The play calling in the Eagles loss to the Giants is possibly the worst example of offensive incompetency in the Andy Reid era. And that’s really saying something considering the number of other horrible games to compare it to.
The offense was actually looking fantastic running the ball, mostly thanks to the immense talent of LeSean McCoy. It was a beautiful thing. The offensive line, while still giving up too much pressure, was showing athleticism and an ability to effectively operate Howard Mudd’s scheme in the run game. It was all working well. So well that during one drive the offense marched down the field and right into the red zone, all via run plays. For long-suffereing Eagles fans it was football nirvana.
But instead of sticking with it, or using the momentum to run some sweet play action, they decide to switch it up and go empty backfield. Amazing. Not only does it go away from what was working, it shows the defense that they can stop worrying about the run after getting pounded. I’m surprised the Giants’ d-lineman didn’t blow Reid kisses as the backfield emptied. What a gift. And what arrogant stupidity.
Then there is the goal line sequence, where on 1st and Goal they have Vick hand the ball off to fullback Owen Schmitt not once, but twice. This when Schmitt is no ball carrier and you have the amazing Shady McCoy or even the powerful Ronnie Brown both sitting there. But no, they try to get cute and “fool” the defense with an inferior player for some ridiculously unexplainable reason. And again, not once, but twice. It’s literally impossible to compredend how incredibly poor those decisions were.
Oh yeah, and in between, they chose to sneak their recently concussed quarterback, the guy who had been getting pounded yet again this same game. And not once, but twice. Is there an echo in here? When a penalty got them closer he did it again despite it failing miserable the first time. All while your top two running backs impotently looked on.
Hell, if they wanted to get Schmitt involved they could have called a play action running back dive and then had Vick flip the ball out to Schmitt as he peels off his block. Schmitt would obviously not be a defensive priority and if the alignment sets up correctly he would likely be very open. Or if they really wanted to stay on theme they could have called a play action fullback dive and had Vick flip the ball to Shady in the flat or even to a shallow-dragging reciever shooting across the end zone. And those are just two options that would have been better than having the fullback run up the gut TWICE.
And none of that mentions the fact that the offensive line is undersized by design and should not be expected to overpower a defense on the goal line. It’s not their style and they shouldn’t be put in that situation, at least not four straight times. The offense is built around the incredible talent and explosiveness of the skill players, with an offensive line designed to play quick and athletically. But instead of playing to to their strengths as an offense, these geniuses put their heads up their rear ends and do exactly the opposite. It’s mind numbing.
Marty Morhinweg, the same brilliant tactician who as head coach in Detroit infamously opted to kick off to start overtime, is an absolute failure. Then again, he just does what Reid tells him so it’s hard to really blame Mornhinweg at all. He may carry the chart around and talk into his headset, but it ultimately falls to Reid to authorize the plays. And Marty is “calling” plays based on Reid’s gameplan and overall style. Reid could easily spot blatant stupidity and overturn it. The fact that he didn’t on the goal line shows that both of these guys are completely incompetent and terribly overmatched.
Then there is their other great offensive flaw — Reid’s infatuation with lame gadgetry. Why can’t he just let his players line up and play football? He always has to try and prove he’s so smart and clever and wants to trick people instead of dominating. It’s unbearable. How about relying on your players to make plays instead of operating a clown show?
For many years, this team won on the back of players’ athletic ability, which, despite his flaws, includes Donovan McNabb. Unfortunately McNabb didn’t have the intrinsic ability to come up big when it counted, and he was constantly being failed by Reid. McNabb needed to be “put in a better position” to win but that seemed to never happen.
Reid is the guy who, when he had his former franchise quarterback returning from a leg injury, would call more than 50 pass plays in a Miami rainstorm. It’s baffling. And that’s just one horrible example. It’s not like Reid didn’t have a dynamic option on the ground in Brian Westbrook or a big, bruising offensive line built for running the ball even though all they did was pass protect. Nope, he still stubbornly refused to adapt his scheme and style.
Now they have Vick, who athletically can do great things but is also a mental midget who’s incapable of doing everything it takes to be great. The arm and the legs are there but the capacity to recognize a defense and to make snap decisions and get rid of the ball quickly just aren’t part of Vick’s skill set. They likely never will be. His flaws need to be minimized to get maximum efficiency, yet Reid continues to fail him through sheer incompetence and stubborn blindness.
Really, it wouldn’t matter who the quarterback is since the common thread has always been Reid’s ineptitude – the comic play calling, the reliance on gadget nonsense, the time mismanagement, the lack of ability to know when to challenge, the inability to adapt, the general buffoonery…
Add it all up and it’s really no surprise that the Gold Standard has no silver trophy. And this rant didn’t even touch on the defense.
This Eagles team will likely bounce back and probably even make the playoffs, but with this coach the drought will go on.