“I can understand their frustration, absolutely. I clearly understand that. I feel the frustration. I mean, I understand. I’ve got it. My job and responsibility is to get it better; not only for them but for this football team, to get it better. They have my word that I’m going to do that. I’m going to get it right.”
These were Andy Reid’s words on Monday when asked if he understood the frustration of Philadelphia Eagles fans. What sticks out most from his remarks is that last sentence — “I’m going to get it right.”
There is no doubt that Reid wants to do what he says. The question if he can do it.
After a promising 3-1 start, the Eagles season seems a lot like the 2011 campaign. Lots of promise, little to show for it. Sloppy play. Lack of discipline. And though Reid has said that he loves the grit of this team, the heart of some is now being called into question by other players.
Said veteran wide receiver Jason Avant,
“It’s undisciplined football. An undisciplined team at this point. Six games in, it’s embarrassing. That’s the word. Embarrassing. For coaches. And veteran players.
“With the mindset of, ‘Me before the team,’ in certain instances. And we need to address that.”
Whoa. For the ever-reserved and diplomatic Avant to speak out so bluntly about the problems of the teams says a lot about the situation with this team and this locker room. And things are starting to look about as bad off the field as they do on it.
Is Avant is speaking out about one member of the team or several? His mention of the play of the team being embarrassing for coaches and veteran players excludes younger individuals on the team. The clear implication is that they are not taking the Birds’ poor performances seriously. Is a division between young and old beginning to take shape in the looker room?
Reid said that he will be working hard to work out the issues that plague the Eagles during the bye week, willing to “tear things apart” to find a solution. Avant’s remarks, combined with the open frustration of Nnamdi Asomugha with the play calling on defense in the last quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Lions, shows that the Eagles are about ready to tear things apart themselves.
The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for the Birds. Will there be dramatic changes from Reid with regard to coaching decisions? I won’t hold my breathe. But it is abundantly clear that things cannot continue as they are. The luck that came to the Eagles in their first three wins has run out. Now it must be well-played, smart and disciplined football that wins games.
Can the Eagles do it? Well, we have Andy Reid’s promise now. So there’s that.
UPDATE: Literally minutes after this post was published, news broke that Reid fired Juan Castillo as the team’s defensive coordinator.