EVEN THE normally well-kept grass outside of the NovaCare Center was a bit scruffy yesterday - spotty and uneven.

At least that can be easily remedied with a good lawn cutting.

Fixing the mess of a football team that calls this facility home, however, is a far more daunting task.

For those who thought for the last 4 weeks that the Eagles have no concept of how to repair this team that has lost four consecutive games, coach Andy Reid confirmed it.

When asked specifically what he can do after Sunday's loss at Buffalo that is any different from what he failed at after the losses to Atlanta, New York and San Francisco, Reid rambled off this:

"I've said this before. It's important from my seat to make sure I evaluate if we're putting the players in the right positions to make plays, and then if the players put in the right position aren't making the plays, why, if they are there, that's not taking place.

"I go through the evaluation first, and then our coaches. I go through it with the coaches, both sides of it, for coaches and for players. I do the same thing with the players, as do the coaches."

Huh? What was that?

Reid rolled out 87 words, hardly taking a breath, to say what he always says: "I've got to put the players in better positions."

Over the previous 12 seasons, I've seen Reid gruff, angry, arrogant, dismissive. At one time or another, I've been on the receiving end of all of those emotions.

Not until this 13th season, however, have I seen this coach completely clueless. I'm not talking about failing to win Super Bowls or making occasional in-game coaching gaffes.

I'm talking about Reid having no idea about how to do one thing right to fix a team that commits so many fundamental mental and physical errors that it's become the joke of the NFL.

When Reid's solution to ending turnovers is, "What you do is you go back and to eliminate turnovers. You go back and again, you focus on, are you putting them in the right spot, and then if you're putting them in the right spot, are we concentrating, are we moving our feet the way we should move them, or whatever it might be that's causing the turnovers," you know Reid has no better positions to put them in.

Reid is so flustered he can't even keep track of the manure he's trying to shovel anymore.

Asked why highly compensated NFL players need to be taught discipline, Reid responded: "Well, listen, you keep working on fundamentals is what you do. You're saying discipline. I'm saying fundamentals."

Excuse me, but did you say to-may-to or to-mah-to?

"You keep working and working and working and teaching and teaching and teaching, and the more reps the players get at it, the better."

Yep, that was three "working" and three "teaching" in the same sentence.

Normally, when Reid talks in circles, it's because he intentionally doesn't want to tell you something.

Now, he just doesn't know what else to say.

"There's a couple things, but we've got to keep working is what we need to do," Reid babbled when asked whether the Eagles' biggest problem with tackling is technique, talent or effort. "And then make sure that we're putting the guys in the right position where they can make the tackles."

This coaching staff might not be very effective right now, but it isn't stupid. For 3 weeks, the coaches have been trying every trick in the coaching manual to get these players to perform better. They've talked about it. They've studied video. They've practiced it over and over. Yet for 4 straight Sundays, the players have gone onto the field and made the same bonehead blunders they did the week before and the week before that.

The wrong coaches running the wrong schemes with wrong players are doing too many things wrong to come up with the right solutions.

"There are some good things we can take out of this game," Reid said of the rotten performance in Buffalo. "I explained this to the team, when things are not looking very good in people's eyes, I thought the effort was good.

"I don't know if it's pressing. Do they want to win a game? Yeah, absolutely, the players want to win a game. So do the coaches and everybody else.

"But there is a certain process you go through and you go through it."

Yeah, that's what he just said - whatever that meant.

Send email to smallwj@phillynews.com.
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