Eagles Wake-Up Call: Some Thoughts On Washburn

Philadelphia Eagles defensive line coach Jim WashburnIt was obvious that something was off in the Eagles’ locker room the minute it opened.

There was a tension that seemed out of place, even for a team that had just dropped its eighth straight. Some employees and players appeared on edge. When an emotional Derek Landri entered the room, he was instructed not to say a word. Trent Cole stood by him at his stall, almost protectively. The defensive line was gathered close.

Andy Reid said he fired Jim Washburn on Monday morning. One source contends that he was terminated just minutes after the loss to the Cowboys, which would help explain the d-line’s body language late Sunday night. It doesn’t much matter now. While some of the details are still blurry, the bottom line is that the much-hyped position coach has been sent packing, and with just four games to play.

By all accounts, Washburn did not respond well to the release of Jason Babin. There is no denying that “Wash” is a Babin guy, so much so that it became an irritant to the rest of the corps. Babin could do no wrong; the harsh criticism was reserved for everybody else. We reported that Cole walked out of a defensive line meeting in the days leading up to Babin’s release — another piece of evidence that the situation was deteriorating. The fact that Reid already had a replacement in place when he fired Washburn further suggests that there was a build-up to this moment.

“It wasn’t all about this game. That’s not what it was. It was just something that I had been pondering and working through and I just thought it was the right time now,” said Reid.

Washburn had ingrained an “Us against the world” mentality in his unit, to the point where it seemed like it was the defensive line against the rest of the team. Perhaps in such a culture it would be acceptable to refer to Juan Castillo, one of the best men in the business, as “Juanita,” since he was an outsider.

A 63-year-old acting like a teenager.

Reid’s fingerprints are all over this. He hired Washburn (before settling on Castillo as defensive coordinator) and therefore must be held responsible. It is on him.

But considering all that was on the line and everything Reid has been through, it was Washburn’s responsibility to do better by his head coach as well. And he failed.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Reid calls starting Nick Foles “the right thing to do.”

Here are some details on the firing of Washburn. Reid tries to explain why he made the move.

Sheil caught up with Brandon Graham, who believes the release of Babin indeed had an impact on the D-line coach.

Can you guess who the most-used wide receiver on Sunday night was?

Want some hope? Look no further than Bryce Brown.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Sports Illustrated put together a list of possible landing spots for Michael Vick. How about the Jets?

The contract extension handed to Mark Sanchez prior to 2012 makes this an extremely unlikely marriage. Unless Vick opts to take backup QB money, the Jets probably won’t be able to afford both guys.

Otherwise, you could see a fit here — the Jets need a shot in the arm on offense, and Vick offers the type of non-traditional skills that attracted the Jets to Tim Tebow. Sanchez’s situation is enough of a headache already, however, without adding Vick to the mix. As it is, Rex Ryan is not sure if Sanchez should continue starting over Greg McElroy, who delivered a win in relief Sunday, or Tebow.

Dan Graziano gives his take on Reid’s decision to go with Foles.

I wrote here a few weeks back that this would be a tough crossroads for Reid, when and if it happened, since he obviously likes Vick and doesn’t want to harm Vick’s chances of finding a job somewhere else after this season, and since by now it must be apparent to Reid (as it is to everyone else) that he won’t be around to coach Foles and the Eagles next year. The question at the time was whether Reid would really do the right thing for a team that appears about to fire him, or stick to his personal guns and keep starting “his guy.” At the time, I wrote that I believed Reid was the sort of man who would see it as his job to do what’s right for the Eagles franchise until such time as he no longer worked for them. This move is an example of doing just that.

COMING UP

A day off for the Eagles. But as we’ve learned with this team, there is rarely a day off from drama.

  • big red hater

    Reid continues to amaze with his almost comical attempts to spin, and re-spin, and lie and BS. I know you guys have to print something but you reporters have to be sick of this pathetic soap opera. If that little wimp Lurie tries to bring Reid back, I am done with this team forever or until that little wimp sells the team (which won’t happen)
    Hate this coach, gm, owner, whole regime.

    • LostInChiTown

      Wow. Too much hate man. I may oversell here because I can’t stand that attitude and think it confirms everything the nation says about Eagles fans, but don’t forget, this group has done amazing things. I’d wager you’ve never seen an Eagle’s coach amass more wins and playoff appearances in your life. I know I haven’t. And Howie has really done an excellent job recently – a good last draft, plus all the offseason work resigning key players like DeSean and Shady and getting players like Nnamdi. Yeah, Nnamdi hasn’t panned out, but there’s not a single fan or analyst that didn’t love this move when it happened. And Lurie? I think he’s a fantastic owner. He could be like Jerry Jones, ruling with an iron fist and destroying his team, or he could be a super cheapskate who never spends money, but he instead he lets the coaches coach, spends when they advise it, and the Eagle’s have been better with him in charge.

      I’m as frustrated with this season as you are, and agree it’s time for Reid to go, but I love this team and the City. Always will. Try to have a little perspective.

      • Tyler Phillips

        Well said.

        • big red hater

          I have a limit to my level of patience, unlike Lurie, I like to kick asses first and ask questions later. this is unacceptable to me, so I hate the wussy soft and loving approach of this owner.

      • Kimbafuzz

        Agreed.

      • big red hater

        give me a break about Eagles doing fantastic things….are you insane? where are the lombardi trophies? I can’t find them, am I looking in the wrong trophy cases? are we the Patriots? hell no, are we the Giants?….hell no……stop settling for this crap and crying that we are too negative. Reid had a good run, ended when Johnson died, last 4 years have been steady decline. Lurie is not a fantastic owner, he is a spoiled rich kid that bought the team with mommy’s money.

        • LostInChiTown

          Lurie also produced an Oscar winning documentary on the 2008 financial collapse. Inside Job. It’s very good. I highly recommend watching it.

        • The Guru

          There is no way that LostinChiTown guy can be serious. He’s obviously seeking attention

          • FMWarner

            I was thinking the same thing about big red hater.

          • The Guru

            But you have a problem with everyone and anyone criticizing Lurie, Roseman, or Reid…

          • FMWarner

            That’s not true. I would fire Reid myself at the end of the year. I just don’t understand the vitriol, and I don’t understand how people like big red hater seem to think that the last two years were indicative of the entire Reid tenure, and that now we’re finally going to correct a 14 year mistake. It’s simply not true. And to call Lurie a “wuss” and a “spoiled rich kid” because he’s shown patience with a highly successful head coach? I mean, he actually said he’s a “kick ass first, ask questions second” guy with a straight face like that’s the right way to be. That’s why I was thinking he wasn’t serious. Because it would be embarrassing to say those things and be serious, and I was giving him the benefit of the doubt.

          • The Guru

            I would love to hear your opinion on the 14 year tenure of Reid. Would you consider it to be a success?

          • LostInChiTown

            Well and humorously stated. lol.

          • ArkansasFred

            Where is the Lombardi.
            You both are the type of underachieving disease that needs to go.

      • FMWarner

        Hear hear.

    • borntosuffer

      There’s no spin. Reid takes responsibility – ad nauseam. He’s a dead man walking. What I don’t get is the quote above ” I wrote that I believed Reid was the sort of man who would see it as
      his job to do what’s right for the Eagles franchise until such time as
      he no longer worked for them. This move is an example of doing just
      that.” I would say that starting Foles is what’s right for the Eagles franchise now that they are out of the playoffs. Cutting Babin, firing Washburn and keeping Foles in are all moves that are in the next coaches best interest. Find out what the younger guys have and find out what the D-line can do in a more conventional set up.

  • LostInChiTown

    Yikes. I wish Reid had fired Washburn back at the bye week instead of Juan. That kind of immature undermining had to have affected Juan’s entire defense – not just the d-line. Makes me wonder what kind of success he’d have had with his own d-line scheme and a more supportive assistant. I also wonder if Bowles might show some improvement now.

  • morgan c

    This is what happens when a team with so much promise falls apart so spectacularly (re: LostInChiTown/big red hater argument). It is representative of the general malaise that has fallen over the Eagles’ fanbase, and it symbolizes the fans’ angst and depression. I totally get both sides – in fact, I go back and forth (hate Reid, feel bad for Reid, feel appreciative of all Reid has done, then feel like it is time to stop appreciating and get mad). I think 95% of Eagles fans, and basically all the readers of this blog (who I have to say are some of the more thoughtful and reasonably intelligent Eagles fans) probably have gone through this very range of emotions themselves as well. The overall point is this is what happens. This is what happens when you try to put lipstick on a pig and let a stinking core rot, because it appears this is what we know have. I don’t think there were many that seriously predicted a possible (probable?) 3-13 finish.

    I would just say a couple things. Lurie is overall a good owner. Look the guy pisses me off sometimes with his style, he’s not a Philly guy, and he seems very aloof. I get that. And it bothers me a bit. However, he is not Jerry Jones, as was noted, and he’s not a cheapskate. He’s the right balance. His only mistake, and it says here it was somewhat understandable, was not firing Reid last offseason. He will fire Reid and make a new hire. The guy desperately wants to win. Again, you may not like him or his style, but the Eagles franchise is his life and I for one sincerely believe that his goal is to win a SB. I just thank my lucky stars he’s not Dan Snyder / Jerry Jones.

    Secondly, I think we give Howie another chance. Again, he’s annoying and comes across as pretentious and “pointdexter”-ish as well, but it seems pretty clear the drafting errors of 2010 and 2011 were mostly Reid’s fault, while Howie was still getting his feet wet as GM. This past draft, where it was widely reported Roseman had more of a say and had put together more in terms of scouting personnel and involvement, looks to be better. Let’s see if we can get another good draft in here. Regardless, the days of coach / GM (save for Shanahan and Belichik) are gone, and that’s probably a good thing. If it means we miss out on Cowher or Gruden, I can live with that. Hopefully we get a young guy that can instill a disciplined hard-nose style that will flourish (think Harbaugh or Tomlin – relative unknowns before they got their chance).

    • LostInChiTown

      Well said. I was a little reactionary in my post, but you’ve intelligently and objectively stated what I think most fans really think and feel.

      • morgan c

        thank-you – hopefully we turn this thing around.

    • johnGiam

      hold up! Lurie isnt a cheapskate? we are in an ALL IN superbowl year, yet we are tied with the Jaguar 20mil under the cap for teams with the most cap money. you know who has the least amount of cap money left? the texans, falcons, 49ers…you know, the teams that are actually competing for a superbowl! literally, the only money we spent on depth was Demetress Bell(only after peters got hurt) and re-signing King “im-Done-wit his Crap” Dunlap… This is where your rebutal tells me that we do go out and spend money like Keasre, nmandi, Asanti….problem with that ILLUSION was that everytime we went out and made a splash in free agency, it came while short changing and disrespecting other positions…you know, sign Nmandi yet go into a season with Casey Mathews as your middle linebacker…or how about the signing of Assante, going into the season with greg lewis as your punt returner? Linebackers just arent important in our scheme? really?
      Let me hit you with some cold hard facts…out of ALL the BIG MARKET TEAMS, this past decade, the eagles have spent the least amount, saving the most under the cap…saving under the cap doesnt mean cheaper ticket prices, maybe cheaper beer or parking….20million under the cap, means Lurie is POCKETING an EXTRA 20million, on top of all the normal money he makes as owner of this team…and that, I wont blame on Andy. Andy mite pick the players, but there is no coach that will ever say “ENOUGH! I have all the good players I need, dont bring in more talent, jut pocket that extra 20mil Mr. Lurie”
      20 frigging Million dollars under the cap in a ALL IN, Superbowl or Bust year?!?!?! How is this acceptable! Remember when the entire world knew that we would be screwed going into the season with Kurt Coleman and Nate at safety? you know the absolute worst Safety tandem in the NFL. Remember that? well do you remember in camp, flirting with Yeremiah Bell, decent veteran safety, can still play and wont blow coverages 7 times a game? and Yeremiah decided that he didnt want to be an eagle? well you got 20million extra dollars laying around that should be spent on talent, we are in a superbowl or bust mode, so the fuck what if we overpay for a player on a 1 year deal…you keep throwing money at him until he wants to be an eagle!

      • morgan c

        so we should just pay pay pay until we win? do you seriously think that’s going to work? didn’t the past two years just show you that bringing in high-priced free agents IS NOT the way to go??

        • Johngiam

          No, I don’t think we should pay pay pay…but when you are going onto a season with Coleman and Allen, one of the worst safety tandems in the history of the nfl lol, and it’s August, and Jeremiah bell is on the market, you have 20milliondollars available for talent, and bell signs a one year deal with the jets…how the hell is it acceptable to not outbid them? Look yeremiah wouldn’t have saved this putrid season, but it’s the point. don’t tell me that we are in all in Super Bowl mode, if it’s not true. if you like yeremiah enough to offer him a contract, and you have more money then any other team in the league, I expect you to win a bidding war(keep in mind I am only talking about 1 year contracts)…. I don’t want to hear that’s ur owner Isnt cheap, when he has spent, SIGNIFICANTLY less then what all the other large market teams spend.

          Nothing in life is free. You get what you pay for! You payed for the jaxonville jaguars, and that’s exactly what you got on the field. We didn’t invest a penny, in any quality backups. Only backups we signed were Dametress and king…but we saved 20million dollars! Problem is we don’t get to carry that 20mil over to next year….maybe I am crazy, but I just happen to think we could have used a 20million dollar infusion of talent these past 8 weeks. I don’t want to hear the injury excuse. The good teams persevere no matter who gets hurt. Friggin Pittsburg went into Baltimore, with a bunch of backup lineman and Charlie friggin batch and left with a win! I never heard of injuries slowing down the patriots…. Scholnik (revenge of the nerds) aka Bowie..you know he was gloating all over the novacare complex about how he drafted and put together a stellar tea this summer, all while saving his beloved owner 20million dollars, like his mentor joe banner….then injuries crept in, and the nerdy miser learned why you don’t save 20million on the salary cap, when you and your fanbase expect to be competitive….da da da, one of the worst seasons in franchise history… You wanna kow a good owner? mr. Rooney! Te steelers are ravaged with injuries, yet they will NEVER suffer an 8 game losing streak. You pay for what you get for… Wanna front load the team, spend no money on back ups, then you better pray no one gets injured!

      • LostInChiTown

        Ok, good point. BUT, I think a key distinction is where the money is going. I don’t remember the teams you mentioned going huge in free agency with a dozen high priced signings. For the most part, I think they’re spending big on second contracts or massive rookie deals (Matt Ryan) and filling in pieces where necessary. In that regard, the Eagles ARE like these teams, only they drafted better. Also, don’t forget that we’re currently slated to be OVER the cap next year. Careful management and dumping of bad contracts (Nnamdi and Vick) will avoid that, but if we filled that $20 mil in cap room now, we’d probably doom ourselves for next year. Most writers think the Eagles are very skilled at managing the cap. And besides, we did bring in a bunch of veteran talent last year and it was a mistake. Ronnie Brown anyone?

        Unfortunately, I can’t argue your points about not signing Yeremiah Bell. Or not signing Jake Scott earlier this year to give you another. As much as I don’t want to be over the cap next year, this was a make it or break season…

  • ArkansasFred

    The whole Reid, ‘Barf’ McNabb, Vick with no line, old man defense era OVER. Yeah, I feel for them, but I was an eagle fan DECADES before they showed up, and will be unil death, Its time to put together the new Birds. GET THESE TROLLS OUT. Now.

  • ArkansasFred

    sure, delete post from somebody who wants a SB. look at all this garbage from these brainiacs, and you delete a post on the bottom line: I’m on my 5th decade as eagle fan, SB championships: 0 So leave REAL EAGLES FANS posts up and please delete these novels from all these thoughtful fox sunday wannabees who want me to ponder the subtle nuances of the DISGRACE called my memories of the eagles.