You Talking to Me? Players sound so rankled, Reid may have to run for it

From: Gonzalez, John

To: Lyon, Bill; Sheridan, Phil

Subject: Dissension in the ranks?

When asked why the Eagles didn't run more against Washington, Brian Westbrook paused a second before saying: "I don't ask questions. Coach saw something that dictated that we should pass the ball."

I was standing next to Westbrook at the time. The way he said it made him seem frustrated.

Then, on Monday, Jon Runyan was on Daily News Live. Naturally, the panelists were trying to get Runyan to agree that the Eagles should run more. Finally, after sitting in silence for a while, Runyan tersely replied, "It's not going to happen."

Is it possible that the players are as frustrated with Andy Reid as the rest of the populace is right now?

From: Lyon, Bill

To: Gonzalez, John; Sheridan, Phil

Subject: Dissension in the ranks?

Train your binoculars off the port side. See that very small boat bobbing about in that very large ocean? It bears one solitary passenger - Capt. Andrew Reid, late of the HMS Bounty, er, Good Ship Iggles, cast adrift by a crew turned mutinous. They have cracked open the rum barrels and are chanting derisively: "Run the ball, run the ball . . ."

Are the Eagles themselves as frustrated as their fandom? you ask. How could they not be?

From: Sheridan, Phil

To: Lyon, Bill; Sheridan, Phil

Subject: Dissension in the ranks?

Well, that is a much more important issue than whether the media or the fans are confused and upset by Reid's fresh case of the Pass Fever.

One of the things I noticed during the three-game winning streak was how much the players were into the game plan. They were pumped to be going out there committed to a running game, and they played accordingly.

It isn't a reach to wonder whether they were so flat Sunday because they did not buy into what they were being asked to do. You can make a player follow orders, but you can't make him like what he has to do - especially when he's just seen his own instincts confirmed for three weeks.

This is how coaches lose teams.

On a more important note: Favorite food you get only around the holiday season? I'm going with mince pie, which I get to enjoy in abundance because hardly anyone else likes it.

From: Lyon, Bill

To: Gonzalez, John; Sheridan, Phil

Subject: Dissension in the ranks?

The coach's mantra is always that he needs to do a better job putting the players in position to win. When, week after week, he does not, surely the players grind their teeth in anguish and despair . . . making sure that their disenchantment is not viewed by the public.

The coach's tenure has reached a full decade now, far longer than the industry's norm. The problem is it's always the mutineers who are sacked, because the captain holds the keys to the rum.

Re food: No snickering at the old guy, but give me one of those much-maligned fruitcakes. You know, the shot put wrapped in cellophane. Hey, they'll keep 'til August. Of 2012. Your colon will thank you.

From: Gonzalez, John

To: Lyon, Bill; Sheridan, Phil

Subject: Dissension in the ranks?

I totally agree that the players have to buy into what the coach is asking. Otherwise, they tune out. The moment Jim Cohen fenced me into Page 2, I began sticking extra pins into his voodoo doll. I suspect Westbrook and Runyan are doing the same thing to an Andy Reid dummy as we speak.

Re food: Every Christmas Eve, my wonderful 83-year-old Italian grandmother makes sausage bread. It's a homemade roll of baked dough, sausage and cheese - similar to stromboli, but superior in quality and taste. This year, I will finally achieve my lifelong goal of eating my weight in sausage bread at the Christmas Eve dinner.

Happy holidays to you and yours, everyone.