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PRAYING FOR THE END OF REID ERA PHILLY

Andy Reid has coached 177 games in his 12 years with the Eagles. Sunday was his worst. In fact, he performed so horribly, it is hard to imagine that he has won more games than any Eagles coach in his career here.

Andy Reid has coached 177 games in his 12 years with the Eagles. Sunday was his worst. In fact, he performed so horribly, it is hard to imagine that he has won more games than any Eagles coach in his career here.


How inept was Andy Reid in yet another season-opening loss? He was so clueless that he ruined the debut of his handpicked new quarterback, risked the physical well-being of two players, bungled the one key strategic decision he had to make and, of course, then insulted everybody’s intelligence with lame explanations.


Because of a game plan that defied logic, fans are already debating whether Kevin Kolb should be the starter in 2010. Three-plus years of painstaking effort by Kolb were flushed in one afternoon of jittery incompetence that none of us will forget, least of all Kolb himself. And make no mistake. Kolb was abysmal.
But why? Could it be because Reid was trying to protect him with the worst offensive


line of his coaching career, or because Kolb’s backup was shuffling in and out and breaking the rhythm of the offense? Or how about Reid’s continued ignorance of the run game, or his reluctance to use three-step drops that would have countered Green Bay’s rush?


Instead, Reid led Kolb to slaughter, literally and figuratively. Kolb never even played the second half because of a concussion sustained behind that porous offensive line, though he was foolishly allowed to re-enter the game after the injury. So was Stewart Bradley, whose dazed pirouette after a hideous collision somehow eluded the gaze of his coach.

The biggest break Reid got Sunday was the injury to Kolb, because it marked the arrival of Michael Vick and the departure of an implausible game plan. Vick did what he does best, improvising his way up and down the field until he reached the Green Bay 42-yard line at the two-minute warning. At that point, Reid was required to come up with a 1-yard play.


What the coach decided on was a quarterback draw from the shotgun, behind an overmatched line with a novice center. The result was predictable. Vick got devoured for no gain, and Reid’s day of dumb decisions was over.


Of course, his day of dumb comments was just beginning. After the game, Reid downplayed Kolb’s mistakes, praised Vick and defended the return of the injured players and said he was very confident that his fourth-and-one play was the right call.


At that point, our heads were spinning, and none of us even had a concussion. We started the day excited about the start of the Kevin Kolb era, and we closed it praying for the end of the Andy Reid era.


Vick puts foot in mouth


For a few minutes, he had me. After two years of spewing hatred for Michael Vick, I actually started to like him. Oh, not Michael Vick the man. That will never happen. No, I was starting to like Michael Vick the football player.


There was a point just before that final play of the last Eagles’ drive when I was actually thinking about wiping the slate clean and giving Vick another chance. That’s how dazzling he can be on the field, with his quick feet and powerful arm.


But then Vick brought me back to my senses, and all it took was one comment after the game. He was asked how he perceives himself after his best game since serving two years in federal prison for the abuse of dogs. Please keep in mind that his partner, Kevin Kolb, has called Vick a “great friend” and professed his love for his Eagles teammate.


“If I was out there for four quarters,” Vick said, “maybe we’d have a chance to win.”


Fifteen words. That’s all it took for Vick to start a quarterback controversy, to turn his back on a loyal friend and to begin the campaign to become No. 1.



Making MVP case for Chooch


Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels … the Phillies have a Murderer’s Row of candidates for team MVP, and none of them deserves it.
The honor goes to a low-profile catcher who has quietly led the team back into contention.


That’s right. The most important player on the 2010 Phillies has been Carlos Ruiz — otherwise known as Chooooooch!


Although statistics have never revealed the true value of a reliable catcher, Ruiz has built a compelling case with his numbers. Not only has his batting average hovered near .300 for most of the year, but he leads the Phils in on-base percentage, something unheard of for a slow footed-catcher. He has been reaching base four out of every 10 at-bats.


Add to those stats his exceptional work behind the plate and his knack for delivering in big moments, and what you have is an MVP. His low-maintenance style may cost him the attention he deserves, but it makes him even more appealing to his teammates.


My tendency in these columns and on my radio show is to concentrate on the loud and the lousy, but there comes a time even for me when brilliance demands acknowledgement.


– Angelo Cataldi is host of 610 WIP’s “Morning Show,” which airs weekdays from 5:30-10 a.m.


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