Exclusive: Andy Reid is sick of losing too


Exclusive: Andy Reid is sick of losing too

Friday, February 25, 2011
Posted: 6 a.m.
By Reuben Frank

INDIANAPOLIS Youre furious that the Eagles havent won a Super Bowl under Andy Reid and havent even won a playoff game the last couple years.

You think just winning 10 games and reaching the playoffs almost every year isnt good enough.

Youre weary of seeing parades in Pittsburgh, Green Bay, New Orleans and other NFL cities.

Andy Reid understands. Because Andy Reid feels exactly the same way.

He really does.

Ive been lucky enough to win a Super Bowl in my career (as an assistant with the Packers in 1995), and when youve done that, you want that every year, Reid said. Thats what you want. Every year. So when you go to the conference championships and if you lose those games or you win it and go to the Super Bowl and lose that game, youre not happy. Thats not a good thing.

I am every year shooting to get to the Super Bowl and win the Super Bowl. Now, we went through a pretty good run there (from 2000 through 2008), and the players got a little bit older and we made some changes, so is it going to happen right away? Well, it might not. But thats not my mentality. My mentality is that were going to get that thing right and go. And if you hit it right, anythings possible.

Reid enters his 13th offseason as the Eagles head coach presiding over a football team thats experienced great change over the past year or two. Tons of young players. An overhauled coaching staff. A new defensive coordinator. New quarterback.

The one constant has been Reid. And disappointing ends to the last dozen seasons.

But in a lengthy exclusive interview with CSNPhilly.com here as the NFL Scouting Combine got started, Reid reaffirmed his commitment to his job and to the team hes led to the playoffs nine of the last 11 seasons and said hes as enthusiastic about his job today as he was when he was hired a little over 12 years ago.

I like this football team, he said. I like where were going. Weve got to do some things better as coaches and players, and weve got to look at the personnel and make sure that parts right, and well do that. Thats how were going.

I dont think anybody, except maybe those guys in that locker room, probably thought that wed get quite as far as we did this past year, but everybody pulled together and worked as a team and we got a couple breaks here and there and things worked out pretty well, and I think everybody going into this offseason is really fired up about this next year and what it presents.

Therell be some great challenges, but at the same time, we all know that weve got some great players.

The Andy Reid Paradox has been well-documented.

His .618 winning percentage is 17th best in NFL history among those who have coached 100 or more games, and only 10 coaches in NFL history have more than Reids 10 postseason wins.

But the big prize, the only prize that matters, continues to elude him.

Only three coaches in history Bud Grant, Marty Schottenheimer and Chuck Knox have reached the playoffs more than Reid without winning an NFL Championship or Super Bowl.

And only 10 head coaches have coached more NFL regular-season games without winning a title.

But Reid doesnt dwell on the disappointment. He doesnt obsess on the absence of a Vince Lombardi Trophy from the lobby of the NovaCare Complex. Thats not to say that he doesnt desperately want to bring a championship to Philly. He does. Its just that he doesnt get caught up in the past because he believes thats not the best way to try to end the franchises 50-year title drought.

Anything that takes away from what youre trying to accomplish, thats not a good thing, Reid said. I think if you get into the woe is me and all that, then you have a problem. I think its that way as a player, I think its that way as a coach. Its that way for anybody involved in this. Probably anybody in life its that way. If youre feeling sorry for yourself, youre going to get your tail kicked. Youre going to get buried and its not going to work.

So I dont even go there. I dont even let my mind drift onto that. Im always looking for ways to get better. What can I do better? What can we do better? Thats something I can control, so thats where I attack.

Reid said speculation among Eagles fans and some in the media that hes planning to step down as head coach in a year or two is off target.

He understands how frustrated fans are. He really does. And his answer for that is that hes working 20 hours a day, 11 months a year to try to bring them what they want more than anything.

Not another division title or NFC title game appearance but a Super Bowl victory.

So hes not planning to go anywhere just yet. He doesnt feel stale. Doesnt feel tired. Doesnt feel burned out.

I dont feel that way, he said. Ive been in this league long enough to see coaches and hear what theyve said, that theyve gotten to a point where things are stale and they need a change in life, whatever it might be, or a change in team. And I dont feel that way. Thats not where Im at.

I enjoy every day that I have an opportunity to coach in Philadelphia. I honestly get fired up and excited about it. I know from a personal standpoint, Im fired up. New challenges and changes. I think change is important. In this NFL today, things change and it keeps you on your toes and fresh.

I enjoy the players. I know coaches will tell you at times they feel like theyre coaching a different generation or whatever it might be, but thats not how I feel. I enjoy the energy that the young players bring as well as the older players and the coaching staff.

Reid has come under intense criticism for a lot of things, some of it deserved, some of it not deserved. But one irony of his tenure with the Eagles is that some his most controversial or bewildering moves trading Donovan McNabb after a playoff and Pro Bowl season, signing Michael Vick soon after he was released from prison, sticking with Vick instead of going back to Kevin Kolb this past September, cutting ties with popular and productive veterans like Jon Runyan, Brian Dawkins, Corey Simon, Brian Westbrook over the years have been the most successful.

Reid said its the trust and support he gets from owner Jeff Lurie and team president Joe Banner that allows him to make unpopular, difficult and risky moves. Without that trust, hed never be able to move a lifetime offensive line coach to defensive coordinator a move the jury is still out on.

But he said that every move, every decision, no matter how strange or bizarre as it might seem, is made for one reason.

To try and get this team to the Super Bowl.

No. 1, youve got to try to be real with yourself and the moves you make youre going to believe in and are best for the Philadelphia Eagles, he said. And if you dont put yourself and the players, anything above the team, youre OK. As long as you look that way. So all of the moves, Im looking at them, OK, listen, whether its popular or not popular, I think this is best for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Take all the emotion out of it and trust that. I get great support within the organization. I think some of that gets overlooked and I know at times people say Im being forced into doing this or that, and I can honestly say that doesnt happen. Thats not what goes on in our building.

And Reid has heard the charge that the franchise is more interested in making money than winning a title. That the Eagles just want to be competitive but arent genuinely committed to winning a title.

Thats just not the case, he said. Thats not how this works. Were here to win the Super Bowl. Thats the one thing were striving to do. Whether its the way we practice, the way we draft, the way we go about our training camp, the decision-making practice, how the cap is utilized everything is set up to win the Super Bowl. But we havent gotten the Super Bowl ring. We all want it, and thats what were all shooting for. Everything we do is for that one goal.
E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com.

Part 2 of Reuben Frank's exclusive sitdown with Andy Reid will be posted Saturday.

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NBA Playoffs: Westbrook, Thunder push Warriors to brink of elimination


NBA Playoffs: Westbrook, Thunder push Warriors to brink of elimination


OKLAHOMA CITY -- Suddenly, these Golden State Warriors who have been compared all season to the Chicago Bulls dynasty of the 1990s are on the brink of elimination.

Russell Westbrook had 36 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Warriors 118-94 on Tuesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals. Golden State, which won a league record 73 games in the regular season, lost consecutive games for the first time this season.

The Warriors must win Game 5 on Thursday in Oakland to keep their season alive.

"We all have to bounce back," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "The good news is, we go home. Obviously we play well at home. The idea now is to go home and get one win. Do that, and we put some pressure on them and we'll see what happens."

Klay Thompson led Golden State with 26 points, but two-time league MVP Stephen Curry was limited to 19 points on 6-for-20 shooting. Curry's shooting performance was so uncharacteristic that reporters asked if he was hurt.

"He's not injured," Kerr said. "He's coming back from the knee, but he's not injured. He just had a lousy night. It happens, even to the best players in the world."

The Warriors lost consecutive playoff games by at least 20 points for the first time since Games 2 and 3 of the 1972 Western Conference semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks. Golden State's Draymond Green, who was fined for kicking Steven Adams in the groin in Game 3, finished with six points, 11 rebounds and six turnovers.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma City got a boost from an unlikely source. Andre Roberson, a player the Warriors have ignored at times during the series, scored a career-high 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

Kevin Durant added 26 points and 11 rebounds and Serge Ibaka added 17 points and seven rebounds.

As for Westbrook, it was his first triple-double of the playoffs after posting 18 in the regular season. It was his fifth career playoff triple-double.

"I play every game like it's my last, regardless of who's in front of me," he said. "That's my job, and my job is to worry about my team, and that's all I do."

The Thunder know they have to close. Nine teams have rallied from 3-1 deficits to win.

"I think we're in a good place, but like I said, this game is over," Westbrook said. "We've got to move on to the next game. Every game is different."

The Thunder led 30-26 at the end of the first quarter, then gained control in the second. In the most unlikely of connections, Adams threw a bullet pass to Roberson near the basket for a dunk that gave the Thunder a 56-43 lead with just over four minutes left in the first half.

Oklahoma City finished with a flurry and led 72-53 at halftime. The Thunder matched the most points they have scored in a first half in franchise playoff history, a mark they set the previous game against the Warriors. It also matched the most points Golden State has allowed in a half this season for the second straight game.

Westbrook had 21 points, nine assists and five rebounds in the first half, and Durant had 18 points and six boards.

Thompson tried to keep the Warriors in it, scoring 19 points in just over seven minutes to start the third quarter. But the Thunder maintained their composure, led 94-82 at the end of the period and remained in control in the fourth.

"This is a tough situation to be in, but the series isn't over," Curry said.

Kerr, on the pressure of trying to win a title after setting the regular-season wins record: "We had a tremendous regular season, our guys competed every single night and did something no one has ever done and they're proud of that. But in the playoffs, everybody starts 0-0. So there's no extra pressure, whether you're talking about defending our title or trying to back up the regular season."

Stat lines
According to Thunder Public Relations, the last team to score 72 or more points in the first half of two straight playoff games was the 1987 Los Angeles Lakers.

Warriors: Curry went 1 for 7 in the first quarter, and made just 1 of 4 3-point attempts. ... Thompson committed his third foul with 7:55 left in the second quarter, and C Andrew Bogut committed his third about two minutes later. ... Curry made a 3-pointer for his 48th consecutive playoff game, extending his NBA record. ... The Warriors were 12-0 this season the game after a loss.

Thunder: Westbrook had five points, six assists and three rebounds in the first quarter. ... Oklahoma City forced 13 turnovers in the first half. ... The Thunder improved to 19-0 this season when Westbrook gets a triple-double. ... The Thunder outrebounded the Warriors 56-40 and outscored them 31-19 from the free throw line.

NHL Playoffs: Penguins fight off Lightning to force Game 7


NHL Playoffs: Penguins fight off Lightning to force Game 7


TAMPA, Fla. -- The Pittsburgh Penguins made good on Evgeni Malkin's pledge to force Game 7 in the Eastern Conference final.

Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist, and Phil Kessel, Kris Letang, Bryan Rust and Nick Bonino also scored Tuesday night in a 5-2 victory that evened the best-of-seven series with the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-3.

Game 7 is Thursday night, with the Penguins hoping to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2009 and the Lightning looking to advance to the Cup Final for the second straight year.

"I just told them to embrace the moment. It's a great opportunity for us. These are the type of circumstances to where you have an opportunity to write your own story," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan.

"They had a certain mindset going into this tonight: `We're going to leave it all out there and do everything we can to bring this back to Pittsburgh,'" Sullivan added. "And, certainly that's what they did."

Malkin was the most demonstrative of the players expressing confidence the Penguins could take the series back to Pittsburgh, saying he believed in himself, his teammates and that they could return home for a seventh game "for sure."

Crosby stepped up with his third game-winning goal of the series. The Penguins captain assisted on Kessel's 5-on-3 power-play goal in the opening period and later skated around Tampa Bay defenseman Anton Stralman into the clear before sending a wrist shot between goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy's legs for a 3-0 lead in the final minute of the second period.

"We know the circumstances. It makes you go out there with a mindset of playing desperate," Crosby said. "I think we had confidence in the whole group. I think everyone played great.

"Everyone contributed in their own way. In a big game like this you, don't do anything special, just do your job. I think that's gotten us this far."

Rookie goaltender Matt Murray returned to the lineup after being replaced as the starter for Game 5 by Marc-Andre Fleury, but his 10th playoff victory did not come without a bit of suspense.

Brian Boyle scored twice in the third period for Tampa Bay, with one of the goals bouncing off Kessel before getting past Murray, who finished with 28 saves. The second score drew the Lightning within one goal with 7:17 remaining.

Instead of flinching, the young goalie who turns 22 on Wednesday retained his composure down the stretch to help the Penguins avoid relinquishing a third-period lead for the second straight game.

"I just think it's part of his DNA. He has a calming influence. He doesn't get rattled if he lets a goal in. He continues to compete," Sullivan said.

"That's usually an attribute that takes years to acquire. And to have it at such a young age is impressive. I think one of his biggest strengths is just his ability to stay in the moment."

Rust's breakaway goal at 17:52 of the third gave Pittsburgh breathing room, and Bonino added an empty-netter to finish it off.

"We had a great chance tonight and just tip-toed around a little bit," Boyle said. "We were tentative and weren't aggressive."

Kessel's goal was his team-leading ninth of the playoffs. Crosby had the primary assist, his first point since delivering game-winners in Games 2 and 3, and Malkin also had an assist to extend his point streak to four games after a slow start in the series.

The Lightning had an apparent goal by Jonathan Drouin waived off a little more than five minutes into the game, when Sullivan successfully challenged that the young Tampa Bay winger was offside on the play before tapping in a rebound off Ondrej Palat's shot that bounced off Murray's pads.

Sullivan announced the decision to go back to Murray following Tuesday's morning skate.

Murray started the first four games of the series. Fleury replaced him during the third period of Game 4, then made his first start in nearly two months in Game 5, which Tampa Bay won 4-3 in overtime.

Before Game 5, Fleury had not started a game since March 31, when he suffered a concussion.

Tampa Bay entered the game determined to not come out flat in Game 6 of the conference final for the second straight year.

The Lightning beat the New York Rangers on the road to go up 3-2 in that series, but were badly outplayed at home the next game and had to return to Madison Square Garden to finish the series.

Now, they'll have to win on the road again to make the third Stanley Cup appearance in franchise history.

"I know we can. I've got confidence in this group. We believe we can do that," Tampa Bay's Ryan Callahan said. "We've had success on the road in the playoffs. We've had success in their building already. It's going to be a good one."

The Penguins were 1 for 3 on the power play and are 4 for 19 in the series. The Lightning were 0 for 1, dropping to 2 for 12. ... Malkin was penalized in the first period for slashing Tampa Bay Bay's Ryan Callahan in what appeared to be retaliation for the Lightning forward whacking him across the wrist with his stick. ... Murray improved to 4-0 following a loss. He's 10-4 overall in the playoffs.

Best of MLB: Jackie Bradley Jr. extends hitting streak to 28 games


Best of MLB: Jackie Bradley Jr. extends hitting streak to 28 games

BOSTON -- David Price scattered five hits over seven innings and Jackie Bradley Jr. had a pair of hits to extend his streak to 28 games as the Boston Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies 8-3 on Tuesday night.

David Ortiz had a two-run double and a two-run single, and Dustin Pedroia added three hits to help Boston win its third straight game. Price (7-1) allowed three runs, walking one and striking out six to earn his third consecutive win.

Colorado lost for the fifth time in six games.

Jorge De La Rosa (1-4) made his first start after spending almost a month on the disabled list with a left groin strain. He gave up two runs in the first, two more in the second and left with one out in the fourth with two on and one run already in (see full recap).

Polanco, Pirates crush Diamondbacks
PITTSBURGH -- Gregory Polanco hit a three-run homer and drove in a career-best five runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates rolled by the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-1 on Tuesday night.

Polanco's shot to the concourse in right-center field off Shelby Miller (1-6) in the first inning gave Pittsburgh an early boost. Francisco Liriano (4-3) scattered two hits in 5 2/3 innings and added an RBI single as the Pirates improved to 6-2 during a 10-game homestand.

After a short adjustment period, Polanco has thrived batting third in the lineup, hitting .317 (20 of 63) with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 15 games. The Pirates spread their 17 hits among 11 batters.

Miller's recent recovery from a miserable start with the Diamondbacks took a step backward. Less than a year removed from an All-Star appearance with Atlanta, Miller's ERA ballooned to 7.09 after surrendering six runs in five innings (see full recap).

Strasburg strikes out 11 in Nationals' win
WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg remained unbeaten with an 11-strikeout performance, and the Washington Nationals hit three of their season-high five home runs off struggling Matt Harvey in a 7-4 victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.

Strasburg (8-0) gave up two runs and four hits over 6 2/3 innings in defeating Harvey and the Mets for the second time in six days. Strasburg has five games this season with at least 10 strikeouts and 26 over his seven-year career.

Harvey (3-7) stumbled through a third straight ineffective start, allowing five runs and eight hits over five rocky innings. The right-hander has yielded 16 earned runs and 31 hits over his last three outings.

Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon hit successive solo shots to put Washington ahead in the fourth inning, and Daniel Murphy added a two-run drive off his former teammate in the fifth for a 5-1 lead (see full recap).