Kragthorpe: Eagles' loss caps rough weekend for ex-BYU teammates
Kyle Whittingham loves Andy Reid's consistency, how he's the same guy every day.
After their teams were overwhelmed this weekend, Whittingham and Reid looked and sounded like practically the same person.
The combined score: Greater Phoenix Football Teams 64, Teams Coached by Former BYU Players 13.
After the Philadelphia Eagles' 27-6 loss to Arizona at University of Phoenix Stadium, Reid followed Whittingham's self-indictment for the University of Utah's defeat at Arizona State by saying Sunday, "I have to get my football team ready to play, and I did a terrible job this week."
Reid used the phrase "my responsibility" no fewer than four times during a postgame interview session that was more tense and terse than Whittingham's, but featured basically the same tone and theme.
The displays of accountability were more admirable than the actual coaching performances. In Reid's case, the short, almost whispered responses are his way of dealing with a very bad day and staying on course.
"He's consistent no peaks and valleys," Whittingham said recently of his ex-teammate. "I mean, he's a rock â¦ never panics, just keeps grinding."
This would be another good time to do that, with the Eagles apparently having exhausted their quota of salvage operations in September. They rallied to beat Cleveland and Baltimore by one point each with late touchdown drives, but nothing resembling those comebacks occurred against Arizona, suddenly the NFL's most surprising 3-0 team.
If there was any hope for the Eagles, it was crushed on the final play of the first half. Trailing 17-0, they reached the Arizona 1-yard line, only to have a blitzing Kerry Rhodes cause quarterback Michael Vick to fumble. James Sanders scooped up the ball and sprinted 93 yards for a touchdown.
That was one of five sacks allowed by the Eagles in the first career start for Dallas Reynolds, a center from Timpview High School and BYU. Summarizing his own play as "some good things and some bad things," Reynolds took Vick's pounding personally.
"We should have been better," he said. "I mean, that's our job to keep him clean. That's always disappointing."
Reynolds spent most of the past three seasons as a member of the Eagles' practice squad (a job his brother Matt now holds) before making the regular roster this year. Last week, he became the first-string center when Jason Kelce was sidelined for the season with a knee injury.
That gives Reynolds responsibility for pass-protection calls on the line of scrimmage, and Vick credited him with doing "a great job of identifying guys." The promotion also makes Reynolds a front-line factor in whether Reid keeps his job beyond this season, his 14th as the Eagles' coach.
Team owner Jeffrey Lurie was brutally honest in a preseason declaration that a contract extension would be forthcoming only if Reid improves substantially, after the Eagles missed the 2011 playoffs with an 8-8 record.
Those two dramatic wins to begin 2012 were promising, but then the Eagles were steamrolled Sunday. The offensive line's issues and Vick's erratic passing were signs of a season that could unravel, with the New York Giants' defense awaiting the Eagles next Sunday.
"We're going to improve; I'm going to improve," Reynolds said.
The way this season plays out will have a lot to say about Reynolds' professional future. Same for his coach, who was not giving himself any sort of endorsement Sunday. "When you have one of these losses â¦ it is a collective effort," Reid said, "and that is my responsibility."