Reid: Quitting is 'not the way I'm wired'
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It was staggering to watch. Andy Reid’s usual day-after-a-defeat press conference deteriorated into an uncomfortable affair on Monday at the NovaCare Complex. The Eagles' head coach fielded question after question. Almost all of them were pitiless and unflinching.
The most stunning, candid exchange came toward the end. One reporter asked what so many radio hosts have shouted, what so many columnists have scribbled, what so many fans have thought, either out loud or to themselves: Has Reid considered quitting?
The exact question went like this: “Andy, is there any scenario where you would say ‘I’m just not effective anymore and I’m just going to step down? Is there any scenario like that for you?’”
It wasn’t asked with malice. It was matter-of-fact, posed without compunction. This is what people are thinking and talking about, Andy. Have you considered it?
“Listen, I’m standing in front of the team and telling them that these are the things we need to do, one of which is to continue to battle,” Reid said. “And so, that would be a cop out. That’s not how I see it. That’s not the way I’m wired. We’re going to keep battling and do it as a team. I’m not going to tell the guys one thing and then do another.”
If one of the most talked-about topics in town has been whether Reid will quit, another popular subject has been whether Jeffrey Lurie should and will fire his long-time friend and head coach. The owner – who has not made himself available to the media recently – said earlier in the year that he would evaluate Reid’s job status following the season. But has Lurie expressed his intentions to Reid?
“He’s a competitive guy,” Reid said about Lurie. “Nobody wants to win more than Jeffrey. I’ll tell you he’s disappointed. I would tell you that. And rightly so. He feels the same way we do, that we’re letting people down in this city.”
And on it went. It was like witnessing a public flogging.
The Eagles are 3-7. They are in last place in the NFC East. Only the Carolina Panthers have fewer wins in the NFC. They have lost six straight games for the first time under Reid. Two of those defeats (Pittsburgh and Detroit) were close games. The other four (Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas and Washington) were abject disasters settled by much bigger margins.
Reid has never experienced something like this. Not even close. How, then, is Reid – by all accounts a proud man who has accomplished quite a bit in his 14 seasons in Philadelphia – dealing with the unyielding disappointment?
“I can’t tell you I’m the happiest guy,” Reid said. “I don’t like to lose. That’s an understatement. We’re in this thing to win football games.”
They are obviously not winning football games. As of Monday, the Eagles have gone 50 days without a victory. It has been a brutal slog for the team, an almost-unimaginable stretch of mental mistakes, physical errors, bad luck and unjustifiable decisions. A coordinator has been fired. Fingers have been pointed. And there are still six games to go.
It has been a kind of unending misery for the Eagles. People have naturally wondered how all this has gone over in the locker room. Is it possible that the players have quit on Reid, that his leadership has grown so ineffective that they’re now numb to him?
“I look at everything,” Reid said. “I’m not telling you I don’t look at that. We’re not winning football games. I take that responsibility. Since I’m in that leadership spot, my leadership right now isn’t good enough.”
While the media and the fans have been tough on Reid – and rightly so – he has become increasingly hard on himself. The default talking points remain for Reid, but lately he’s demonstrated a willingness to join the growing, angry mob – to kick himself while he remains down.
Reid began Monday’s press conference the way he generally does, by reading and updating the injury report. He could have added himself to that list (bruised ego). His opening statement was that raw. It was an acknowledgment of his failures and how he’s fully aware of the anti-Reid/anti-Eagles sentiment festering in Philly.
“Obviously that’s not good enough – the way we’re playing,” Reid said. “Again, I take full responsibility for that. I know we’re letting the fans down and the city down. I completely understand that. I understand how they feel in this. I feel it from our football team and coaches and players. There are no excuses for it.” E-mail John Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org