You can’t fake it in this sport. Talent is just a sliver of what is necessary. The angry and determined and committed will snap the spine of those who lack resolve.
The Eagles are faking it. Not to a man, mind you. There are a good number of players in the locker room that throw everything they have into their profession. To suggest otherwise would be to misrepresent the situation. But collectively, they are missing the unshakable desperation needed to avoid exactly what happened on Sunday against the Falcons.
“How we played, how the game ended, I didn’t see any pride,” said LeSean McCoy. “I didn’t see any heart.”
How can that be? The Eagles allegedly spent the offseason brooding over the lost 2011 season, determined to ride the momentum of a strong finish to a land of realized potential. They were forced to spend the bye week with a battery acid taste in their mouth following a collapse against the Lions. If that wasn’t motivation enough, Andy Reid fired the defensive coordinator, put the quarterback on notice and told the team that everyone was being evaluated. Yet they came out dead.
“He’s leading a bunch of guys who don’t care if they win or lose on Sunday,” said Ike Reese on CSN . “I look at this team, I look at a collection of players that go out there and they want to win on Sunday, but the moment things don’t go very well, they could care less. I don’t see enough hurt from this team. All I see is a bunch of excuses as to why they aren’t getting the job done.
“I feel bad for my former coach that he’s leading a group of guys that don’t care about winning as much as he does.”
On some teams, you would think Reid’s situation alone would manufacture more than enough glue. Jeffrey Lurie threw down the gauntlet, providing a perfect rallying point. Save the coach you love and respect. Does it get any clearer? Now, they are in a position where they essentially have to close the season with a 7-2 run just to give Reid a shot.
“We didn’t show up,” said Cullen Jenkins. “Whatever we could have done wrong, we pretty much did it.
“You would think obviously [we would have come out well]. We must not think.”
Of course, Reid’s fingerprints are all over this. As he will remind you, he has final say over personnel decisions. Much like in the case of Juan Castillo, any shortcomings are a direct reflection on Reid. It now seems possible that the men he ultimately signed off on are tuning him out.
” However you write it or perceive it, it’s my responsibility to make sure they play better than that,” said Reid. ”I didn’t do a good enough job of getting them ready.”
The fans have never been more apathetic. Lincoln Financial Field was as quiet as can be on Sunday. The base does not fully connect with the product — haven’t for some time. Their Eagles don’t feel right.
Maybe some of the free-agent acquisitions from a year ago just don’t have the proper connection with the culture. Maybe some of the freshly-paid homegrown talent are not as hungry as they once were.
Whatever the case, one thing is for sure: through seven games, the Eagles are not the genuine article. And the city is well aware.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Michael Vick says Reid is thinking about a quarterback change.
Things could not have gone much worse for Todd Bowles in his debut as defensive coordinator.
Sheil gives his instant observations from the 30-17 loss.
Reid’s season appears headed for disaster.
But at least Asante Samuel‘s happy. He teed off on Reid and the Eagles afterwards.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Dan Graziano believes the end is near for Reid.
“You have your backs against the wall going into a must-win and you go out there and play like that?” said cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who was responsible for one of the drive-extending penalties that helped the Falcons score touchdowns on each of their first three possessions. “I can’t explain it.”
No, it’s getting to the point at which no one can explain it, and that’s the point at which coaches get fired. Even really successful longtime coaches. It’s very clear that Lurie does not want to fire Reid, that his strong preference would be for the Eagles to turn things around under Reid and make the Super Bowl run for which they’ve been longing in Philadelphia since the Super Bowl was invented. But we see this all the time in sports. There comes a point at which there’s no other choice but to start over with a different person in charge.
The Eagles are coming up very quickly on that point.
Jim Corbett of USA Today focuses on the team;’s lifelessness in a big spot.
When defensive end Trent Cole had to be separated from Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez near the end of the ugly blowout, it was one of the few times an Eagles defender showed some fire.
Where was it the rest of a day that exposed the Eagles as a seemingly doomed team against the league’s lone unbeaten? It was shocking that a desperate team, coming out of the bye, didn’t show more heat. Or heart.
Andy Reid’s day-after press conference has been cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. Plenty of coverage ahead, assuming the power stays on at the McManus and Kapadia households.