All rest and no play puts the Eagles at risk

Discussion in 'NFL Zone' started by Signals, Jan 4, 2005.

  1. Signals

    Signals Suspicious looking stranger

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    The Eagles are the best team in the NFC, but coach Andy Reid made a mistake that I think will cost them in the playoffs.

    Reid benched several of his key players, including Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook and Jevon Kearse, for all or most of each of Philadelphia's last two games. Reid was being cautious, trying to limit his best players' exposure to injury as the Eagles enter the playoffs. After locking up the No. 1 seed in the NFC in Week 15, that was his prerogative.

    But that's the wrong way to approach the playoffs. If your motivation for sitting regulars is concern about possible injuries, then you're living in fear, and that's no way to win a championship. Nor is it wise to show preferential treatment to certain players. And when you say, "Oh, no, we lost Terrell Owens; we'd better pull McNabb and Westbrook because we can't afford another injury," you're saying your team is built around one guy -- that you're not a complete team that can overcome a loss. That's the wrong message to send to your team.

    By the time the Eagles play in the divisional round of the playoffs, they will have gone a month without their starters playing competitive football. That's a long time to be sitting around. The Eagles are approaching the playoffs like many teams approach the preseason -- sitting the regulars, then hoping they can flip a switch and play at a high level. Some teams can do that, but many can't, which is why there are so many early-season upsets. Similarly, teams that haven't had everyone on the field playing together at game speed are ripe for a postseason upset.

    Atlanta's Jim Mora realized this. He sat many of his regulars in Week 16, and the Falcons looked miserable in a loss to New Orleans. So he played his healthy regulars, including Michael Vick, against the Seahawks last Sunday, at least for part of the game. That Atlanta lost was irrelevant; Mora just wanted to keep everyone sharp. He would rather risk losing a star player than expect his starters to suddenly perform well after a long period of inactivity. I agree with that.

    The Eagles ran away with the NFC, but it's a bad conference. They're not battle-tested enough to have been sitting their stars. I understand Reid's reasoning, but I'll be surprised if it doesn't backfire on him -- and cost the team a trip to the Super Bowl.
  2. joseephuss

    joseephuss Well-Known Member

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    If any of their starters got injured, people would have questioned why Reid had them playing in a meaningless game. He was kind of in a no win situation. I do think there is a balance of getting his players some rest and keeping them in a rythym. I think winning their division and home field advantage early earns them the right to rest guys. He probably would have done the same thing even if T.O. wasn't hurt. I know I wish Dallas was in the same situation.

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