PHILADELPHIA - Risking a collision with the Redskins' defense and with high football irony Sunday, Andy Reid finally gave the fans a wish. He authorized what could be a franchise-turning running play.
Though down 25 points and with less than two minutes left, Reid allowed his most valuable offensive player, LeSean McCoy, to run the ball. The result was a seven-yard gain, no points and McCoy in Stage 1 of concussion recovery. There are five published stages of concussion-treatment protocol.
With that, Reid's list of professional headaches reached a new stage of its own.
McCoy has not been ruled out of the Birds' next game, this Monday against the visiting Carolina Panthers. But Reid also characterized Michael Vick's recovery as in 'Stage 1' Monday, and the quarterback has been inactive for the last game and a half.
Thus, the twist: As Reid steadfastly hangs onto his job, he may have to do so without both Vick and McCoy … and for the curious reason of committing to a running game, the kind his fans long have craved.
'There are a few things that you wish wouldn't happen,' the Birds' coach said at the NovaCare Complex, a day after the 31-6 loss in Washington. 'That obviously would be one of them.'
After the game Sunday, Reid bristled, insisting he'd given McCoy the ball because he was trying to win the game. That the Eagles would have needed more than three touchdowns in less than two minutes was not in Reid's public equation. By Monday, he elaborated, insisting that he was trying to keep his better players content.
'These kids want to play,' Reid said. 'There are two sides of this. There's the side that you ask me, 'Did you feel like they quit?' Well, no, these guys want to play. They want to win the game. They want to get better. They want to show that they're all-in. And so there's a fine line there. And then as coaches you want to make sure the guys know that you're all-in, too.
'With that, I don't regret it. It happened. Do I wish he wouldn't have been hurt? Yeah. I do wish he wouldn't have been hurt. But I don't regret that.'
McCoy's carry was his 15th of the game, or about on his average of 17.7 rushing attempts. He finished with 45 yards rushing. He also had six receptions for 67 yards.
McCoy was carted off FedEx Field, suggesting a heightened crisis. But Reid said Monday that it was his feeling that McCoy's situation was not as severe as Vick's.
'I don't think it is quite that, but who I am to judge it?' Reid said. 'We'll know over time here. It didn't seem to be quite as bad just from where he was after the game and his response. He took a good lick there, and we've got to make sure we go through the protocol. We'll see how things go.' Added Reid: 'We'll just take it day by day. He's got a bit of a headache right now.'
Vick was injured in the Eagles' 38-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys and was replaced by Nick Foles. Foles played the entire game in Washington. Reid said Monday that Vick will be the Birds' starting quarterback should he be cleared to play Monday.
'Michael is improving with the concussion,' Reid said. 'He's still not at baseline so he would be considered Stage 1.'