The Eagles played with fire in the first two games, but found a way to win each time. This time they got burned. 3 turnovers proved to be very costly, as the
Ravens Cardinals built a 24-0 halftime lead. One fumble set up a short TD drive. Another fumble was returned 93 yards for a TD in a game-changing play. Without the turnovers you have a 13-6 game that was much more even. With the turnovers, you have a 27-6 butt whipping.
Instead of picking apart the game, let’s talk about some key topics.
Should Michael Vick be benched? No. He did not play well, but I don’t think he was so bad that he should be benched. Vick had a new C and LT. He was missing a starting WR. And the coaches decided to have him throw over and over early in the game. The gameplan didn’t work. Vick wasn’t executing it well, but part of that was due to LB Daryl Washington. That guy was all over the field and is Vick’s kryptonite.
Vick played very well last week. You don’t bench him after that and then a sloppy game tonight. His biggest sin was holding the ball too long, but you do wonder if players were getting open.
Are the Eagles a Super Bowl team? This is a fun question to ask, but isn’t very realistic. The 2008 Cards lost to us 48-20 and went on to the Super Bowl. The Giants lost to the Saints last year 49-24. They won the SB.
This is the NFL. Don’t make one loss more than what it is…a loss. In college, one loss can ruin a season. The NFL is about teams building over the course of a season to get ready to go play for the Super Bowl. Based on today, I think the Eagles have a good shot for the Outback Bowl, but that’s about it. Last week they did look like a Super Bowl team. We’ll have to see what the team looks like in November.
What’s up with the OL? I’ve got to watch the tape to really know in-depth. There were times when the line did a great job. The problem is that Vick held the ball too long on some plays and made the blocking look bad. There were breakdowns by the skill players. Shady didn’t have his best day in pass protection. Brent Celek was up and down. Not all the problems were on the OL.
That said…I think we got away with holding a lot. Demetress Bell wasn’t good. Dallas Reynolds got attacked quite a lot with double A-gap blitzes. I have no idea how he did. Jim Johnson invented the double A-gap blitz so you would think we’d know how to block it. We knew there would be some rough moments with the new C and LT. You can’t have 2 new starters on the OL and adjust flawlessly, especially when taking on a team that runs the 2-4-5 a lot.
Are the Eagles problems fixable? Yes and no. The OL can play better. The more that we have the same 5 guys on the field, the better off we’ll be. That said, the OL isn’t good enough as is to do a lot of the things that Andy wants to do. He must adjust the offensive attack. That means either running or throwing short, quick passes. I do think the absence of Maclin really hurt us today.
Turnovers must stop, but I don’t know how a coach does that. I’m sure Andy preaches ball security. Obviously he needs to preach it even more. You just can’t turn the ball over and win every week. Maybe we should bring in Marty Schottenheimer as a consultant. His teams always had minimal turnovers.
The offense must score points. After 3 games, the Eagles have a grand total of 47 points. Part of this is due to the OL and turnover issues. No matter how you slice it, we need to start scoring more.
The defense isn’t perfect, but has played pretty darn well all things considered. They failed to come up with any takeaways today and that could have been a huge help to a struggling offense.
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Jimmy Bama and I recorded a postgame show. We talked about the game, the idiocy of Brian Billick, and then went off on a tangent about other announcers. Might cheer you up on a crappy Sunday night.