September 18, 2007

Eagles Lose Again. Mass Hysteria Ensues

Time to press the panic button?

I know many fans already have, and I can't blame them. The Eagles are 0-2, and this was supposed to be the "easy" part of the schedule. Last week the offensive woes were overlooked because of the two muffed punts. This week it was painfully clear that the offense has major problems, and the entire nation saw it.

Donovan is not Super Five anymore:

As the offense puttered down the field, like an 85 Buick with a bad transmission, It was painfully obvious that there is something majorly wrong with Donovan McNabb. He is very inaccurate with his throws, and as he admitted himself, the "explosion" is not there when he runs. McNabb sailed a few high, had a few behind, a few too far in front, and even mixed in a few worm burners. Some blame the receivers, but I am not buying it. Last year the Eagles offense was explosive with the same receivers minus Kevin Curtis. The receivers are not the problem, it is Donovan. Poor footwork seems to be the reason he can't make these throws, and that is a result of the bad knee. If this is the case, then you will not see the Donovan of old, for at least another full year. The problem with that is, this season could be a wash, and I don't think Eagles fans are willing to be that patient. If you listen to talk radio, people are already starting the "get him outta here" talk.


All the talk of the Eagles being more dedicated to the run seems to be just talk. They started off the Greenbay with a balanced attack, and then in the second half, they completely got away from running the ball. that carried over into last night, as the Eagles called 51 passing plays, and only 18 run plays. That is a 73-27 pass/run ratio. That is completely mind boggling how bad that is. When Ron Jaworski said the Eagles are a great play action pass team, I laughed. How can any team respect the Birds play action? I also wonder if Andy Reid has been calling the plays again. This game has his finger prints all over it, and I am willing to bet he would be stubborn enough to take back the play calling. You need to have balance in the NFL to win, and I doubt that Reid will ever get it at this point.

Defense Misses Lito:

Will James is terrible. I don't care that he got an interception, on a bad pass by Jason Campbell, Will James was getting killed all game. He does not have the ability to stay with speed receivers. The Redskins picked on him all game long, and for the most part they abused Will James. In the 4th quarter, the Redskins took a shot downfield, and Santana Moss put a move on James that left him in the dust. James was 8 yards behind Moss, and lucked out when Campbell overthrew everybody. I am really missing Rod Hood a lot right now, and so are the Eagles.

Then there is this stiff Joselio Hanson. After the Redskins had 3 penalties in a row, near the end of the first half, how do you let Chris Cooley get behind you? To cover James thrash of all people? The Eagles all week long focused on defending Chirs Cooley, and Hanson blew it at a crucial time. I would also like to point out, that Hanson tackles like a girl. He waits for guys to come to him, and then tackles their legs from behind. As a defensive player, you need to attack the ball carrier. Fly to the football, wrap up, and drive your body through the offesnive player. From now on Joselio is going to be known as the Matador tackler.

He is not the only one who missed tackles though. Sheldon Brown, Sean Considine, and even Brian Dawkins missed tackles. This is something that drives me absoloutely crazy. The Eagles used to be a great tackling team back in 2002, and each year, it seems to get worse. Now it is to the point where you expect at least 4 or 5 missed tackles a game.

The defense overall did a lot of things well, but there are still some issues there. Brodrick Bunkley, Juqua Thomas, Omar Gaither, Mike Patterson, and Takeo Spikes all played very well. I just think after seeing how bad Will James looked, that teams are going to continue to exploit him all season long, and that could kill them.

Reno Returns:

Reno Mahe is back, and got a standing ovation when he went on the field for the first time. Very ironic that the same people who wanted him gone so badly, are now delighted to see him back. As expected Reno did not break anything big, but he made no mistakes. He also was sporting a new number(25), because his old number(34) was taken by practice squad FB Jason Davis.

More Injuries:

Free safety Brian Dawkins and running back Brian Westbrook are among four starters hurting a day after Monday night's loss to Washington, but head coach Andy Reid doesn't believe the injuries are serious enough to keep them out for Sunday's home game against Detroit.

Dawkins sustained a neck stinger as a result of a hit he put on Redskins tight end Todd Yoder in the fourth quarter. The Pro Bowl free safety was down for some time before being helped up and led down the tunnel. Dawkins underwent an MRI on Tuesday and Reid said "he'll be alright as the week goes on here."

Westbrook, who has 51 touches in the first two games, suffered a knee strain.

"He twisted his knee a little bit," Reid said of his prized running back.

Westbrook had 96 rushing yards and 66 receiving to lead the Eagles in both categories Monday night and the head coach believes as far as workload goes Westbrook is "right about where he needs to be."Meanwhile, L.J. Smith continues to fight a nagging groin strain that has hampered the tight end since training camp. The injury has certainly limited his productivity as evidenced by Smith's numbers through two games -- 26 yards on four receptions.

"He'll just keep working through this thing," Reid said.

Up front, left tackle William Thomas exited the game with back spasms, a condition he's battled on and off for the last five years."I think that's one thing we'll have to deal with," Reid said. "We dealt with it before."Back spasms cost Thomas one game back in 2003, but overall he has been a steady presence as Donovan McNabb's blindside bodyguard. Thomas has started 136 of 137 career games.

Second-year man Winston Justice replaced Thomas and "did a nice job," according to Reid.

Justice could get some extra work with the first-team offense this week as coaches may look to get Thomas some rest.

Back on defense, Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard is reportedly getting better with an MCL sprain he suffered in the season opener. Will James started in place of Sheppard on Monday night and James responded with his first interception as an Eagle.

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Can this season be salvaged?:

Is is possible to come back from 0-2, and make the playoffs? Yes it is. In fact the 2003 Eagles finished the season 12-4 after an 0-2 start, and went to the NFCCG. I don't think that this team is capable of doing the same thing, and the reason is obvious.

McNabb is not the same. With this knee hindering Donovan's throws, he may play poorly all season. Now that A.J. Feeley has a broken hand, the only other option right now is rookie Kevin Kolb. If you go to Kolb, you would really just be throwing in the towel. I think this team can play much better, but after what I have seen the past two games, they are clearly not a contender. even if Andy Reid shifted this offense to be more run oriented, they still would have problems with McNabb's erratic passes. It's going to take a miracle for things to turn around again like they did in 2003.


jackdoesntswim said...

Thanks for your continued efforts to inform.

I, and many of my friends, are extremely disappointed in the performance of this team thusfar.

I even carried a post-game mock negotiation with a friend of mine from Chicago last night for Rex Grossman. He said the Eagles could aquire Rex for a bottle of Jim Beam and a case of smokes. Right now even that seems like a good deal.

Lionel McClure said...

That's a waste of Beam and you know it. It's too early to panic. The offense just needs to let Westbrook do the heavy lifting like it did down the stretch last year. Granted, there's no Donte Stallworth, but the season is hardly over. Remember, they play in the NFC.