knocked in 15 more runs than in any other season.
Now, it’s important here to understand the position of Philadelphia sports fans on performance-enhancing drugs. We are in favor of them, wholeheartedly. If a player is willing to make the physical sacrifices to play better, who are we to curb their zeal for success? In 23 years on Philadelphia sports radio, I haven’t taken one call from a fan who was against our players taking steroids.
Where we draw the line is when a player fails to heed a proper warning. Ruiz ignored the first positive test, and the team will pay the price for that stupid decision next April. In fact, it will probably continue to pay the price all year. Does anyone really believe the Phils will be getting back the run-producing No. 5 hitter he was last year? History shows that an Adderall-free Carlos Ruiz is not that good.
The moral of the story is a simple one. If you’re going to cheat, don’t get caught. And, above all, don’t get caught twice.
– Angelo Cataldi is the host of 94 WIP’s Morning Show, which airs weekdays 5:30-10 a.m.
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