Grin and Bear It: Andy Reid Here Until the Bitter End

Grin and Bear It: Andy Reid Here Until the Bitter End

Want Andy Reid gone? At the current rate, you'll get your wish soon enough. Then again, maybe it won't come quite soon enough for some of you.

After 14 years, Reid may very well be headed for a pink slip in the next two months. Don't expect the news to come down today though, nor this week or the next, probably no sooner than the end of the season. No matter how much you think he deserves it, there is simply no point in dumping the head coach at this stage, as some folks have already suggested.

Sure, such an announcement might bring fans a measure relief, but it doesn't change what the Eagles are with nine games left. After all, it's not like Jeffrey Lurie can go outside the current staff to find Reid's replacement in November.

That should be stating the obvious. Never mind the fact that most active coaches are currently, you know, employed -- though it stands to reason that might be a stumbling block. Who in their right mind is going to sign up to take over a sinking ship? Even if the task was somehow appealing (it's not), no outside candidate would or could work with a foreign staff.

Reid couldn't successfully transition a new defensive coordinator with an extra week to prepare, so it's probably safe to say Vince Lombardi couldn't overhaul an entire staff in six days, mid-season. And again, coaches are working right now, not applying for jobs.

Nobody is available.

That means the only answer is to promote an interim coach from the current staff. Well, since those guys are doing such bang-up jobs, who do you think should get the call? Todd Bowles deserves to keep flying up the ladder after Sunday's effort on defense, no? Have Marty Mornhinweg or Bobby April drawn rave reviews coaching the offense and special teams? Maybe under-performing line play will get Howard Mudd and Jim Washburn some looks, but I doubt they're willing.

This isn't a situation where there is a head coach-in-waiting in the building. When this regime ends, you want it to be finished once and for all, so it's not as if you're getting a look at a guy the organization would consider hiring.

Face it: Andy Reid is the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles for at least another month or two -- and there are still two more logical reasons why.

First, the Eagles' season is not over yet at 3-4. That's not a vote of confidence as much as it is acknowledging the remaining existing possibilities. As long as there isn't somebody better stepping in right away, Reid might as well have every opportunity to dig himself and his team out of this mess. It's their best chance for this year, and he's certainly surprised us in the past.

Second, you can make the case Reid's dismissal is long overdue, and it's a valid point. That said, as difficult as it may be to remember, there were a lot of great years under Reid, and it should earn him a modicum of respect. As long as there isn't an obvious replacement, he should be allowed to finish out the year.

Because what purpose does causing a scene serve other than to humiliate a man who led the Eagles to multiple appearances in the conference final, plus a trip to the Super Bowl?

It appears the end is near, but while it may seem like getting it over with is a thing to do, it's not. The Eagles won't be in any position to truly start over before January, so rather than hastily pull the plug on 2012, time's Reid's.

Ex-Penn State TE Brent Wilkerson gets probation for indecent assault

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Ex-Penn State TE Brent Wilkerson gets probation for indecent assault

BELLEFONTE, Pa. — A former Penn State football player will serve five years' probation and register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to indecent assault.

Twenty-two-year-old Brent Wilkerson was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty in connection with a February outing to several bars with a young woman and others.

Police say Wilkerson was drunk but the woman was sober when he insisted on making sure she got home safe.

The woman tells police Wilkerson pushed her upstairs to her bedroom where he fell asleep. The woman says she went to bed later and woke up to find Wilkerson kissing and fondling her and fondling himself. He later apologized in a text message.

Wilkerson was kicked off the team in March. Court records say he lives in Clinton, Maryland.

Union-Toronto FC 5 things: Embracing the playoff underdog role

Union-Toronto FC 5 things: Embracing the playoff underdog role

Union vs. Toronto FC
7:30 p.m. on ESPN2

Riding a seven-game winless run entering their first playoff match since 2011, the No. 6 Union (11-14-9) will attempt to hit the reset button and unseat the third-ranked and heavily favored Toronto FC (14-9-11) on Wednesday (7:30 p.m., ESPN2) at BMO Field.

Here are five things to know:

1. Playing underdog
The struggling Union are happily accepting the role as underdogs against MLS Cup-hungry Toronto FC.

"It's a difficult task but it’s not impossible,” Union manager Jim Curtin said. "Not many people are giving us a chance. We've been a good team when we're considered the underdog and my guys have responded well in that situation. This is no different."

To fully embrace that underdog role, and in an attempt to wash away the stink of how they ended the regular season, the Union are treating Wednesday as a hard reset. For them, the playoffs will be a fresh chance to prove themselves.

“It’s a new season now,” said Union center back Ken Tribbett, who helped his club draw Toronto FC at BMO Field on Sept. 24. “In the playoffs, anything can happen. We go up to Toronto and it’ll be a good test. We have to stay sharp for 90 minutes and hopefully we can come back here with a win.”

And there is a reason to be slightly optimistic about the Union’s chance. Despite a 1-0-1 record against the Canadian side this season, the Union, who lost 3-1 in the first match, played much better on Sept. 24 at BMO Field. They clogged the midfield and ground the Sebastian Giovinco-less club into a 1-1 draw.

“It’s encouraging that we have gone there recently and played well,” Curtin said. “I think we have a group that has a belief, and one that is pissed a bit about how things have ended. They are motivated.”

2. Leaning on experience
While the 2016 Union will ultimately be known for their reliance on youth — a group that included Keegan Rosenberry, who has played every minute this season, Fabian Herbers, Josh Yaro and Ken Tribbett — it’s the veterans that will lead them on Wednesday.

“This is a pressure game for everybody,” Curtin said. “We have a good balance of guys who have played in big spots, like (Chris) Pontius, Tranquillo (Barnetta), (Alejandro) Bedoya. (C.J.) Sapong has played in big games, you can go through the list.”

Yet despite Curtin’s need for his veterans to lead, his reliance on youth means the younger players need to be reliable. The manager admitted that pressure can change how people play, and he is making sure the Union youth movement remains steady on Wednesday.

“We have young guys, there’s no question about it,” Curtin said. “These guys will play in their first playoff game and a lot of the guys on our roster have never been in a playoff game. You hope they rise to the occasion and I’m confident they will.”

3. Pressure on Toronto
Making their second-ever postseason appearance, high-priced Toronto FC has its sights set on bigger things than the Union in the play-in playoff round. That’s why Curtin believes the pressure is squarely on his opposition.

“I’d say the pressure is on them, they are the home team,” the manager said. “My guys should be loose, they have nothing to lose. It’s fair to say, they are the home team and they want to make a deep playoff run. We want to make some noise.”

Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney knows his team will be excited, so he’s trying to instill a high intensity but controlled start for his club.

“We expect a little of the unexpected at the start,” he said. “The game settles down eventually, but at the start, there’s a lot of emotion into it and you want to play with the right kind of caution but the right kind of intensity to put the opposing team on their back foot.

“The guys are ready to go, ready to go after Philadelphia.”

4. Keep an eye on
Jozy Altidore: It would be easy to go with Giovinco here, but Altidore has a recent history of crushing the Union. He has two goals in his last three games against the Union and buried 10 in 23 games this season.

“Jozy is a guy who can stretch the field and is dangerous,” Curtin said. “He’s not a guy you can shut down, it’s not possible. He’ll have his moments, you just have to make those looks as predictable for (goalkeeper Andre Blake) as you can. You hope he’s a little off on the night.”

Tranquillo Barnetta: Without added inspiration, the Union offensive catalyst has been one of the club’s best players all season. On Wednesday, Curtin expects a little extra from Barnetta, who is not returning to the Union in 2017.

“I’ve talked a ton about how special he is, he’s been a great attribute for the Union and a guy we want to prolong the season for,” Curtin said. “He’s played in the big spots, the big games and there’s something extra there for him.” 

5. This and that
• On the injury front, Union center back Yaro sprained his MCL while returning from a concussion. “It’s a two-week injury,” Curtin said, “so it will be unfortunate he won’t be part of the Toronto game.”

Warren Creavalle is also fighting injury. The defensive midfielder left Sunday’s match with a rib injury but could be available for Wednesday. “It’s painful for him,” Curtin said. “He’s a tough kid and he wants to be a part of this game.”

• The Union and Toronto FC are deadlocked all time, with a 6-6-5 record against each other. 

• The Union are 2-4-3 at BMO Field.

• Both clubs enter Wednesday limping. Since August 27 (the Union’s last win), Toronto FC is 2-1-4, while the Union are 0-5-2.