Those who have been asking whether Andy Reid will finish out this season as Philadelphia Eagles coach can stop asking. Multiple reports out of Philadelphia on Monday say Reid is not in danger of being fired this week, after the team's sixth straight loss, and Reid made it clear at his news conference Monday that he has no intention of walking away. Per Les Bowen:
"I'm standing in front of the team and telling them, 'These are the things we need to do,' one of which is continue to battle," Reid said. "I think that'd be a cop-out. ... That's not how I'm wired. We're going to keep battling, do it as a team. I can't tell the guys one thing and then do the other."
Reid also said in that news conference that if Michael Vick was recovered from his concussion in time for next Monday night's game against Carolina, Vick would be the starting quarterback instead of rookie Nick Foles. Foles started Sunday in Vick's place and struggled badly against a statistically awful Redskins pass defense. And while it may make sense to those of us outside the organization to simply turn this lost season over to Foles for the purpose of evaluating him as the potential future solution, Reid has a different perspective.
The people who devote their every breath and waking moment to coaching and playing for these teams are not into giving up. Yes, you and I watch the Eagles and see one of the worst teams in the league. No, I can't envision any scenario in which they play well enough to win all six of their remaining games, finish 9-7 and challenge for a playoff spot. But Reid can, and whether he's deluding himself or not, he should. Just look at the grief Mike Shanahan took a couple of weeks ago for suggesting that the final seven games of the Redskins' season would be for evaluation purposes. What would it say about Reid as a serious competitor if, prior to actual mathematical elimination, he began actually doing that?
It's clearly a tough situation, and would have been made even tougher had Foles played well Sunday. But Carolina is the only team in the NFC with a worse record than the Eagles, so if you coach the Eagles, you certainly have to call that a winnable game. And if you're the Eagles' coach, you're still holding on to the belief you had in this roster when you put it together. In your mind, that was absolutely a team capable of winning six games in a row. While we who come at it from an outside perspective can clearly see the 10 games the Eagles have played as evidence that they're not the team Reid believed they were, he's quite naturally going to persist in the belief that the team is capable of playing better. So he's determined to keep coaching it, and to play the quarterback he believes gives it the best chance to win games at the current moment.
This may all turn out to be moot, since it's still unlikely that Vick is cleared in time to play Monday. But to cry about Reid kidding himself is to ignore the critical difference between the perspective of those of us who have no actual, tangible stake in the results of football games and those whose livelihoods rise and fall on those results. Over 14 years in Philadelphia, Andy Reid has earned the right to see this thing through the way he sees fit. And while we can all see what the ending will be, we can't begrudge Reid if he wants to fight against it until the inevitable becomes reality.