This afternoon, we learned that the Eagles and Chargers have decided to maintain the status quo in their front offices and keep their coaching regimes intact. In Philadelphia, the Andy Reid-Howie Roseman duo will live on, while Norv Turner and A.J. Smith have officially survived another disappointing season in San Diego.
A month ago, Reid’s status was very much in doubt, while Turner and Smith were considered as good as gone. But to finish the season, the Eagles went 4-0, outscoring their opponents 125-46 to make an unlikely run at the NFC East title, while the Chargers went 4-1 in December and January, outscoring their opponents 157-102.
Let’s take a quick look at the merits of the four architects who failed to deliver until it was too late in 2011:
To his credit: The mishmash of players he and Roseman accumulated in the offseason didn’t have a lot of time to form cohesion. It could be argued that they simply didn’t find their stride until it was too late. This is only the fourth time the Eagles have missed the playoffs during Reid’s 12-year reign.
But… They haven’t won a playoff game since 2008, and some will argue that Reid was reckless in failing to address needs in the linebacking corps while making the inexperienced Juan Castillo the offensive coordinator prior to the 2011 season.
The GLS verdict: He deserved to stay on. Some wanted Reid to pay the price for overindulging in the free-agent market last offseason, but a lot of that was on Roseman, too. Besides, Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins panned out fantastically and the highly-criticized offensive line really improved during the course of the season.
To his credit: Free-agent signings Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins had great seasons, the move to acquire Jason Peters is suddenly paying off and signing potential All-Pro guard Evan Mathis cheap was one of the most underrated moves of the 2011 offseason.
But… He hasn’t hit on an early-round draft pick since being promoted to general manager in 2010, and the Nnamdi Asomugha signing was probably a mistake considering holes at other positions.
The GLS verdict: He deserves one more year to prove that the 2011 bonanza might still pay off.
To his credit: The Chargers have a 49-31 record, three division titles and three playoff victories since he took over in 2007.
But… The team has failed to win a bad division or get into the playoffs the last two years, despite having one of the most talented offenses in football.
The GLS verdict: One bad year happens. But this season, they proved that 2010 wasn’t an anomaly. They simply start too slow and make too many mistakes…again. If the expectations were high enough to can Marty Schottenheimer after a 14-2 season, they should have been high enough to fire Turner, who has failed to win 10 games three of the last four years.
To his credit: Prior to his appointment as GM, the Bolts had won just 14 games in three years. He’s done a great job in the draft, getting guys like Philip Rivers, Shawne Merriman, Vincent Jackson, Darren Sproles, Antonio Cromartie, Marcus McNeill and Eric Weddle in bargain spots and plucking Antonio Gates as an undrafted free agent in his first season.
But… The team’s rise in 2004 had a lot more to do with LaDainian Tomlinson and Drew Brees, who were drafted by the previous regime. And with hindsight, letting Brees go in 2006 probably wasn’t a very good decision. He’s also failed to add playmakers to the defense, which has unsurprisingly failed to make big plays in recent seasons.
The GLS verdict: He’s given Turner enough talent to compete year after year. His track record isn’t perfect, but the Chargers have drafted extremely well and held their ground in free agency. He deserved to keep his job.