Sunday, December 21, 2014

Pointless to criticize Eagles' play-calling?

It's a subject we discussed during every in-game chat last season, and it was rehashed constantly in the days following every loss.

Pointless to criticize Eagles' play-calling?

Do fans have the right to criticize Andy Reid and the Eagles for their play-calling? (AP)
Do fans have the right to criticize Andy Reid and the Eagles for their play-calling? (AP)

It's a subject we discussed during every in-game chat last season, and it was rehashed constantly in the days following every loss.

When the Eagles were faced with a third-and-one, we talked about it.

When they found themselves inside the opponents' 5-yard line, it constantly came up.

Play-calling.

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Run vs. pass. Long vs. short. Gutsy vs. conservative.

We talked about it every week.

But do fans have any business criticizing Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg for their play calls?

One national radio host sure doesn't think so.

ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd sounded off last week, taking issue with those who question NFL play-calling, and using Eagles fans as his example.

"I'll give you one other group of fans that drive me nuts, and equally drive me nuts," he said. "It is call on a Monday during the NFL season and bitch about play-calling. That drives me bonkers. And here's why it drives me bonkers. Andy Reid watches 45 hours of tape. Andy Reid knows the Eagles' tendencies. He knows the opponents' tendencies. He knows injuries and probabilities. They actually use these things called computers. He knows his personnel. He's got 15 assistant coaches. He watches film all week. Monday through Wedensday, he sleeps at his office. And Bobby from the Shipyard calls on Monday and tears him apart. Local radio allows that on the air. I will not. I'll hang up on you."

950 ESPN's Mike Missanelli had Cowherd on his show earlier this week to talk about his comments. You can listen to that podcast here.

It should be noted that Cowherd was referring to all NFL fans, not just ones in this city. He just chose to use Eagles fans as his example.

It is my feeling that anyone who follows sports can have an opinion and should be allowed to voice that opinion. Without that, there would be no sports-talk radio, no sports blogs, etc.

Most reasonable fans would concede that coaches and GMs know more about football than them.

But just because Tom Heckert examines the draft more closely than fans doesn't mean we have to keep quiet about who the Eagles should pick.

Now do some fans get carried away with the whole play-calling thing from time to time? Sure. The same play-call can be termed brilliant or moronic, depending on whether it works or not.

My rule for criticizing play-calling is that you must take a stance before the ball is snapped. In other words, during our chats last season, I would sometimes make comments like, "If they throw the ball here, I'm going to slam my head into my keyboard."

So if they did throw the ball, and it didn't work, I felt perfectly within my rights as a sports fan to criticize the call.

What do you think? Does that work for you? Or is Cowherd right?

Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
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