August 30, 2012
Eagles owner expects greatness from Andy Reid after disappointing 2011
By RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Many people thought Andy Reid should have been fired last season as Philadelphia nose-dived from a “dream team” to a complete debacle.
But he stuck around.
However, it’s clear now that the head coach is on borrowed time in Philly unless the Eagles reemerge as a force.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has hinted at it in the past and indicated at a press conference on Thursday that Reid will have to prove he deserves to stay this season.
The owner said he will wait until the end of the season to decide Reid’s future and will not give him an extension now. Reid is signed for the 2013 season but would be a lame duck if not given an extension.
“We all thought we were a lot better than 8-8 and we weren’t,” Lurie said.
“We need substantial improvement. We have a very good team on paper, and paper doesn’t get you that far if you don’t maximize it.”
The Eagles learned that hard truth last season. Vince Young compared the team to the star-laden Miami Heat, but now they’re trying to rebound from a .500 season and Young is long gone and without a job after being cut by Buffalo.
Lurie wouldn’t say exactly what he needs to see from the Eagles to extend Reid, but made it crystal clear he hated the disaster that was last season.
Reid has spent nearly a decade-and-a-half with the Eagles.
WILSON IN HOSPITAL
Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson is in hospital in good condition, according to the team.
The 93-year-old had hip surgery last spring and has not been traveling a lot, but did attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Canton, Ohio, earlier this month for an addition at the Hall of Fame named in his honour.
The NFL Players’ Association has agreed to the NFL’s request that the trade deadline be moved back two weeks and that one player per team can come back after being put on injured reserve.
The agreement came a week after the NFLPA balked at the changes.
The move will allow teams to have a clearer picture of where they stand when the trade deadline comes, both in terms of competitiveness and healthy players.
In the pundit’s opinion department, ESPN’s Merril Hoge said Indianapolis will “scare” and “shock” people and win games they aren’t supposed to, while Sports Illustrated’s football guru, Peter King, has picked Denver and Green Bay to meet in the Super Bowl. Talk about a matchup at quarterback. King believes Peyton Manning won’t just regain his form, but will also regain his MVP form. Jon Gruden said Manning could lead Denver to the NFC West title, but an 8-8 finish was more likely ... Dallas cornerback Mike Jenkins likely won’t play against the Giants next week. He has been cleared to resume football activities though after missing all of training camp ... Kenny Britt will be suspended for a game for his latest off-field transgression, according to the Tennessean. Britt is one of the league leaders with eight incidents involving police since 2009 ... Recently released tight end Chris Cooley isn’t about to punish the Redskins by signing with rival Dallas. “I don’t think so, but people do a lot of things for money,” Cooley told NBC Washington … The Palm Beach Post reports quarterback David Garrard is not expected to make Miami’s roster. Garrard is recovering slowly from surgery and it appears the Dolphins are looking towards the future and won’t need the veteran ... Thursday’s game might have been the last time Colt McCoy or Seneca Wallace suit up for Cleveland. One of the quarterbacks is expected to be cut because the Browns want to keep young Thad Lewis around.
GIANT FIRE BACK JONES
The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys have a great rivalry and it only gets better when somebody mouths off about the other side.
Like when Cowboys owner Jerry Jones recently declared: “Y’all should come to that stadium and watch us beat the New York Giants’ ass.”
Jones was talking about a later meeting in Dallas this season, but the Giants decided to fire back now, with a Week 1 matchup looming ever closer.
“He should (be saying Dallas will win). I mean, the Giants have been whupping his ass for a long time,” linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka told WFAN, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.
While Dallas has flamed out the past several seasons, the Giants have won a pair of Super Bowls.
“It’s gotta be tough on the outside looking in on all of these championships lately,” Kiwanuka said.
“That’s the feeling I feel like everybody in the league has and everybody should have because we’re here on top and everybody should be wanting to knock you off.”
Seems like a long time ago when the Cowboys were at the top, with everybody wanting to “knock them off.”
IRSAY NOT IRKED BY COLUMNIST
How much should team owners or executives be revealing on Twitter?
Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay has been quite outspoken on the social media platform, letting people know trade talks were serious not long before the Colts acquired Vontae Davis.
Local Colts columnist Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star recently wrote a piece explaining why he doesn’t agree with Irsay’s public revelations on Twitter.
Kravitz said if the trade doesn’t end up happening, fans might get upset for being led on and/or might blame Irsay for getting the move scrapped. Most sports executives hate when ongoing trade talks leak into the public realm, even when no specific players are mentioned.
Kravitz added that teams could come back with a worse offer knowing that Irsay had already amped up the fans.
Irsay responded — on Twitter no less — saying he doesn’t mind constructive criticism, but maintaining that Kravitz overstated things.
Irsay said with so many players in the league, trade winds are always blowing and that he wasn’t tipping Indy’s hand.
But he also said his tweets were “theater” and “excitement” which indicates his goal was to get people worked up.
JAGS LINE WILL BE NASTY
With Maurice Jones-Drew nowhere in sight, Jacksonville fans are going to have to get excited by other members of the team.
It’s a safe bet few have ever come to a game to see what the offensive line is doing, but tackle Eben Britton said the group intends to be highly entertaining.
“We are going to be the nastiest, most violent offensive line in the NFL,” Britton said earlier this week at a luncheon.
“I can promise you, the offensive line is going to be a hell of a lot of fun to watch this year.”
That has to be a first, but, minus the NFL’s leading rusher, somebody’s going to have to be fun to watch.
We think the fans will enjoy themselves quite a bit if the offensive line can open up holes for Rashad Jennings the way it did for Jones-Drew, the league’s most high-profile holdout, but the line only had so much to do with MJD’s success.
Jaguars owner Shad Kahn said at the same luncheon: “We’re going to surprise a lot of people.”
We’ll see about that. All signs point to not likely.
COULD WE SEE REAL REFS?
Is the NFL finally coming to its senses?
It looks that way.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, perhaps responding to the anger coming from the NFLPA about the use of replacement referees, did not rule out having the real officials in place for Week 1.
Previously, the league announced the replacements would work opening week
Goodell told NFL Network he had not ruled out using the locked-out officials and added that there is only a small gap between the two sides.
The NFLPA has blasted the league for saying it would be willing to use the replacements, saying they compromise player safety and the integrity of the game.
If an agreement is not reached in time though, a female official will work a game for the first time on Sept. 9.
Shannon Eastin became the first women to work a pre-season game this year and will do the St. Louis-Detroit game in Detroit, according to Xtra Sports 910, a Phoenix radio station.
Eastin is in a tough position. She surely wants to make history, but being a replacement won’t help her in the long-term, depending on how the locked-out officials treat those who stepped in to fill the void while they were on the sidelines.
FROM BAD TO WORSE FOR 'FINS
Talk about a stinky pre-season to forget for the Fish.
If the 0-4 record wasn’t bad enough, things went from bad to worse following Wednesday’s 30-13 loss to Dallas.
Miami’s team plane backed into another plane on its way to the runway.
The plane was unable to fly afterwards and the Dolphins had to wait for a replacement, finally getting back to Florida early Thursday morning.
So, for those keeping score, that’s four games and four losses, the Hard Knocks drama headed by Chad Johnson’s release and the trade of Vontae Davis, criticism of the front office by the players AND a damaged plane.
The team hopes nothing else can go wrong.
Head coach Joe Philbin is worried about how the Dolphins have played so far.
“Am I concerned? Ya ... I thought we’ve been a good team in practice, we haven’t transferred that to the game,” Philbin said before the plane incident.
The Dolphins are considering making some roster moves. With Johnson out of the picture, the team is weak at wide receiver and will work out Donte Stallworth.