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Bird Feed: A Fool’s Hope

Andy Reid and the Eagles are down… like wayyy down… but not out. At least not yet. Let’s hold on to hope while we still can. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

“There never was much hope. Just a fool’s hope.”

That’s what Gandalf said to Peregrin Took when Peregrin (Pippin) asked if there was any hope left for Frodo and Sam as they tried to destroy the ring of power. And that’s what I offer Eagle fans this dreary Wednesday; a fool’s hope.

Let’s be honest, you don’t have to look hard for a negative assessment of the Eagles right now. The offense is a mess. The defense is worse. Andy Reid appears to have run out of answers. Michael Vick has all but waved the white flag on this season and his tenure as a Philadelphia Eagle. Jason Babin has been partially benched. Nnamdi Asomugha is now the target of Eagle fans’ venom. The stories are everywhere. I wouldn’t even be surprised to learn that Nick Foles refused the starting job because A. He didn’t want to die behind that horrid offensive line, and B. He didn’t want to go down with Reid’s ship come January. So yeah, things aren’t good for the Eagles right now, and that was before Hurricane Sandy tormented the region for 48 straight hours.

Let’s bring back some sunshine. And since the weather won’t do it, allow me. (Please note: I do not do drugs.)

Sunday’s drubbing at the hands of the Falcons felt very similar to a beat down the Tennessee Titans put on the Eagles back in 2006. If you don’t remember, 2006 was the season after the worst season of the Reid era – post Super Bowl, Terrell Owens drama, McNabb’s groin injury, Mike McMahon, etc… – 2006 was supposed to be a redemption season for Reid and McNabb.

The Eagles started 4-1 and looked back on track, then lost three in a row before beating the Redskins in Week 10 after a bye. The Eagles record stood at 5-4. Then came the Tennessee beat down. McNabb threw an early red zone interception before blowing out his ACL early in the 2nd quarter. A 70 yard touchdown run and 90 yard punt return buried the Eagles in the 3rd quarter. Final score; 31-13. The sky was falling. Fans wanted Reid gone.

The next week, Jeff Garcia and the Eagles went into Indianapolis to take on Peyton Manning and the unstoppable Colts. Obviously, they were crushed 45-21. 5-6, five games to go. The fans, media, and the rest of the league wrote of the Eagles at that point. So long, Reid…

…Not so fast. Reid rallied the troops and won four in a row, capped off by Jeff Garcia’s “Merry Christmas, Philadelphia” post game greeting after bullying the Cowboys for the division crown on Christmas Day. (One of my top 5 Philly sports moments, by the way. I nearly cried.) Week 17 was irrelevant, but the Eagles still won. 10-6. Division champs. Playoff bound.

Are you feeling it yet? Feel that positive energy running through your veins? It’s called hope. Sure, hope in Andy Reid and the Eagles will likely lead to even greater disappointment, but what’s life without a little risk?

Fact: The Eagles aren’t dead… yet. There’s still time for Reid to pull off one more miraculous late season rally. He did it in 2006. He did it in 2008. He can do it again. The Eagles are 3-4 with nine games to go. NINE. That’s a lot of time for improvement. More importantly, it’s a lot of time for other NFC teams to collapse. Even better, the Eagles don’t play a single team with a winning record until Week 17 (the Giants).

Correct, there is absolutely nothing we’ve seen from the Eagles over the past three weeks to make anyone believe they have a 2nd half rally in them. And no, Michael Vick is not Jeff Garcia. But this IS the NFL, where the Packers and Giants slipped into the playoffs on the last day of the regular season and brought home the Lombardi trophy. There’s always hope, right up until the mathematicians slap you with the “eliminated from playoff contention,” tag in the standings.

Call me crazy, but I still have hope Andy Reid will figure this thing out before it’s too late. Just a fool’s hope, but hope, nonetheless.

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