Most of what needs to be said has been said – if not by our PSB staff then by the cadre of Eagles writers and media brethren across the plane of football coverage. This is not to exclude millions of fans (on call-in shows, outside the NovaCare complex being accosted by players for their right to free speech or at Lincoln Financial Field by the Eagles Faithful) who have never been shy and are always quick to offer their personal commentary on the state of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles are 1-4 and could sag into their bye week at 1-5 or at best 2-4. Neither option warrants much promise exacerbated by the simple fact that all four losses were winnable games, but you play the schedule as it comes to you. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is an art form.
Fortunately, the NFC East is not the behemoth clash of the titans it once was. Dallas (2-2) and the NY Giants (3-2) have struggled (though the Giants already beat the Eagles at home) and it is likely that a 9-7 team could win this division. This week’s opponents are the NFC East division-leading Washington Redskins (3-1). Rex Grossman proclaimed during the abbreviated preseason that the Redskins were for real and would make the playoffs but conventional wisdom would indicate that he was probably delusional from being dehydrated after a difficult two-a-day session. The Redskins are not a more talented team than the Eagles but they have been more successful because they have learned from their mistakes and taken responsibilities for their weaknesses.
Critics like to blame Michael Vick or Alex Henery or Casey Matthews for these shortcomings but they should blame the scheme, the coaches and the lack of execution – especially focusing on the lack of adjustments during games. Andy Reid and Juan Castillo are both to blame for stubbornly sticking with schemes that aren’t working and it has resulted in the Eagles being beaten in the fourth quarter 4 out of 5 games this season. Vick is having the second-best statistical season on record (2010 was astronomical as we all know) while in just 5 games, he has amassed 1,336 passing yards, 8 TD and a 62% completion rate. Vick also boasts 7 INT, 3 fumbles recovered for turnover and 318 rushing yards (63 per game and 8 yards per carry) while scrambling for his life and creating any downfield passing game by extending plays with his legs. Matthews and Henery are both rookies thrown into the proverbial fire who have struggled early on. This doesn’t mean they are busts as Matthews displays raw skills that can be harnessed and Henery was the most accurate kicker in NCAA history. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
Philadelphia now knows that its weaknesses are run defense, red zone defense, red zone offense, short yardage and goal line rushing, pass protection and the frustrating propensity to stick with a defensive scheme which asks premiere cover corners to play zone and which emphasizes the play of their linebackers. Now the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. The mark of true growth is to learn from one’s past mistakes and make changes to improve one’s future. The Eagles have the power to take control of their situation or to continue on the path they’ve started down. What’s scary is that we are looking to Captain Andy Reid and First Mate Juan Castillo to acknowledge that there is water pouring over the bow and that it would be prudent to start bailing ourselves out rather than ignoring the problem in hopes that it will take care of itself.
Swab the poop deck, cue the Titanic String Quartet and grab a deck chair from the Acapulco Deck because we have a front row seat to the wonders or horrors of Eagles 2011. Will Andy Reid and his coaches adjust or will they obstinately stick to their system and go down with the sinking ship? Will they ever implement a short yardage rushing attack or develop an effective red zone defense? Can they allow their superior shutdown cover corners to do what they do best, thus freeing up safeties to help a weak corps of linebackers? Will they ever come up with five effective, consistent offensive linemen? When will they play their cadre of red-shirted 2011 draft picks – or the 2010 class for that matter? Will it get worse before it gets better or can they start to turn this thing around this week?
Let us watch the horror unfold…
Five times I’ve picked the Eagles to win this season and four of those times I was proven wrong. While the Eagles could have won all five games they only managed a victory at St. Louis. This is it. The last time I pick the Eagles based on faith in their ability rather than past performance. Speaking of past performance, last time the Eagles faced the Skins they ran up nearly 60 points of offense in a Monday Night Massacre.
Eagles 27 Redskins 24
About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org