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Boomer Esiason on D&C: Eagles have ‘a bunch of lunatics’

11.28.11 at 10:15 am ET
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Boomer Esiason

CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to discuss the Patriots’ Sunday afternoon 38-20 jaunt over the Eagles in Philadelphia. In the wake of New England’s dominance over Philadelphia, Esiason did not have much game analysis to offer, but he did weigh in on the Eagles’ burgeoning coaching controversy.

In the beginning of the third quarter with the Patriots ahead 31-13, Eagles fans expressed their frustration after quarterback Vince Young tossed an incomplete fourth-and-1 pass from the New England 2-yard line by chanting “Fire Andy” in reference to 13-year Eagles coach Andy Reid. The Eagles, who were picked to be one of the best teams in the NFL in the preseason, are now 4-7.

“As far as Andy Reid is concerned, you just never know how much these coaches have built up with their owners,” Esiason said. “And Andy has won a lot of football games in Philadelphia. I know that Philadelphia football fans can be some of the toughest in all of sports, so I think sometimes we overreact to some of that stuff. I’m not sure that [CEO] Jeff Lurie will ask for the resignation or fire him during the season, and quite frankly, I don’t know who on that staff could take over anyway. So these coaches [Reid and Chargers coach Norv Turner] will probably play the year out and then there will be a lot of questions and a lot of changes.”

While Esiason did not delve too deeply into Sunday’s game, he did mention that a play Tom Brady made in the second quarter was indicative of how Brady’s trust in his receivers benefits the quarterback, receiver and the team. On third-and-13 on his own 36-yard line, Brady improvised and completed a 63-yard pass to Deion Branch, who got the ball to the Eagles’ 1-yard line. BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored a touchdown on the next play to give the Patriots a 14-10 lead.

“We’ve been accustomed to this for over 10 years now,” Esaison said. “And we’ve watched it, and when he plays at the top of his game like he did yesterday, it really is a thing of a beauty. There’s no panic. He steps up in the pocket. He reads the defense as quickly as anybody. Yesterday I thought his throw to Deion Branch down the sideline on third-and I think it was 10 or 11, and then Deion took it all the way down to the 1-yard line, that’s what you want out of your quarterback. No panic. Don’t overreact to the pass rush around you. Show the great poise and show the great accuracy.”

Following are highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On Chargers coach Norv Turner possibly losing his job this week: “I don’t think they’ll lose it this week, but I think Norv Turner is definitely teetering. And I think that all started with the discussion that Rex Ryan got going a few weeks back when he said he would have won two rings with that roster. Unfortunately for Rex, sometimes he sticks his foot in his mouth. In this case, I think he put undue pressure on Norv Turner, and now they’re on a six-game losing streak. Dean Spanos came out last week — he’s the owner of the Chargers — said he wasn’t happy with game management and things of that nature. So, I would say he’s on life support.”

On if Reid should step down with dignity before the Eagles can fire him as a result of this season: “Well, I know that he didn’t put the team together. That’s [team president] Joe Banner. That’s the guys in the front office. Listen, we all know how this thing plays out. With the exception of New England, everybody seems to run for cover — C.Y.A. If Andy has the pieces, this is the dream team, again, a discussion that Andy didn’t start. Remember, this didn’t come from Andy that they were the dream team. This came from Vince Young, who said it when he signed the backup quarterback contract with them.

“Sometimes these coaches get caught in the perceptions of their teams and they don’t even start the discussion. Rex Ryan started it about San Diego. Vince Young started about Philadelphia. And I’m not ready to say that about Andy Reid, that he should be stepping down with dignity or any of that stuff. I think he’s a terrific coach. He’s just got a bunch of lunatics on his team right now. … He’s got an eclectic group of players there that don’t seem to be playing for the team like they are in New England, so it’s unfortunate for him, but I still think he’s a great coach. I really do.”

On how Brady compares to Aaron Rodgers: “I thought, and I don’t know how you guys felt, but I was thinking about it last night, I thought it was his best game in terms of what his arm looked like. His arm strength, how the nose of the ball was coming down. Some of those balls looked a little like how Aaron Rodgers throws the ball in Green Bay. They’re right there with each other, but listen, when you watch Aaron Rodgers right now, boy I’ll tell you what. He is pretty special. And so is Tom. We’re talking about centimeters, if not millimeters, about the difference between these two players right now. That’s why I believe that they’ll be in the Super Bowl together.”

On Brady’s trust in his receivers: “It really comes down to how players feel about one another on the field and how you react in the big spots. There’s no question that both of those players [Rob Gronkowski and Branch], when they play like they played yesterday and they beat up that Eagles secondary the way they did yesterday, there’s going to be great confidence coming from the quarterback. That’s why in tough times, who does he always look for? He looks for either Gronkowski or he looks for Deion Branch or he looks for Wes Welker because he knows that those guys are going to make the plays for him. Very rarely are they going to drop the ball. They’re more likely to make a great catch, and then after they make that great catch they may make one or two guys miss. And if they need 11 for a first down, they’ll get 12. He’ll throw the ball only five yards, but that’s the trust factor that is so hard to attain around the league.”

On if Tim Tebow’s latest win convinced Esiason to jump on the Tebow bandwagon: “Guys, listen. I’m a naysayer. And yesterday I said he was [Browns running back] Peyton Hillis playing quarterback. Well, it kind of bore itself out a little bit because he did have 22 carries, and as I understand, it may be the most amount of carries a quarterback has ever had since the Super Bowl era has started.

“So I’m not a believer in the offense. I’m just not. I’m not going to now all of a sudden jump on the Tim Tebow bandwagon. But I give him credit. They’re winning. Their defense is playing great. But they’re also playing against some offenses that really are challenged. You can’t sit here and tell me that Kansas City, the Jets and even the San Diego Chargers, this is not the San Diego Charger team of five years ago, four years ago, this is the new team where they can’t generate any offense. … I want to see him against good offenses that are able to put up 24, 28 points on him, and then let me see if he can play quarterback in that way.”

On whether the Colts should draft Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick: “In this case, if it is in fact Andrew Luck who we all think it will be, Andrew Luck might say to the Indianapolis Colts or his agents might say to the Colts, ‘Hey, listen. I’m going to pull a John Elway here. I’m not coming to play for you guys if Peyton Manning is healthy. I want to play. I want to get my career started.’ And remember, because now the new rookie salary structure, I think the most he can probably make is $24 million over four years, something like that. Not the $50 [million] or $60 million that Matthew Stafford and Sam Bradford and those guys got. So he’s going to want to get on the field. He’s going to want to play early. And he’s going to want a new contract probably after his second season. And you sit behind Peyton Manning, if in fact Peyton is healthy and is going to come back and play, now all of a sudden you’re stunting his financial growth, which is where it becomes very sticky in this situation. So, while most of us believe that Indianapolis will draft him and put him on the bench if Peyton Manning is healthy, I’m not so sure that the agents and the player himself are going to be happy about that.”

Read More: Andy Reid, boomer esiason, Deion Branch, Norv Turner Print  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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