Brandon Graham is on his last legs in his Eagles career as OTA’s continue. Danny Watkins isn’t even on an NFL roster. Nnamdi Asomugha is retired, even though this was scheduled to be year four of a five-year/$60 million deal he signed with the Eagles in 2011 off-season. For all of the good Andy Reid did in his 14 year stint in Philadelphia, those are just some of the plethora of failed decisions that Reid made in his front-office role with the team. Over the weekend, Reid admitted that he should have just focused more on coaching in his later years in Philly, rather than being the guy in that everything in the front-office ran through.
“About a year ago, I found out what I wasn’t good at because [I was] out the door,” said Reid, at Saturday’s Career Development Symposium at Penn University. “I went back, and I looked at it, and . . . I drifted away from the thing I love doing most, and that was coaching.”
“I took [myself] completely out, dealt more with personnel . . . stopped calling the plays, all those things.”
Shocker. For years the fanbase had been upset about the Eagles approach to drafting and their lack of desire to address needs at safety and linebacker, but after not grasping that bringing in guys like Jason Babin to a locker room that you hoped would produce a parade, and a 2011 draft class that produced nothing besides Jason Kelce, it was evident that if Reid was going to be successful as a coach, his voice in the front-office needed to be greatly reduced.
Reid’s downfall, in terms of front-office standing, began to come during the 2012 off-season, when after the dream-team experiment only lead to an 8-8 season, General Manager Howie Roseman’s role in the front-office was elevated. After ‘consistently turning in the best talent evaluation in the building’ (according to owner Jeffrey Lurie), Roseman was given the lead voice in the draft, and immediately responded with a 2012 draft class that may turn out to be the best one in franchise history. (The Eagles drafted Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Nick Foles, Brandon Boykin and Vinny Curry in a 2012 draft class that has already paid dividends for the team.) Roseman has also put much more of an emphasis on building a complete team with signings like Nolan Carroll and Malcolm Jenkins, rather than trying to have four or five stars carry the whole team, which Reid did with his signings in 2011. As Reid admitted, player personnel evaluations weren’t his strength.
Even had Reid not ‘drifted away’ from the coaching aspect, I’m not sure things would have changed a ton. If Howie Roseman, not Joe Banner, was given control of the front-office earlier and surrounded by a great personnel guy like Tom Gamble, then maybe it would have been harder for Reid to fail at setting up his team for success during the week and on gameday. But Marty Mornhingweg, who called the plays from 2006-2013, didn’t run the ball enough, didn’t properly utilize his quarterback’s skill set (Michael Vick specifically), and failed to really make any valuable in-game adjustments. Doesn’t that sound a bit like Reid? How much would have changed if Reid was singularly focused on coaching? Wouldn’t his flaws as a coach have been even more evident then?
Reid still controlled the timeouts, decided to make Juan Castillo his defensive coordinator, while running Jim Washburn’s wide-nine defensive-line scheme, and screwed that up as a coach. Give him all his other coaching responsibilities back, and I can’t imagine the Eagles wouldn’t have gone 4-12 in 2012, if not worse. Even if someone else had built the team and done a better job than him, I think Reid ran his course in Philadelphia with both the fanbase and players.