Reid is luckiest coach in modern NFL history

Incredibly, Eagles players are still buying what he's selling.

PHILADELPHIA

— A system and method that should rightfully have led to a complete revolt by now instead has the Philadelphia Eagles seemingly tighter than ever, blindly loyal and determined to hold hands while riding right over the cliff that coach Andy Reid is leading them to at the speed of light.

Actually, they've already started the free fall. But bless their souls, they just don't know it yet.

Following a shameful 30-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, not one player in the somber home locker room at Lincoln Financial Field would admit to his faith being shaken by the placebo-like snake oil Reid keeps selling week after week after week.

The Eagles, 3-4 this season, 11-12 over the last two seasons and 11-15 since a miraculous comeback road victory over the New York Giants in December 2010, keep getting worse, even in the games they win.

After Sunday's travesty, in which the man chosen to replace the man who was in over his head as defensive coordinator called the worst game in Reid's 14 seasons on the job, it's valid to question whether they'll win again this year.

Less than two weeks after replacing Juan Castillo with Todd Bowles, the Eagles gave up scores on each of Atlanta's first six offensive possessions, fell behind by 20 fourth-quarter points and completely alienated their fan base in the process.

The Linc was empty for almost the entire fourth quarter, and the mass exodus of furious fans had absolutely nothing to do with the nasty arrival of Hurricane Sandy. Had it been sunny and 65 degrees with unlimited free Yuenglings for everyone 21 and over, there still wouldn't have been nearly enough incentive to stick around for the slop being served by the home team on this day.

Yet the players remain tight, their faith not shaken one bit.

"Yes, [the problems] are fixable," middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "We just have to be honed up on what we are doing, attention to detail on your job. And when it's that time, you've got to step up and make the play. On third down, it's big-time leaders who've got to step up and make those plays.

"No, [Bowles] had nothing to do with it. It all comes down to the players making plays."

Defensive end Jason Babin agreed, saying the defense will remain "all on board.

"Nobody's throwing the towel in, nobody's quitting," he added. "We're taking responsibility for what's happened out here. No one is blaming anyone else. We're together, we're a team, we're a family and we're going to keep fighting."

Safety Kurt Coleman admitted to more confusion in the secondary, particularly on the game's first touchdown, a 15-yard pass from Matt Ryan to Drew Davis in which three defenders froze in their tracks.

"They [went] fake rocket and go," he said. "Through the film study, I hadn't seen them do that 15 and beyond. They did that from 5 yards out but not 15. I think it was just that [CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie] saw it one way, [CB Brandon] Boykin saw it another way and I saw it another way. We just weren't on the same page there."

Correction: They weren't on the same page ever on this day.

The Falcons ran their offense as if they had Bill Belichick breaking down films of every one of the Eagles' practices — after sitting in on every minute of their defensive meetings.

And yet Coleman's confidence in the system still hasn't been shaken whatsoever.

"When it came down to it, in the first half, we just shot ourselves in the foot too many times," Coleman said. "In the second half, we played a lot better but obviously they weren't trying to go down the field as much. Their game plan kind of changed.

"We have to find a way to win. We have to look ourselves in the mirror and every man has to do their job so we can find a way to win. ... We have nine games left and we have a big game this week. We have to come back. I'm not giving up on this team and I still think we have what it takes to go forward. We have five division games left, so we have time but the time has to be now."

Bowles, a calm and bright middle-aged coach, may get this defense turned around in time. But there is no disputing the game he called in his debut was infinitely worse than the worst game ever called by Castillo, whose initial promotion after an eternity spent as offensive line coach was controversial in the first place.

Fact is, the Falcons could have scored every time they touched the ball on this day if they needed to.

And we haven't even started on the Eagles' offense, which is destined for last in the NFL in point production, an offensive line with too many missing pieces and punt and kickoff return teams that remain so hideously bad that Brandon Boykin should be fined a minimum of $20,000 every time he even thinks about taking a ball out of the end zone.

Andy Reid lost the fans on Sunday. They won't be back until he is fired or the Eagles win a Super Bowl, whatever comes first.

But darned if he's lost his locker room. He hasn't even come close.

For that, he remains the luckiest man on the face of the earth ... the earth ... the earth ... now that Lou Gehrig is no longer among them.

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