Much of the focus has been on the win/loss record.
Jeffrey Lurie said 8-8 would not be good enough for Andy Reid to keep his job. At 3-4, the head coach is not on a track towards “substantial improvement.” As the weeks peel off the calendar, we keep our eyes on the standings, and wonder what the owner thinks of it all.
We should be using our ears as well.
Listen to what Atlanta head coach Mike Smith said about the Lincoln Financial Field crowd at his Monday news conference:
“It was not nearly as loud. We anticipated it being very loud. We knew that if we could start fast we could potentially take the crowd out. You want to do that every time you go out on the road. I think this game more than any became very apparent that we had kind of negated their home field advantage in terms of the crowd. It got very quiet really after the first two series. I don’t think we had any issues with having to go to a silent count. We were able to communicate most of the day.”
It was one of the most depressing scenes in the nine-year history of the Linc. From clouds to winds to rain. From quiet to hushed to empty. The fans entered with their share of reservations about the home team. Their fears realized early, the atmosphere quickly deadened. Players waived their arms to try and generate some noise, but the response was half-hearted at best. Few stuck around for the closing moments; those that did booed if they made a sound at all.
You could chalk it up to circumstance if it was an isolated event. Blame it on the weather or the Falcons’ blazing start or the offense’s uninspiring performance. But the truth is that the juice has been gone for some time — this was just an exaggerated example.
I have sat in broadcast booths and listened to shocked color commentators go on and on about how lifeless the place is. I have lived in Philadelphia long enough to know that when an Eagles crowd is having a tough time getting vocal, something is wrong. It is not the acoustics in the stadium. It is not (solely) the pricing out of the 700-level. It is the lack of connection that this fan base feels with this team.
DeSean Jackson went on national radio Monday and talked about the boos the team is receiving at home, remarking how “sometimes our own fans can be against us.”
He’s right to a degree. Whether it’s the “Fire Andy!” chants that broke out last year or the extreme apathy on display Sunday, the fans are rejecting the current product. It is their right. And it should come as no surprise. This is a town that values having a connection with their players, their team, their coach more than any other in the country. They will take a bumpy ride as long as they’re invited to sit shotgun.
The plug and the socket aren’t compatible, so no electricity. This is a problem that goes deeper than a win/loss record. I’m sure Lurie agrees.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Sheil’s review of the skill position players shows how a shaky offensive line is wiping away the big play. Meanwhile, a look at the D-line reveals a shrunken role for Jason Babin in Todd Bowles‘ debut as defensive coordinator.
Here’s more of Jackson’s thoughts on the fans coming down hard on the team.
Kapadia does a nice job of highlighting the Eagles’ slow fall from stability.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Jason Whitlock, never afraid to go after Reid, is calling for the coach’s immediate firing.
Reid and Garrett, I’d can ‘em now. Garrett can’t manage game situations and he’s contributed to Romo’s inconsistencies. Reid is the pass-happy version of Marty Schottenheimer. Reid’s act in Philly is stale. He’s a good coach who has stayed in one spot too long. Schottenheimer did 10 years in Kansas City and bounced. Reid has been in Philly for 14 years.
Get Reid out of Philly before he subjects rookie QB Nick Foles to the kind of beating Michael Vick has endured the past two years.
Donovan McNabb is giving Vick some more advice. His comments from NFL AM:
“You have to focus on your job and if you focus on your job, you block everything out.”
“I think you get in a situation where once you start hearing the boos and hearing the radio stations talk and people on the outside begin to bring your name up of being benched, then you begin to lose focus and now your play begins to fall and you begin to focus on other things. … I think it’s important for him to feed off of what he did last week, not turning the ball over, protect the football, give his guys an opportunity to make plays for him and good things can happen.”
Practice for the Saints begins on Thursday. Barring a QB change, we’re not expected to hear from Reid until then.