Originally written on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 1/2/13
Philadelphia-eagles
In the midst of finishing up my first entry for The Football Standard my Twitter, shameless plug @sethcoxFB, blew up with news of a reported agreement being worked out between the Arizona Cardinals, my personal favorite football team, and Andy Reid, former head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. While I was suspect at first about Reid and the Cardinals working on an agreement, the news of Reid and the Cardinals came out hours prior to any report of the Cardinals interviewing their own defensive coordinator Ray Horton in order to fulfill the Rooney Rule requirements, news came out later that indeed the Cardinals were in the process of interviewing Horton during the outbreak of the Reid to Arizona rumors. (Adam Schefter has now backtracked on his sources saying things are close in Arizona.) I don’t want to speculate what’s going to happen, that’s for journalists to do, I want to look at the pros and cons of Andy Reid bringing his rotund presence to the desert and what my beloved #Birdgang (hat tip to @azbirdgangMC and @zoopaloop) may be able to expect in 2013 and beyond. The Good: The offense is likely to become a consistent top tier offense.  That’s a simplistic explanation in verbiage but will take on a distinctly different look from an aesthetics point of view, one that is surely to please fans. Since Reid took over the Eagles in 1999, running his own brand of the West Coast Offense, something we will surely get into if and when Reid is officially hired by the Cardinals, has put up points. In 14 seasons in Philadelphia, Reid’s offense finished in the top 10 in points per game 8 times, even though he has employed 3 different offensive coordinators through that time, he was able to get there with each of the different OC’s in tow. Add into that he has finished in the top 10 seven different times for yards per game, including a top 5 rushing offense in two of the last three seasons, and you know that his offenses will consistently produce and put up numbers, something that has been only present in the desert during the Kurt Warner era in Arizona. The Bad: Reid is widely regarded as a QB whisperer of sorts in the league. He was able to transform the careers of A.J Feeley before quickly dealing him for a second round pick to the Miami Dolphins and Kevin Kolb, who we Arizona fans know far too much about. Why is this bad?  Well, outside of Donovan McNabb, Reid has never fully sustained QB success.  What he did with McNabb is one of the more overlooked successes in NFL history, but he never won a Super Bowl with McNabb and fell short in numerous big games leading to the duo being overlooked in the aspect of great quarterback, head coach combos in history. That’s not the bad, the bad is after. While Kolb had mild success in limited time in Philadelphia before being dealt, the idea was that Mike Vick would be the long term answer to Reid’s search for McNabb’s successor.  This was one of the bigger flops in NFL history. Vick put on a historic display in 2010, and got significantly worse the following two seasons and is likely on his way out of Philadelphia along with Reid. This leads to the question:  Was Reid successful because of McNabb or was McNabb successful because of Reid? We have seen the list of quarterbacks to put up serviceable numbers in a Reid lead offense, but we have only seen one that has had any semblance of elongated success, and the demise of Reid coincided greatly with McNabb’s departure from Philadelphia. Can Reid squeeze the most out of Kevin Kolb’s abilities, and how good are those abilities if Reid was so quick to jettison Kolb with the knowledge of Vick’s injury history? Is Reid of the same ilk of Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona, a product of near Hall of Fame level quarterback play? These are questions that absolutely have to be asked before some Cardinals fans begin their glorification of Reid as a franchise savior. The Ugly: The biggest question coming into the Reid era in Arizona if this all comes to fruition: Can Andy Reid find a defensive coordinator? The Eagles consistently boasted one of the better defenses in the NFL in the early, mid and late 00′s with the late Jim Johnson calling the shots. In fact, from 2001-2004 the Eagles finished as the number two scoring defense three times in those four seasons.  In fact the Eagles finished in the top ten in scoring defense in seven of Johnson’s ten seasons as the defensive coordinator. After Johnson passed away, the defenses saw drops too: 19th, 21st, 10th, and 29th in 2012. It is no coincidence that the Eagles experienced their first one and done in the playoffs ever in 2009 and followed that up with a one and done in 2010. Reid may be an offensive savant, but he seems to be unable to find anyone to match wits with him on the defensive side of the ball. Is bringing in someone like Reid, a proven winner, a supposed quarterback and offensive genius worth risking losing a dynamic, and growing defensive coordinator like Ray Horton? I have gone back and forth on the idea of Horton as head coach, and while he isn’t my first choice, I do favor him over a Reid because of the questions I have in the bad and ugly section. If it happens though, I am all in and will delete this post immediately, only for it to magically reappear once the Reid era comes to an end.
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