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Will He or Won't He?

By: Michael J. Cheal


     Which Andy Reid is going to show up this season? The one who thought he was the reincarnation of Mike Martz, or the one who stuck with the run in four out of the last five games of the regular season and the playoffs?


   If we remember, in 2006, Andy Reid was pass-happy until McNabb was injured for the rest of the season, then when Jeff Garcia took over, the team was five and six, and looked like they had no shot of making the playoffs. Andy Reid made the decision to stick with the run and the Eagles went on an amazing playoff run.


   Both scenarios have one similarity. When Andy Reid didn’t run the ball, the Eagles lost more often than not. When he ran the ball, they won more often. The message is clear. Andy Reid has to run the ball. The Eagles won-loss record is far better when they run the ball twenty or more times in a game.


   When Mike Martz coached the St. Louis Rams, they were known as the “greatest show on turf”, mainly because of their ability to throw the ball. Andy Reid has always had a pass first, run second mentality. However, Martz was able to get away with it in St. Louis because of Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, and Marshall Faulk. All of them are going to be inducted in the hall of fame someday.


   The Eagles offense is nowhere near the caliber of that Rams offense. Brian Westbrook of course is a modern day version of Marshall Faulk, and Desean Jackson showed a lot of promise last year, but other than that, who are defenses going to be afraid of on this offense? Certainly not the likes of a Greg Lewis or Reggie Brown. Kevin Curtis will make an outstanding catch then drop a big one like the fourth down play in the NFC championship against Arizona that cost them the chance to go to the Super Bowl. He’s still too inconsistent for my liking. 


   Donovan McNabb is definitely not a Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Steve Young, among many others. What did those quarterbacks all have in common? They could win games by themselves. McNabb’s not the kind of quarterback that’s going to win a game by throwing the ball fifty times like the other guys, something Andy Reid couldn’t seem to understand until after twelve games last season. Donovan can’t win games by himself. He needs help.


    There is a sign of hope. The signing of Leonard Weaver, who at 6” 0’ and 240lbs., could be the shot in the arm the offense needs. He’s a powerful back who could block for Westbrook and allow those big holes to open up. I don’t have to remind Eagles fans that the team was near the bottom of the league last year in converting on third and one situations. This could help immensely, and it may finally be a sign that Andy Reid is finally beginning to change his philosophy and realize what the fans have wanted him to do for so long. Keep running the ball.


   Then again, we thought the same thing two years ago. We’ll just have to wait and see. 

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