I don't get as offended by Andy Reid as some folks in the media. I don't pretend to understand the Eagles' coach, why he is like he is. I think he's an extremely uncomfortable public speaker who, much like his quarterback, sometimes has a hard time articulating what he's trying to say in plain English. I think his unease at being in front of the microphones factors into his perceived testiness. And, bottom line, I don't think it much matters how a coach treats us if he wins football games, which Reid has done, more often than not. I think reporters who evaluate coaches and players primarily on how they treat reporters are doing their readers, viewers, or listeners a disservice.
All that said, I have no idea why Reid got snarky yesterday when radio reporter Brian Seltzer asked a perfectly legitimate, respectful question. Seltzer wondered if the fairly smooth minicamp that ended Monday was an improvement over the situation a year ago, when Reid was still dealing with the aftermath of his sons' arrests, and Donovan McNabb was still sidelined following ACL surgery.
Reid's answer: "I thought you guys struggled to find a positive story. You did a good job finding the negative ones, but there are plenty of positive ones that you could find out there. There are some good young players that you could really focus in on and look at. Other than that, it was business as usual."
If Reid was talking about finding negative stories last year, well, I thought everybody in the local media handled Reid's family problems with dignity, empathy, and courtesy -- more courtesy than the people who regularly cover the team have gotten in return, with Reid making his most extensive comments about his troubles in Philadelphia Magazine and The New York Times.
Reading over Monday's remarks again, it seems more likely he was talking about this year. I suppose he is disappointed that the focus of minicamp coverage was 1. Lito Sheppard, here and untraded, and 2. Donovan McNabb, returning to an offense that did not make any dramatic upgrades at skill positions, something McNabb and other Eagles had seemed to imply was necessary.
If that's the coach's gripe, well, Andy, tough beans. I think our collective news judgment is a lot better than yours. I'm not getting a lot of fan e-mails asking me to stop writing about Lito and Donovan and focus on Andy Studebaker. You ought to have been very happy and relieved by the way this minicamp went. Nobody on your team got hurt, arrested, or found himself on the wrong end of a firearm registered to Marvin Harrison.
Sheppard, McNabb, Brian Westbrook, and Sheldon Brown all spoke with reporters and not one of them poured any gasoline. A few people acknowledged that the crowded defensive backfield has to be a little uncomfortable for the protagonists in that drama. That was about it. Yeah, a few reporters and commentators (not all of us, by a long shot; not the ones most fans take seriously) might have worked feverishly to stretch these meager ingredients into chicken salad. You're touchy about that, and you've been in Philadelphia how long now?
All is well, dude, or as well as it ever gets around here. Relax. At least until June 3, when Lito either shows or doesn't show for full-team OTAs.