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Phil Sheridan: Time's yours, Andy Reid, to step up

It would be nice if Andy Reid had a few answers in his postgame press conference.

Eagles coach Andy Reid watches the Lions' game-winning kick in overtime on Sunday. (Clem Murray/Staff Photographer)
Eagles coach Andy Reid watches the Lions' game-winning kick in overtime on Sunday. (Clem Murray/Staff Photographer)Read more

It would be nice if Andy Reid had a few answers in his postgame press conference.

His boss, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie, reportedly wanted Reid to work on that part of his job description. But Lurie won't judge Reid on his latest petulant postgame performance. Reid's real problem will be his lack of answers on the field, not at the podium.

Three weeks in a row, an Eagles game ended with an opponent's field goal attempt sailing through the air. Two weeks in a row, it went through and the Eagles lost.

After Sunday's mind-searing loss against the Detroit Lions, the team is 3-3. That's 37.5 percent of the season gone and the Eagles are .500 - the benchmark Lurie said would mean the end of the Reid Epoch.

So Reid has a bye week, then 10 games to prove that his 11-11 record over the past two seasons is a mirage of some kind. Ten games to prove the steady regression since 2008 is just a fluke. Ten games to transform Michael Vick into a championship quarterback.

All of that would take some doing. We can probably forget about the part where Reid turns into Doug Collins when it's time to explain things after the game - especially losses. Lurie should commission Disney's Imagineers to build an animatronic Reid that mumbles, "We all have to do better" and "That's my responsibility" the way the fake Lincoln in the Hall of Presidents recites the Gettysburg Address.

This is not an inside-media issue, either. I don't care what he says. It is the fans who communicate their disgust at hearing the same boilerplate after every game. They do it through e-mail, through social media and through the Internet.

On Sunday, they communicated it through their listless demeanor during the game and their absence as the tedious contest wore on. Those are the issues that should get Lurie's attention.

But they pale compared to the real problem, which is the lack of answers on the field.

The Eagles offense has looked woefully unprepared the last couple weeks. That is about scheme and watching tape and practice. It shouldn't take until the end of the first half to put together a competent offensive drive.

It was especially galling because Lions coach Jim Schwartz is one of the few people in the NFL that runs a defense similar to the Eagles' "wide-9" based approach. If Reid and coordinator Marty Mornhinweg can't figure out a way to attack their own defensive scheme, what exactly can they do?

"Both teams did the same thing," Reid said. "We both held people in to protect, but it looked like they got more pressure than what we did."

Translation: Reid's team couldn't stop the Lions pass rush, which battered Vick and dominated the overtime, while the Lions contained the Eagles pass rush. For the third game in a row, the Eagles' mouthy, mighty front four failed to get a single sack. For the third game in a row, the defense let an opponent drive for a game-winning field goal.

Two weeks ago, the Giants missed. The Steelers and Lions did not.

But the offense played its role in blowing this one. Vick threw two more interceptions, keeping his personal turnover machine running on all cylinders. After the Lions scored to make it 23-20 with 3:32 left in the fourth quarter, the Eagles went three-and-out, shaving just over a minute off the clock.

The Lions drove right down, had a couple of chances for a touchdown and then sent the game into overtime with a chip shot field goal. The Eagles won the toss, taking over at their own 25.

They came out throwing. Of course. The first sack dropped them back to the 18, the second all the way to the 4-yard line after Vick foolishly scrambled backward. On third down, Vick threw the ball away and the Eagles had to punt from the back of their end zone.

That is not how a great quarterback or a great offense or a great coaching staff operate in overtime.

"That's our shot," Vick said. "That's our opportunity and it changed the dynamics of the game. Those sort of games can't happen."

But they do, week after week and, now, season after season.

"I know our football team," Vick said, "I know how good we are."

That is the delusion that has defined the Eagles the last two years. From the owner to the head coach to the last guy in the locker room, they take it on faith that this is a great team. That .500 record just has to be some kind of mistake.

"At the end of the day," Vick said, "you can say whatever you want to say. The only thing that matters is winning and losing."

Precisely Reid's problem.