The 2010 season saw more ups than downs in terms of the performance of the coaching staff, but they still aren’t close to where they need to be to win a championship.
As for the head coach, love him or hate him, you have to admit this was one of Andy Reid’s best coaching jobs. He took a team that many predicted to win 6-8 games, at best, and turned them into a 10-6 division winner. The most important decision of the entire season was handed down after the Eagles’ Week Two win in Detroit. Reid scrapped the entire offseason of planning and went with his gut, naming Michael Vick the starting quarterback after Kevin Kolb went down with a concussion in the second quarter of the opening game against the Packers.
This was a move that took an enormous amount of courage to make, and not many coaches in the league would have made it. There were countless consequences for Reid to think about prior to making this move, from “wasting” and entire offseason to backlash from PETA, but he powered through them and made a decision he thought would help his team win the most football games this season. This turned out to be a genius move, as Vick went on to be in the MVP discussion all year while leading the Eagles to the division title.
On the offensive side of the ball, Marty Mornhinweg did a phenomenal job again, helping the Eagles break their franchise scoring record with 439 points scored. We all know about how well Vick played, and LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin all had very good seasons. Vick and Jackson were selected to the Pro Bowl, while you could argue McCoy deserved a selection as well. His play-calling may have gotten a little pass heavy at times, but overall, you can’t complain much about Marty. Year in and year out, the guy simply produces great offensive football teams.
I wish I could say the same about the defense. But, the defense was, in a word, inconsistent. While they produced 34 turnovers, good for third in the NFL, they also allowed almost 390 yards of total offense per game, which was second-worst in the NFL. They also gave up 27.4 points per game, which was third-worst in the league.
These stats speak volumes about recently fired defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. He was a guy who liked his defense to attack and go for the home run. Sometimes, he was rewarded, as evidenced by his turnover and decent sack totals. But many times, he seemed to make the wrong call at the wrong time. This was especially true in the red zone, where the Eagles were the worst in the league and allowed touchdowns at a record-breaking percentage.
I believe McDermott will be a very good coordinator in this league, but after two seasons of inconsistent defensive football, the Eagles decided the defensive coaches must be held accountable, and they also fired every position coach in the weeks following McDermott’s dismissal. They were all moves that had to be made, as the defense simply didn’t hold up their end of the bargain this season.
Andy Reid will be back for his 13th season, all Jon Gruden rumors aside. He is signed through the 2013 season, with his most recent extension being agreed to during the 2009 season.
Choosing Vick to replace Kolb is a move that will most likely change this franchise forever, as we watch Vick for the next five years, and wonder what could have been with Kolb. While Reid definitely has his shortcomings, this type of gutsy move deserves praise from even his most adamant haters, and is a move that proves just how good of a talent evaluator he is. It proved to be the best move for this past season, and I strongly believe it is the right move for the future of this team.
Mornhinweg also will be back at the offensive coordinator position after flirting with a few head coaching jobs this offseason. Each team decided to go in a different direction and not hire him, which is just fine by this writer. Marty is invaluable to the Eagles’ offense and is a proven commodity on a staff with more than a few question marks.
As I’m sure you’ve read, Juan Castillo has been promoted from offensive line coach to defensive coordinator for the upcoming season. It remains to be seen how well he does on defense, but he was an extremely well respected and hard working coach on the O-line, and he will bring energy and hard-nosed football to the defense. Andy has developed terrific coaches throughout the years, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Castillo flourish in this role. But, the decision to promote him was interesting to say the least, and will be the topic of conversation throughout next season.