Andy Reid's in-studio appearance on the WIP Morning Show today was pretty entertaining, if you were looking for something to distract you from the dilemma of how Derian Hatcher standing up Evgeni Malkin and denying him untrammeled access to the net last night could be construed as "hooking." (And yeah, the tortured explanation offered on Versus made absolutely no sense, which fit the tone of the broadcast perfectly.)
Anyhow, Angelo Cataldi assumed his familiar guise as the voice of the fan who thinks the team is going to hell in a handbasket, who doesn't understand why Reid can't see that. Reid assumed his familiar guise as the coach who thinks he has a championship-level team, who can't understand why everyone isn't more optimistic. In seven months or so, we'll know which one of them is badly mistaken.
"We're looking at, really, 5-8 before the last three games that didn't matter for the playoff situation, and we see the holes that were on the team, and we don't see that even with the addition of (players Reid was just discussing), the teams that were all above you in the standings all made big moves, too ... you don't look at that and say, 'We didn't catch up?' You say, 'We caught up?' " Cataldi asked.
"I thought we were there at the end of the year," Reid said, referring to how the Eagles finished with three wins in a row, two of them after they were out of playoff contention. "Now I know you're not counting the last three games, because that's what you get paid to do. I'm counting the last three games, because that's what I get paid to do. You finish on a roll, and you carry that over into the next year. We've got good players, L.J. Smith will be back with us, our secondary looks strong, we've added a few players in there. I feel very good about the (upcoming) year. Again, there's a lot of hard work ahead, I understand that."
The best moment might have been when Reid took issue with Cataldi's assertion that the Birds' brass cares more about tomorrow than today, as evidenced by the team again trading away its first-round draft pick (for a package from Carolina many observers have said no team picking 19th overall would have turned down -- a first-rounder next year and second- and fourth-rounders in last month's draft). After all the dealing was done, the Eagles were able to trade a fourth-rounder to Miami for running back Lorenzo Booker, and draft safety Quintin Demps and offensive lineman Mike McGlynn in the fourth. And of course, they have that extra first-rounder, to use next year or package in a trade.
"We question your own personal urgency to win now," Cataldi said. "We're desperate now, we don't like to wait a year, and we went crazy --"
"Angelo, stop," Reid said, cutting off the host. "We're not waiting a year. We're going to win right now. Right now! We all have the urgency, you're saying ---"
"But why did you trade your first-round pick?" Cataldi asked.
"Angelo, come on now. Think of the deal we got right there," Reid said. "We picked up two guys we think will help us. We traded back and picked up a wide receiver everybody had as a first-round player (DeSean Jackson, who actually dropped out of a lot of first rounds after weighing in at 169 at the combine). All these mock-round whizzes, and so on -- this guy had first-round value, and he happened to fall to the second round."
Reid asked who might have been better at 19 than Jackson and the extra picks. Ex-Eagle Hugh Douglas offered the names of running back Rashard Mendenhall and safety Kenny Phillips. Reid disagreed, given the strength of the overall package. :"The guys that we picked up, we think can come in and help us. We felt comfortable at that time, obviously, turning those players down and going after the deal that we did."
Also, Reid gigged Cataldi for never coming out to watch practice. Sidekick Rhea Hughes (who actually has come to practice) stuck up for Cataldi, taking the view that coming to practice might turn one into Howard Eskin. (Rhea, they offer depilatory creams for that.)