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Maybe Andy Reid isn't going anywhere

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Maybe Andy Reid isn't going anywhere

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Andy Reid has been fired by nearly everyone except the man in charge.

It's a foregone conclusion in Philadelphia and around the NFL that Reid will coach his last game with the Eagles on Sunday at the New York Giants. Fans already have a wish list for a new coach and the media has speculated for months about Reid's successor.

But owner Jeffrey Lurie has said nothing. Lurie hasn't spoken to reporters since Aug. 30, which is when he said another 8-8 season would be ``unacceptable.''

A careful look at the questions Lurie faced and his exact answers during that news conference leaves open the possibility that maybe Reid may not get fired.

It doesn't seem likely that he'll step down.

``I want to coach. That's what I want to do,'' Reid said Friday.

Reid has one year left on his contract, so Lurie made it clear the last time he spoke publicly that he wouldn't discuss a contract extension with Reid's agent, Bob LaMonte, until after the season.

After that statement, Lurie was asked six straight questions about Reid's future. Here's the questions and responses:

-Does there need to be a certain level of success on the field for Reid to receive a contract extension?

``It goes beyond that but there's no question what I said was we need substantial improvement,'' Lurie said.

- Did you set a level of what qualifies as a successful season?

``I don't have a level or anything like that,'' Lurie said. ``I just want to be clear about that. You just try to make the best judgment you can after the season.''

-Would another 8-8 season be considered satisfactory?

``No, it would not,'' Lurie said.

-Will you know after the season whether it was successful?

``I do. I think it will be very clear,'' Lurie said.

-Does your statement on an 8-8 season have qualifiers, including potential injuries?

``Listen, you just have to make the best decisions you can after the season,'' Lurie said. ``As I said, 8-8 was unacceptable.''

-Regardless of injuries, is an 8-8 season unacceptable?

``Again, I am not going to make blanket statements,'' Lurie said. ``I really wanted to try to explain to you that 8-8 was unacceptable. Yeah, I guess if two-thirds of the team is not playing, there are always exceptions. That was a really unacceptable outcome. I just want to reiterate that.''

At no point did Lurie say he would fire Reid if the team didn't make the playoffs. However, the widespread assumption after that news conference was that Reid had to take the Eagles deep in the playoffs to keep his job. Because the Eagles are 4-11 and out of the playoffs for the second straight year, it seems inevitable that Reid's days are numbered.

But Lurie left himself an out when he said ``there are always exceptions.''

Here are five reasons why Lurie could keep Reid for one more year:

1. Reid is due to make $6 million in 2013. That's a lot of money to pay a guy to go away. Sure, the Eagles have missed the playoffs two years in a row. But Reid is the winningest coach in franchise history. Nine playoff appearances, six division titles, five conference championship games and one Super Bowl loss is quite a resume.

2. A slew of injuries never allowed the Eagles to get in a rhythm on offense. The four best players - quarterback Michael Vick, running back LeSean McCoy, wide receiver DeSean Jackson and left tackle Jason Peters - missed a combined 31 games. Center Jason Kelce missed the last 14 games, and Evan Mathis was the only lineman not to miss any. Though some players were hurt after the team started its slide, losing these key players didn't give Philadelphia much of a chance to bounce back.

3. The Eagles had too much turmoil on defense. Reid fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo after six games. The decision to move Castillo from offensive-line coach to defense in 2011 was Reid's biggest mistake. But the defense struggled terribly after Castillo was dismissed. It wasn't until defensive-line coach Jim Washburn was fired with four games remaining that the defense started making progress under new coordinator Todd Bowles.

4. Rookie quarterback Nick Foles and rookie running back Bryce Brown were bright spots on offense in a dismal season. Reid made his mark in the NFL by helping develop Brett Favre in Green Bay. He drafted and turned Donovan McNabb into a six-time Pro Bowl QB. So, he certainly knows quarterbacks. Foles would have to start fresh in a new system if Reid and his coaching staff are let go.

5. Reid has complete support in the locker room. No one on the roster has said a negative word about the coach and any player asked says he wants him back.

This already was a tough year for Reid before the Eagles even started playing games that count. Reid endured a devastating loss just weeks before the season opener when his oldest son, Garrett Reid, died during training camp after a long battle with drug addiction.

Lurie said that wouldn't factor into his decision.

``You are there to win and win big and you have to separate the two. All of the analysis will be on Andy Reid the coach,'' Lurie said.

Still, it's difficult to imagine a personal tragedy of that magnitude didn't even affect Reid's coaching. Lurie and Reid have had a close working relationship throughout their 14 seasons together.

Maybe Lurie lets Reid finish out his contract. It may cause a riot among the fans, but the city loves its Eagles and the stadium is always full.

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter:https://twitter.com/RobMaaddi

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3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

After a rough start, the Caps battled back to make a game of it against Tampa Bay, but ultimately fell 4-2 to the Lightning. Here's why.

The first period

To put it simply, this game was lost in the opening period. Washington was the better team for the second and third but they could not overcome the 3-0 lead they spotted the Lightning in the first. Beyond the goals, the Caps just did not play well. Even the simplest of plays looked difficult as Washington struggled to get the puck out of their own zone, gave up numerous turnovers and scoring chances and just looked overmatched. Braden Holtby also looked shaky allowing three goals on just eight shots. Usually he is able to cover up some of the mistakes the defense makes it front of him, but he was not there to bail the team out on Tuesday in what was a really rocky start.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS FROM CAPS-LIGHTNING

Taking a penalty 34 seconds into the game

Entering Tuesday’s game, Tampa Bay boasted the second best power play unit in the league. Playing a disciplined game is part of every game plan, but that is especially true against such a dominant unit. Giving up a penalty just 34 seconds into the game was not an ideal start. The call itself was debatable. Brett Connolly was called for interference when he knocked over Dan Girardi in the offensive zone. The puck was just behind Girardi as he had lost control of it in his skates. The sticking point here is that Girardi no longer had possession and Connolly could have played the puck instead of the player. Most referees would probably let that go with the puck so close, but Connolly was not so lucky. Whether it was a good call or not, the Caps found themselves down a man and down a goal soon after as Brayden Point scored the power play tally.

A missed opportunity from Kuznetsov on one end, a goal for Nikita Kucherov on the other

Even after spotting the Lightning a 3-0 lead, the Caps made a game of it. Lars Eller struck on the power play in the second period and Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington to within one with about nine minutes left to play. Just over a minute later, Evgeny Kuznetsov stole the puck away from Nikita Kucherov, the frontrunner for league MVP this season, at the Tampa blue line giving the Caps a short 2-on-1. Defenseman Andrej Sustr was textbook on the play forcing Kuznetsov as far wide as he could go while still covering the passing lane and Kuznetsov elected to shoot from the faceoff dot rather than attempt the pass to T.J. Oshie.Andrei Vasilevskiy made a routine blocker save to deny what looked like a great opportunity to tie the game. As always happens in hockey, a failed opportunity on one end led to an opportunity in the other direction. Less than a minute later, Kucherov made up for his mistake by scoring a breakaway goal to put the game out of reach at 4-2.

MORE CAPITALS: KEMPNY EXCITED TO MOVE FROM LAST PLACE CHICAGO TO FIRST PLACE WASHINGTON

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3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

The first 20 minutes of Tuesday's game did not go well for Washington. The Tampa Bay Lightning scored three times in the opening frame and rode that lead all the way to the 4-2 win.

With the game heading towards a repeat of their blowout loss to Chicago, the Capitals rebounded in the second period to make a game of it as Lars Eller scored on a power play. Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington within one in the third period, but Nikita Kucherov slammed the door shut with a breakaway goal to extend the lead back to 2.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Brayden Point: Tampa Bay won this game in the first period when they took a 3-0 lead. Point scored two of those three goals. His first came only 2:30 into the game. He retreated to the blue line on the power play believing Jay Beagle would clear the puck. When Beagle turned the puck over, he recognized it and immediately crashed the net, taking a Ryan Callahan pass in the slot and shooting it through the five-hole of Braden Holtby.

On his second goal, Anton Stralman saw an opportunity on the Caps’ line change and passed the puck up to Point at the blue line. Point turned on the jets to get behind the defense and went five-hole again on Holtby to make the score 3-0.

2. Alex Ovechkin: After the first period, Washington slowly took this game over for much of the remaining 40 minutes. Ovechkin was a big part of that as he totaled an incredible 19 shot attempts for the game. Nine of those shots were on goal and he found the back of the net in the third period for career goal No. 594.

3. Tom Wilson: Through the first period, the Caps looked well on their way to a repeat of the 7-1 debacle they suffered Saturday in Chicago. They had nothing going in this game until Wilson drew a trip from Vladislav Namestnikov in the second period. Eller would score on the resulting power play giving Washington some much-needed life.

The Namestnikov penalty was the 29th drawn penalty of the season for Wilson, which moves him into a tie with Matthew Tkachuk for the most drawn penalties in the NHL.