PHILADELPHIA — Andy Reid watched film of his team’s latest loss and came away feeling a little more positive.
He might be the only one.
The Philadelphia Eagles are 1-4 following a 31-24 loss at Buffalo on Sunday, and their Super Bowl expectations have been reduced to a mere fantasy.
Yet, Reid saw reasons to be encouraged.
“I thought the effort was good. I thought as the game went on we continued to get better in most phases of the game,” Reid said. “There are some good things we can take out of this game.”
Reid, in his 13th season as coach of the Eagles, has never been the type to publicly criticize his players or assistants. He isn’t going to start now.
The overhyped Eagles are clearly underachieving. They have a turnover-prone offense that marches up and down the field seemingly at will only to give the ball up or be stymied inside the red zone. Their defense is in total disarray and can’t even execute simple fundamentals like tackling.
“Somewhere down the line enough is enough,” wide receiver DeSean Jackson said. “We’ve just got to figure it out. At 1-4 right now, this isn’t a great feeling, especially for a team like us and we’ve just got to figure it out. We’ve got to keep coming to work, working hard and doing the things that we need to do, but I don’t know.”
For Reid, the bright side against the Bills was the team’s performance in the second half. The defense allowed only 10 points and the offense nearly rallied from a 21-point deficit.
But mistakes are killing this team.
The offense has 14 turnovers during Philadelphia’s first four-game losing streak since 2005. Michael Vick already has thrown seven interceptions, though a few of those aren’t his fault because receivers have either dropped balls, been stripped or his protection broke down.
Fumbles have been a major issue, especially in crucial situations. Players continue to be careless and aren’t securing the ball.
“I think guys are just trying so hard to make a play,” Vick said. “We know what we’re capable of, we know what we can do. We move the ball up and down the field all game, and I think that in the moment guys are just trying to make the play and want to be the game-changer, want to be the guy making a contribution. And I totally understand, in our position we’re desperate for a win. So you can’t fault guys for giving 100 percent effort.
“And I’ll take that any day.”
At this point, effort simply isn’t good enough. The Eagles desperately need a win. They’ll play at NFC East-leading Washington (3-1) next Sunday. The Redskins are coming off a bye, so they’ve had ample time to prepare for Philadelphia.
If the Eagles are going to turn their season around, it has to start immediately. They have no margin for error anymore.
“There is plenty of time, it’s the NFL,” Jackson said. “There are 11 weeks left. As far as time, we’ve got plenty of time, man. That’s not the issue; our time is figuring it out on our watch. There are plenty of games left.”
Reid’s time could be running out, though it’s highly unlikely anything would happen until after the season. He’s had a lot of success in Philadelphia, leading the Eagles to nine playoff appearances, six division titles, five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl.
But Reid hasn’t won it all, and that was the expectation for this season. Reid has an excellent relationship with owner Jeffrey Lurie and president Joe Banner.
However, he’s put himself at risk with several questionable decisions. The biggest was moving Juan Castillo from offensive line coach to defensive coordinator.
Reid insisted that he’s not going to make drastic changes, meaning he’ll stick with his coaches and the same schemes. If they don’t somehow find a way to improve and make the playoffs, it could end up costing Reid his job.
“In the National Football League, your job is on the line every week,” Reid said.
Maybe even for him, too. — (AP)