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The Long Knives

Jan 3, 2006, 3:07 AM EST

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The Long Knives
It wasn’t quite as much fun perusing the Philly area papers to hear their post-mortems on the Eagles game and on their 6-10 season as it was reading the locals moan the fates of the Giants and Cowboys. The Philadelphia writers just didn’t seem to have the edge to their commentary that those in New York and Texas did. Still, they did seem to enjoy kicking them while they were down.

Columnist Mike Sielski had this to say in PhillyBurbs.com:

A few minutes after Andy Reid assured everyone that yes, the Eagles were in fact attempting to win football games over these last five weeks, the man who coined the most infamous phrase of 21st century Philadelphia sports bent down to talk to one of the architects of this 6-10 disaster.

“Good effort, Mike,” Jeffrey Lurie said to Mike McMahon in the Lincoln Financial Field locker room. “Good stuff out there.”

So this is what the “gold standard” has been reduced to: the Eagles’ owner praising the effort of a backup quarterback of questionable competence. Lurie will have to live with those two words haunting him until the Eagles win the Super Bowl. That is his penance, and it might be a long one. After the Eagles’ 31-20 loss to Washington on Sunday, now that this nightmare is over, never in Reid’s seven seasons as head coach has a championship felt so far away for this franchise. Never has major change been so necessary
. . . . .

The Eagles – their players, their coaches, their front-office folks – have been quick to pin their problems this season on circumstance, on sports hernias and ankle sprains and blood clots and gunshots and Owens’ cancerous effect on his teammates. But the Eagles were a mediocre team – 4-3, coming off a humiliating defeat in Denver – before the injuries started to accumulate, before the Owens situation exploded for the last time. They weren’t going back to the Super Bowl, or the postseason, because, put simply, they didn’t have the talent to get there. All the excuses were ex post facto.

And there’s this from Phil Sheridan on Philly.com:

As awful as he was, Owens is just one guy. Why were so many of his teammates influenced so much?

The unfortunate answer is that there are a bunch of players on this team who were all too eager to heap as much blame as possible for the Super Bowl loss on Donovan McNabb. A lot of them bought into Owens’ slander campaign against the quarterback because it helped cover for their own disappointing performances in that game.

That’s the ugly truth a lot of these players need to face during this off-season. And it’s an ugly truth Reid is going to have to consider in deciding which players can be part of a winning culture in 2006 and which can’t.

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