Thursday, March 29, 2007

Does Andy Finally Get it?

Peep these pearls of wisdom from Philly's own Round Mound of Coaching himself, Andy Reid:

When asked about the play calling next season: "I'll probably let Marty call 'em this year. I thought he did a nice job last year. I have a lot of trust in Marty. I felt real good about it. It freed me up to see a little bit more of what was going on."

When asked about offensive balance next season: Reid said he hopes to continue with the same kind of run-pass balance the Eagles showed at the end of the season after Garcia replaced McNabb. "It will probably be very similar; yeah, it'll probably be very similar to how we finished the season," he said.

If you love the Birds, then you this has got to be music to your ears. Probably the single greatest gripe about the offense going into (and continuing through the beginning of) last season was the Eagles insistence on airing it out. Not in select situation, but the entire time. All game, every game, runs were token offerings, called on merely to keep opposing teams honest. The results were sometimes electrifying (when it works, boy does it work!), sometimes satisfying (after the O bailed us out of a few games), and sometimes stupefying (during those times when not having any semblance of a meaningful running game - late in the 4th qtr with a lead, or in critical 3rd and short situations - often meant the difference between a win and coin-toss nail-biter that could go either way).

Now there are ample reasons for caution. First and foremost: we've heard this song before. Matter of fact, after each season ends, and someone dutifully points out that the Eagles pass/run ratio was woefully skewed towards the pass, Andy pledges to look into it and correct it, "get to work on that" or some such phrasing.

Well, there is also cause for hope and Kool-Aid drinking. The reason: the turn around that Brian Westbrook (and Garcia) helped stir with a truly balanced attack. You see part of the reason for the Eagles failures (when Donovan got injured the Eagles were 5-4 despite him performing at a very high level) was their total reliance on the pass. After McNabb went down, the Eagles turned their season around with the more traditional run/pass attack. THAT, I think opened Andy's eyes a bit.

Check out these comments about Westbrook's previously questionable durability: "It was a big step for him," the Eagles coach said. "You get through the season relatively healthy, you put together a good year and you go in with a little more confidence that you can do that the next year. You don't have people questioning you quite as much. I think it always was in the back of his mind coming into the year. Now he's kind of put that to rest and he knows he can do it, and everybody else knows he can do it."

Those comments hold a LOT of promise for Eagles fans who know a balanced offense can not only light it up on the field, it can help out our Defense but giving them adequate rest. Having a worn-out defense playing 35-40 minutes a game early in the season, really depleted the tanks. A more rested defense maybe helps pull out one of the losses (maybe, just musing here) and thus avoid a road trip game in January.

Man, this has been a fairly productive off-season for the Birds, no?

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