2012 Eagles Season Preview

Posted: September 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 72 Comments »

Record: 11-5

This team has loads of talent, but the schedule appears to be tough and there are some young players. That means there will be a couple of bumps in the road. I don’t know if the Eagles will win the division. That depends on how things play out for the other teams. The key here isn’t for the Eagles to win the division or have the #1 seed in the NFC. That stuff is good, but can give you a false positive. As simple as this sounds, the Eagles need to play good football. If they do, the team should win 10-12 games and get into the postseason. At that point, each game becomes its own season. How many people really thought that SF would win a shootout with the Saints?

Offensive MVP: Michael Vick

Kinda obvious, I know. He won’t have Jason Peters blocking for him, but Kelce and Watkins are now experienced and should be improved. DeSean Jackson looks like a different guy this summer. Clay Harbor is playing the best football of his career. The young RBs look very impressive. Vick has lots of help. He just needs to run the show and get the football to the playmakers.

Defensive MVP: DeMeco Ryans

The Eagles lost 8 games in 2011. Here are the rushing yards allowed in those games:

ATL – 138
NYG – 102
SF – 164
BUF – 143
CHI – 164
ARZ – 88
NE – 104
SEA – 174

If Ryans can solidify the middle of the defense and just be a good LB, that will make a big difference. He doesn’t need to be a dominant player or Pro Bowl star. That could happen and it would be great, but it isn’t necessary. Eagles LBs had 2 primary problems in 2011. Too often they got in the wrong gaps (usually do to over-pursuit). They also struggled to shed blocks. Ryans should be good in both areas. He already sheds blocks better than anyone since Stewart Bradley in 2008.

Rookie of the Year: Mychal Kendricks

Was there much of a debate on this? Kendricks is the most talented OLB since…Shawn Barber back in 2002. Kendricks is a tough, disciplined run defender and also a playmaker. He could be a star pretty early on.

Emerging Eagle: Phillip Hunt and Cedric Thornton

Picking Hunt almost feels like cheating since he played so well this summer. He is too good not to mention. I saw some pundit mention Hunt as a candidate for league defensive MVP. That seemed over the top. I do think he can be an impact role player.

I can’t stress enough how impressed I was with Ced Thornton. He had a great summer. He used quickness off the ball to be disruptive. He used strength to push blockers around. The light went on for him in a big way and I think he’s looking to kick some butt this year. There are times when he reminds me of Leon Lett. Now Lett was able to become a dominant defender (I think poor Guy McIntyre still has nightmares about the 1995 playoff game…I know I do). Thornton is way behind that curve. He just wants to be a good contributor in 2012. I don’t know what he’ll amount to, but I really like what I’ve seen this summer. Ced has serious potential.

Eagle most likely to disappoint: Jason Babin

You have to pick someone. Babin was great last year, racking up 18 sacks. He had 6 games with no sacks and 6 with 2 or more. He was very feast or famine. My guess is that this year the feasts go down. Babin can still have 10 or 12 sacks and that’s a good year. Getting to the QB 18 times is rare territory. Simply doesn’t seem like he should able to duplicate that.

I wonder if we’ll see a Freaky Friday type of twist this season. Last year Babin came here with a good reputation, but expectations were reasonable. Nnamdi Asomugha was expected to shut down half the field and just dominate. Instead, Babin was lights out and Nnamdi was disappointing. Heading into 2012 there are plenty of fans still down on Nnamdi. Now Babin is a guy with high expectations. I wonder if this year we’ll see a reversal. Nnamdi will be dominant, Babin will be human.

Biggest Worry: Left Tackle

Losing Jason Peters hurt because he was an elite player. The problem is that there was no full time replacement behind him. King Dunlap is excellent for a game or two. 16? He last started 10 or more games as a Junior at Auburn. Demetress Bell might still get things going, but we sure can’t count on him. Can Dunlap be an effective starter on a regular basis? Can he hold up to the grind of a 16-game season?

Biggest Hidden Worry: Nate Allen

Unlike some, I don’t doubt that Nate can play. He was terrific at USF. He was very good for part of his rookie year. He had some outstanding games in 2011. The challenge for him…stay healthy. Nate has no major issues right now, but hamstring troubles have limited him this summer. I don’t want to make too much of this, but we need Nate to stay on the field and play well in 2012. In some ways, he is the key to the defense. If he takes away big plays and teams are forced to sustain long drives, their chances of success go drastically down. The Eagles defense has a lot of talent. I don’t think anyone is going to regularly march up and down the field. They’ll need big plays, which they got last year. A healthy Allen could take those away. 50-yard plays turn into just 25-yard plays. And 25-yard plays turn into just 15-yard plays. The most underrated part of Brian Dawkins was his ability to pursue and make key tackles downfield. Huge job for the deep Safety. Allen needs to do it in 2012.

Secret Weapons: Damaris Johnson and Bryce Brown

Both rookies fell in the draft due to character concerns. The Eagles were lucky to get them. As of now, it looks like both moves could be considered home runs. Johnson will be the PR and a role player on offense. Brown was so good this summer that he could get some touches. He also showed potential as a STer. The great thing about the rookies is that they are elusive enough to make defenders miss. They also have the burst to separate in tight spaces and create running room. I don’t see either guy as a consistent weapon right now, but think they’ll be role players that stick out a few times during the year. A 15-yard run here. A 25-yard reception there. Those kind of plays can be the difference in a punt and a field goal. It’s even better when those plays come from role players and not always the stars.

New Starter I’m excited to see: Derek Landri

This isn’t just a homer pick. You guys know I love Landri, but anyone who watched the CLE game a couple of weeks back could see how disruptive Landri was. He lived in the backfield. Last year Derek wasn’t around for the first 4 games of the year. He still managed to record 2 sacks and 6 TFLs. He tied for the TFL lead with Cullen Jenkins and Darryl Tapp. Landri played in 300 less snaps than Jenkins. Tapp played the least of all, but as a DE he gets more plays where he’s either unblocked or is going against a RB or TE. The inside guys are going against OL 99 percent of the time. Landri said that Jim Washburn has worked with him on his technique and that he expects to be even better this year. Landri is expected to start and play a lot of snaps. He also has a chip on his shoulder due to 31 teams showing no interest in him during free agency. Derek could have a great season. I’m really excited to see how he takes advantage of this opportunity.

Let’s Talk Red Zone

The RZ defense was historically bad in 2010. It improved to merely awful last year. This is an area where I expect big strides. The secondary should be less confused than last year. Ryans is a good leader and smart veteran in the middle of the LBs. Kendricks has the speed to protect the edge on outside plays. We also have big CBs who are better suited to being physical in the RZ.

As for the offense, it actually made great strides last year within the season. As soon as Brent Celek got mixed in more as a target, things started to click. The biggest point here is to avoid turnovers, some due to sloppy play and some due to utter stupidity.

Thoughts on the schedule

Every season is different. Heck things change from month to month and sometimes week to week. Timing is crucial. Last year the Eagles played Buffalo when Ryan Fitzpatrick was hot and the team was rolling at 3-1. The Bills won. Dallas played them a month later and thrashed them. Same team, but not. Eagles went to Buffalo and got a hot team. Dallas hosted a banged up team with sagging confidence.

Who do you play? Where do you play them? When do you play them?

Can the Eagles win in the postseason?

This really is the million dollar question. I don’t know. The Eagles last playoff win was at the Giants on a cold day in January of 2009 when the defense shut down the running attack and the offense did just enough to win. That was McNabb, Westy, Tra, Runyan, Dawk, and a healthy Disco Stew.

Michael Vick has had playoff success. He is the first opposing QB to win a playoff game at Lambeau field. He was 2-2 with the Falcons, with both losses coming in Philly. He is 0-1 as an Eagle. I have faith that Vick can win in the postseason. Can he win a title? Different story. Gotta see how he plays this year. The guy from 2011 sure couldn’t.

If you want to look for signs of the Eagles potential as a playoff team, focus on close games. The Giants were 5-3 in games decided by a TD or less last year. The 2010 Packers were just 4-6, although to be fair…they didn’t have Aaron Rodgers for 2 of them. The 2009 Saints were 3-2.

The point to focusing on close games is that it shows a team can handle pressure. The playoffs are pressure-packed games. The lead/deficit might be 10 or 14 points, but there is still tremendous pressure. A team must have proven itself in tough situations. The Giants win at NE last year was very impressive. That was the kind of game that got them ready for the playoffs. Even their loss to the Packers showed a lot. They lost, but played well and really pushed the Packers to play a great game.

One thing to keep in mind…the last 3 Super Bowl champs all had at least a 2-game losing streak during the season. Do not hit the panic button. The Saints came in December. The Packers had one in October and December (minus Rodgers). The Giants last year had a 4-game losing streak that started in November and went into early December. They lost 5 of 6 to fall from 6-2 to just 7-7. Super Bowl champs must be tested during the year by some adversity.

* * * * *

Quick Hits

* Don’t be surprised if Dennis Kelly plays more than expected this year.

* Eagles should be much better on KORs. Stanley Havili is a good blocker and Brandon Boykin is a gifted returner.

* It will be interesting to see how Reid uses Alex Henery this year. Will 50-yard FG attempts become normal?

* Will Nick Foles start a game this year? Now that I’m genuinely excited about the backup QB, my guess is that Vick stays healthy the whole year. Jerk.

* Don’t be shocked if Kurt Coleman leads the team in tackles. He was second last year and didn’t start the whole year. Kurt had a good showing this summer.

* I’m guessing DRC leads the team in picks. QBs will test him, plus a lot of offenses naturally go to the right side. Do we push for an extension now or roll the dice and see how he plays this year?

* Who leads in sacks? I’m guessing Trent, but a darkhorse candidate could be Hunt. You can bet they’ll have him on the field in passing situations as much as possible.

* I think we all know the real key to the season is Jon Dorenbos. If he can come up with a trick that makes JPP disappear, I like our chances a lot.

* * * * *

NFL Gimpy did his season preview for the entire NFL.  Check out what he thinks of our beloved Eagles.

* * * * *

Congrats to Brian Solomon of mcnabborkolb.  For those who don’t know, he is a writer for Forbes magazine.  Brian just got his first cover story for Forbes, about new Jaguars owner Shahid Khan.  Great work.

I’m still trying to become the NFL draft writer for Penthouse, but it hasn’t worked out yet.  Someday maybe.


  • Anders

    I think alot of fans (including our very own Spuds) will be disappointed with Ryans because he wont be flying all over the field (yes I just heard Spuds yesterday been disappointed with Ryans so far oO)

    • TommyLawlor

      Ryans will make a lot of plays. Problem is that he’s not a Patrick Willis type of star and I think that is what some expected.

      • Anders

        Problem is the common fan(I count Spuds a common fan), they expect him to be Willis.

        • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.verhoog Matthew Verhoog

          I think Spuds would take you saying that as a complement, I don’t think at PE they want to be football geeks, they want to be broad.

          • Anders

            Agree, tho Spuds is in the more knowledged part of the common spectrum, he still sees the games with his heart and not always the eyes

  • ian_no_2

    I’ve been very critical of Nate Allen and was surprised to see him in the Prisco division all star team. As for whether that means the rest of the division’s FSs are even worse or whether he’s not paying close enough attention to Allen, it’s a little from column A and a little from column B.

    Vick was highly motivated this year before Foles came along. The pressure may even be too much now, since he’s got to make it impossible for the team to give Foles the job in 2013 and dump his $16M salary, while Vick is still working his way out of bankruptcy protection.

    Right off the bat, the best thing about this season is that it’s not last season. After the would-of-could-of playoff game against GB in 2010 the Dream became a nightmare which we hope to wake from Sunday.

    • TommyLawlor

      NFC-E Safeties are brutally weak on paper. We’ll see if they step up during the year.

      • austinfan

        You weren’t impressed by Church, Sensabaugh and Rolle tonight? And why is Phillips always a step late getting over?

    • austinfan

      Allen was a solid safety the second half of last year when he was past the PCL. He has good size and speed, and is in his third year, if he’s going to break out, this is the season it’ll happen.

  • iskar36

    I don’t disagree that Vick is the offensive MVP, but I do think McCoy deserves some mention there too. I’m bit sure it is as obvious of a pick as you make it put to be. Without McCoy, regardless of how promising our young rbs look, our offense will be missing a huuuuge weapon.

    In terms of Coleman, I would think with the improved lb core, his tackle numbers will actually come down. I’m not saying that as a knock on Coleman necessarily, but I think he will be making a lot less “last line of defense” type tackles this year (hopefully) and will need to make more quality plays to reach the same number of tackles.

    • TommyLawlor

      I thought about Shady as OFF MVP, but think Vick will be that guy this year. I think we all expect Shady to have another strong season.

      Coleman’s tackles could come down. If that’s due to improved LB play, then that is great news.

      • iskar36

        I agree that at the end of the discussion, Vick is the most valuable player on the team. Your phrasing though was that it was “Kinda obvious”. My comment was that it isn’t that obvious because McCoy is certainly deserving of being in the conversation. On top of that, I don’t think he was mentioned in your preview at all. When he is such a valuable player, I felt the need to bring his name up.

        • TommyLawlor

          I thought I mentioned him in Vick’s section, but didn’t. Just said “young RBs”. I was trying to pick and choose what to cover. Piece ended up 2000 words anyway. Figured you smart fans would know about Shady already. Clearly he’s an essential part of the team.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tim.jennings.927 Tim Jennings

      I think I agree with Tommy that Vick will be the offensive MVP because the season will likely live and die on his arm, regardless of how good Foles has looked this summer. Its a QB-driven league, for sure.

      But I’d still give Shady the “holy s***, ____ just got hurt, we’re f***ed” panic button award.

  • ahope205

    I raised this issue last week, but cutting Hanson makes even less sense now that the Birds ended up dumping Lindley. Is a third-string OL really that much of a need?

    • TommyLawlor

      Actually…doesn’t change a thing. There was no point in keeping Hanson. He didn’t fit the active roster. And you don’t pay a vet like him to be inactive.

      Nam, DRC, Marsh will all play outside.
      Boykin is slot. Hughes is backup outside and slot, but also a gunner and key STer.

      Hanson doesn’t fit in.

    • dislikedisqus

      As there are 5 OL positions and only 2 CB positions, a backup OL is more likely to be useful than a 3d string CB as Lindley was.

  • Phippz

    I don’t think we have seen enough of DRC to sign an extension at this time. If he has another down year (this time while playing at his natural position) and continues to be a poor tackler I’d rather not be stuck with him. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Eagles should have enough cap space next year to pay him significantly more.

    • TommyLawlor

      We’re way under the Cap now. Not sure about next year.

      • Anders

        Right now we will be at the cap next year before cuts (Bell 9.6 mill in savings) and re-structured deals (NA and Vick, maybe Ryans; I would say around 6-7 mill savings here), so we should be under by around 15-16 mill next year.
        The franchise tag numbers for CBs was 10.2 this year and should rise next year based on the crazy deals giving out this year.

        • D3FB

          Doesn’t the excess cap room from this year get rolled over to next year as well?

          • Anders

            It does, but it was in, we are 17.4 under right now and we are over by 17.5 next year, that cancel each other out and then we get the 15-16 by cutting Bell and savings from Vick and NA

      • iskar36

        I think we are a little less than $20 mil under the cap right now. For next year though, I think we are currently estimated to be OVER the cap, so I think giving out extensions right now will be a bit challenging. They have to figure out where they will make salary cuts next year, or at least get an idea where they can open up safe for next year before handing out a big contract.

  • ChaosOnion

    All I want from DeMeco is a solid, competent veteran presence in the middle of the defense. Playing behind the Wide9, he should easily average 6-7 tackles per game. Kendricks can fly around. I want a rock in the middle.

  • ACViking

    T-Law:

    A couple of quick questions, and an observation.

    1. The Eagles seem to be Right-OT heavy. If Dunlap goes down, is Bell his replacement at OLT? Or do you go w/ young Kelly?

    Either way, would you agree that the loss of Dunlop — who’s a big
    step back from J-Pete in terms of second-level blocking, which could
    substantially hurt McCoy’s production — will probably require the
    Eagles to put a TE on the left side A LOT. What’s the impact?

    2. If Babin goes down again for any appreciable period, would you
    anticipate the Eagles adding a DT to the active roster — to give them
    more flexibility in moving C-Jenkins to LDE on 1st down.

    Or, does Brandon Graham become the No. 1 DE over there. (I think
    Hunt is such a huge weapon from the usual blind side . . . and he’d take
    a beating on first down over there on the left.)
    ____________________

    I’m trying to think of a Prime-Time opener that I’m less enthused
    about watching than the G-men v. C-Boys.

    Since there’s no way both
    teams can lose, I’ll be watching a DVD with the original Columbia Pictures shorts of the “3 Stooges.”

    (pasted from T-Law’s previous post)

    • TommyLawlor

      I think Kelly could be the first OL off the bench at LT, RT, or OG. Mudd loves him. The team thinks he can contribute.

      Dunlap will need help vs some players, but not all. Eagles will build each gameplan differently. They’ll use TEs to help. They’ll use chip blocks. They’ll mix in mis-direction plays. They might throw more quick passes. Andy / Marty will come up with a good plan.

      Good question about Babin. I hope CuJo stays at DT and we go with our depth at DE. Graham and Hunt can fill in at LDE. No need for CuJo.

      • austinfan

        They’ll probably go 50% two TE this year, which takes a lot of pressure off the LT, all Harbor has to do is chip the DE to take away the outside move and it makes pass blocking a lot easier. If you have to leave the TE in to double that hurts the passing game to some extent.

        • dislikedisqus

          50% 2 TE is really hard when you only have 2 on your roster. It means they both have to be healthy every week. It also means Harbor would have to be starting quality. I hope he is, just has never been in that category.

  • ACViking

    RE: ROY – Kendricks

    T-Law:

    Slight twist on your rationale about MK.

    No question Shawn Barber was a very good WLB that 1 season he was here. But, as you’ve documented, the Birds allowed him to walk because WLB in JJ’s system weren’t highly valued.

    So how ’bout this . . . in terms of a new guy walking in the door and donning Eagles green, MK is the best OLB since Jerry Robinson — Vermeil’s first 1st Rd pick. In his early years as an Eagles, he gave those defenses its most athletic player . . . a guy that could chase down the Cowboy’s Tony Dorsett (before he reached the DBs).

    NOTE: Seth Joyner was not a starter his rookie season. In fact, if memory serves, Buddy Ryan cut Joyner and brought him back — where he eventually replaced 2nd-Rd choice Alonzo Johnson who, like Bernard Williams, couldn’t stay off the weed.

    • TommyLawlor

      Good note on Jerry Robinson. Seth played 14 games as a rookie, but I think you’re right about him getting cut initially.

      William Thomas didn’t start all of 1991, but was the starter for half the year.

  • dislikedisqus

    The FO has done a good job on the roster, save possible the S and the OL depth. Now it’s all about the intelligence and execution. From the top down, from Reid’s and Castillo’s ingame decisions, to Vick’s defensive reads, to the DL avoiding RTP and Offside penalties, the linebackers maintaining gap discipline and recognizing screens, and the DB’s not blowing coverages on the Larry Fitzgeralds of the world to the FG and does he choke on game-deciding FG’s..

    I am going to pick 10-6. This team could go 7-9 or 13-3, depending just on injuries and how intelligently they execute. That’s right: as much as 50% of the outcomes will be determined just by those factors. 10-6 is right in the middle so that is why I wind up there.
    My pick to surprise on the upside is Chris Polk. He can be our first short-yardage weapon in the Reid era. On the downside risks, I agree with your Babin choice with Henery and DRC the next biggest risks.

  • http://twitter.com/Brian_Solomon Brian Solomon

    Thanks Tommy :-)

    • TommyLawlor

      Great work, Mr. Solomon.

      • Anders

        you forgot to mention the mustache of the Jags new owner

        • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.verhoog Matthew Verhoog

          oh, yeah, he could pay for the team with the mustache alone…

          • D3FB

            Mustache rides for all…

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.jennings.927 Tim Jennings

    Can’t believe football is actually here. Every time this part of the year rolls around I ask myself, “How the hell did I survive the last 7 months without football?”

    Like ACVike, I’m not very enthused at all about tonight’s matchup, but it is real NFL football so my butt will be parked in front of the TV. Always good to get an early read on some hotly contested division rivals, to boot. My best case scenario is that JPP goes unblocked on the first snap of the game and hits Tony Romo so hard that they both spontaneously combust. The ensuing blast then destroys everything in its wake except for Tony Romo’s wife.

    Great season write-up. Only serves to get me more pumped up for what I hope–as I do every season–is “the year.” The typical NFL season is a hodgepodge crapshoot of abnormalities and anomalies, and it takes a little bit of luck and a whole lot of skillful play to bring home the Lombardi but, hey, why not us? One of the things I like about the potential of this team is how excited I am about the play of some of the young guys. I anticipate guys like Coleman, Harbor, Watkins and Hunt to have the best years of their young careers. And I expect to see some impactful play from a handful of rookies, as well. Doesn’t that kind of optimism-in-youth seem like a staple of the fan base(s) of a team like the Browns or the Cardinals? We are a Super Bowl contender, and yet we’re still fortuitous enough to be watching our team’s future suit up every Sunday. A potentially enviable scenario.

    Lastly, I had felt a lot of positive mojo about this season. Until today. The girl I’ve been dating for the last 5 months decided to wait until this very morning to reveal that she’s been secretly harboring a Brian Orakpo jersey in her closet. I wasted no time in lifting her over my knee and breaking her back like Bane. I expect the police at my door at any moment.

    (Thats a joke.)

    (Maybe.)

  • aub32

    Hey Tommy I’m not so sure about your point with Babin. I agree he racked up sacks against weaker competition, however three of those no sack games happened when Cole was out of the lineup. With Hunt emerging I don’t see Babin being slowed if Cole goes down, as defenses will still have to focus on Hunt and hopefully Graham. Also, the picking look pretty sweet this year. If Babin can start the season we saw how well our D line fared against the Browns. Also, we may see a double digit sack game in ARZ (by the collective D line of course). Bob Griffin has already been reported to hold onto the ball too long and so does Big Ben (and we saw how well their RT situation is going). My point being, I am sure Babin will have his stretches without production (esp if he isn’t 100% to start the season). However, there are plenty of small fish to feast on this year. That being said, do you think it’s possible for us to break the single season sack record, either individual or team.

  • P_P_K

    Tommy says 11-5. So do I, here’s some details:

    Cleveland – open with a solid win, 1-0
    Baltimore – get caught flat , 1-1
    Arizona – easy-peasy, 2-1
    Giants – knock off the champs at home, 3-1
    Pittsburgh – we lose the battle of qbs, 3-2
    Detroit – we guts out a home win, 4-2
    Bye
    Atlanta – Andy wins again after the bye, 5-2
    New Orleans – things go wrong on Mon night, 5-3
    Dallas – tough win on a short week, 6-3
    Washington – we win the battle of the qbs, 7-3
    Carolina – things go right on Mon night, 8-3
    Dallas – dominant win, 9-3
    Tampa Bay – mojo rising, 10-3
    Cincinnati – the annual dud, 10-4
    Washington – sweep the Skins, 11-4
    Giants- spilt with the Giants, 11-5

    • http://twitter.com/JackfinBauer Jack Bauer

      And Where is Donald Duck? Donald Duck’s down at the crossing with a machine gun

      • P_P_K

        Brilliant!

  • Insler

    Tommy,
    What about our defence against teams like SF and the Giants and there running game can we stop them with guys like Thornton who are a lot lighter then let say guys like Dixon?

    • Anders

      Just because Dixon is fatter than them does not make him a better run defender (also why use the worst running team in the NFL?)

  • Eric Weaver

    I know you’ve said in the past that you would rather keep landri in a supporting role since that’s where he’s best suited with limited reps. Do you feel differently now?

    • TommyLawlor

      As long as he’s heavily rotated, I’m fine with him starting. I am curious to see just how good he can be.

      • austinfan

        I think 2010 in Carolina showed that 700 snaps is too many, but he can probably hold up for 500.

  • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

    Talking about the potential Eagles defensive MVP reminds me of the 2007 Giants, where the MVP should have just been the entire defensive line.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

    I almost can’t believe how bad the Giants and Cowboys look in the beginning of this match! And it makes me sit and grin alone in front of the computer at 3 am in the morning.

    • A_T_G

      I thought a 12-12 tie where the only points come from safeties when the punter can’t handle the snap was a little much to ask, but I am starting to wonder…

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

        Thanks for making me laugh even more!

  • http://twitter.com/sjampendk Patrick

    Is it me, or did the Cowboys just give the New York “super” Giants the D?

  • ian_no_2

    The Giants really looked awful. David Wilson couldn’t wait to start fumbling, and instead of the confidence building of going back to him he was pulled even when they were down two touchdowns. The Victor Cruz magic has worn off for the moment with three awful drops. They couldn’t tackle and the secondary was bad.

    I was rooting for the Cowboys because they were picked to not be as good, but their D looks good and Romo is hot to start the season. Their offensive line wasn’t that bad but there’s no reason to think that will continue.

    • Anders

      Our offense should still smoke the Cowboys D

      • ian_no_2

        Yeah, the D isn’t THAT good. They have good 3-4 LBs and upgraded their CBs, but they’re nowhere near a dominant D, enough to sort of shut down a weak Giants attack.

    • A_T_G

      Cruz didn’t look like himself of last year, but Ogletree did looked worryingly like Cruz of last year.

      • Anders

        I think once the season ends, Cruz will be the 5th or 6th best receiver in the NFCE (Not worst position consider Nicks, Jackson, Maclin, Bryant, Austin and now Ogletree?? are in the NFCE)

        • Dave_King

          I hope that’s a prediction and not a reaction.

          Honestly I would put Garçon up there too; he may not be a #1 but he certainly could be a top 5 guy.

          • Anders

            Prediction. I think Cruz is overrated (If you do something in your breakout season that the 2nd best WR in the NFL history have never done, you are really likely to regress). I think Nicks and Jackson are the two best WRs (both have produced every year since entering the NFL)

          • Dave_King

            At the same time, though, the fact that he can do so much means he’s probably pretty damn good. I’d still leave him top 4.

    • austinfan

      Giants are bad, if they don’t make a bunch of changes they’re not going to make the playoffs, they lost Manningham, Canty, Ross, Grant, Thomas (IR), Prince can’t stay healthy. JPP was great, but Osi and Tuck were MIA, if they slip this defense is really hurting. Giants were 32 in rushing last year with pretty much the same OL. Wilson fumbled and Randle is the 5th WR (behind Hixon and Barden). Cruz won’t drop 3 passes again, but the problems are roster wide. Bennett is a solid #2 TE who lacks burst but has good size and body control.

      Cowboys have improved their CB play but not much else. Ratliff returning won’t make a big difference because I don’t think he’s “Ratliff” anymore, should come off the bench as a pass rusher, but Ryan will start him and wear him down. Ware is great, but other than safety blitzes I didn’t see much pressure by the Cowboys – though the way those safeties cover I’d blitz ‘em too. Don’t take Ogletree seriously, his move on Webster was more a veteran screwup (if Webster slips stick a fork in the Giants), otherwise he was torching guys like Coe and Tyron. Four years of nonperformance and a mediocre TC can’t be negated by one decent game against scrubs.

      • ian_no_2

        Carr will be solid but not more and Claiborne may not have a good season but will be a Pro Bowler long term. The Eagles can beat them like certain offenses beat a good D with holes. Most crucially, the Cowboys OL is not going to know what hit them with Washburn’s troops.

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.a.thomas.50 James Aaron Thomas

    TL – Could you explain the significance of calling out the MIKE when making line calls?

  • GermanEagle

    Last night’s season opener was again a prime example of why the pre-season is as meaningless as it gets.
    Everyone used to laugh at the Cowgirls just a couple of weeks ago, before Dallas showed big time (playoff) potential when dominating the reigning Super Bowl champs yesterday.
    Their O-line is not as weak as everyone seemed to think, and with a red-hot Tony Romo and his passing attack along with a dangerous running game the Cowboys must be taken seriously this year I am afraid.

  • JRO91

    I have got to admit…I am a little worried about how our interior D-line holds up this year. We have penetrators yes, but no real run stuffers like Patterson and Dixon. I just hope by week 12 Jenkins and Landri have something still in the tank.

    • Dave_King

      Landri wasn’t too shabby at run-stuffing last year either.

      The Eagles, last year, IIRC, had the #2 or so DL when it came to stopping the run (via FBO’s stuff rate). And obviously the #1 at stopping the pass. not too worried on this one. Plus the LBs should be (should be) improved, so we won’t see big gains (and missed tackles) on the few runs that do get past the DL.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1116101444 Erik L. Richardson

    Has anyone given thought to the possibility of Babin having another 14+ sack year? If so, does he get an increase in salary/new contract? Because he’s a player who may not flash in his youth. But, with this scheme he is maximized. He’s a veteran and he does have a very 1 dimensional profile. But, he’s been very good at it the last 3+ years. It bears watching. since the Eagles have been in the rewarding mode Babin could be next if he plays well again this season.

    • A_T_G

      I think it is more likely that Babin starts to age and has his reps reduced by the end of the year than it is that he is given a raise.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1116101444 Erik L. Richardson

        Ok, I’m with you there. But, what about with reduced reps? What if he goes through the season playing 20-30% less snaps and still is able to rack up 14+ sacks?

  • liman001

    the Eagles make it to the super bowl and possibly win if Vick goes out for more than 2 games and Foles steps in. i know he’s a rookie and all that bull crap, but the kid is perfect for Reid’s offense. he has height and he’s accurate and knows the offense already, which is a big time deal. McNabb had height but his problem was accuracy and Andy couldn’t hide it anymore. Vick’s short and accuracy is average borderline fair. mark my words, IF VICK GOES OUT FOR MORE THAN 2 GAMES AND FOLES IN, THERE WILL BE QB CONTROVERSY AND FOLES WOULD PREVAIL AND LEAD THE EAGLES TO THE SUPERBOWL AND POSSIBLY WIN IT!!