Was Frank Reich’s departure the beginning of the end for the Eagles?
The Eagles’ struggles continue to prove Colts head coach Frank Reich was key to their success.
Frank Reich was the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles back in 2016 and 2017 before taking the head coaching job with the Indianapolis Colts. He helped lead Philly to its first-ever Super Bowl win when the Eagles defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
That year, the Eagles ranked third in points and seventh in total yards after going 13-3 amid a Carson Wentz MVP-caliber season. But that campaign was cut short when Wentz suffered a season-ending injury, opening the door for backup Nick Foles, who made it look like there was never a switch at quarterback.
Reich also oversaw Wentz’s rookie season in 2016, and though Philly only went 7-9 that year, he managed to help lay the foundation for the following season by providing the QB with a solid rushing attack and a balanced slate of play calling. Not many would argue with you if you said Reich was a big reason for Wentz’s expedited development.
Now, as we watch the Eagles struggle mightily ever since his departure, is it fair to question if he was the brains behind the operation?
Go check out Eagles Twitter … a LOT of fans think that’s the case. How can you blame them? The Eagles are just 20-18 since the start of 2018 (weird) and are 1-2 in the playoffs … with that one win being the infamous Cody Parkey double-doink missed field goal in Chicago.
On top of that, here’s where the offense has ranked:
- 2018: 18th in points, 14th in yards
- 2019: 12th in points, 14th in yards
- 2020: 22nd in points, 15th in yards
There’s still obviously a ton of time left this year, but if you’ve watched any Eagles games, you can see this team has struggled with consistency. We know that has a lot to do with injuries, but Reich dealt with plenty of those during the team’s 2017 run. We already mentioned Wentz, but Jason Peters and Darren Sproles missed a majority of the campaign.
Why were the Eagles able to get by with those injuries but not the slew they’re enduring in 2020? Well, it could’ve very well been Reich’s system, which was also very successful in the red zone. The Eagles ranked second in the NFL that year, scoring touchdowns 64% of the time they reached the red zone. Philly has been putrid in that category this year.
Eagles fans will also say Wentz has regressed in some capacity, with the decision-making aspect of his game chief among them. Think that has to do with seamless play calling and favorable reads? Perhaps!
We know the Eagles’ run in 2017 was nothing short of magical. They got every bounce and managed to take down Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in a shootout with the entire world watching, which is highly uncharacteristic for the Patriots.
But when you look at Reich’s body of work with the Colts, it speaks for itself. Indy had a top offense in 2018, but then Andrew Luck retired before the start of the 2019 season. Despite that, Reich nearly got them to the playoffs. This year, the Colts are 4-2 despite more injuries than you could ever imagine.
Every head coach needs the necessary reinforcements beneath him, and Reich was that and more for Doug Pederson. That much is clear watching the Eagles since he left.