The Philadelphia Eagles dropped yet another game in the 4th quarter yesterday and fell to 3-6 on the season; pretty much destroying their postseason chances. Worse yet, they lost to an inferior opponent who was without their starting quarterback and just looked absolutely lethargic at times during the contest.
Fans are looking for a singular object to point their frustrations toward in these ominous days and for the life of me; I can’t think of one, two or even three things to narrow blame to. This has been a season mostly free of major injury and with a roster full of paper champions.
Unfortunately this isn’t fantasy football. Perhaps Eagles fans are getting a small taste of what our rivals down I-95 felt for years living under the blundering mess that was Daniel Snyder. In Philadelphia however, it’s simply not commonplace for Joe Banner, Jeffrey Lurie and Andy Reid to let this happen.
An initial thought of what could be going on in Philadelphia is the amount of new starters and contributors that hit NovaCare this offseason. Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Cullen Jenkins, Brian Rolle, Casey Matthews, Jason Babin and Jarrad Page are all brand new to the team this year and have played significant roles at some point in 2011. That’s seven new faces on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage alone.
On top of those new faces, you add a new defensive line coach in Jim Washburn and a new defensive coordinator in Juan Castillo whose sole professional experience has been as an offensive line coach and I have to think things can get tangled.
I listen to NFL Pre-game shows and they tend to point out that Michael Vick isn’t playing as well as last year, but for some reason they spend as much time focusing on his turnovers as his lack of rushing touchdowns. Thanks for pointing out the obvious that interceptions are bad guys. I’ll assume sticking my hand in the garbage disposal is also an awful idea.
Vick not getting into the end zone on his own accord this year doesn’t bother me one bit. LeSean McCoy has 906 yards and 10 touchdowns in nine games and just set a franchise record for most consecutive games for an Eagles running back with a touchdown. He’s 11 yards behind the league-leader in rushing yards, first in scoring and has rushed for 57 1st downs (17 more than Fred Jackson who is in 2nd place).
At the same time Jason Peters has been reborn into one of the best left tackles in the NFL and Howard Mudd’s offensive line is playing phenomenal with two rookies and a journeyman.
The problem with Vick started at the end of last season; as pointed out by one Mike Mayock and it’s continued. First, defensive linemen are elevating on every pass he makes and he is getting a lot of his balls batted down. Second, teams have adjusted to him schematically. Third, he’s just not throwing the ball very well on a consistent basis.
He has a gun for an arm, but he’s wild. His mechanics look bad. He doesn’t set his feet and as usual; Michael Vick can have a clean pocket for six seconds and he still feels the need to run outside of it. You can’t see the field when you do that. It’s on Andy Reid to sit down with him and fix this in the offseason; pure and simple.
So, what’s wrong with the Eagles?
Chemistry is pretty obvious. A lot of new players came in. Egos are all over the place. People want to get paid and others have been floated as trade bait and know it. The most productive cornerback in the NFL knows he’s being shopped and at the same time, he’s chest bumping your franchise running back and (supposed) franchise wide receiver that both need extensions. I’m not blaming those individuals; I’m giving an example. I’ve talked to a former NFL player about this thought and it was their first opinion as well.
This is simply my opinion, but in all due respect Juan Castillo cannot be the defensive coordinator. There comes a point where a team simply has too much talent to be playing this bad and unfortunately for Coach Castillo, we’ve passed it. Andy Reid can certainly find him something to do on the offensive side of the ball again.
If we’re going to run Jim Washburn’s system (which I love); the front office must make a big commitment to the linebacker position, especially at MIKE. You don’t need Patrick Willis out there, but you need a tackling machine. If Boston College’s Luke Kuechly declares for the NFL Draft he’s my top target. He might not be the “best” MLB in the draft, but he’s what we need.
Fix these contract situations ASAP. LeSean McCoy is the priority in my opinion, not DeSean Jackson. I want them both though. DeSean needs to Ranger Up and play though or he’s going to find his skinny butt on the trade block and I won’t blame the FO. The issue there is, Jackson creates big plays just being on the field by stretching out a defense. I’m sure Rosenhaus has a big number and Banner has a much smaller number. It’s tough to put a value on Jackson because his production doesn’t merit a big contract. How the hell do you put a value on “hidden production”? They’re going to have to figure that out or get compensation for him.
As for Andy Reid, firing him is not an option to me. Even if it was; get it out of your heads. It’s not happening. It’s more likely that you as an Eagles fan will get a Cowboy’s star tattooed on your right butt cheek.
The big positive of this entire crap sandwich Eagles fans are eating this season is that paper champion could become a real one next year if things are handled properly; and if you’re a frequent reader of our site I’ll assume you’re one of the intelligent fans that aren’t doom and gloom (like I am the 12 hours after a game).
This roster is littered with talent and this organization typically makes the right moves. A year from now it could all seem like a bad dream.
Faithfully submitted, Matthew R. Alkire, Sergeant at Arms