If you look closely on the list of Andy Reid defenders -- grown somewhat shorter this evening -- you'll probably find my name listed somewhere just under "Tammy." I love the guy. I think he's the best coach of any team I've ever followed and I don't ever want to see him leave Philly.
But what happened tonight in the Meadowlands goes on Andy Reid.
Now by "what happened" I don't mean the loss to the Giants. The Eagles played tonight without:
- Brian Westbrook
- Brian Dawkins
- Lito Sheppard
- LJ Smith
- Tra Thomas
Take five guys of that caliber away from any team in the league and they're going to have issues. So, tough divisional game, on the road, without those guys -- a loss sucks but is at least understandable.
This wasn't just a loss. This was a complete undressing of the Eagles' coaching staff by a franchise whose head coach is so universally respected that everyone in the League expects him to get fired pretty much any week now.
The Eagles have run Jim Johnson's defensive scheme for years, yet somehow they were completely at a loss for what to do when facing it. Early in the game, the Giants pulled out a page from the 2003 edition of "How to Beat the Eagles" by bringing continuous pressure up the middle into McNabb's face. This wasn't supposed to be a problem any more now that we had the young trio of Todd Herremans, Jamaal Jackson and Shawn Andrews in the middle. So much for that theory.
Then the Giants decided to attack Winston Justice, the second-year man starting his first game ever at left tackle. And when I say decided to attack I mean they pretty much left their starting right defensive end out there to beat him, continuously, play after play, to the quarterback.
This is where we move into the realm of whatthefuckwerethecoaches thinking? All week you know that you're probably going to be without Tra Thomas. All week you wonder how the rookie is going to do. And yet you don't have a single contingency plan in place for when the answer to that question turns out to be "not so good"??
Look, I'm not here to rip Justice. The guy had a really tough game and he's going to hear about it for a long time to come. But it was absolutely inexcusable for the coaches to leave him alone out there, without any help, as play after play the Giants came crashing around McNabb's blind side.
I don't even care what they think about Justice or what he should be able to do. You absolutely cannot put your fragile franchise quarterback in a situation where the opposing team is turfing him every single play.
I'm amazed McNabb didn't get injured tonight.
And for the life of me I can't figure out why the coaches thought it was ok to see him get ragdolled all night. Note to the coaches: YOU'RE ALLOWED TO USE A TIGHT END, OR PERHAPS EVEN A RUNNING BACK, TO HELP YOUR LINEMEN PASS PROTECT.
Of course, the loss shouldn't just go on the coaches. As a unit, the offensive line was incredibly poor tonight. Justice didn't give up all 12 sacks on his own. But here's the weird part. Guess who the leading rusher was tonight?
Correll Buckhalter, with 103 yards on only 17 carries...
Could someone please explain to me why we didn't just run the ball down the Giants' throats until they proved they could stop it? Was it because:
- Our line was struggling and it wouldn't have helped them to be able to be the aggressors for a change?
- The Giants blitzed like mad early and running the ball could have helped slow them down?
- Running the ball was actually fucking working?
Um, oh right, so, yeah, all of those would be reasons to run the ball more. But I guess when you're averaging 2.5 yards per passing play how could you get away from throwing the ball. That's not a typo. In fact, here's an interesting comparison for you:
Penalty yards -- 132
Yards rushing -- 114
Net yards passing -- 76
Awesome. Andy Reid should continue his tradition of giving all the players the bye week off. But he should nail the offensive coaches to their desks for the next fortnight until they can figure out a gameplan that goes beyond "Chuck it a lot and hope it works."
Oh, and the Eagles defense actually played pretty well again tonight. Fat lot of good it did with that offense.