Arguably the greatest philosopher of all time is Oddball, the hippie tank commander from the movie Kelly’s Heroes. Oddball doesn’t see obstacles, he sees opportunities. He digs life and lives it to the fullest. The only thing that scares his is Tiger tanks. Aside from that, life is good. My favorite quote of his came in response to his mechanic after making a negative comment:
Why don’t you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don’t you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
Like Socrates, but much, much better.
I bring up Oddball because Eagles Nation seems to be really down right now. I get that to a certain extent, but there is plenty of room for optimism as well.
Oddball would probably point out that the Eagles have played sloppy football, but are sitting at 3-3. If you eliminate the sloppiness, the team should start winning. This isn’t a question of are we good enough. This is a question of will we get the job done.
Think about the OL for a second. It is an average unit, at best. Playing backups at LT and C has caused a lot of problems. Still, the OL is good enough for the Eagles to be a playoff team. The offense averages 379 yards a game, good for 7th overall. Poor OL play has hurt the Eagles at times this year, but it didn’t cause Brent Celek to drop a TD last week. It didn’t cause Mike Vick to fumble at the goal line in Pittsburgh. It didn’t cause defensive breakdowns the last 2 weeks. The OL had nothing to do with David Wilson running free up the field for 35 yards on ever KO return.
The Eagles have a variety of problems. The coaches are working on getting them fixed. That’s what the bye week is all about. You study personnel. You study coaching. You study statistics. You identify weaknesses and correct them.
The Eagles are practicing today. I bet the focus is on the Eagles, not the Falcons. Coaches are trying to build on what went right and fix what has been wrong. Andy Reid and his coaches are normally very good at this. I expect that to be the case this year as well. And that’s what gives me optimism.
I’m not asking the Eagles to do something they aren’t capable of. Michael Vick is 11-4 in post-bye games the last 2 years. He was 6-2 in 2010, 5-2 in 2011. Reid has had a ton of success after the bye. The players are in place. The coaching staff needs to do their part. No miracles are needed.
I get that just because this stuff happened in the past doesn’t mean it will happen now. I totally agree with that. This team could fall apart. It could crumble and have a bad record. I don’t think that will happen, but to not acknowledge it as a possibility would be foolish. Theses are uncharted waters we’re in because of the pressure on Big Red. Vick also could see the writing on the wall with his future and we’ve never seen Vick in a situation like that. We have no idea how he’d handle that pressure.
Teams that have fallen apart in recent years generally had discipline issues. That’s not the case with the Eagles. The players love Reid. They didn’t go nuts last year when the team fell to 4-8 and there was every chance for chaos. I don’t see them falling apart now.
I am not ignoring the fact that the Eagles have problems. I’m more focused on the fact that I feel the Eagles have the answers to many of them. The coaches can adjust the gameplan to help out the OL. The defense just needs a few tweaks. STs has been a major problem. We have seen improvement on the coverage units since the return of Colt Anderson, Akeem Jordan, and Riley Cooper. The one area where we still need to get going is on returns. The struggles there are part of the problem with relying on rookies. Sometimes they adjust quickly. Other times, it takes a while. I do think Bobby April focused on blocking for them in his week off. The returners haven’t had much room to work with.
As for Vick and his issues…the coaches can help him by adjusting the gameplan, but Vick needs to do a lot himself. He’s simply been too sloppy this year. I hope the week off allowed him to clear out his head, relax, and re-focus. Vick doesn’t need any major tutorials right now. He needs to make better decisions and protect the ball.
Vick never looked right in the preseason and then got hurt. He was awful in the opener and has been playing catch-up ever since. We don’t need him to be Vick the superstar. Just eliminating turnovers and crucial mistakes would be enough for us to get on a winning streak.
Can he do this? Yes. Will he do this? I don’t know, but I sure hope so.
If we’re talking about Andy Reid getting sexy, having fun PCs, or winning the Super Bowl this year, I’m probably betting against it. If we’re talking about him righting the ship and getting the Eagles to a strong finish, I’m buying that.
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One interesting development is the return of DT Mike Patterson. I wondered if Patt would ever play again. He is back at practice today. The Eagles will have 3 weeks to decide if they want to activate him to the roster or put him on IR.
The Eagles have a few things to consider. If he’s back on the roster, his salary will be $2.1M. It was cut in half prior to the season. Who do you cut to make room for Patt? My guess is that one of the RBs would go. How do you get Patt in the DT rotation? Who sits? We need to see how the DL performs in the next 2 games before figuring that out. Also could tell us whether they should activate Patt or not.
Reuben Frank says he’s still a long way from playing. We’ll see how things go. I think it is great that Patt’s able to practice. Just getting on the field has got to feel so good to him. Best of luck, big guy.