The Unbeatable Eagles?

Andy Reid is 11-0 following a bye week. How has he been so successful and what can the Colts do to break the streak? Brad Keller takes a look.

There are a number of reasons why Andy Reid has done so well, historically, following a bye week.  The first of those reasons is that he has a career record of 112-70-1, so there is a 61.5 percent chance that his team will win any given game, regardless of whether or not his team his team was off the week before.  Reid's teams have been successful over the years, which is one of the reasons this is his 12th straight year coaching the Philadelphia Eagles.

Another reason is that Reid is very good at compartmentalizing large tasks, such as a game plan or his playbook for the week.  Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg work together to create a playbook for the week, a script of the first 15 plays on offense, and how to approach play calling from there on out depending on their results.

The more prep time these two men — especially Reid — have to work on that script and what will follow, the more effective they will be and the more they can lean on that plan once the game actually starts.  Interestingly enough, Reid is not good at compartmentalizing very small tasks, such as game management and what to do in the two minute drill, but he has been successful throughout the course of his career because proper planning prevents poor performance.

One of the biggest factors of his success following a bye week and in general during his tenure in Philadelphia has been consistency at quarterback.  Prior to this season, the only quarterback Reid had ever coached was Donovan McNabb, so week-to-week and season-to-season, he was able to tailor his game plan, system, and scripts to accentuate McNabb's strengths and diminish McNabb's weaknesses.  Given two weeks to prepare, Reid's skillset and approach to the game made it easy to find the best way to leverage McNabb and best attack the opposing team's defense.

This season, McNabb is playing for the Washington Redskins, which will decrease Reid's advantage.  Adding to that, the Eagles have not had consistency at the quarterback position this season due to injuries and Kevin Kolb's ineffectiveness at the outset of the 2010 campaign.  Michael Vick, who will be the team's starter on Sunday, was not able to practice during the bye week and is just now fully healthy with a full week of practice under his belt this week.  This further diminishes Reid's advantage.

The big factor working in his favor, though, is the health of his team heading into their match-up against the Colts in Week 9.  Reid has all of his starters healthy and was able to game plan around his 22 best guys on offense and defense.  That's a considerable advantage, considering team meetings and meetings with coordinators and position coaches must have been much more productive the past two weeks.

Ultimately, the players make the plays.  Reid has, historically, had good players on his teams, which once again points to why he has been so successful for so long.  It will be up to the Colts to be efficient on offense and dominant on defense, especially for the first part of the script.  If Reid is forced to work on a small task, such as in-game adjustments that he and Mornhinweg did not account for, then the advantage shifts back to Indianapolis. 

The Colts proved last week that they are perfectly capable of handling a team that just came off a bye.  If they are able to play as efficiently and effectively as they did against the Texans in Week 8, then the streak will end on Sunday.


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