I am fascinated by the "Andy Reid might be coming back" line of discussion that seems to have gained a foothold in our region, even as disaster piles upon disaster, making such a prospect ever more absurd.
I think there are two main groups pushing this notion, one sincere, the other incredibly insincere. The sincere ones are a small but "bigger than I thought they'd be at this point" subset of fans who remember too well all those years of Nick Skorich, Joe Kuharich, Marion Campbell and Rich Kotite. They retain a lot of respect for Reid's five NFC title-game appearances, and they fear the unknown. They fear again going unwittingly from Buddy Ryan, who wasn't quite getting it done, to Kotite, who was an embarrassment, to Ray Rhodes, and so on.
That's very understandable, but the rest of us know you can't huddle in darkness because you might get shocked changing the lightbulb. Andy has no more ideas, or if he does, they aren't likely to be any better than his last set of ideas, which included Michael Vick, Jim Washburn and Juan Castillo as defensive coordinator.
The insincere group is, basically, having a bit of fun. These folks have no doubt that Reid should be fired, but the fact that he has not been ridden out of the Linc on a rail and tossed off the Walt Whitman Bridge in midseason offends them. So they pretend to believe that Lurie (or "Laurie" as they often refer to him in emails) is such a weak-kneed yutz, he will keep Andy on, precisely because it is the wrong thing to do, and "everybody knows Eagles management always does the wrong thing," etc. It's a variation of "the universe is out to get meeee!"
Give it a rest. Reid won a lot of games here, more than anybody ever has, he deserves better than this derisive, "oooh, what if they kept Andy, wouldn't that be just turrribllle" mockery.
He isn't coming back. He knows he isn't coming back. You know he isn't coming back, so let the poor man present Lurie with his sword next month in peace.
Much is being made of the fact that Reid keeps pulling levers, pushing buttons, trying to pull the plane out of its dive even though both engines and the tail have fallen off. What do you expect him to do? We're talking about Andy Reid. He takes it one game at a time, always. On Wednesday, he is always "looking forward to the challenge" of playing the fill-in-the-blanks. After each game, he starts with "injuries." He has a contract through 2013. He will coach that way, until someone tells him to stop. Wow, such a head-scratcher! I suspect most people understand this and are only pretending they don't to relieve the tedium of 3-9.
Let's review the record here: Owner said last January that an 8-8 season with a team he thought was loaded was "unacceptable," season was "ludicrous," he was giving long-tenured, successful coach one more chance. In August, after coach's agent implied owner would keep coach around no matter what, owner came out and forcefully said that wasn't the case. He said he needed to see "substantive progress" from 8-8.
Lurie's manner was almost exasperated, as Lurie fielded questions about what this or that scenario might change his criteria for Reid to stay. We twisted his arm into "well, if everybody on the team got injured, then . . . " but he didn't even bring that up himself. (And injuries are not the main reason the Eagles are 3-9. Nobody believes that.) His subtext was clear: "I swear to God I will fire him if I have to. Really. Don't worry about it. Last year's reprieve was a onetime thing. If it doesn't work in 2012, he's gone."
It hasn't worked. Holy heck, has it not worked. Eight losses in a row. Worst defense anybody anywhere ever saw. Messy firings right and left.
People want Lurie to say something, and I would not have minded that; a few weeks back when Lurie surfaced at the Eagles' Wall of Fame induction for Leo Carlin and Troy Vincent would have been an excellent time. Not to fire Reid, or to promise to fire Reid, but just to say: "I understand how disappointed and upset our fans are; this has all been a crushing disappointment to me as well. Andy and his staff work hard every day to turn this season around. I have a lot to evaluate when the season ends, and I will get back to you at that time. I thank you for your patience. I know this isn't easy."
Lurie could at least have presented himself as a human being, instead of as a talking head being hustled out a side door to evade questions.
But Lurie doesn't have to appease anyone by humiliating Andy unnecessarily. And the fact that he hasn't done that means absolutely zilch, with regard to Reid keeping his job.
Head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder told reporters Friday that defensive tackle Mike Patterson was in the hospital with what the team believes to be viral pneumonia. Patterson will not make the trip to Tampa for Sunday's game.
Patterson has played in just the last five games after having offseason surgery to fix tangled blood vessels in his brain. Burkholder said the pneumonia is unrelated to Patterson's previous problem. Taking Patterson out of the mix this weekend means only Trent Cole has played for returning d-line coach Tommy Brasher, and can help younger players with Brasher's scheme.
"He just got sick and he ended up with pneumonia," said Burkholder, who said Patterson is stable.
Vick, McCoy at Phase 4
Rick Burkholder said quarterback Michael Vick still can't pass the imPACT concussion test because of a slight slowness in reaction time. He said he continues to work with Vick on eye-tracking exercises, and Vick is making progress with the exercises, if not the test. He said the fact that Vick has made substantial gains since his Nov. 11 concussion leads him to think Vick won't be affected indefinitely.
Burkholder said LeSean McCoy is able to test normally at times, but still has symptoms, such as fatigue, particularly after high periods of activity, and in the evening. If he is tested when he is having symptoms, he does not test normally, Burkholder said. "Because of that, I had him evaluated" by league concussion experts in Pittsburgh this week, Burkholder said. He said that evaluation raised no alarms.
Burkholder said both players were able to run a series of 15 100-yard dashes today with no problem. "Both of those guys are doing activity at an extremely high level," he said.
Both players took imPACT tests Friday, Burkholder said, but he didn't have the results.
Andy Reid said that as expected, safety Kurt Coleman will miss the Tampa game with a sternum injury. Colt Anderson will start in his place . . . Reserve offensive lineman Nate Menkin, who has not appeared in a game, definitely won't appear in this one after suffering a throat cartilage injury in Friday's practice, Reid said. Menkin tweeted on Friday that he was going on injured reserve, ending his season.