Eagles

The real reason this Kansas City radio host's attack on Andy Reid was out of line

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The real reason this Kansas City radio host's attack on Andy Reid was out of line

I get why people are so outraged by the comments made Monday by a Kansas City radio host who linked Tyreek Hill’s off-the-field issues with the death seven years ago of Andy Reid’s son Garrett.

The guy tried to make a case that Big Red’s inability to be a strict disciplinarian as both a parent and a coach was responsible for both. 

“It did not work out particularly well in his family life,“ is what Kevin Kietzman of Sports Radio 810 WHB said. “He’s had a lot of things go bad on him, family and players. He is not good at fixing people. He is not good at discipline.”

Of course, these sort of remarks are irresponsible, hurtful and off-base. But you consider the source and they're probably not all that surprising.

And let's be honest. We all understand you don’t record the eighth-most wins of any NFL head coach in history and the seventh-most playoff wins without being able to discipline players when it’s necessary. We’ve all seen coaches who truly are bad at this stuff, and they don’t have three losing seasons in 20 years. They don’t last three years.

So yeah, this isn’t about that. Andy doesn’t need to be defended. Not about this.

And outrage distracts us from the real point. The real shame of Kietzman’s comments is that he connects a lack of discipline with heroin addiction.

Garrett Reid, Andy’s oldest son, died during training camp in Bethlehem seven years ago from a heroin overdose after a long battle with addiction, and the notion that his death somehow was the result of his father not disciplining him enough shows such a lack of understanding of addiction and substance abuse.

Addiction is a mental health disorder. It’s a disease.

It’s not a weakness. It’s not a character flaw. It’s not a lack of discipline.

Treatment can help, but it’s a long and difficult process. The changes substance abuse cause in a person’s brain, the addictive traits of heroin and other opioids, make recovery difficult and in some cases impossible.

Garrett was a good kid, a smart kid, and he and his family battled his addiction for years.

Here’s part of Andy’s statement the evening Garrett died:

“We understood that Garrett's long-standing battle with addiction was going to be difficult. He will, however, always have our family's love and respect for the courage he showed in trying to overcome it.”

This guy doesn’t know Andy and the battle he and his family fought to try and help Garrett through that battle.

Addiction and substance abuse have become such an epidemic in our communities. Big city. Small town. Everywhere. All of us know someone who’s lost a family member. All of us have either directly or indirectly felt that pain.

What Kietzman said is wrong in so many ways, but worst of all is how he trivializes addiction by implying that a little parental discipline would have saved Garrett Reid’s life.

This was a horrible thing to say for a lot of reasons, and it’s been nice to see so many of Andy’s former players rallying behind him on social media.

No parents should have to go through what Andy and his family went through seven summers ago at Lehigh. No parents should have to go through this either.

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'I have to make that play' — Arcega-Whiteside discusses dropped 4th-down pass

'I have to make that play' — Arcega-Whiteside discusses dropped 4th-down pass

When the Eagles selected JJ Arcega-Whiteside in the second round of the NFL draft, the attribute that stood out was his penchant for making contested catches.

But when it came time to do exactly that on Sunday, the ball slipped through Arcega-Whiteside’s fingers — along with the game.

“It’s the moment you ask for and dream about,” said Arcega-Whiteside. “I’ve gotta make that play.”

Arcega-Whiteside is hardly to blame for the Eagles’ 27-24 Week 3 loss to the Lions at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. He was far from the only receiver to drop a pass, nor did he commit a costly penalty or turnover like several of his offensive teammates.

Still, it was Arcega-Whiteside who found himself in one-on-one coverage on 4th-and-15 with 45 seconds to play, and it was Arcega-Whiteside who went airborne over Lions defensive back Rashaan Melvin for about as clean a look at a game-winning Hail Mary as the Eagles could hope.

“There’s no other assessment other than I’ve gotta go get it,” said Arcega-Whiteside. “Tight coverage, I was gonna elevate expecting contact. There really was no contact and the ball just kind of ended up right there.

“I have to make the play.”

Lions cornerback Rashaan Melvin was certainly in the play. At the very least, his hands were in the receiver’s face, and Arcega-Whiteside didn’t have the size advantage he would enjoy over a lot of defensive backs, as both list 6-foot-2.

“I saw 10 other guys doing their job on the football field and I didn’t want to be the 11th one not doing his job,” said Melvin.

Even forgiving a desperation, jump ball scenario in the closing moments, Arcega-Whiteside wasn’t much of a factor the other 59. The rookie was targeted three times total, finishing with one reception for 10 yards.

With Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson both missing the game due to injury, and tight end Dallas Goedert limited as well, the Eagles could’ve used more from the 22-year-old.

“The whole game you’re thinking, ‘Stay locked in, stay focused, you never know when it’s gonna come,’ and for me, it came on the very last play,” said Arcega-Whiteside. “I’m not saying I wasn’t focused or ready for it, but same time, you’ve gotta go out there and beef it up, and I didn’t.”

To his credit, Arcega-Whiteside took ownership of the situation, standing in front of a full media throng at his locker immediately after the game and answering tough questions.

“If you ask me personally if I did enough, I don’t want to hold myself to any standard that’s lower than what I believe I’m capable of doing,” said Arcega-Whiteside. I’ve got great wide receivers in that meeting room that I want to play like and hold myself to their standards.

“It’s not good enough, but the beauty of it is it always gets better and that’s going to be the mentality for this week.”

Chosen 57th overall, Arcega-Whiteside wasn’t necessarily expected to be thrust into a huge role this early, and he wouldn’t be the first wideout to struggle in that spot.

At the same time, some will argue the ball that came his in the fourth quarter is a catch any player needs to make, regardless of experience level or knowledge of the offense.

“That’s why we’re here, to make contested catches,” said Arcega-Whiteside. “You gotta go out there and do it.”

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Eagles inexcusably flounder on both late-game drives in bad loss to Lions

Eagles inexcusably flounder on both late-game drives in bad loss to Lions

After all the drops and turnovers and costly penalties and mental errors, the Eagles still had a chance to walk out of their own stadium with a win over the Lions on Sunday afternoon. 

They couldn’t get it done. 

“We had the ball at the end of the game with a chance to win and we came up short,” Carson Wentz said. “It’s obviously frustrating but we have a quick turnaround, so we gotta look ourselves in the mirror, see where we can get better and come out flying on Thursday.”

The Eagles lost, 27-24, to the Lions at the Linc and are now 1-2 heading into a very tough game on the road in Green Bay on Thursday night. They could very well be looking at 1-3 (see observations).

It hurts even more because, down just three points, they were in a great situation to tie or win this game late. 

Twice!

Even without their top two receivers, it’s simply inexcusable for the Eagles to flounder on two late-game drives in good situations, at home, in a game they kind of needed to win. 

On the eight plays in those last two drives, the Eagles gained a total of 13 yards and failed to pick up a single first down. 

“I wouldn’t take any [play calls] back,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “We understood exactly what they were doing. They were putting pressure with two guys on Zach (Ertz) and trying to eliminate him. We had 1-on-1s across the board. Just great defense by them. It’s a good learning experience for our guys.” 

• With 3:16 left and holding three timeouts, the Eagles got the ball at their own 20-yard line thanks to a wily play from Darren Sproles on the punt to let the ball bounce into the end zone. 

First down: A 2-yard pass to Nelson Agholor 
Second down: An incompletion batted at the line 
Third down: A deep incompletion to Agholor
Fourth down: A 6-yard scramble from Wentz 

Why go for it on fourth down from your own 22? 

“Situational right there,” Pederson explained. “Just going ahead and going for it there. With the three timeouts, I could use them on defense obviously. We knew they were probably going to run the ball in that situation. Got them to kick the field goal. It worked in our favor, but we didn’t capitalize on the other end.”

It absolutely did work. Because Malcolm Jenkins blocked a field goal and even after a block in the back from Jenkins on the return, the Eagles got the ball at the 50-yard line with plenty of time. That’s an ideal situation; that’s what they want; that’s what any team wants.  

• With 1:39 left and still with two timeouts, the Eagles had the ball at midfield. Plenty of time to win the game. Heck, they just needed to get into field goal range to have a chance to tie. 

“We’re going to win it,” right tackle Lane Johnson said about the mindset of the team in the moment. “That’s always been our mantra. Anytime we get in that situation, you can feel the momentum was on our side.”

Instead, they failed to get a first down. 

First down: Incompletion to Ertz 
Second down: Incompletion to Mack Hollins 
Third down: A 5-yard pass to Agholor 
Fourth down: An OPI on Sproles after a 25-yard catch 
Fourth down: A deep incompletion to JJ Arcega-Whiteside

“We got out there and we don’t convert,” Johnson said. “Game’s over. It’s tough.” 

On that last 4th-and-15 heave, Arcega-Whiteside was the third read on the play, but Wentz got the ball to him. The rookie simply dropped a ball he should have caught to set up the Eagles with a 1st-and-goal with a chance to win. It was the seventh drop for the Eagles on Sunday afternoon. 

If the Eagles could have eliminated one or two costly errors from Sunday’s game, they probably win. But there are a bunch of losing teams every Sunday who feel the same way. The Eagles dropped passes, committed penalties, coughed up the football, gave up a special teams touchdown. 

Despite all that, they still could have won. They still should have won.  

“Down the stretch, we just didn’t make the plays and execute the way we know we can when it really mattered,” Wentz said. “That’s frustrating, but we have to move on.”

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