Sometimes…okay, often…a coach can be too smart for his own good.
Like when it comes to icing a kicker. Attempting to ice New York Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes very, very nearly cost Philadelphia Eagles Coach Andy Reid very, very dearly Sunday night. With a 19-17 lead and Tynes, who has won two NFC Championship games with field goals, stepping up, it wasn’t the worst idea, but it wasn’t terribly popular and could have led to disaster.
“You’re surrounded by 66,000 people that probably want to rip your throat out,” Reid said, when he was asked if he regretted calling a timeout to ice Tynes on his first attempt (via Zach Berman of Philly.com). “About twentyfold what Custer felt.”
Unlike Custer, Reid got a break. Tynes missed his 54-yard attempt wide left and his second shot fell short. Which means that the Eagles are 3-1, with Michael Vick having led three game-winning drives in the fourth quarter and the defense clicking, even against Eli Manning and the Giants. Vick took a lot of heat when he said he thought the Eagles could have a dynasty. Maybe that’s still wildly inaccurate, but the team is versatile. These Eagles, ESPN’s Dan Graziano writes, “believe they can win ugly, win pretty, win on the ground, win in the air, whatever it takes.”
For this team, it’s about understanding the number of different ways they have to win a game. If they have to throw to beat you, they have the weapons with which to do that. DeSean Jackson showed that Sunday, while Jeremy Maclin stayed quiet. But Maclin was the star of the passing game back in Week 1, and Brent Celek played that role in Week 2. On defense, the Eagles won Sunday’s game without getting a sack. But they showed that even if the opposing offense is determined to chip and help and do whatever it takes to keep the speed-rushing ends away from the quarterback, they can still get disruptive pressure up the middle from guys such as Cullen Jenkins and Fletcher Cox.
“We’ve got talent all across the board,” defensive end Jason Babin said. “I think that’s pretty apparent.”
For now, the Eagles are at least a semblance of the team Vick envisioned. They may have won all three games by all of four points, but Vick’s style, SI’s Don Banks writes, has been the key to the wins and Philly is the first team in NFL history with three fourth-quarter comeback wins in the first four games of a season. Make of that what you will.
“I just felt in control out there from the beginning of the game,” Vick told Banks. “I just didn’t want to put this team in a bad position, and the thing is, I know how to play quarterback. I know how to play it and play it well. I just wanted to put our team into position where we could compete throughout the entire game, regardless of how tough it was going to be.”
Even if it was made a little tougher by their coach.