Philadelphia Eagles News

Andy Reid: The Man In Charge

Oh, we all know there is work to do. We know that the Eagles were an 8-8 team in 2011 and that they have question marks and, well, that is part of the process in the NFL. We're in June, for goodness sakes. Every team has questions.

For Reid, in his 14th season as the head coach here, OTAs represent a time to teach young players the ways of being an Eagle, and that is one of the true pleasures of his job. He is a teacher at heart and his specialty is the game of football.

If Andy Reid is feeling the pressure of a win-or-else scenario that many in the media have speculated about, he isn't showing. There is no panic in Reid. None whatsoever. He wants precision on every play and if he doesn't see it, Reid whistles the players back into the huddle and they run the play again.

It's a sight to watch, an Eagles practice. Those who attend practices around the league say that the Eagles are one of the handful of teams that do it right on the practice field. They play fast and aggressively and with emotion.

Year after year, Reid has put a quality product on the field. The Eagles have been contenders for much of the previous 13 seasons, a ridiculous run given the history of this franchise. You get the sense that Reid oversees this team on the practice field and loves what he sees -- the mix of youth and experience, the speed on both sides of the ball, the depth in talent and the leadership -- and understands that he might be in charge of something special.

He would never let on such a thing. Who would? You prepare to win games at this time of the year and the step-by-step formula manifests itself on the field in September. Nobody in his right mind talks about how good his team could be in June. Too many things can happen between now and September.

For now, Reid is immersed in the moment. He and Howie Roseman have put together what looks to be a terrific roster over the last few seasons via every imaginable route. They have been aggressive together in the draft, have gone after difference makers in free agency, worked the trade route to pick up key pieces and have had success from the league's waiver wire.

What the Eagles have now is a roster that is all about competition. These practices at the NovaCare Complex have been crisp and spirited and fun to watch. The players are, as Reid likes to say, "getting after it." They are competing. They are pushing each other.

What does Reid think of it all? He thinks he has the pieces to win. He always thinks he has the pieces to win. And when someone asks him about "pressure" and how much he feels right now, he responds by saying that, and I'm paraphrasing, there is always pressure in Philadelphia and in the NFL and that if you don't win, you don't last long in your job.

Reid has won here, more than any coach in franchise history. He hasn't brought home the Lombardi Trophy yet, but the organization is filled with optimism for both the near future and the years ahead. The players are feeling it, I'm telling you, and the confidence level is as high as I have ever seen it at the NovaCare Complex.

In the middle of it all is Reid, calm and collected as usual. He and Roseman have a great working relationship and they've forged a deep trust. When we all wondered if the Eagles would address the safety positions, for example, and maybe go out and add a veteran, the team stayed put. Instead of signing a veteran to just sign a veteran, they showed their trust in the young players on the roster and looked to them to mature. At running back, when Eagles Nation wondered if bringing in a veteran as insurance behind LeSean McCoy might be a smart thing, the Eagles drafted Bryce Brown in April's seventh round and then signed Chris Polk as a rookie free agent. Both are having very good practices and are gaining a strong foundation in the offense.

The point is this: No matter what is happening around him, Reid has it all under control as the leader of the football team. That hasn't changed a bit in his 14 years. You think back to what the Eagles were in the years before Reid arrived and, well, it wasn't a pretty picture in the final years of the Ray Rhodes era.

Now, it's a really promising picture.  It's a I-can't-wait-until-the-season-starts feeling. The Eagles are going to be good, really good. In the middle of it all is Reid, focused on the details, pushing for perfection, the Captain of the ship steering toward September and the riches beyond.

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