Andy Reid said defensive line coach Jim Washburn would have been fired on Monday regardless of whether or not the Eagles lost on Sunday night in Dallas.
“It was something I’d been pondering for a while,” Reid said at his weekly day-after press conference.
Reid said the decision to fire Washburn was made on Monday morning, not immediately after the Dallas game. He was asked if Washburn’s firing had anything to do with his conduct, with varying reports saying Washburn became a destructive force inside the locker room.
“I will just say that there’s things I was disappointed in,” Reid said. “I’m not going to go into any great details on why. Nobody else made this move. This was not a move to try and save my job. This was a move that needed to be done now.”
When asked whether Washburn had an issue with last week’s surprising release of Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin, whom Washburn had coached in Tennessee and brought to Philadelphia, Reid said: “When he talked to me, he was fine with it.”
That seemingly was said to imply that Washburn did have an issue once outside Reid’s office.
Defensive end Brandon Graham said Washburn was clearly distraught about Babin’s release.
“I feel like that hurt him a little bit,” Graham said. “He didn’t know that they were releasing him until he was actually gone. I know that was one of his guys. We all loved Babin while he was here, but I think it did get to him.
Graham said Washburn hinted at not returning for next season, which is why the firing surprised him.
“I didn’t see it coming,” Graham said. “I probably saw it coming after the season, he was talking about little stuff that he might not be here. He said ‘let’s play the hardest 5 weeks that we can and whatever happens, happens.’ After Babin left, he said anything can happen.”
WIDE 9 IS DEAD? Brandon Graham made his first start of the season in the Wide 9 defense on Sunday night in Dallas.
Turns out, it will be his only appearance in the Wide 9.
Speaking just a few hours after defensive line coach Jim Washburn was fired on Monday morning, Graham said he caught up with the re-hired Tommy Brasher, who acknowledged that the Wide 9 is effectively dead.
“I know we won’t be in 9 techniques,” Graham said. “We haven’t spoke on the (other) parts yet.”
Reid would not say the Wide 9 is totally dead yet, saying it “just won’t be as prominent in the defense.” He said Brasher will “blend things” and that he is “very flexible, which is important.”
Reid also said defensive coordinator Todd Bowles will have “an influence” on whatever scheme is put into place. That’s important, considering Washburn was hired before a replacement could be named for then-fired coordinator Sean McDermott. Usually, it’s the coordinator who brings in the line coach of his choosing.
Graham, who notched 1.5 sacks, 6 tackles and 4 hits to Tony Romo in his long-awaited breakout game, said it won’t be that difficult to go back to a more traditional technique. He personally went through 3 different coordinators in his time at the University of Michigan, in addition to two head coaches.
“It’s not going to be that bad,” Graham said. “My rookie year, I’ve still got a lot in my memory bank with stuff that I can do. Just being at Michigan, I played read-attack.”
Reid said he brought back Brasher because he “understands exactly what I’m about.” With 4 games remaining, he wants Brasher to have a positive impact on players like Graham and rookie Vinny Curry - in addition to the “young” coaching staff.
Brasher has not yet been made available to the media.
“I just went up and introduced myself, he talked about himself, saying he’s been here 3 times in his career,” Graham said. “He said it’s like being like family here. It sucked. It seemed like we were just having a lot of problems, especially on defense. As hard as us and Coach Bowles have worked, it’s not reflecting on the field. I don’t want to see nobody go. But you’ve got to get it right.
“It sucks that Coach Washburn has to go, because I was really starting to get his scheme.”
If it’s taken until Week 13 of his second year in command for players to “start to get his scheme,” it’s probably a good sign that it wasn’t working.
FOLES STARTING: With the firing of defensive line coach Jim Washburn stealing headlines on Monday, Reid also named Nick Foles as his starting quarterback for the remainder of the season at his weekly press conference.
Foles, 23, strung together his most impressive performance of the season on Sunday night in Dallas, going 22-for-34 for 251 yards and 1 touchdown throw to Riley Cooper.
Even with Michael Vick in Phase 4 of the concussion protocol, Reid said it was the “right thing to do” to name Foles the starter.
“With where we’re at in the season, he gives us a good opportunity to finish that up,” Reid said. “This (concussion) thing has carried on for a while now. The most important thing I want to do is make sure that Michael is healthy so he can have a good, long career.”
Reid said he already noticed an improvement in Foles’ footwork, throws and command of the offense after 3 starts in place of Vick. The Eagles’ third round pick has completed 60.9 percent of his passes - though he has more interceptions (3) than he does touchdown passes (2).
Reid said Vick would likely be the No. 2 quarterback, ahead of veteran Trent Edwards, on the depth chart whenever he does return.
OTHER INJURIES: Kurt Coleman is day-to-day with a cartilage bruise in his sternum / rib area ... LeSean McCoy remains in Phase 3 of the concussion protocol. Reid was not asked about Bryce Brown possibly being the permanent starter at running back, even though he has exploded for 349 yards in his first two professional starts, the highest two-week total of any Eagle running back in 63 years.
QUOTABLE: "We haven't. I'm sure we will get there at some point."
-Reid on whether he has had any discussions yet with Eagles owner Jeff Lurie about his own job status.