Friday, October 24, 2008

Patience is a virtue, but can also be a vice

Andy Reid is a patient man. Sometimes agonizingly patient.

Big Red will stick with a gameplan for a long time because he knows it is about to start working any minute now. The plan is logical. It is well thought out in advance. It has been practiced and has every reason in the world to work.

When it doesn't, because of the annoying x-factor...people have to execute it, Andy doesn't adjust quickly. Which is also to say that icebergs don't set speed records. Andy gives that plan another chance. "The guys will get it right next time", I'm sure he says to himself. "We were close".

When given time to self-scout and make adjustments during the bye week or before playoff games with a bye, Andy and his staff do a terrific job. They see what didn't work and fix it. They have solid evidence.

Why can't Andy see those things in a game? He does sometimes, but all too often in-game adjustments aren't what they need to be by the offense. The most glaring example was the debacle last year where Osi Umenyiora and the Giants racked up 12 sacks.

Andy was desperate to burn their struggling secondary. The way to attack was to spread them out and throw the ball. Makes sense. Donovan McNabb didn't have a good night throwing the ball. LT Winston Justice started in place of Tra Thomas and struggled mightily with blocking Osi. Donovan was sacked all game long and the offense scored just 3 points.

At some point the entire world (all 5 or 6 billion people actually watched the game) expected Andy to help Justice out with a TE. Or to call shorter passes. Or to go to the running game. None of that happened. The Eagles stuck with the original plan and it never came close to working.

Andy did learn a lesson. This year the team is more protection oriented. We have kept the TE in to block more than I can ever recall. Big Red can adjust. It just took him 10 months in this case.

That patience of his has served us well in some aspects. Andy isn't going to make rash moves. The problem is that he is too patient during games. You certainly have to give your plans some time to work, but adjustments are crucial.

The best analogy for Andy sometimes is Roy McAvoy from Tin Cup. Remember at the end of the movie when he keeps going for the green? That's like Andy sticking with his plans. The difference is that McAvoy's attempts had some sense of delusional charm. Andy's are flat out frustrating.

Mark Whipple is new to the staff this year. It will be interesting to see if he was able to offer some worthwhile advice to Andy and Marty to make the offense more consistent down the stretch. Sometimes outside perspective can make all the difference in the world.

We'll see starting on Sunday how well the Eagles adjusted and also how well they adjust during the game. To be fair, the NFL could help Andy out by putting a bye week between all 16 games. That's not asking too much, is it?

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