Why Eagles coach Andy Reid said something that makes him the scariest kind of coach

Eagles QB Michael Vick spent a lot of time on the ground yesterday (Associated Press)

The Eagles lost yesterday to the Cardinals, turning the ball over three times. They are now second-to-last in turnover margin, despite being 2-1. And, as I mentioned in this week’s Rap Sheet Rundown, they need more from QB Michael Vick.

The extent they are willing to go to get Vick to pull himself together and play smarter is staggering. It is something I would not have predicted. And it tells you all you need to know about coach Andy Reid this year.

Reid told reporters earlier today that, while he supports Vick, he wasn’t ready to rule out a possible competition with rookie Nick Foles. “We’ll evaluate it as we go,” Reid said.

Forgive yourself if you gave a WHAT?! That’s what I did. It’s perfectly natural. But what does it mean? In my view, two very important things…

– Reid has two more years left on his contract that runs out in 2013. Owner Jeffrey Lurie has already said he’ll evaluate Reid following this season, and 8-8 isn’t good enough (duh). So, Reid is in an essential contract year. That makes him dangerous. What do I mean by that? He doesn’t give a … hoot. He doesn’t give an (expletive). He will do what the Eagles need to do to win, no matter how much it stings, no matter how much it hurts his relationship with one of his favorite players in Michael Vick, no matter what it does to the long-term of the team, no matter of anything.

By Reid opening things up at quarterback, he welcomed a quarterback controversy and endless questions. He also closed the door on the thought that he is entrenched with Vick. Reid will do what it takes to win, survive and either earn a new contract extension or leave on his own terms. He doesn’t need to worry about being popular in the locker room (though some must be wondering what’s up with Vick by now) because if he doesn’t win, he’s gone anyway. If you were to fight, you’d never want to tangle with someone who has nothing to lose. They can pull off anything. Reid is clearly coaching for his job, which, to me, indicates a QB switch sooner rather than later, if Vick’s play warrants it.

– The other thing is, the Eagles need to get through to Vick that he has to take care of the ball. He needs to unload quicker, and his decision-making needs to betray the athleticism that allows him to keep plays alive. Because he knows he can always buy time and throw for a touchdown, he doesn’t protect himself. Vick allows himself to get drilled and tossed around, and he fumbles. The Eagles need to put a stop to them. How to do it?

By openly discussing the fact that Vick might lose his job. Want to teach a player a lesson? Or appeal to him? Hit him where it hurts — not in the pocketbook, but on the field. Threaten his playing time. My assumption is that the Eagles have been quietly pleading with Vick to take better care of the ball and make smarter decisions. Hasn’t happened, though they’ve still somehow won two of three. Now, Vick’s job is up for debate. Wanna bet he makes a move to change things now? That’s another benefit of Reid saying what he said. Vick knows he much change.

A lot to watch going forward…

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