PHILADELPHIA — Eagles coach Andy Reid always has enjoyed road games against the New York Giants.
During his 14-year tenure, he’s gotten used to Giants fans gathering around the tunnel leading to the visitor’s locker room and shouting colorful phrases.
Today’s game at MetLife Stadium could be the last time Reid has to listen to Giants supporters try to guess his weight or kid him about his droopy mustache.
After the Eagles’ terrible season ends, Reid will meet with owner Jeffrey Lurie back at the NovaCare Complex to discuss Reid’s future. Considering the Eagles’ 4-11 record and series of embarrassing performances, Reid is expected to be fired.
“I haven’t gone there,” Reid said last week. “I really haven’t. I haven’t gone there and I’m not going to go there. I’m spending all my time getting ready for New York. I want to make sure we play well, play better than we’ve been playing. That’s really where my energy’s gone. I want to make sure my football team’s ready to go.”
The entire coaching staff has been taking that approach.
If they have been contemplating their futures, they haven’t let it get in the way of their jobs. All their attention, all of their focus has been directed on trying to knock the Giants out of playoff contention with a victory today.
“I don’t think any of us have gone there,” Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. “Our responsibility is to help the players get better every day. This an important time for many of our players, both veterans and young players, and I take that part very, very seriously.”
The players have been doing a lot of thinking, however.
Running back LeSean McCoy is among those desperately hoping that Lurie keeps Reid around for at least one more season. Reid has one year remaining on his contract and is scheduled to make $7 million.
“Coach Reid gets blamed for everything,” McCoy said. “But we know how good of a coach he really is. I feel like coach Reid will be here next season. That’s going to be my mindset until I’m told otherwise.”
Others are unsure of Reid’s future but are worried that he may be coaching his last game with the Eagles today.
If true, they would very much like to give him one more victory as a going-away present.
“You don’t win them all and every good thing comes to an end,” said quarterback Michael Vick, who will start against the Giants in place of injured Nick Foles. “If (Reid is going to be fired), all I can say is we are going to stay confident, have fun and try to go out and win this last one.”
Although they are trying to avoid looking too far ahead, the players have spent some time looking back and trying to figure out how a team that entered the season with such lofty goals could fall woefully short.
The Eagles were ranked in the top 10 of most preseason NFL polls and were favored to win the NFC East. But after an encouraging 3-1 start, they’ve dropped 10 of their last 11 games and are in last place in the NFC. They have the same record as Detroit, but the Lions beat the Eagles 26-23 in overtime on Oct. 14.
Actually, that’s where the slide began.
The Eagles were in first place in the division at 3-1 after beating the Giants 19-17 on Sept. 30. But they blew late leads in back-to-back losses to Pittsburgh and Detroit before the open week, prompting Reid to fire defensive coordinator Juan Castillo.
Injuries continued to mount, frustration started to build and the losses kept coming.
“It’s been a roller-coaster season for us,” Eagles safety Kurt Coleman said. “It’s been a struggle for us just to maintain our consistency and stay positive. I think this is a very talented team, but the little things have come back to bite us, whether it be turnovers or a missed play on defense. It’s been a collective group effort where we haven’t put everything together for a whole game.
“It’s just been a frustrating season with the expectations we put on ourselves. But we have to finish the season strong. We want to get this one bad. We really do.”
The Eagles have two reasons for being motivated for today.
Besides wanting to send Reid out on a winning note, they also would love to ruin the Giants’ quest to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
Tonight’s Dallas-Washington game will decide the NFC East title. The Giants are trying to earn a wild-card spot.
“Obviously, we’ve been thinking about Andy a lot,” defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said. “He put his faith in us and had a lot of trust in us and we haven’t been able to live up to the expectations of the coaches or the fans. But we still have to try and give whatever we have left to give right now.
“The only thing we can do is try and get a win in the last game and what better way to end the season than to get a win against the Giants?”
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