On the day after the most disappointing loss of an incredibly frustrating season, Andy Reid sat at the NovaCare Complex in front of a bank of cameras and treated us to a repeat performance of the same old song and dance. Yippee.
When asked why the Eagles attempted an astounding 48 passes (two of them spikes) against the Redskins - while running the ball just 16 times (two of them scrambles) - Reid did what he always does: He grumbled something inaudible into his mustache for a moment. Then he turned up the volume so everyone could better hear his special brand of nonsense.
"It just worked out that way," Reid said of his curious play-calling. "We probably could have run it a few more times."
It just worked out that way? And they probably could have run more? To hear Reid tell it, the play-calling sounds like an accident he had no control over - as though fate conspired against the Eagles long before they kicked off against Washington.
It seems as though Reid is the only person left who doesn't realize - or refuses to admit - that his offensive approach is responsible for making the Eagles so painfully predictable.
After the Bengals tied the Eagles, Cincinnati cornerback Johnathan Joseph said as much. Ravens safety Ed Reed echoed the same sentiment when Baltimore beat the Birds. Then, after the Redskins defeated the Eagles on Sunday, cornerback Fred Smoot became the latest voice to join the ever-growing chorus.
"That's them," Smoot said flatly. "When they're backed up, they throw their way out."
And so they do. Everyone knows it now, and everyone knows why it happens, too - even if Reid insists on claiming that the run-pass ratio is completely organic.
Unfortunately, none of this should come as a surprise. Under Reid, the Eagles have become a less humorous parody of the beer commercial starring Dennis Green - the one in which the former Cardinals coach barks, "They are who we thought they were." After the Giants game - which the Birds won, thanks in part to a balanced offense - we thought the Eagles might be evolving. We thought they were finally learning from their mistakes. We thought they might give the running game a real chance. That was our fault for buying an obvious con.
Now, we understand that everything remains the same as it ever was with the Eagles. Which is precisely the way Reid wants it.
"I'll take the responsibility," Reid said, dusting off another of his greatest hits. "I've got to put the guys in a better position to run the ball some more."
It's a common refrain from Reid - one we've all heard countless times before. It shouldn't be a shock. We've known who he is for a long time now.
With Christmas nearly upon us, the SportsWit' staff is busy doing some last-minute holiday shopping. This year, we've decided to buy presents for some of the people and teams that have appeared in this space since its inception. Many have been naughty, a few have been nice, but all have provided your humble Page 2 servants with something to write about in 2008. For that, we're truly grateful.
And now, here's a quick peek at the SportsWit' gift list:
The Cowboys - Framed pictures of ESPN reporter and trouble-starter Ed Werder. Because nothing says Happy Holidays like (even more) locker-room bickering.
The Mets - An instruction booklet outlining the quickest way to perform the Heimlich.
The Phillies - Hmm, what do you get for the team that won it all? A second championship would be nice, but that's a gift only they can purchase. Instead, we'll go with eternal adoration and the promise that they'll never have to buy a drink in this town again. As stocking stuffers, we'll also throw in T-shirts with Chase Utley's now infamous post-parade celebratory comment printed across the front. Speaking of . . .
Chase Utley - A seven-second delay.
Pat Burrell - A soft place to land and a new team that will treat him well.
Reggie Brown, L.J. Smith and Samuel Dalembert - One-way tickets on the next Greyhound bus leaving town.
Hank Baskett - A prenup.
Ed Stefanski - A 6-foot-9, 250-pound power forward with no foot speed and a hefty five-year, $80 million contract. Sorry, no returns on this gift. All sales are, unfortunately, final.
Andy Reid - A contract extension. Oops, sorry, that present is actually supposed to go to Brian Dawkins. We got them confused. There are so many other things we'd like to get Reid: a clock management specialist. The acclaimed coaching book How to Run the Ball for Dummies. A clue. For now, though, we'll just go with the time-honored lump of coal. Enjoy, Andy. You earned it.
Jeffrey Lurie - A new head coach.
Through their spokesman, the Eagles said that Lurie took the train to Sunday's game in Washington because his driver lives in Maryland. The driver, who met Lurie at the train station, was "able to spend the weekend with his family" as a result. . . . Charles Barkley recently revealed that he, too, carries a firearm. Am I the only person left on the planet that doesn't have a gun? And will Santa deliver a Glock for Christmas if I ask nicely?. . . . Yesterday, when Reid was asked if he felt as if he had to repeatedly answer questions about the team's shortcomings, he tried to make a joke out of it. "Yeah. You guys aren't very creative," he said to the media assembly. Right back at you, big guy.