Maybe the message is enough. The message is that if Andy Reid is willing to fire a man he cares about and respects, then your job isn’t safe, either.
The message must be important. Otherwise, it’s foolish to believe that firing defensive coordinator Juan Castillo will improve the special teams, help the offensive line or cut down on Michael Vick’s turnovers.
Perhaps the message will inspire improvement across the board. With the possibility of being replaced as the starting quarterback, maybe Vick takes better care of the football. Maybe offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg (and Reid) improves his situational play-calling. Perhaps defensive linemen actually register a sack.
The Eagles are in decent position to make the playoffs. But they won’t get there if they continue to make the same mistakes. That’s why Reid made a drastic move, by his standards, by firing a coach during the season for the first time in his head coaching career.
The message is that Reid’s job isn’t the only one on the line.
MOUTH NOT IN DECLINE: Former Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel stuck in his two cents after Juan Castillo was fired. Perhaps tweaked over Andy Reid’s reported comments that Samuel’s skills were declining, Samuel tweeted, “Sometimes you have to blame yourself. You can’t try and always point the figure (sic) at someone else.”
As for his alleged decline, Samuel tweeted, “I’m just saying … Ain’t no decline over here.”
Don’t expect a happy reunion next Sunday when the Eagles host Samuel and the undefeated Falcons.
MAKING THEIR POINTS: Entering Sunday’s preseason game at Boston and Monday’s preseason finale against the Knicks in Syracuse, the 76ers have scored at least 100 points in all of their preseason games. The regular season is a different animal, but the production at the offensive end is still a welcome trend.
The important point is how the Sixers have scored those points. In addition to scoring on the fast break, the Sixers have been draining outside shots. Outside shooting was a weakness for last year’s offensively challenged team. With Nick Young, Dorell Wright and Jason Richardson added to the roster, the Sixers may have transformed a weakness into a strength.
BYNUM WATCH: I’ll put the odds of center Andrew Bynum starting on opening night (Halloween) at less than 50-50. In fact, that’s probably an accurate assessment of whether Bynum will even play on opening night. After missing the entire preseason thus far with soreness in his knees, Bynum’s chances of starting the opener are significantly lower.
ROSTER WATCH: It appears that rookie guard Maalik Wayns will make the Sixers’ final roster. Wayns has been impressive during preseason, demonstrating the ability to distribute the ball as well as to shoot it.
Another development is that Thaddeus Young has made a solid claim to start at power forward. Young has been most effective coming off the bench, but he started the past three preseason games and has played well.
SPECTER AT SPECTRUM: We lost a wonderful public servant and a dedicated sports fan last Sunday when Arlen Specter died. Please check out my column on my encounter with Sen. Specter at the Spectrum.
PUBLIC NON-RELATIONS: It seems as if the NHL is more interested in scoring public relations points than in getting a deal done. The owners announced a proposal that contained a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue with the players with a lot of hoopla. But there were details in the proposal that clearly would prevent the players from agreeing to it.
When the two sides met later in the week, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he was hopeful of getting a deal done. After the owners rejected three proposals by the Players Association in less than an hour, Bettman described the day as “a step backward.”
The players said the owners’ proposal was useful as a document from which to negotiate. The NHL indicated that the proposal was a final offer and was not subject to negotiation. Meanwhile, the season slips away, piece by piece.
NO TEARS FOR YANKEES: I didn’t shed any tears for the Yankees after they were unceremoniously swept out of the playoffs by the Tigers. They even had their misery extended when Game 4 was rained out, causing a postponement until the next day.
The Yankees scored just two runs against Detroit starters during the American League Championship Series. Robinson Cano, who went hitless in 29 straight at-bats, was fortunate that Alex Rodriguez’s horrific slump garnered most of the attention.
The Yankees would desperately like to part ways with A-Rod. Calkins Media’s Kevin Cooney has an intriguing idea about A-Rod’s possible destination.
‘V’ IS FOR VICTORY: By sweeping the Yankees, the Tigers can set up their rotation so that Justin Verlander pitches Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night. That creates the possibility that, if necessary, Verlander could start three games. That’s a huge advantage. Verlander isn’t perfect, but he doesn’t lose very often.
By contrast, the National League representative won’t be able to adjust its rotation very much, especially if the Giants win tonight (Sunday) and force a Game 7 in the NLCS on Monday.
GARCIA’S GOLDEN: Congratulations to Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia on successfully defending the WBC and WBA super lightweight titles Saturday night against former champion Erik Morales at Brooklyn’s new Barclays Center. Garcia (25-0) knocked Morales out in the fourth round, the same round in which he stopped Amir Khan in July in his first title defense after taking the championships from Morales by unanimous decision in March.
UNION REACH END: The Union’s nightmare season mercifully comes to an end this week. The Union (10-16-6) play at Kansas City on Wednesday then finish up their season Saturday (1:30 p.m.) against New York at PPL Park.
The Union’s season was almost over before it began. After making the playoffs for the first time last season, they jettisoned key players and, subsequently, fired their coach. I haven’t heard a satisfactory explanation for the Union’s decision to revamp their roster. Maybe those changes will pay off next year. The best thing that can be said about this season, however, is that it’s almost over.
Eric Fisher, who has been covering sports for 24 years, is carefully checking his schedule to see if he has a bye week.