Andy Reid: 'I leave Philadelphia saying that I gave it my all'
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Given perhaps one last chance to throw someone from the Eagles under the bus, Andy Reid took the road he traveled for 14 years in Philadelphia.
But the ex-Eagles coach, upon his formal introduction as the Chiefs new head coach, subtly gave some insight into why it all went so wrong during his last two seasons.
Asked if the decline could have been avoided if he had more say on the direction of the team, Reid said no. But he did intimate that the "joint effort" of the Eagles' decision-makers was no longer producing the desired results.
"This is what's important, that everybody is pulling in the same direction," Reid said Monday at Arrowhead Stadium. "It's really not one guy making the decision. That's not how it works.
"When it's working right, it's a joint effort to make the decision. It's not one guy sitting in there with a hammer. When that gets out of whack it goes downhill real fast. If that's skewed at all, it goes downhill real fast."
The Eagles went downhill, but how fast it occurred is up for debate. But over Reid's final two seasons, the team went 8-8 and then 4-12 without a playoff appearance after he went 128-82-1 and reached the playoffs in nine of his first 12 seasons with the Eagles.
"It didn't end the way any of us wanted it to end," Reid said. "That's the bottom line. It was completely my responsibility. When you have a chance to step back here in the last few days, really it was the body of work that took place over time. That's what I will remember. I won't remember the last game or the last year."
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie fired Reid on Dec. 31, a day after the Eagles were embarrassed by the New York Giants, 42-7. Two days later, Reid was interviewing with the Chiefs. And two days after that he signed a five-year contract with a franchise that is perhaps worse off than the one he went to 14 years ago.
In a conference call with Philadelphia-area reporters, Reid said that he thought the Eagles were "in a better place now than when I took over" even though the team finished with just one more win than in 3-13 1998 season.
But he admitted that "change is good. In a lot of cases it can be very good," Reid said.
Lurie said last week that the Eagles, after reaching certain heights - a 2004 Super Bowl appearance was the high mark - started reaching for quick fixes. There were drafts that emphasized filling specific holes as opposed to taking the best player available. And there were coaching moves that blew up in Reid's face.
One of the most controversial was promoting offensive line coach Juan Castillo, who Reid fired after six games this season, as his defensive coordinator in January, 2011.
"I don't regret that decision at all," Reid said of promoting Castillo.
Reid was not asked if he regretted hiring Jim Washuburn and bringing his wide-nine scheme to the Eagles, although his firing of the defensive line coach in early December suggested as much.
Reid seemed to agree with Lurie's assessment and suggested that he didn't make the necessary changes because he wasn't afforded the time to tear things up and start over again. But the Eagles missed the playoffs in four of his last eight seasons.
"To make those changes and keep it going, that's a very tough thing to do because of the expectations," said Reid, who had final say for most of his 14 seasons. "You don't have that opportunity to sit back and rebuild it. That's not how it works. That's where change can help. Change buys you a year or two to get that thing going."
Lurie started enacting change within the Eagles front office when team president Joe Banner was phased out last offseason. With Reid gone as well, only general manager Howie Roseman and Lurie remain among the decision makers from the last three years.
Lurie exonerated Roseman for many of the failed personnel decisions from 2010-11. Reid, asked about that during his conference call, did not answer if that jibed with his recollection. He did say that Roseman was "going to be phenomenal. He's going to do a great job."
Reid said that he planned to take some of his former assistants from the Eagles with him. He left Philadelphia without one thing, and that was saying goodbye. The Eagles had a press conference scheduled for Reid on Monday after he was fired, but he opted to not have it.
Reid hinted that he didn't talk because he was already being pursued by other teams.
"This whole whirlwind started kind of then," Reid said. "I had to address the players, which I wanted to do. I had the address the organization, which I wanted to do. And then you're moving. You're moving onto the next thing. . . . It wasn't out of disrespect for the people of Philadelphia at all."
Reid said he chose to remember the good times. His best memory, he said, was reaching Super Bowl XXXIX. It was also his biggest regret.
"We were all there to win a Super Bowl, but we came up short. That's the bottom line," Reid said. "But listen, we got there. A lot of people never had that opportunity."
Contact Jeff McLane at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.