Andy Reid ended his month-long silence to finally speak about what went awry in the Eagles’ 2011 season, coaching changes made in the offseason, and how he will ensure that everything is better for 2012.
The coach that spoke from the NovaCare on Tuesday is not the Andy Reid that we have come to know and…well, you know. He wasn’t grouchy. He answered all questions in complete sentences. You could tell that he was really making an effort to be humble.
Did Jeffrey Lurie have a chat with Reid about his tense relationship with the Philadelphia media? Probably. And for at least this one time, it worked.
The lengthy 49-minute session wasn’t the anticipated obligatory talk to spin the drastic disappointment that was the 2011 season. Instead, it was a more frank and forthright Andy Reid who spoke openly about matters that usually he would evade.
Reid came right out and said that Juan Castillo would be the defensive coordinator for the Eagles in 2012. After confirming what had already become pretty clear, Reid addressed the most talked about bit of speculation from the past month: The rumor that Steve Spagnuolo would come to the Eagles as defensive coordinator.
“Steve and I are good friends and we talked throughout the season as we do every year. When Steve was released from the Rams I did offer him a spot here to coach, if he needed one, a place to land with open arms. And my feeling was that you can have two great coaches on defense and that’s even better than just having Juan himself, so that’s about as far as it went there. We didn’t talk about titles. We didn’t go into any of that. He had opportunities to look at other places. He wanted to do that, which I completely understand.”
This revelation is compelling for a number of reasons. Previously there was no certainty as to whether the Eagles had indicated any interest in Spags. Now we know that there was interest, but as Reid describes it was of a friendly and casual nature. Howevver, ce the idea was floated between Spags and Reid, surely Andy thought about the possibilities that could come into play should Spagnuolo wanted to come to the Eagles. Was he hoping to replace Castillo, or simply provide Juan with a resource that would make him much less likely to fail?
We will probably never know the answer to these questions. And it will drive us mad until we finally accept that we will never know.
Reid then discussed the hire of Todd Bowles. In reviewing the work history of the newly hired Eagles secondary coach, it’s easy to see that B owles is extremely qualified to be Philadelphia’s secondary coach. In fact, a little too qualified. He’s worked with several defenses around the league as secondary coach, and held that position as well as that of assistant head coach in Miami. Surely he could have demanded–and likely gotten–a higher position in the league. So why did he accept the same position he has essentially held for the past 12 years with the Eagles?
Comcast Sportsnet’s Derrick Gunn has a theory: That a Bowles has the qualifications to take over for Juan mid-season should things head south in 2012. And to take that idea further, the blog Eagle Eye posits that Bowles could serve as a qualified replacement for both Castillo AND Reid should next season turn out to be less than ideal.
Speaking on Bowles’ experience and how he will interact with Castillo, Reid said
“finishing out the staff, I wanted to make sure that I brought somebody in – and I felt this way going through the process – that just as [offensive coordinator] Marty [Mornhinweg] and I have an opportunity to bounce things off of offensively, that Juan had somebody with some experience to bounce things off of defensively that had somewhat the same scheme. And that’s where Steve fit in nicely and it also fits in nice with Todd.”
Reid confirmed that Bowles did indeed have other opportunities around the league but wanted to come to the Eagles.
“Todd is an individual who has a nice resume and had an opportunity to sit in the head coaching position down there in Miami as interim head coach, interviewed with the Raiders as a head coach, and had a couple offers to be a coordinator in the league and decided that he would like to come here, kind of back home where he went to school and his family…”
While adjustments had to be made to the coaching staff on the defensive side of the ball, Reid stated that offensive coaches are strong, but that the team must address one glaring, ugly issue before the 2012 season: Turnovers.
“On the offensive side really everything remained the same. On the offensive side, we need to go back and make sure that we take care of business with the turnover situation there.”
When asked if Reid believed that Mike Vick understood the importance of the turnover issue as much as Reid does, Andy replied, “I do.”
Reid also spoke about the Eagles drafting issues on defense and whether the organization does indeed value the linebacker position, fielded a question on DeSean Jackson, and discussed his impressions of Jeffrey Lurie’s press conference in early January and what he took away from it.
Reid’s presser was surprisingly interesting, as he made a concerted effort to respond fairly, frankly and completely to each question presented. One post is not enough to do justice to the information presented today. Tomorrow I will touch on several other aspects of Andy Reid’s post-season press conference.
Andy Reid’s comments provided courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles.