Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I-G-G-L-E-S

So the Eagles finally won one a couple of weeks back.

This is nice, in that people can stop tittering over the fact that until this past weekend, the Phillies had won more recently than the Boids had. It's been a terribly shocking year for Eagles fans, who expected that this year - THIS YEAR - was going to be the return to playoff glory. I mean, sure, last year was mainly a horror show of blown leads and late game three-and-outs, but there were plenty of reasons for it: new coordinators, injuries, the lockout preventing the Iggles from getting needed training camp time to learn new systems, you name it. This year, with a full training camp and coordinators settled into their roles, was going to be different. Michael Vick was going to be a beast. Andy Reid was going to learn clock management. DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy were going to run wild. The defense was going to, well, defend.
In truth, not so much. The successful Andy Reid teams of the Donovan McNabb era relied on two things: a monster of a middle linebacker and an O-line good enough to buy time for the short passing game. The Eagles haven't had a kaiju in the middle since Jeremiah Trotter, and the combination of an injury-depleted line and a quarterback who was never great at reading coverages in the first place meant that this year was doomed from the beginning. The nailbiter wins in the early going might have been fun, but despite a few exciting skill players, this was never going to be a good team.
Maybe Nick Foles is the future. Maybe he's just another A.J. Feeley. Who knows. What we can say we know at this point, though, is that the Andy Reid era's definitively over. It's been a fun ride, with a lot of success, but everything hits its expiration date. Even at his best, Andy had his weaknesses - clock management, curious play calling that got stars injured during blowouts, more clock management - and they leached the reservoir of fan goodwill that might have sustained his regime through a rebuilding phase. So at this point, it's a question of looking for bright spots in the wreckage of the season and trying to determine if they're optical illusions.
And next year will be better. Maybe.
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