Reid is absorbing blame for dismal season for Eagles

Just about every season, Eagles coach Andy Reid has heard some faction of Philadelphia's demanding, passionate and unforgiving fan base blame him for the team's inability to bring home a Lombardi Trophy.

Over 13 seasons -- only two of them with losing records, a stunning track record -- the criticism has never been this intense. With the star-studded team floundering at 4-7 and a loss away from finishing no better than .500 -- Thursday's game at Seattle is hardly a slam dunk -- Reid could finally be running his final course in Philly.

Or could he?

Conversations with multiple NFL coaches and league executives provide nothing but speculation about Reid's future in Philadelphia, although most believe owner Jeffrey Lurie won't fire Reid and that if Reid leaves, it will be on his own terms. Reid also has two years and $10 million remaining on his contract.

Coaches and league officials said what might be weighed most by Lurie when considering Reid's future is that the Eagles might not find a candidate that could do a better job, and Reid would be hired by another franchise in a matter of moments should he want to continue coaching.

The respect Reid has around the NFL is close to immeasurable.

The seemingly unflappable leader of a franchise who has shielded his players by routinely accepting blame and deflecting praise set himself up for the emotional clamor by adding free-agent stars Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Ronnie Brown and Vince Young, and acquiring Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in a trade this offseason.

The stockpiling of talent to an already good playoff team heightened expectations, to where even Reid and management said anything short of a Super Bowl is a failure. This has been a failure. Compounding the problem was Reid's decision to move offensive line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator when there was no offseason for him to grow into the role.

Nothing seems to be working.

Still, has Reid thrown Castillo under the bus? Has Reid sold out any of his players? Reid did what any coach would do in benching DeSean Jackson for missing a meeting, then underperforming on the field in Sunday's loss to New England.

Reid has willingly caught the shrapnel, which he should because he wields so much power within the organization. He raised the bar of expectation, and the Eagles whiffed.

Reid's been through worse. In 2007, his sons Britt and Garrett were sent to jail for drug-related crimes. During sentencing, Judge Steven O'Neill said the Reid household lacked structure, claimed the home was a "drug emporium" and that the Reids "were a family in crisis."

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That is far more stinging than hearing the faction of his home crowd chant for Reid's firing. It was a rough a patch that Reid navigated and an experience that helped him give convicted dog fighter Michael Vick another shot at the NFL -- and at life.

Reid also was vilified when he released popular safety Brian Dawkins and one-time lifeblood running back Brian Westbrook. He's been second-guessed about his decisions and personnel before.

Still, there has never been as much uncertainty about Reid as there is now. He's at the juncture that just about all successful coaches reach, and that's the time-has-run-its course point -- at least in the eyes of those who think the Eagles can do better.

There are still five games for Reid to try to generate momentum. Which direction that momentum takes could determine what happens with Reid in Philadelphia.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89.

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