Fire Big Red … If not now, then when?

Andy Reid

Andy Reid has become an embarrassment to the Eagles, to the fans who love his team and to his own legacy. Somebody in the organization needs to stop the insanity — if not now, then at the end of this humiliating season.

The latest indignity happened Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, where the Birds lost their seventh home game in the last eight. In an afternoon of gruesome football, fans had to endure one illogical decision after another, a veritable parade of stupid plays by a lost team.

But to understand how far the Eagles have fallen, all you needed to do was focus on two sequences. One involved the amazing talents of Larry Fitzgerald, the NFL’s best receiver. The other encompassed the misplaced virtues of LeSean McCoy, the league’s best back.

Clueless defensive coordinator Juan Castillo was the only person in the stadium who didn’t realize that the biggest — if not only — threat on the Cardinals was Fitzgerald. Why else would the electrifying receiver catch seven balls for 146 yards — or 18 more passing yards than the entire Eagles team?

Castillo had safety Jaiquawn Jarrett covering Fitzgerald on the 37-yard bomb that changed the game in the fourth. Let me repeat that. Castillo had three elite cornerbacks — Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie — and set up a zone that left Fitzgerald singled up on a rookie. And Castillo still has a job today.

Then there was McCoy, who reeled off his best run of the game — a 29-yarder down the sideline with 4:46 left in the third quarter — and then didn’t touch the ball again for 13:27. That’s almost an entire quarter without a single touch, at a time when the other top Eagles weapon, DeSean Jackson, wasn’t available. Instead of McCoy, Reid got the ball to Dion Lewis, Brent Celek, Steve Smith and
Clay Harbor.

This team is a disaster, and Andy Reid is the reason. More and more, it is clear that the players don’t respect him any more now than the fans do. The missed meeting that led to Jackson’s benching wasn’t his first, nor is he the only culprit. After 13 years, no one cares what Reid has to say — before, during or after games. He is a dead coach walking.

The only people who can stop this insanity are owner Jeff Lurie and president Joe Banner, both of whom need to emerge from the shadows and reclaim a team in serious decline. Both declared before this season that they were “all in,” a poker term that means they were wagering everything on this season.

Well, this season is over. Their big bet failed. The Dream Team is dead. This nightmare must end. Andy Reid must go. Please. Go.

Finding the silver lining

The clouds hanging over Penn State and its sick little community will not roll away for years, maybe even decades — but there is a silver lining. Something good did come from the fall of Joe Paterno, a lesson more important than anything being taught in the classrooms of Happy Valley.

It should be comforting to know that, in this flashy new world of browsers and gigabytes, the same basic principles remain in place. The people still have control over what’s right and wrong, and the ultimate price for corruption. The public’s voice still rules.

That’s why the hero of the Penn State story is you. That’s right, you.

Just ask yourself these questions: Would Joe Paterno still be coaching at Penn State if the reaction to his cowardly enabling of an alleged child molester had not been so angry? Would the board of trustees have taken such a bold stand if it hadn’t been deluged with cries of protest? Would the Penn State fans have made the victims such a main theme of Saturday’s game if the public didn’t demand it?

Of course not. Nothing was going to happen until the public insisted on swift and decisive action. The outcry against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and the way Penn State chose to protect its reputation instead of his many alleged victims changed everything. In the end, no one could hide anymore, not even the bogus saint of college athletics, Joe Paterno.

Phils still cashing checks

The latest bold move by Ruben Amaro Jr. received the usual cheers by a fan base still adjusting to life in the luxury aisle of the baseball supermarket.

Jonathan Papelbon, the best closer available, is the newest Phillie. Bravo.

But if you listen closely, you can also pick up a murmur of concern. Four years and $50 million for the most unpredictable of commodities, the ninth-inning pitcher? Seriously? The last closer to get more than three years was B.J. Ryan. Remember him? Of course you don’t.

Amaro is creating an interesting internal debate between our desire to be the NL version of the Yankees and our basic understanding of economics. His aggressiveness is endearing to a blue-collar city like Philadelphia, but his increasingly irrational spending is not. Is Amaro leading us back to the World Series, or back to the talent-poor late 1990s?

Probably both. For now, Papelbon closing for Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels is ideal. A 97-mile-per-hour fastball after those three mound artists is the perfect blending of brains and brawn. But the price was way too high. The millions Papelbon will receive in 2015 are millions not available for the next big hitter or the next key pitcher.

Amaro is writing huge checks these days. Soon we will all pay a steep price for his generosity.

– Angelo Cataldi is the host of 610 WIP’s Morning Show, which airs weekdays 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
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