The Philadelphia Eagles have given an enormous amount of power to coach Andy Reid over the years. But there are signs that his job security is starting to fade.
New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin has a Lombardi trophy, but he always seems a couple of losses from being on the chopping block. Meanwhile, Reid has overseen one of the winningest organizations in the league -- that hasn't won the Super Bowl. Jeff McLane of the Inquirer has taken account of everything that's happened since defensive coordinator Jim Johnson died in July '09, and there are definite signs that Reid's no longer a sure thing to remain head coach following the 2011 season.
McLane points to the end of Jeff Fisher's reign with the Titans and the fact that several of Reid's closest allies have been ushered (or allowed) out of the building:
"General manager Tom Heckert left to take the same position at Cleveland, conveniently under Reid friend and mentor Mike Holmgren," writes McLane. "Quarterback Donovan McNabb was traded to Washington -- then considered a much friendlier landing spot than other possible destinations. And [defensive coordinator Sean] McDermott was given a two-day head start and conveniently was hired for the same job by friend and former colleague, and new Panthers head coach, Ron Rivera.
"These were Reid's guys and while a case could be made that each deserved to go, the coach obviously had to be coaxed into cutting the cords."
Reid didn't sound like a man who was preparing to fire McDermott immediately after the season. He was defiant in his defense of McDermott, indicating the organization would stay the course. When the Eagles fired McDermott 72 hours later, it created the appearance that Reid might have been overruled by one of his colleagues. McLane cites a source saying that Reid had already made up his mind about firing McDermott when he delivered those strong words the day after the season. But I don't believe Reid is that good of an actor.
With Michael Vick likely under contract for one more season via the franchise tag, I think it's fair to say that more is at stake than ever for Reid. When he pushed in his chips and replaced Kevin Kolb with Vick early last season, he lost the benefit of a "transition" season.
Now it looks like his future is officially on the clock.