In the waning days of Andy Reid’s tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles, his team did not look good.
Mostly losses, and even the wins were sloppy.
After the unimpressive wins, Reid would walk into the press room and brush off legitimate questions with one phrase: “Enjoy the win, fellas.”
That’s pretty much the message to Temple fans today.
Enjoy the win because this might be the last one of this strange season.
It’s not hyperbole.
I can’t find a single team remaining on the Temple schedule as bad as USF was and is but the Owls had to struggle mightily to beat the Bulls, 39-37. In fact, they needed the USF quarterback, Jordan McLeod, to inexplicably put the ball on the carpet for a scoop and score that pretty much gave Temple a gift win.
I had to laugh at a few of the exchanges I saw on social media Saturday. After the game, former Owl Barry Jenkins correctly noted these Owls were “soft on defense” and “couldn’t stop the run.”
To that, a familiar face on the sidelines for the last couple of decades responded: “Adam (Klein) was hurt. We’ll be fine.”
My response: “He was talking about the defense. There was nothing about the defense that spelled fine unless you are talking about Larry Fine of The Three Stooges.”
If the defense was the only problem, that would be one thing. Defense is only one-third of the team. Offense is another third and special teams is a third.
That was the Al Golden Mantra. Defense one third, Offense one third, special teams one third. The way Rod Carey has prioritized special teams since his arrival has made it abundantly clear that he considers special teams 1/10th of the team, defense nearly one half and offense nearly one half.
That’s a losing football mentality.
The sad thing was that he had the best special teams coach in the country, Ed Foley, and let him slip through his fingers. If there was anyone who was a Temple lifer it was Foley. Coaches from Al Golden to Steve Addazio to Matt Rhule to Geoff Collins were smart enough to give the keys to the special teams car to Foley and know that he would not wreck it. Foley had that thing shiny and clean and purring like a kitten and he changed the oil and filter every 3,000 miles.
Since Carey let Foley go because he “wanted to get an extra defensive coach on the field” the Owls have looked like the Keystone Cops on special teams. They can’t block kicks (they used to routinely lead the country in that department), they can’t return kicks, they can’t cover kicks, and they can’t even kick it into the damn end zone. They even have a hard time recovering onsides’ kicks. Anthony Russo doesn’t even hold on field goals any more and defenses consequently don’t even have to account for a possible fake, which makes it much easier to block field goals.
Other than that, they are doing great on special teams.
Yet, for some reason, Carey thought getting an extra defensive coach on the field was a higher priority.
How did that extra defensive coach work out against USF on Saturday? He probably had a lot to do with USF, a team that was shut out by Notre Dame, scoring 37 points.
Enjoy the win, though, fellas. It might be the last one because two-thirds of the team looks remarkably like all thirds of The Three Stooges.
Monday: Fizzy’s Corner