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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Reflecting on the Eagles and Brian Dawkins

You still hear every now and then commentary on Philadelphia talk radio that dings the Eagles' management for not re-signing safety Brian Dawkins. Yes, I liked Dawkins an awful lot, and, yes, I think he was a great player. But, truth be told, I also winced as some of Dawkins' play last season -- where he appeared to be a step or too short of making the play. (I also winced and would-be replacement Quentin Demps' play in last year's NFC Championship Game, too).

Here are a few points in defense of the Eagles:

1. Andy Reid has a pretty solid track record of success, even if he hasn't won a Super Bowl. (He and Marv Levy are probably the two best NFL coaches not to win a Super Bowl).

2. Andy Reid usually is right about when a player's time is up. Somehow, the Eagles goofed on DE Derrick Burgess (and some free-agent signings in the inbound lane), but for the most part they've known when to let go of key players -- such as Hugh Douglas, Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor, Jeremiah Trotter (both times) and others.

3. Dawkins' play wasn't all that good last year. While I share concerns that the only way a team should let a player go is if they have a better replacement, it seemed that for the Eagles to continue at an elite level, they needed an upgrade at safety. Yes, I also share concerns that Dawkins' leadership will be hard to replace (but I still give him and Trotter, among others, demerits for not standing steadfastly by Donovan McNabb in his fractured relationship with Terrell Owens. Had leaders like Dawkins and Trotter taken Owens to the woodshed and told him that his antics would not be tolerated, the Eagles might not have lost that particular season and the horrible drama that ensued might not have). The latter point might or might not be a major one, but overall I'll remember Dawkins as a great player and a good leader. There is no doubt that he will be missed.

4. The Eagles have gone to 5 NFC title games in the past 10 seasons. That's a pretty amazing record. Sure, they haven't climbed the mountain totally yet, and it could be that Andy Reid's ways of handling personnel matters might prevent the team from getting to the summit. That said, Eagles' fans, because of his presence, have a better chance of seeing a Super Bowl victory from him than they would from most other coaches in the NFL.


Blogger Bob said...

Regarding great coaches who've never won the Super Bowl we have to remember Bud Grant. Like Levy he lost four Super Bowls, but had a winning percentage over 60% and is in the Hall of Fame. Anyone else missing?

10:47 AM  
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11:28 AM  

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