Friday, July 29, 2011

Kolb trade proves Reid is one of NFL's best

Eagles coach Andy Reid - courtesy of Scott T. Sturkol
By John McMullen

PHILADELPHIA (The Phanatic Magazine) - Turn on sports radio in Philadelphia, and you will hear a similar refrain over and over -- the local fans appreciate hard work and hustle.

It's become a tired cliche in this town. 'You don't have to be a superstar, just play hard.'

In fact, the tag line for the Philly faithful goes something like this: "This is a blue-collar town. If you bust your a**, people will love you."

Well, then how do you explain Eagles head coach Andy Reid?

Reid is a true superstar in his profession. A coach with five NFC championship games and a Super Bowl on his resume renowned for his tireless work ethic.

Mention Reid's name around the NFL and people practically genuflect when talking about him. However, he's never been well-liked by his own fans.

Sure, Reid, at least in public, has the personality of a wet mop and the charisma of the bag boy at your local grocery store, but he's also turned the Eagles into a consistently solid, respected team in the NFC.

A colleague of mine told me the one word that best describes the relationship between fans of the Eagles and Reid is "overexposure."

I countered with "spoiled."

Yep, the same fans who suffered through Joe Kuharich, Mike McCormack, Marion Campbell, Rich Kotite and Ray Rhodes think those five NFC championship games aren't good enough.

The latest example of Reid's brilliance and the cachet he carries around the league was the Kevin Kolb trade in which the Eagles sent an unproven commodity out to the desert for a young cornerback that has already made the Pro Bowl in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, along with a second round pick.

On paper, it looks like a steal for the Birds because -- well it is.

But understand the Cardinals, who signed Kolb to a massive extension despite his 3-4 career record as a starter and his 11-to-14 touchdown-to-interception ratio, aren't betting on the Texas native, they are going all in on Reid and the assumption that the game's quarterback guru worked his magic on Kolb.

In truth he did and didn't.

"I think [Kolb's] hard work is rewarded for him having the position that he’s in, and rewarding this football team by him leaving, we're able to get first-round compensation and a second round pick," Reid said after pulling off a heist Bonnie and Clyde would have been proud of. "Obviously, Dominique is a first-round talent at corner, and you get the second round pick. That tells you that other people believed he was a good football player."

Reid was able to use smoke and mirrors to convince others that Kolb was still a prospect, even though he threw in the towel on him quickly last year after seeing the Houston product wilt when the real bullets were flying.

I suppose Reid's unpopularity in Phiilly all boils down to the lack of a Super Bowl title, but "Big Red" has once again given himself a solid shot at the brass ring.

Perceived defensive deficiencies have been filled with the additions of Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin along with Rodgers-Cromartie. And the Eagles are set to replace Kolb with a much more talented backup quarterback in Vince Young.

Heck, give Andy one year with V.Y. and he may get another second round pick.

As always, one thing is assured for the Eagles this season, win or lose -- they will be prepared. They always are.

"None of us can predict the future, and that’s what makes [sports] such a great thing," Reid said. "You prepare like crazy to perform at the highest level you can."

Reid has already performed at the highest level and cemented himself as the best NFL coach not named Bill Belichick -- whether Philly knows it or not.

Robinson Cano Autographed Baseball

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