PHILADELPHIA — The Eagles’ players don’t want coach Andy Reid to be fired.
Owner Jeffrey Lurie is expected to end Reid’s 14-year run after the Eagles finish a hugely disappointing season against the New York Giants next week. If it happens, a 27-20 loss to Washington on Sunday was Reid’s final game as Eagles coach at Lincoln Financial Field.
The players hope that Lurie changes his mind and decides to keep Reid, who has one year remaining on his contract, for at least one more season.
“When you think of the Philadelphia Eagles,” running back LeSean McCoy said after the game, “you think of Coach Reid. I don’t want to talk about it because I don’t want it to happen.”
Surprisingly, the fans at the stadium Sunday showed little reaction when Reid walked toward the home sidelines before Sunday’s game. There were no rousing cheers in recognition of the 140 regular-season and playoff victories, the nine playoff appearances, the six NFC East titles, the five appearances in the NFC championship game.
But there was also no chorus of boos for the 101 losses, the failure to win a playoff game since 2008, the 12-19 record over the last two seasons and, most importantly, the inability to win a Super Bowl.
Afterward, a few hundred fans gathered in the stands above the tunnel leading to the locker rooms and greeted Reid with applause and an “Andy! Andy!” chant as he exited.
“I’ve always said that (the fans and the players and coaches) are kind of on the same page,” Reid said. “When you stink, they let you know you stink and when you’re doing good, they’re going to let you know you’re doing good. I got it. I understand. I understand the situation and I appreciate everything.”
The Eagles entered the season with lofty goals. A talent-laden offense and aggressive defense were expected to lead the team to another division title and a deep playoff run.
Instead, they fell apart. A rash of injuries and inconsistent performances produced an eight-game losing streak after a 3-1 start. If the Eagles lose to the Giants, their 4-12 record would be their worst since Reid joined the team in 1999.
Sunday’s game featured several of the problems that have plagued the team throughout the season.
Rookie quarterback Nick Foles threw an interception and lost a fumble. The Eagles’ 36 turnovers are the most in the NFL this season. After scoring on their opening possession for just the second time all season, they produced just one other touchdown. The offensive line surrendered five sacks while Foles absorbed a dozen more hits.
The Eagles’ defense collected one sack — by cornerback Brandon Boykin — and an interception by safety Colt Anderson but didn’t apply much pressure to Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and allowed running back Alfred Morris to rush for 91 yards and a TD on 22 carries.
“We all know that this is a business, but I love Coach Reid and we are fighting our butts off for him right now,” Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham said. “We just couldn’t get it done today.”
The players pointed to the injuries that decimated the offense — guard Evan Mathis has been the only member of the group to start all 15 games — as the main reason they struggled this season. They also refused to blame Reid for the many physical and mental mistakes that contributed to the slide.
If they have their way, they will be playing for Reid again next season.
“When I was growing up in Cincinnati, there were two coaches in the NFL that I really admired and they were Coach Reid and (former Pittsburgh coach) Bill Cowher,” tight end Brent Celek said. “Just to see what Coach Reid did for the team and the city as an outsider was pretty unbelievable. And in the six years I’ve been here, I’ve realized that he still is a special coach.
“I’m really hoping we can play for him for at least another year.”
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