Andy Reid may take a lot of heat if the Eagles lose today, but he's had a successful season. (Photo: Ryan Messick)

In Reid We Trust

I’ll save you the overused comparisons of who is better, Michael Vick or Donovan McNabb? Vick or Kevin Kolb? Was it Andy Reid or Donovan McNabb who was the problem over the last decade here in Philadelphia? A city desperate for an NFL Championship, known for its passionate fan base, that loves to constantly compare, contrast, and of course say who is the best of all time.

Enter Andy Reid, a coach who has been much maligned over the past 10-plus years simply because of one fault, his inability to bring home a Super Bowl to the Philly faithful. This is not an attempt to sway people’s opinions on Reid, I too am frustrated with no ring to boast to my buddies in New York, Dallas, even Washington. However this year has changed my opinion on the impact a coach can have on a team, this season has made me appreciate Andy Reid.

Reid and his offensive coordinator Marty Mornhingweg have been criticized week in and week out for play calling, lack of execution, inability to move the offense down the field or capitalize when they are just yards from the goal line. It’s amazing how much that has all changed with the insertion of Michael Vick, and of course the absence of Donovan McNabb. Vick is a whole other article, but for the sake of what Reid has done for this team, Vick’s change to a polished quarterback has everything to do with Reid.

The problems this offense had over the past years seem to have mostly disappeared for the time Vick has been on the field this year. We have seen not only a change in the offense and the team, but in how Vick plays the position. I see a piece of clay that has been molded into something magnificent with the tutelage and direction of this coaching staff. Donovan McNabb in hindsight really amounted to just an ashtray brought home after an 8th grade art project.

Obviously Vick’s change in attitude, his approach to the position, his bounce back from jail time are major components of his change, but Reid has been able to teach this kid the right way to play the position. Already, Vick has been more productive with the same weapons McNabb had last year. Already, Vick has put up historic numbers still knowing when to tuck the ball and take it downfield. The arm strength was always there, but now because of the coaching, Vick knows how to get the most out of it. It all comes back to Andy Reid doing more with Vick than he was ever able to do with McNabb. Ultimately Reid was always limited with McNabb’s own limits.

In a season filled with parody and frustrated fantasy football owners, not to mention real owners, Andy Reid remains a staple atop the coaching ranks. Brad Childress was fired because he lost the locker room after bumping heads with Brett Favre and cutting Randy Moss. Childress is gone because the ownership was against a major move to cut Moss. How is that possible? Maybe we are used to the longevity built on communication between Reid and the owners here in Philly.

But it baffles me something like that would even happen at the professional level. Jeff Fisher, the only guy with a longer tenure with the same team than Reid, is at odds with his owner because of his hard stance on bust-to-be Vince Young. No matter how the fans felt about Brian Dawkins, Sheldon Brown, McNabb, or even Terrell Owens leaving the team, one thing was not up for argument: it was a collective decision at the end of the day.

Sure, there’s always the next bad challenge or blown timeout. But I’m not here to sway your opinion of Andy Reid. I’m not here to say he is the best coach in the NFL. But the job he has done behind the transformation of Michael Vick the quarterback is outstanding. The job he has done keeping all of these rookie and first time starters on the same page is amazing. His job as a coach, dealing with personnel, managing egos and developing talent is commendable. The bottom line is, after all those years of asking “Why is Andy Reid still here after not winning the big one?” This is the year we finally get our answer.

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