In the earlier post a lot of people got into the subject of the 8–8 record put up by the Eagles last year. One of the popular themes was that the final record was deceiving. After all, the team was 4-8 after 12 games and that was clearly a bad team. We then beat some crappy QBs to get to 8-8, but that doesn’t count and the Eagles are still in serious trouble.
I thought we had covered this ground back in January, but here goes.
Yes, the Eagles were 4-8. That is a fact that no one is trying to deny or hide from. However, if we can look into the 4 game winning streak at the end, shouldn’t we look at the 12 games? That record was greatly affected by a disastrous 1-4 start. The slow start is the key to the whole season. The team was highly erratic in that stretch.
First 5 games:
Turnovers – 15
Takeaways – 5
Rushing Yds Allowed – 140 per game
Pts Allowed – 26.4 per game
* 2 missed FGs
* Mike Vick didn’t finish 2 games
* 3 starters at WLB.
* 2 starters at MLB.
* 2 starters at SAM.
* Jarrad Page missed tackles as if he was a one-man biblical plague
* 3 blown 4th Qtr leads
* Ronnie Brown’s nightmare play
And of course you had a lot of change going on with the coaching staff, schemes, and players. The 1-4 start wasn’t due to a lack of talent so much as a mixture of mistakes, dumb plays, change, and learning on the fly.
The coaches and players came together over time. The team quit making dumb mistakes. The young guys learned how to play. The new guys figured out what the coaches wanted. The defensive coaches figured out how to use personnel to maximize results. There were some offensive tweaks that worked, such as using the TE more.
And Mike Vick was healthy for the last 4 weeks. Don’t overlook the importance of that. The Eagles were 7-4 in games which Vick started and finished. The Eagles were 6-2 in Vick’s last 8 starts.
The Eagles falling to 4-8 is at least as much fool’s gold as the 4-0 finish. Jarrad Page…gone. Vince Young…gone. Asante Samuel…gonna be gone. DeSean’s contract worries…gone. The LBs corps…will be upgraded. And so on.
If you’re looking to project the 2012 Eagles, focus on the guys who are back: Vick, Shady, the OL, WRs, DL, Kurt/Nate, Nnamdi, DRC, etc. What did they do in 2011 and how does it carry over to 2012?
I’m not trying to erase the nightmarish 2011 season. I watched every game multiple times so I could know what happened. I won’t soon forget the misery of those games. Even some of the wins were torturous. The horror of Jarrad Page’s tacking in the BUF game might scar me forever.
The 2012 Eagles will have the talent to contend for a Super Bowl. The question is whether they can play up to their potential, which they didn’t with any regularity last year. The coaching staff must do a better job. The turnovers need to stop. And Vick needs to get his butt down or out of bounds. He must stay healthy.
I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on this. That’s fine. What we’re talking about is subjective. However, rolling out the simple fact that we were 4-8 over and over is pointless. If you can talk about how that carries over to 2012, I’m all ears. Do focus on players that are coming back. The failures of Page, VY, Steve Smith, and others are sealed in the 2011 time capsule. I can only hope we bury that in the Marianas Trench…in the basement.
* * * * *
NFL Gimpy has his new MAQB column posted.
Matt Alkire shared some thoughts on Peyton to Denver. Boy, was I wrong about that or what? I still don’t think it makes great sense, but that could be due to the lack of Funyuns in my diet last week when Evan Mathis had me on my hunger strike.
* * * * *
LaRon Landry is La-lost to the Jets. I was fascinated by him, but also had serious concerns. The Eagles did have interest, but weren’t going to be too aggressive with him. His medical issues can’t be ignored. 2 straight years with achilles issues isn’t good. I do admit that I’m glad he’s out of the division. Dude hits like a ton of bricks.
* * * * *
There was some arguing in the previous comments section about Howie Roseman and the draft. Let’s be civil when we argue. This is another subject that gets people fired up.
We don’t need to agree on this. The world is awfully boring if we all see things the same way. The problem with this subject is the injuries to Nate/Brandon Graham and the lockout. Nate and BG could turn out to be busts or good starters. Danny Watkins could turn out to be a Pro Bowl RG. Keenan Clayton could be the next Ike Reese. Clay Harbor and Riley Cooper could make huge steps forward. It’s possible that Jamar Chaney and/or Casey Matthews will turn out to be good players. Or these guys could fail miserably.
Right now we don’t know. We’re arguing about whether the glass is half full or half empty. This subject really needs another season before we can start to truly evaluate things. None of Howie’s picks has yet to emerge as an impact starter. We’ll see if that changes this year or not.
* * * * *
I know Tebow is of interest. I’ll cover him tomorrow morning. Will also try to cover SS Yeremiah Bell, cut by Miami today.
I get a ton of questions about RBs. Guys, I’d love to have any number of them. The problem is that we don’t use backup RBs very much. The player has to be willing to come here and sit. Most talented veterans aren’t too keen on that. And you can bet Ronnie Brown won’t give Andy Reid favorable ratings when asked by others. “Philly? Yeah, great place to get some rest.”
I did mention Justin Forsett as a target I like. He has KOR experience. He is used to being mixed in and out awkwardly. I think he would be a good fit. Don’t expect a backup RB move in the next couple of days. That’s more on the back burner.
Should be some LB news heating up soon. Still no clues.