In an interview with Philly.com today, Andy Reid took time out to comment on the ongoing NFL work stoppage. Said the coach: “The further it goes in [to the offseason], the worse the product.” Reid, of course, is calling out the obvious, namely that the longer players are barred from OTAs, offseason workouts and training camp, the less physically and mentally prepared they will be if and when play finally resumes. This will lead to more injuries, poor execution and, ultimately, really bad football.
He’s right, of course, as anyone who lived through the late-80’s work stoppage could tell you. When players are poorly prepared for a game, fans end up sitting through 60 minutes of incomplete passes, mind-boggling turnovers, and missed extra points. Without the precision, the big plays, the crushing defensive stops, football ends up feeling a lot more like baseball: long, drawn-out stretches of yawning nothing, punctuated every hour or so by a single to left field. Final scores of 6-3. Not caring enough to bother learning who’s on the field, after your second-string quarterback tears his rotator cuff throwing a four yard screen and both starting safeties knock themselves unconscious fighting for a fumble.
And while this is all as true as it is obvious, Reid’s statement today had absolutely nothing to do with any of it. You didn’t think he was actually so concerned with the quality of NFL play and the entertainment value of the game that he was forced to break his usual code of silence and reach out to the media, did you? Heh.
Reid knows that the Eagles – like the Falcons, Jets, Patriots and every other 2010 playoff team – are right there on the edge, one or two clutch moves away from a long-awaited Lombardi Trophy. The longer the work stoppage goes, the less time Reid will have to coach up any new free agents or trades. (The less time Nnamdi has to learn the playbook, for example) And there’s also the small matter of Kevin Kolb, our Cinderella trade bait only five months away from turning into a big, worthless pumpkin. Reid may have concerns about quality, but I doubt they go any further than his own locker room.
Either way, it’s nice to see the big guy finally chipping in a couple pennies on the national stage. It’s one thing if Cham Gailey or Ron Rivera were to complain about the lockout, but if coaching heavyweights (pardon the pun) like Reid or Bill Belichick start stepping up on the soapbox more often, the owners might eventually just start listening.