While Andy Reid was spending the past week evaluating the Eagles, fans were using the same microscope on the longtime coach. In the end, they both came up with one big move. Reid fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. And the fans decided that Reid should go with him.
Unfortunately, the customers don’t wield the same power that Andy Reid does, so Juan Castillo is gone and Reid is still here. But the message of the past week was as obvious as the scraggly mustache on the embattled coach’s face. It’s over. Goodbye.
All that remains is the endgame on this era, 10 weeks of chaos followed by the dawning of new hope under a different coach. In his 14 years with the Eagles, Reid has never endured a week like the past one, sparking anger reminiscent only of the final days of Rich Kotite.
In the eyes of the fans, Reid has failed this season in every significant way, from his dysfunctional lines to his turnover-prone quarterback and to one bad strategic judgment after another. The Eagles are 3-3, but not to the fans. He is 0-6 to them, en route to 0-16.
Even the decision to dismiss Castillo drew boos — not because the likeable assistant deserved to stay, but because he was in that impossible position to begin with. Reid openly acknowledged that this failed experiment was his own fault, that Castillo deserved better than the humiliation of a dismissal six games into the season. There was no justice in Castillo leaving but Reid staying — not to fans.
And after that decision, the silence from Reid was not received well, either. His defensive line hasn’t recorded a sack in three games — a drought unmatched in 29 years here — and crusty assistant Jim Washburn has borne no public blame for that disgrace. Nor has the other greybeard on the staff, Howard Mudd, whose offensive line has been even worse.
By the end of last week, Reid sent word out that Marty Mornhinweg — fresh off a horrific sequence of play-calls in the Detroit loss — and Mike Vick would remain as offensive coordinator and starting quarterback, respectively. What exactly did Reid see on the game film that led to those decisions? Or did he do nothing because Reid is responsible for the offense, too?
No one escaped the scrutiny of the fans in the past week. Not loudmouths Trent Cole and Jason Babin on the defensive line. Not turnstiles Danny Watkins and Demetress Bell on the offensive line. Not special teams coach Bobby April and his underperforming unit, and not GM Howie Roseman, who helped to assemble this flawed roster.
But in the end, of course, it all led back to Andy Reid and a growing resentment between him and the fans that no one victory will resolve. Reid is a dead man walking to Eagles fans. Prepare yourself or a very ugly ending. It’s inevitable now.
Time marches on, even for Chooch
If you are at all sentimental (if memories of 2008 still get you through the night) you should stop reading this right now. You will hate what follows here.
The Phillies should contact every team in baseball today and let them know that Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz are available. That’s right. Two of the most important players of the most successful era in team history should be traded this winter. It is so obvious, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. might even see it.
Cashing in on the still-impressive numbers of Rollins is a no-brainer. His skills are declining, but contenders looking for a savvy veteran with a productive bat and a reliable glove at shortstop cannot ignore what he offers. Of course, they will have to look away when he refuses to hustle, but laziness is hardly a quality exclusive to Rollins.
If Amaro could un-do the three-year, $33-million contract he gave to Rollins last year, he would. Freddy Galvis already is a superior shortstop, with at least some promise of a respectable bat. Saving $11 million for other needs and getting 11 years younger at a key middle-infield position is too good to ignore.
Ruiz is equally appealing trade bait, coming off his best statistical season and entering the final year of his contract. Catchers rarely remain effective past their mid-30s, and the 33-year-old Ruiz is going to want more years than would be wise. Erik Kratz will be a serviceable replacement, offering more millions to invest in some big outfield bats.
The only thing stopping these obvious moves is the memory of what both departing players have meant to the Phillies. Note the past tense in that statement. Time marches on — and so should Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz.
Let the buyer beware … always
Andrew Bynum received injections in both of his 24-year-old knees, the last step (we hope) before he returns to help make the Sixers a true contender this season. The goop that was shot into his already-arthritic joints will protect the bones from rubbing together and causing more inflammation.
If the words above set off alarms in your head, well, they should. The Sixers traded Moe Harkless (a first-round pick in April), Andre Iguodala (no loss), Nic Vucevic and a future first-rounder for … what, exactly? If Bynum is healthy, it is a spectacular deal, infusing the team with a monster presence in the middle and inspiring new life in the organization.
But since the trade, Bynum has traveled to Germany for an experimental procedure on his knees and now he needed yesterday’s injections. (He was to be examined by a doctor after the injections.) All of this comes before his first appearance as a Sixer on the basketball court. Even worse, Bynum will be a free agent at the end of the season unless the Sixers invest more than $100 million to keep him. Hello? Does anybody remember Elton Brand?
After months of speculation, rumors began rippling through the Sixers organization last week that they are finally becoming alarmed about the physical condition of their next big superstar. There have even been rumblings that the Los Angeles Lakers traded the young center because they knew his career would never match his potential, because of those knees.
Caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware. When the Sixers fleeced the Lakers a few months ago in that trade, we all said it seemed too good to be true. Based on the fragile nature of Bynum’s knees, we were probably right.
— Angelo Cataldi is the host of 94 WIP’s Morning Show, which airs weekdays 5:30-10 a.m.