Cubs

And the first NFL coach to be fired is...

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And the first NFL coach to be fired is...

From Comcast SportsNetEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Andy Reid is out after 14 years coaching the Philadelphia Eagles, three people familiar with the decision told The Associated Press following Sunday's 42-7 season-ending loss to the New York Giants.Reid is scheduled to meet with owner Jeffrey Lurie on Monday to discuss his future and an official announcement will come afterward, according to one person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because a final agreement hasn't been reached. That person says there's a chance Reid might remain with the team in some capacity.Reid is due to make 6 million in 2013 in the final year of his contract. He said he wants to coach next year, but it's possible Lurie could persuade him to take a season off and perhaps help out in the front office in an "advisory" role.Eagles spokesman Derek Boyko denied several reports that Lurie has already fired Reid, saying it's "absolutely, 100 percent" untrue.The Eagles (4-12) finished their worst season under Reid by losing 11 of their last 12 games. They missed the playoffs two straight years for the first time under Reid.After the ugly loss to the Giants (9-7), Reid sounded like a man who knew he was going to lose his job."We weren't very good," Reid said. "That's my responsibility and I take complete blame for it."Asked if he wants to return in 2013, Reid said: "I'm all in."Lurie said after the Eagles went 8-8 in 2011 that he considered firing Reid. He gave him another chance, but said before this season that 8-8 would be "unacceptable.""I go in eyes wide open," Reid said of his meeting with Lurie. "Either way, I understand. Whatever he chooses will be the right thing. He always does things for the best interests of the Eagles."Reid won more games (140) than any coach in franchise history. He led the Eagles to nine playoff appearances, six division titles, five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl loss.But he couldn't win the big one and that's how he's measured in a city that hasn't celebrated an NFL title since 1960.The Eagles haven't won a playoff game since 2008 and took significant steps backward the last two years. They entered both seasons with high expectations only to fail miserably."We had quite a run," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said.Players said they expect changes, but continued to support Reid."He's a great man and I love him to death," said quarterback Michael Vick, who could've played his last game with the Eagles. "I wish I could've done more. A lot of players wish they could've done more. Coaches can't play the games."The Eagles talked all week about wanting to win one for Reid. Instead, they suffered another embarrassing loss to cap a dismal season."We came, we stunk it up and we lost. It was terrible. No heart," defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said.Like Jenkins, Vick also questioned his teammates' desire before trying to clarify his comment."It's frustrating," Vick said. "It's difficult because, me, I leave it all out on the field and I give everything I got. Sometimes, I wish I could play other positions, but I can't."Vick was 19 of 35 for 197 yards, one TD and one interception in his first game since Nov. 11. He missed the previous six games, sitting out the first five with a concussion and then being inactive last week. Vick only got the start because rookie Nick Foles broke his hand.Vick is due to earn about 16 million next year, but the Eagles can release him without taking a financial hit. He wants to be a starter and is unsure whether he even wants to come back."I don't know. I have to take time to think about everything that's happened," Vick said.This already was a difficult year for Reid. He endured a devastating loss weeks before the season opener when his oldest son, Garrett Reid, died at training camp after a long battle with drug addiction.In October, Reid fired close friend and longtime assistant Juan Castillo, who was in his second season as defensive coordinator after coaching the offensive line for 13 years. He later fired defensive-line coach Jim Washburn.After beating the defending Super Bowl champion Giants on Sept. 30, the Eagles lost eight straight games -- their worst losing streak in 42 years.Before coming to Philadelphia, Reid was an offensive assistant for six seasons under Mike Holmgren in Green Bay and was instrumental in Brett Favre's growth. Reid inherited a team that went 3-13 under Ray Rhodes in 1998 and was a laughingstock in the NFL. He was an unpopular choice among fans in Philadelphia. But Reid won them over quickly by turning the Eagles into a playoff team in just his second season.Reid drafted Donovan McNabb with the No. 2 pick in the 1999 draft and developed him into a six-time Pro Bowl quarterback. Reid and McNabb guided the Eagles to five straight playoff appearances from 2000-04. They went to the NFC title game four consecutive years, finally winning one in January 2005 over the Atlanta Falcons. But the Eagles lost to the New England Patriots 24-21 in the Super Bowl, and have missed the playoffs in four of the last eight years.Reid's tenure in Philadelphia included several controversial decisions. He brought in star wide receiver Terrell Owens here in 2004, finally giving McNabb a legitimate target. T.O. had an outstanding year, overcame a late-season injury and returned to have an excellent game in the Super Bowl. But Owens feuded with management and McNabb the next season and Reid kicked him off the team in November 2005.In 2009, Reid and Lurie gave Vick a second chance in the NFL after the former star quarterback had spent 18 months in federal prison for dogfighting charges. Vick took over as the starter in 2010, had a remarkable season and led the Eagles to the NFC East title.The decision to switch Castillo from offense to defense may have been Reid's worst mistake. The unusual move was heavily criticized and contributed to the defense's collapse."I'll always put it on the players," Jenkins said. "Coaches can only do so much. Players have to step up and make plays."Reid's stoic personality and bland news conferences annoyed fans and even some members of the media. He refused to call out players and always took the blame after each loss, saying he had to "do a better job" and "put players in better position to perform."While that didn't make him popular outside the locker room, Reid was respected by his players. They supported him to the end."He's a great coach, a great person. I love the guy," safety Kurt Coleman said.

Cubs camp observations: Wrigley's home-field advantage without fans

Cubs camp observations: Wrigley's home-field advantage without fans

Four days into the Cubs’ training camp restart, we’ve only begun to get acquainted with the new normal of baseball rhythms and routines that we can only hope will result in a 2020 season of 60 games.

If the league can fix some of its early testing issues and keep enough players on enough teams healthy enough to start the season, what might come into play for the Cubs and the actual baseball.

Early observations after about a dozen Zoom sessions with team personnel and two intrasquad scrimmages:

NUTS: Home cooked?

The Cubs, who draw so reliably in one of the unique ballparks in the majors, might have more to lose than most teams without fans allowed to attend games when the season starts July 24.

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Just how much of the Confines’ home-field advantage is lost will be a matter of “wait-and-see,” manager David Ross said.

“There’s always an advantage to playing in your own park,” he said Sunday. “You feel more comfortable you woke up in your own bed. You’re not staying in a hotel room, which especially now, where you feel like outside spaces just aren’t comfortable as they used to be, probably [gives] a slight advantage in your city.

“There’s no substitute for fans,” he added. “There’s probably a slight advantage, but I don’t know if it’s as great as it used to be.”

What Ross didn’t mention were the rooftops across Waveland and Sheffield, which are planning to operate at 25-percent capacity when games start, suggesting at least a few hundred fans within cheering and booing distance.

“You’re going to hear them loud and clear, too,” pitcher Tyler Chatwood said. “I promise you that.”

BOLTS: Taking the fifth

All you need to know about Alec Mills’ ability to adjust and immediately step into an important role is what he did in an emergency start against the first-place Cardinals at Wrigley last year with the Cubs a half-game out and barely a week left in the season.

He hadn’t started anywhere in a month — and that was in the minors. But the guy who pitched out of the bullpen just three times in the four intervening weeks, pitched two outs deep into the fifth inning that day and didn’t allow a run (the bullpen took care of that, in a loss).

No wonder when Ross talks about Mills replacing the injured Jose Quintana (thumb) in the rotation, he says, “I’ve got a ton of confidence.”

He’s not the only one. “I’ve always had the mindset of doing whatever I can to stay ready and help in any way,” said Mills after pitching a strong three innings in a simulated game Sunday. “Obviously, with an unfortunate injury like this, I think it’s just even more heightened.

“I’m ready to do whatever, whether it needs to be maybe a start here or there, a couple more starts, long guy out of the pen — just whatever I need to do I pride myself on being ready to do that.”

CHATTER: The mask at hand

“It’s a little different. You leave the house with a phone, your keys, your wallet and your mask.”

—Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo on his and his teammates’ new daily normal.

“Everybody is thinking about it, but we try to get here and understand this is our safe zone and we’re trying to create that [within] the things that we’re going to do on and off the field.”

—Ross on players weighing the risk of playing during the pandemic against the safety precautions and protocols the team has built in and around its Wrigley Field bubble.

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2020 MLB schedule: Chicago Cubs, White Sox could benefit from short trips

2020 MLB schedule: Chicago Cubs, White Sox could benefit from short trips

Both the Cubs and White Sox may benefit this season from the unique MLB schedule which will have all clubs play regionally, instead of across their leagues. Since the A.L. Central and N.L. Central teams are all fairly close, and Chicago is practically in the middle of the action, both the Sox and Cubs will rank near the bottom for miles traveled over the course of the regular season, according to MLB Network.

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During their 2020 schedule release show, MLB Network displayed a graphic saying the Cubs will travel the second-fewest miles at 4,071 and the White Sox will travel sixth-fewest at 4,750 miles. It’s important to note that may not give them an edge in the regular season, as the other teams to round out the list are all Central division opponents as well: the Brewers, Tigers, Cardinals and Reds.

But when it comes time for the playoffs, that rest may pay off-- especially if either team faces off against a team from the West. All of the top-five teams for most miles traveled come from the A.L. and N.L. West, ranging from 11,332 miles traveled for the Rockies to a whopping 14,706 miles traveled for the Rangers. In a condensed season, with significantly less rest, that long travel could take a toll.


RELATED: White Sox schedule release: Slow start not an option with brutal first week

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