The list of reasons the Philadelphia Eagles should fire head coach Andy Reid has become so numerous that it would take officials from the State of Florida nearly three days to count them entirely. It has now passed the point where a simple dismissal would be satisfactory; the incompetence of the Reid administration can only properly be finalized by some sort of public shaming, like tying him to the Billy Penn statue or allowing every season ticket holder to pull out one of his mustache hairs. This team is an embarrassment, a disgraceful collection of mercenaries and underachievers with less heart than the Tin Man and a quickness for quitting that is unrivaled.
That being said, of all the inexcusable failings of the Philadelphia Eagles over the last 18 months, no botch is more unforgivable than Reid and Marty Mornhinweg's blatant inability to feature LeSean McCoy as the centerpiece of their offense.
Breaking it down to its most basic form, when McCoy touches the ball, the Eagles win. When he doesn't, they don't. Literally. The Eagles are 3-0 this year when McCoy has 20 or more rushing attempts. They're 0-6 when he has less. The formula for success could not be more simplistic.
But it goes beyond merely not giving McCoy the ball. On far too many plays when the Birds weren't handing it to Shady, the Pro-Bowler found himself on the sideline standing next to Big Red, while a rookie named Bryce Brown played in his place. Not only are the Eagles removing their best option from the play, they're removing even the threat of him being in the play. When McCoy is on the field, you can bet your beers every player on the opposing defense takes notice, an unquestionable advantage for every other offensive weapon. You think anyone takes notice when the Birds call a play-action fake to Bryce Brown?
No matter what the sport, when the game is on the line, you want the ball in the hands of your best players. It is one of sport's most obvious, consistent rules, along with "you can't win 'em all" and "there's always next year."
And yet this past Sunday, with the game, season, and his career in Philadelphia entirely on the line, and his starting quarterback out, replaced by a mid-round rookie with zero NFL completions, Reid put the ball in his best players hands a meager 16 times. This wasn't a Week 3 loss on the road; it was a divisional must-win, and the Birds brass bumbled it.
Two quick notes to point out that call for a plethora of more head-scratching:
- According to CSN's Reuben Frank, despite averaging nearly nine yards a touch in the second half, McCoy was featured in just seven of the team's last 39 plays.
- According to PDN's Les Bowen, the Eagles changed nothing about their play-calling after losing Mike Vick to injury.
McCoy's lack of involvement Sunday evening isn't the main reason the Eagles were defeated. In fact, on the list of reasons, it might not even crack the Top Five. However, the fact remains that the Birds have one of the least productive offenses in the NFL, while seemingly muting their most extraordinary talent.
It is as if General Custer had stood up before the Battle of Little Bighorn and told his men "leave your guns on the bench today, boys. Today we're gonna win by throwing dirt at them!"
In the end, it may not have mattered. At first glance, the roster Reid and his cronies have put together seems so tremendously flawed, it appears unfathomable that a simple change in basic play-calling philosophy would make enough of a difference.
It is just a shame that, if this is General Reid's last stand, he decided to leave his best weapon on the bench.