One of the things that has given many Eagles fans some solace during this ugly 3-6 start has been the hope that, while their team may not make the playoffs this season, they'll finally be rid of Andy Reid.

Even with 2 years left on a contract that pays him almost $5 million a year, his detractors - and they are many - seem reasonably confident that he will not survive if the Eagles don't qualify for the postseason.

You can put together a lengthy list of good reasons why this marriage should end. Thirteen seasons without a Super Bowl victory. Thirteen seasons with only one Super Bowl appearance.

Yes, they have qualified for the playoffs nine times in 11 years. But they've made it past the wild-card round only twice since 2004.

His curious decision to promote Juan Castillo from offensive-line coach to defensive coordinator has blown up in his face. An NFL-record five fourth-quarter collapses. An "all-in" team with so much talent, but so little chemistry.

Surely, there is no way Reid returns if their slide into oblivion continues, right? Surely, owner Jeff Lurie will call him into his office after the season and cut the cord, right?


This is strictly me talking. I'd have an easier time getting Kim Kardashian on the phone right now than Lurie or club president Joe Banner, who are doing their witness-protection thing. They're not returning my calls. They're not replying to my emails. I don't know what they're thinking right now.

But I don't think they're thinking, "Let's fire Andy."

Are they immensely disappointed over the way this season has gone? Absolutely. The people who think they don't care about winning don't know what they're talking about. With all of the offseason additions they made, even with the short prep time caused by the 4 1/2-month lockout, they thought they were going to be good enough to make a Super Bowl run. They didn't know if they'd win it, but they certainly expected to be in the hunt.

But I just don't see them giving Reid his walking papers.

The guy hasn't won a Super Bowl, but he's the winningest coach in franchise history. He's won six division championships. He's been to the conference championship game five times.

They don't care if you don't like him. They don't care if the media don't like him. They like him. They trust him. And no matter how this season plays out, I think they still will believe he is the best man for the job. They pride themselves on how little "dead" money they pay to players. That goes for coaches as well. Paying Reid $10 million not to coach the next 2 years isn't something Lurie and Banner are eager to do.

My feeling is the only way Reid doesn't return next season is if he decides it's time to cut the cord. If he decides he's no longer the best man for the job.

Which could happen. Thirteen years is a long time to be in one place. Most would say too long. Sometimes you get stale, you get lazy. Sometimes you just need a new challenge in a new city with new fans.

It would be an understatement to say Reid's never been particularly popular here. I mean, the team brought back a coach a couple of weeks ago who never won a playoff game and won only one division title and he got a standing ovation from the fans at the Linc. Reid will never get that here, not even if he won a Super Bowl. If he won, they'd just say, "It's about damn time. He should've won two or three by now."

Every year, I ask Reid why he wants to coach in a town that seems to despise him so much. Every year, he gives me the same answer: "I love the passion of these fans."

We'll see whether he still loves that passion in early January.


* In the first eight games, the Eagles used two-tight-end sets 31.3 percent of the time (169 of 539 offensive plays). Of LeSean McCoy's 825 rushing yards, 406 had come out of two-tight-end formations. In last week's 21-17 loss to the Cardinals, though, only 15 of their 60 offensive plays (25 percent) were out of two-tight-end sets. McCoy had five carries for 16 yards and a touchdown out of two-tight-end sets.

* The Eagles have turned the ball over an NFL-high 21 times this season - 14 interceptions, seven fumbles. They've had four giveaways in the first quarter, seven in the second, five in the third and five in the fourth.

* LeSean McCoy had only six carries in the second half last week, even though he's averaging 6.5 yards per carry in the third and fourth quarters this season. Five hundred-two of his 906 rushing yards have come in the second half.


* Online oddsmaker has the Eagles' chances of winning their final seven games and finishing 10-6 at 1.5 percent (66-to-1 against). Odds of the Packers going 16-0: 19 percent (4-to-1 against). Odds of the Colts going 0-16: 20 percent (also 4-to-1 against).

* Since the NFL instituted the current 12-team playoff format, 15 teams with a losing record after nine games managed to make the playoffs, but only three of those 15 had a 3-6 record like the Eagles: the '94 Patriots (finished 10-6, lost in the wild-card round), '95 Lions (10-6, lost in wild-card) and '96 Jaguars (9-7, advanced to AFC Championship Game).

* Asante Samuel wants very badly to be voted into the Hall of Fame after his career is over. While you certainly can criticize him - and I have on a number of occasions - for his dislike for playing press coverage and his deficiencies in run support, you can't criticize his ability as a ballhawk. The interception he picked off and returned 20 yards for a touchdown against the Cardinals was the 44th of his career. He got it in his 126th game. Deion Sanders, who had 53 career interceptions and made it into Canton in his first year of eligibility last year, didn't get his 44th until his 143rd game. The only active player who got his 44th interception faster than Samuel is Ravens safety Ed Reed. Reed, who has 56 career picks, got No. 44 in his 111th game. The only other active players with more interceptions than Samuel are Packers cornerback Charles Woodson (52) and Broncos corner Champ Bailey (50). Woodson didn't get his 44th interception until his 165th game; Bailey got it in his 154th.

* Michael Vick's passing numbers this season are very similar to Cam Newton's. Newton has an 84.0 passer rating, a 60.2 completion percent, 11 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. Vick has a 79.8 rating, 60.3 completion percent, 11 TD passes and 11 interceptions. But while Vick's play has been panned, Newton's has been praised. That's mainly because of the difference in experience. Vick is in his eighth year in the league and Newton is a rookie. But most of the scouts I've talked to - including many who have done a 180 on Newton since the draft - think Newton will end up being a much better NFL quarterback than Vick. "He's the guy who's going to break the mold," said one scout. "He's going to be what Mike wants to be. Because Cam throws the ball better."

* Eagles fans seem to think Andy Reid is the only NFL coach who treats his news conferences as if he'd rather be anyplace else. Well, guess what? He's not. Ravens coach John Harbaugh is one of the nicest guys in the league, one of the best one-on-ones interviews in the business. But you'll get zip from him in those sanitized Monday and Wednesday pressers during the season, especially after a game like Sunday's 22-17 loss to Seattle. An example from last Monday:

Reporter: "Football is a game of adjustments. How would you rate how well you adjusted in a game like this"

Harbaugh: "I'm not going to rate it. You rate it. I'm not getting into ratings. What we're getting into is the Cincinnati Bengals."

Reporter: "Did you make it out of the game relatively healthy?"

Harbaugh: "Yeah."

Reporter: "There are no major injuries?"

Harbaugh: "No injuries to report at this time. Thanks for asking."

* There have been only eight television blackouts in the first 10 weeks of the season. That's the fewest since 2008, when there were only three. Part of the reason for the decrease, though, has been the willingness of teams and sponsors to buy the unsold tickets - at one-third of their cost - to avoid a blackout. Three times this season, the Dolphins, with an assist from the league's beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch, have bought 10,000-plus unsold tickets to guarantee that those games would be televised locally.



* "I think the thing I really appreciate a lot about him and I think is rare in the world, especially in the NFL, is he's not so self-aware. He's not always caring what people think about him. He's just who he is. He's a very authentic guy. He's not concerned with who's watching him, or what they might think of him. He just is who he is. And I love that. I love that about him. That he's totally authentic." - 49ers QB Alex Smith on his coach, Jim Harbaugh

* "I don't know what good happens at 2:30 or 3 in the morning. I've never been able to figure that one out." - Giants coach Tom Coughlin after learning that wide receiver Victor Cruz was in a Manhattan nightclub early Tuesday morning when a man was shot and killed

* "They brought in so many guys and gave them all the money and lifted them up and let guys go that they had drafted and had been there. I really wasn't finding them building a team that way. Of course, you're going to need free agents to fill some spots. But you need to take care of your guys. Take care of home and not let them go. That's how you build." - 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers on his former team, the Redskins

* "I love to carry the ball and [love] the feel of the football in my hands. It's like my child. You want to take care of your child. It's fun to have the ball in your hands." - Cardinals' Patrick Peterson, who already has returned three punts for touchdowns this season


* The Saints have lost every one of their 10 pregame coin tosses this season, as well as the overtime coin flip last week in their 26-23 win over the Falcons. It hasn't mattered much. They're 7-3. The chances of losing 11 straight coin flips is 1-in-2,048.

* David Akers is 5-for-5 on field-goal attempts from 50-plus yards this season. Before this year, the 36-year-old ex-Eagle had converted only 14 of 29 attempts from 50-plus yards in his career and never had made more than two attempts in a season from that distance.

* The Ravens, who lost to the Seahawks last week, are 11-0 in their last 11 games following a loss.

* Tom Brady has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 25 straight games. By comparison, Michael Vick's longest TD streak was eight games, in 2002.

* Cowboys QB Tony Romo is 17-2 (.895) as a starter in November. That's the best November mark of any quarterback who began his career in the Super Bowl era.

* Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has had a passer rating of 140 in three straight games. Only two other quarterbacks have done that - the Cowboys' Roger Staubach in 1971 and the Rams' Kurt Warner in 1999.

* When the Broncos' Tim Tebow completed only two passes last week in a 17-10 win over the Chiefs, it was only the sixth time since '82 that an NFL team completed two or fewer passes in a game.

* If LeSean McCoy scores a touchdown against the Giants, he'll become only the second player since 1970 to score a TD in each of his team's first 10 games. O.J. Simpson is the only player who's ever done it (in 1975).

* Niners linebacker Patrick Willis has registered 10 or more tackles in 50 of his 72 starts, including 20 or more four times. He is the league's leading tackler since 2007 with 673 tackles. Redskins 'backer London Fletcher is second with 620 and the Ravens' Ray Lewis is third with 579.


THUMBS UP: To 49ers QB Alex Smith who, unlike the Bears' Matt Forte and the Eagles' DeSean Jackson, is giving little thought to his contract situation. Smith, who signed a 1-year, $4.9 million contract before the season, has helped lead the Niners to an 8-1 record and is ranked seventh in the league in passing. His coach, Jim Harbaugh, has called him one of the league's elite quarterbacks.

"[A new contract] isn't something I've talked about or even really thought about," said Smith, who has a 64.0 completion percent and has thrown 11 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. "It's so early. I'm focused on playing football. It's not something I want to think about in the middle of the season, to be honest with you. It's something we can deal with later."

THUMBS DOWN: To Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, who just won't let up with his hardest-worker-will-be-the-biggest-winner message.

"Here's what I know," he said. "In life, you work hard and you outwork people and usually when you do that, good things end up happening."

And here's what I know. Every coach in the league works hard. It's a given. Has been ever since Steve Spurrier took his golf clubs and went back to college coaching. The only difference between a coach who puts in a 16-hour day and one who works 18 is that the one working 18 probably will drop dead sooner.


1 Packers 9-0 (1 last week)

2 49ers 8-1 (3)

3 Saints 7-3 (4)

4 Steelers 7-3 (6)

5 Ravens 6-3 (2)

6 Patriots 6-3 (7)

7 Bengals 6-3 (9)

8 Bears 6-3 (10)

9 Lions 6-3 (8)

10 Texans 7-3 (14)

11 Giants 6-3 (11)

12 Raiders 5-4 (15)

13 Jets 5-5 (5)

14 Cowboys 5-4 (18)

15 Falcons 5-4 (13)

16 Bills 5-4 (12)

17 Titans 5-4 (20)

18 Broncos 5-5 (24)

19 Bucs 4-5 (16)

20 Chargers 4-5 (19)

21 Eagles 3-6 (17)

22 Cardinals 3-6 (28)

23 Chiefs 4-5 (21)

24 Jaguars 3-6 (27)

25 Rams 2-7 (29)

26 Seahawks 3-6 (30)

27 Dolphins 2-7 (31)

28 Browns 3-6 (22)

29 Redskins 3-6 (23)

30 Vikings 2-7 (25)

31 Panthers 2-7 (26)

32 Colts 0-10 (32)