The Eagles and Andy Reid agreed to a 3-year contract extension. We've heard talk about this off and on this year, but it was pretty much inevitable that it was going to get done.
Let's talk about a couple of points. First, was it the right move? Yes. AR has his faults. We discuss them all the time. He also knows how to build up an organization and delivers wins. Think about the last 4 years:
2006 10-6 NFC East title , lost in Div. round in the playoffs
2008 9-6-1 (you can tie?) Wildcard team , lost in NFC Champ.
2009 8-4 tied for div. lead , on pace for the postseason
That isn't a great record, but also realize that in that span Andy had been rebuilding the team. We're the youngest team in the NFC East. We're ascending. Not so bad when you factor that in.
We're all frustrated by the lack of a Super Bowl victory. That is the ultimate goal. There are some fans convinced that Andy can't win the big game. I understand that argument and they could be right. I do think Andy can win. He's changed over the years. Maybe not as much as we all want, but this is a different team.
The extension gives us stability. That's important. John Harbaugh is gone. Jim Johnson passed away. Vets like Tra Thomas, Jon Runyan, and Dawk are gone. We do need a leader for the team to keep the "Eagle way" in place. Sean McDermott will emerge as a strong coach. Marty is Marty. No idea about Ted Daisher. There are players who are becoming the new veteran leaders. Reid is the guiding force in all of this.
The other part of the extension that merits discussion is the length - 3 years. That isn't the longest time in the world. Is this a sign of the Eagles not wanting to commit long term to Andy? I don't think the length has anything to do with him or the team specifically. Andy is coaching his 11th year right now. 3 more seasons will give him 14 years as coach of the Eagles. Not many men run an NFL team for 14 years. That is rare air. It isn't because there haven't been good coaches.
A coach and his team wear down over time. The coach can lose his edge. The players get used to the same things over and over and the message from the coach doesn't have the same effect. Long stays can lead to stagnancy. That's why Bill Walsh stepped down from running the Niners despite the fact they had a SB squad in place. Joe Gibbs and the Tuna both sort of burned out after running the Skins and Giants in the 80s/early 90s. John Madden walked away from a loaded Raiders team. Saint Vince left the Pack for the Skins after about a decade.
It is incredibly tough to do what Tom Landry, Don Shula, and Chuck Noll did. Those guys are anomalies. I think the Eagles would have been wrong to commit to Big Red for more than 3 or 4 years. They can always re-up again if the situation feels right down the road. Lou Holtz likes to joke that at his age you don't buy green bananas. You just don't know how much longer you'll be around. Andy's life as Eagles coach is somewhat the same way. He's closer to the end than the beginning. Don't make a long term commitment. 3 years is a good length.
I'm glad that Sean pulled the starters. I desperately wanted the shutout, but I didn't complain at all with his moves to play backups. I'd rather have our key guys healthy for the last month and hopefully postseason.
Why is a shutout so important? Because we haven't had one in forever. It won't change anything in a major way, but I love defense and it kills me that we always find a way to give up a FG or fluky TD in a game where the D is dominating. Give me one shutout every few years and I'm a happy man. None in the last 13 years is frustrating.
RE: Reid and winning the SB
I understand the doubts. Trust me, I do. Andy has made changes, though. Think of the way we have aggressively added skill players in the last few years. We traded for Donte Stallworth. We signed Kevin Curtis to a big deal. We drafted DeSean. We traded up to draft Maclin. We drafted Shady in the 2nd round with Westy already in place. That is a commitment to adding firepower.
Andy has added STs weapons in the last 3 years. DJax, Maclin, Demps, Macho, Hobbs, etc. We never had that kind of depth at RS in the past.
We're scoring more than ever. We set a franchise record for points last year and we're on pace to break that this year.
The use of personnel has changed. Andy is more open than ever. Think about the Wildcat stuff that we ran earlier this season. Think about a pure backup like Buckley getting carries in key short yardage situations. Think about feeding the ball to Weaver in the 1-back sets. Making Avant a key Red Zone target is smart. Mixing in Vick in some short yardage situations is a good move.
I used to get really mad at Andy for not taking better advantage of his personnel. For some reason he's become much more open minded about this.
I know people will point to Andy's game management and wonder if he can handle a tight game in the postseason. I think so, but that remains to be seen. I do feel encouraged by the comeback wins vs CHI and WAS. Maybe Big Red, Donnie Mac, and the team have turned the corner in tight games. Maybe...