|Andy Reid era comes to an end. He couldn't get the team to produce even when they were healthy. (US Presswire)|
TheEagles went into the 2012 season with high expectations and left it with their tails between their legs and their coach out of work. They had to deal with serious injury problems, but even when this team was healthy it still played poorly. The Eagles’ 4-12 record was well deserved; it was a total team effort and that includes the front office and the entire coaching staff.
The biggest problem wasn’t even that the Eagles lost so many games as much as how they lost them -- with too many mistakes and not enough effort. It all added up to the worst Eagles season since 1998, when they went 3-13 and then hired Andy Reid to begin one of the most successful eras in Eagles history, an era that ended on Monday when Reid was fired after 14 seasons.
The main problem with this group and it was a crushing problem was turnovers. The Eagles gave the ball away 37 times, the most in the NFL. And that directly led to at least six of their losses. QB Michael Vick was hurt much of the time and inconsistent the rest of the time and his mistakes were killers -- Vick turned the ball over 15 times in 10 games (10 interceptions, five fumbles). And even though rookie QB Nick Foles showed promise, he still went 1-5 as the starter. RB LeSean McCoy had a good season (840 yards) even though he missed four games with a concussion that cost him his third straight 1,000-yard season. But the WRs were just average, mainly because of Vick’s inconsistencies, leading receiver Jeremy Maclin’s 69 catches rank just 28th in the NFL. And the line was a disaster. Things started badly when All-Pro LT Jason Peters was lost for the season before it even began because of a ruptured Achilles tendon. Two other starters -- CJason Kelce and RT Todd Herremans -- had season-ending injuries and another – RG Danny Watkins -- got benched.
This unit was supposed to be the strength of the Eagles and it ended being its biggest weakness. The defense was just horrible in 2012 and the worst part was the seeming lack of effort and desire by several defenders who were making millions of dollars. DE Jason Babin, who went to the Pro Bowl last season, was a divisive force in the locker room and he was released late in the season. But the real villains were the defensive backs. CBs Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, two former Pro Bowl players, stole money from the Eagles this season, and Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman failed to make the big plays safeties are supposed to make (go ahead – name one). Despite all the supposed playmakers on this defense, the Eagles were dead last in the league in takeaways and in interceptions, but it was their poor attitude that angered some of their teammates and all of the fans.
Special teams: D+
K Alex Henery had a nice season, but everything else about the Eagles special teams was anything but special. The return game did little to help the Eagles’ field position throughout the season, and with the way the offense struggled the Eagles needed every extra yard they could get. Their kickoff return team was ranked 17th in the NFL and their kickoff coverage team was ranked 19th. Meanwhile, P Mat McBriar was ranked 32nd -- dead last -- in the league in net punting. This unit didn’t lose any games for the Eagles, but it did nothing to help them win games, either.
Andy Reid has won more games, regular season and playoffs, than any coach in Eagles history, but he deserved to get fired after this disastrous season. First of all, the players Reid and Co. brought in – draft picks and free agents -- failed to do their jobs and it all starts with personnel. Plus Reid’s decisions to hire offensive line coach Juan Castillo as his defensive coordinator and bring in new offensive and defensive line coaches (Howard Mudd and Jim Washburn) and changing the way his team played on both sides of the ball proved to be the second biggest mistake of his coaching tenure. The biggest was Reid’s decision to make Vick his franchise QB, because there is no way a QB that’s as inconsistent and mistake and injury-prone as Vick will ever win a Super Bowl. The Eagles were supposed to be contenders and on paper they had the talent to compete for a title, but Reid and his staff never put it together. The good things they did weren’t good enough and the bad things they did ruined a once-proud franchise.
Cumulative GPA: 0.5
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Philadelphia Eagles from blogger Kevin Noonan, follow @CBSEagles.