Style vs Results

Posted: October 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 66 Comments »

The Eagles are off to a 3-1 start, but it is hard to get a read on the team because of the uneven play so far this year.

If you go watch Eagles Live on PE.com, Dave Spadaro gets all fired up when fans say anything negative after a win.  His thing is to focus on the result.  Enjoy the win.  Give the team a chance to get better.

The great Reuben Frank on Twitter has gotten frustrated with fans who pick over the Eagles issues rather than focusing on the 3-1 record.

There are some out there who think 3-1 is meaningless because the Eagles have been “lucky” or something to that effect.  They focus on the Arizona game as the true sign of how troubled this team is.

I’m stuck in the middle.  3-1 is great.  Last year we were 1-3 and I was miserable.  That said, style points do start to matter as the season moves along.  Let’s look at recent Super Bowl teams.

2008 – The Steelers started 3-1.

PIT 38 , HOU 17
PIT 10 , CLE 6
PHI 15 , PIT 6
PIT 23 , BAL 20 – OT

2009 – The Saints started 4-0.

NO 45 , DET 27
NO 48 , PHI 22
NO 27 , BUF 7
NO 24 , NYJ 10

2010 – The Packers started 3-1.

GB 27 , PHI 20
GB 34 , BUF 7
CHI 20 , GB 17
GB 28 , DET 26

2011 – The Giants started 3-1.

WAS 28 , NYG 14
NYG 28 , STL 16
NYG 29 , PHI 16
NYG 31 , ARZ 27

How does the Eagles start to 2012 compare to those?  Well, first off…those team all had at least one blow out win over a clearly inferior opponent.  We had that chance with the Browns, but beat them just 17-16 due to turnovers.

The only team above that lost in a blowout was the Giants.  You can partially excuse that because Mike Shanahan is dominant on opening days.  We lost at Arizona, by a wider margin.  Now that can be “excused” by the fact the Cardinals are playing well right now (4-0) and traveling out West is never easy.  Still, that was a game where we got physically dominated at times and that is troubling beyond any numbers or stats.

The optimist will like the fact the Eagles have been able to win close games against good opponents (BAL, NYG).  Both wins were flawed, but they were wins.  These weren’t fluky wins that turned on miracles.  The Eagles made clutch plays on offense to get the go-ahead points and then the defense came out and played well enough to make the leads stand.

The one troubling thing right now is points.  The Eagles have scored 17, 24, 6, and 19.  That is 6 TDs in 4 games.  You don’t win playoff games, let alone Super Bowls unless you can score TDs.

The good news here is that the Eagles are moving the ball.  Turnovers were the issue for 3 weeks.  Against the Giants, the team just slowed up against a good Red Zone defense.  I fully expect the team to start scoring (although playing the Steelers on Sunday isn’t the ideal opponent to break that trend with).

I don’t think we have a good read on the Eagles quite yet.  Winning is good, but it isn’t enough. You do need to accomplish certain things.  A team must show the ability to blow opponents out.  A team must show the ability to win close games.  A team must show the ability to come from behind to win.  A team must show the ability to win different styles (shootout vs defensive struggle).  A team must show the ability to win on days when they don’t have their A-game.

The Eagles have done some of those things and that is what gives me hope that this team can be a Super Bowl contender.  If the turnovers go away and the points start to come in, I’ll really buy in.

However, if the turnovers remain an issue and the team continues to play sloppy football, then the record won’t matter.  You don’t win titles playing like that.

People love to point to last year’s Giants as an example of just getting in and then turning it on.  Let’s remember a couple of things.  That team was decimated by injuries.  Only 6 guys on the team started all 16 games.  The Giants didn’t go 9-7 because they were playing sloppy football.  They were struggling to find the right mix of players due to injuries.

They got to the playoffs and faced the right set of teams.  ATL has a weak OL. Same for GB.  The Niners offense just couldn’t do anything and then muffed 2 punts.  On to the Super Bowl where the Pats OL can’t handle the Giants DL.  You cannot count on that many favorable matchups.  The 2011 Giants were a Super Bowl anomaly.  I’m not saying that to diminish their title.  You just don’t look at that group for how to build a title team.  Study the other recent champs and you’ll see more realistic trends.  If there is one thing to take from the Giants, if you have a QB and good pass rush…you’ve got a chance.

So what do you fans think of the 3-1 Eagles?  Are you buying this team as a SB contender or do you see them as unproven or do some of you even feel they are a pretender?

* * * * *

I’ll start talking about the Steelers game tonight.  This is going to be a real interesting matchup.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama and I did a podcast reviewing the win over the Giants.  We also discussed Laveranues Coles and Laverne & Shirley.  True internet greatness.

_


  • SteveH

    I haven’t bought into this squad as a super bowl contender, but they’ve played a pair of teams that are considered among the tops in the NFL and won, so you can’t discount that I don’t think. The biggest issue thats holding me back from getting truly excited about this team is Vick. He’s been very Jekyl and Hyde on us this year, and has not played up to what we need him to be if we’re going to go places in the postseason. Something that I like is that his 2 better games came in playoff like atmospheres with tough back and forth games against the Ravens and the Giants, so its encouraging to see that when he has shined its been against the tougher opponents.

    The one other thing that I think could really send this season off the rails in a hurry is AR/MM’s playcalling. If they decide to go back to some insane run/pass ratios we could end up losing some winnable games, and who knows every win counts when you’re talking about making it to the postseason.

  • drichwine

    I mentioned this yesterday, but did you realize the Eagles are just behind Houston in preventing 3rd and 4th down conversions this year? We’re allowing conversions only about 26% of the time. That’s the kind of thing the Eagles were great at during the JJ heydays, but 26% is ridiculous.
    No team in the NFL has done better for a whole season since the 2006 Ravens, which just broke in at 29.8%. No one in the past 10 years has gotten near anything like 26% for a whole season. I expect there will be some regression, but if the defense plays anything near like the way they have played to date, and if the opposition stops getting good field position due to turnovers and bad special teams, this will be a special, special year to remember.

    • TommyLawlor

      Good info. Thanks for bringing that up.

  • Jerome_Brown

    I have recently re-watched each of the wins. In each case, the Eagles got more than their fair share of luck. Lucky calls, QB’s missing wide open WR’s, untimely drops, missed field goals, etc. My only true reason for concern, however, is the O-line. It is one of the worst I have seen in Eagle green in a long time. Was the second half of the Giants game a sign of good things to come? To me, the season rests on that. Vick was a completely different QB when he had some confidence in the line. On the positive side, Reid’s team’s historically play their worst in the first 2-3 games of the year, then turn it on in November/December. We all know his post bye week record. If that is a sign this team will take the same leap this year, they could easily end up a legit contender when it counts…”as the snow begins to fly.”

    • ACViking

      There are two categories of “bad” O-lines in the Eagles’ past. Injuries aside, obviously.

      There are the O-lines during, say, the Buddy Ryan-era. Serviceable during the regular season, bailed out by a great running QB in Cunningham, but then over-matched in the playoffs.

      Then there are the O-lines of the ’69-’72 era. Imagine 5 guys playing like Winston Justice in that 2007 September MNF game against the G-Men.

      The couldn’t pass block. But they made up for it by not run blocking either.

      In 1970, a pretty decent 3rd rd pick at HB from Louisville named Lee Bougess averaged 2.5 yards per carry over 14 games on 159 carries. In 1971, he bumped his average per carry up to 2.7 on 97 attempts. Then in 1972, rookie HB Ron “Po” James averaged 3.1 yards per carry on 182 carries. It was just awful.

      This O-line, though definitely below mean for the Reid years, will fortunately never be as bad as those great early ’70s teams.

  • http://twitter.com/sjampendk Patrick

    I’ll take lucky wins until the day after the Super Bowl. When we won 3 or 4 rings in the next 5 years, then lets focus on doing it while only running endarounds, fleaflickers and 8 man blitzes.

    The Giants got crazy lucky during 2 play off runs, but their rings still mean the same as the Aaron Rodgers redemption ring and the Steelers sixth championship ring after the best Super Bowl in a long time. Winners make their own luck. I WANT A SUPER BOWL VICTORY. NOOOOOOW!

  • Andrew Moore

    I’ve been furious at this team for the past 13 months. I haven’t forgiven them for the way they started the season last year. I’m still furious at Andy for a couple of bone-headed calls. I’m sick of them playing dumb football. DRC running out of the end zone with an INT, basically losing yardage and risking a fumble. Vick running out of bounds when we’re trying to milk to clock at the end of the game. It drives me absolutely bonkers.

    That said, I do think the mistakes are correctable. It’s a smarts thing, a discipline thing, not a talent thing. It doesn’t seem (as it has in the past) that we’re dangerously vulnerable at a particular position. Our linebackers, secondary, special teams, or what have you haven’t been exposed as deficient (so far). That’s encouraging.

    I’ve told myself if we make it to 5-1, beat the Steelers and the Lions, I’ll start to buy in. I’ll start to believe that maybe things are different this year. Until then I’m reserving judgment.

    • TommyLawlor

      Yeah, the DRC thing is frustrating. Cost us 10 or 11 yds and took a dumb chance.

      Vick I can forgive a bit. There was 4 mins left at that point and I don’t think he was in “kill the clock” mode. Still, would have helped a lot if he did slide there.

      • Steven Dileo

        I don’t remember that Vick play. What was the circumstance? Would he have taken a big hit? Was he running too fast to slow down and slide? Did he go out of bounds to get the first down?

        • A_T_G

          Vick ran for the first, then jogged it of bounds to protect himself. I didn’t like it. Slid, dive, sit down. There are plenty of ways to give yourself up and not stop the clock. Not many playr are excused for refusing to address such an obvious shortcoming in their game.

          • http://twitter.com/ProtoTyler Ty-Philly

            Get down in bounds…the “echo of the whistle” Giants would have tried to light him up. plus there is no guarantee the play calling is the same if the clock is still running. Hindsight. Got the first running without taking a hit. that is as close to a “give up slide” as you are going to get with Vick.

          • A_T_G

            I just disagree. I know you declared the discussion ended, but I don’t see it. It isn’t hindsight to expect a player to keep the clock running with 4 minutes left. I think if, say, DeSean had done that, people would be questioning his toughness. Demarius or Brown, people would question their situational awareness. Why do we accept that über athlete is unable to perform a feat mastered by little leaguers?

          • http://twitter.com/ProtoTyler Ty-Philly

            The giants still had 2 TOs plus the 2 min warning. The end result is probably negligible if they use one of the timeouts between shady’s 1st down run and the 2 min warning. As Tommy stated, I don’t think he was in kill the clock mode. I’d be killing him if he ran OOB on the final 3rd down, but this one was around 4 minutes left I can’t really get upset about it. Matter of opinion i guess.

      • http://twitter.com/ProtoTyler Tyler Phillips

        Vick slid once and injured himself. staying in bounds then would have made Zero difference. that is nitpicking big time. He got the first and a fresh set of downs, all without getting hit. end of discussion.

    • Eric Weaver

      I don’t want to blame Vick a ton for that. If he had not gotten out of bounds and took a huge hit, everyone would be on him for that.

      • TheRogerPodacter

        another point. we weren’t really in ‘milk out the clock’ mode at this point. i would say a better description would be “take as much time off the clock AND score some points” mode.

        sure, in hindsight, you know that there was some time left on the clock that could have been burned. but at the time, you couldn’t be sure that we would even score points, let alone make it down the field with time to spare. i think it was OK that he got out of bounds.

  • Ark87

    My thing is that the Eagles are never the same team in December that they are in November (which can be said about most teams in one way or another) and Reid teams have a knack for going from mediocre in September to dangerous contenders. Even last year, If by some miracle we slipped into the playoffs at 8-8, I’m convinced we could do some damage.

    I’ll tell you who the eagles are in December. For now it’s just about getting W’s any way that you can to stay in the playoff picture.

    Let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter how badly you blow out anyone and everyone in the regular season. If that isn’t the team going into the playoffs, it’s all silly (see falcons and Peyton Manning’s Colts)

    My bigger concern is that this team tends to finish with solid records, but we aren’t good at holding up a winning streak. The play-offs always scared me because of this. I believe the Eagles can beat anyone, but playing high caliber opponents and pulling out consecutive wins just doesn’t seem like it’s in the cards (that would require a level of consistency we’ve never really had). So I’d love to see this team get it together if for no other reason than to be able to secure the bye.

    • TommyLawlor

      It will be interesting to see how this team develops over time. Normally Reid has a lot to fix and a so-so record. This year he could have the issues, but a good record already. That would help with trying to get to 11 or 12 wins.

      • Ark87

        I’m on board with you there, unfortunately I don’t see the Eagles easing any of our anxieties until after the bye, the schedule is looking tough.

        But the Eagles need to look at it as having big opportunities for statement games. I think they have a surprise blow out coming. They are due for a freakish game where everything comes together. Of course when we see it we will have to enjoy the good times and throw that out of our heads. This team is so feast or famine. But if there is one thing I like about this early part of the season, is that this team can win in famine, which is not typical of Reid teams (to my perception).

  • Steven Dileo

    First 4 games last year:

    vs STL- win
    vs ATL- dropped first down pass by Maclin. Injured Vick
    vs. NYG- Steve Smith led interception, Vick injury, Cruz TD
    vs. SF- Maclin fumble

    This year:

    vs CLE- dropped interception
    vs BAL- shady OPI call
    vs ARI – loss
    vs NYG- 2 missed FGs,

    • TommyLawlor

      That’s one way to look at it, but you’re leaving out some key stuff.

      All 4 opponents ran the ball really well. Eagles were down in the 30s if not dead last in run defense.

      ATL was 5 for 5 in the RZ in that game.

      All 3 losses were blown leads. SF was down 20, won.

      There were RZ turnovers in each of those games.

      Eagles allowed 25.5 points per game in that first month. This year that is less than 21 ppg and includes a pair of defensive TDs.

      I think the 2011 problems were much more serious and much more pronounced. That said, your point about the 3-1 record is true. It’s not all that far from 0-4.

  • http://twitter.com/makarov__ Jim Reynolds

    I’ll say there is no team on the Eagles schedule they shouldn’t be able to beat. Furthermore, I don’t believe they have to play a perfect game to beat anybody either.

    Despite Coleman and Allen occasionally biting on play fakes and a diminished number of sacks from the defensive line, this defense is solid. You don’t see opponents breaking 3 tackles on their way to 65 yard TDs. You don’t see a defense that play solidly for 3 quarters completely collapse in the final 15 minutes. The Eagles have outscored all opponents except the Giants (lead by Capt. 4th Quarter Eli Manning) in the 2nd half, and vs NYG they were only -3. The defense also seems to be improving, but not perfect, on the “stupid penalty” front.

    If anything, I came away from the Giants game feeling very comfortable with Michael Vick. It was his best game of the season, and demonstrated what he’s capable of even in the face of one of the best front 4s, if not front 7s, in the NFL.

    There are two things I haven’t seen: elimination of stupid penalties, particularly those that extend opponents’ drives, and scoring a lot of points. With a healthy Vick, Celek, Shady, and DeSean, this offense should be able to put up 30+ points. Turnovers were the primary problem against CLE and BAL, and hurtful against AZ. Finally, against the Giants the offense came up with a turnover free game, but the big points weren’t there.

    My hope is this Sunday is where we finally see some points. I predict a minor collapse from the Steelers, with the Eagles winning 27-16.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kanin-Faan/100000790557328 Kanin Faan

    1. Spuds is the missing link between Joseph Goebbels and pop-up ads.
    2. Every “expert” agreed that the one thing this Eagles team could not do was fix “the turnover-problem”. Not in short enough time to save the season.
    3. W against the Giants, no turnovers.

    So; D is doing great, d-jax is actually playing like a star, in spite of everything the O-line actually played a good 2nd half against the Giants and everyone pulled together and managed to stop turning the ball over.

    What’s not to like? This team is doing very well but there are no guarantees in the NFL. That’s one of the aspects that makes it all so damn fascinating.

    So far, so good, so what? :D

  • Kevin_aka_RC

    Calling the Eagles lucky in wins is unfair.
    - The Browns had 4 INTs including one for a TD. Their offense was terrible.
    - The clock re-set at the 2 minute warning giving the Ravens an extra 40 seconds in the two minute drill. They also benefited from hitting 3 50+ yard field goals
    - The Giants technically only had one FG miss (since the first one did not happen) and would have had an even *longer* kick had the terrible pass interference on Nnamdi not been called.

    No one wants to give the Eagles credit because of the turnovers. It defies conventional wisdom. It’s easier for analysts to say “protect the ball, run the ball” than to say that Reid’s built a tough, physical team.

    • laeagle

      Ravens also benefited from an early whistle call that prevented Ryans from taking that INT to the house.

  • ACViking

    Re: Eagles’ 2nd half v. Giants

    Somewhere in Football Heaven, Bill Walsh was clapping for his acolyte’s half-time decision to play out of the two-back set — and mostly with 2 WRs and 1 TE. That is CLASSIC west-coast offense stuff.

    The Eagles could pound the football on the ground. Give better protection on pass plays. Let Vick make quicker decisions. And move the ball.

    You’d love to think that Reid learned something fundamental . . . call it an “awakening.” With THIS iteration of the Birds, the classic WCO is something to be embraced.

    Remember hope.

    • laeagle

      If I’m not mistaken, the classic WCO two back set was the pro set, though (two backs in a horizontal line behind the QB), not the I. I know at least the later George Seifert teams, including the 94 champions, did this a lot.

      • ACViking

        No question you’re right about the formation. Classic pro-set.

        But I still think Walsh was smiling.

        • laeagle

          I think he’d be pretty stoked about the use of Havili in the running and passing game, too (besides just as a blocker). Been a while since that’s been even remotely effective.

          I was living in SF back in the 90s and remember the potent combo of Ricky Watters and William Floyd. Scary duo.

    • TommyLawlor

      The 2003 Eagles got on a role by embracing a certain type of passing game/running game and the team really came alive. Might have been the best 10-game stretch of McNabb’s career. That was pre-Marty, though.

      • Anders

        I really think Childress more conservative approach made a nice complement to AR more aggressive style

  • aub32

    I really don’t get the pessimism surrounding this team. I listen and read what the pundits say, and it baffles me. The Eagles are 3-1. Two of the teams they beat were playoff team. One of which was in the SB, and the other was a dropped pass and missed FG away. Meanwhile I don’t hear anyone criticizing the Giants. They are 0-2 in the division and have only beaten two teams from the NFCS, which to many people’s surprise is not near as strong a division as people thought before the season. The Eagles have a tough schedule this year, and we have started very well. Lastly, Tommy I disagree with you saying you can’t win SBs without putting up a lot of points. Look at the high powered offenses and what they are putting up against good defenses. Rodgers had only 3 TDs before playing the Saints, arguably the worst defense in the league (who would have guessed we’d be happier with Castillo than Spags) Detroit weren’t able to generate anything against SF and MIN. Only the Falcons offense looks to put up big numbers, but we will see after the bye if they can do it against us. My point being if I would have told any Eagles fan a month ago we would be 3-1 and 1-0 in the division, they would be ecstatic. Last year we put up plenty of points and started 1-4.

    • P_P_K

      This is a great point about Castillo and Spags. Give Juan his props. I had been one of his harsh critics but, geez, the guy has worked his butt off and the D looks darn good. Credit where credit is due. Maybe he can start to help Bob April,

    • TommyLawlor

      Some pessimists are simply that…pessimists. Give ‘em a million bucks and they groan about paying the taxes. Forget those guys.

      I do think it is fair to bring up legitimate flaws with this team. You can have a season where lots of things go your way and you build a great record. That happened with the 2001 Bears. We faced them in the playoffs and I wasn’t the least bit worried. They could not score points. I was very confident going into that game.

      The 2008 Dolphins were 11-5. Year before they were 1-15. Lots of lucky things happened. They set the NFL record for fewest turnovers. They lost in the WC round and it wasn’t close.

      Think of the recent Falcons teams that won in the regular season and then got beaten in the playoffs.

      Having a good record is important. Having the right kind of football team is also important.

      As for the Giants…you’re right. The media is still in “2-time SB champ” mode and not truly looking at them. 2-2. Crazy comeback win and 2 division losses. They deserve some criticism. Injuries are a major factor, but the media needs to forget the fact they won the SB and judge this year’s team.

      As for scoring points…you are right about other offenses struggling this year. And those teams should be scared, just like the Eagles. I’m judging history on this. You must score points to win. The days of playing defense to win are gone. This is the new NFL. Last year we did score, but the defense was at fault. This year our defense is playing well. The offense is moving the ball. Now they must start scoring TDs. Don’t turn it over. Don’t settle for FGs.

      • aub32

        I agree with you, but with our schedule, we are going to have to beat playoff teams just to make the playoffs. We already beat two and face four more in our next four games.This isn’t a season where we face a bunch of nobodies in the regular season, and then get punched in the mouth in the first round. I want to see points, but at the end of the day having one more point than the opposing team will keep me happy.

  • http://twitter.com/ProtoTyler Tyler Phillips

    Has everyone looked at our schedule? Who in the world is everyone expecting us to blow out? Tampa or Carolina? Maybe? Get used to tight ones folks. That “blowout” you guys want to see isn’t coming any time soon.

    • TommyLawlor

      We blew out Dallas last year once and the second game was close to a blowout.

      The point of a blowout isn’t just beating an inferior team. You want those days when you’ve got your A-game and blow out a good team. The Steelers blew us out in 2004. That was 2 playoff teams. We blew out Green Bay that same year, again…2 playoff teams.

      Don’t focus on weak opponents. Think of the Eagles need to deliver an A-game type of performance.

      • http://twitter.com/ProtoTyler Ty-Philly

        I don’t disagree that we are capable of blowing a couple teams out. I’d love if our crown jewel A++ regular season game came against the Falcons. (please)

        However, I will be content with steady improvement throughout the course of the season, with the Eagles playing their best ball as they are heading towards the playoffs.

        • A_T_G

          Yep, and yep.

  • austinfan

    The first four games are the shakeout cruise each season, you want to walk away 3-1 but at least 2-2, but you’re gonna struggle until the players get comfortable. And this year was acerbated by two factors, Vick missing the exhibition season (rusty) and the problems on the OL due to Kelce and Dunlap getting hurt.

    I’m not worried about the offense, as long as MM has learned his lesson, when you have a top defense, only stupid egotistical OCs want to be aggressive, a smart OC wants to win games. Which means control the ball, win the field position battle and don’t turn it over. The offense did all that against the Giants, though the STs made it hard for them. The offensive line is playing better, and should jell as the season progresses, but there’s a learning curve not just for the players, but for the coaches in understanding the limitation of those players. However, AR’s teams always gain yards and score points, if he can do it with McNabb throwing to Thrash, Pinkston, Freeman and Chad Lewis in 2002, he can do it with Vick throwing to DeSean, Maclin, Avant, D Johnson, Cooper, Celek and Harbor, with Shady and Brown running the ball – i.e. we got a lot more talent than in the past.

    The defense is exactly what I expected them to be, and they should get better, there is a lot of inexperience, Cox, Graham, Thornton and Hunt on the DL, Kendricks and Chaney at LB, Boykin, Hughes, Marsh, Allen, Coleman and Sims in the secondary. As the young players get reps, there will be fewer mistakes in the subpackages.

    The key is April turning the STs around, getting Anderson healthy, Cooper back on the field, Moten and Jordan should help. D Johnson and Boykin need to be more productive as returners. They at least have to become average.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nathan.e.rufo Nathan Rufo

    Hey Tommy, sorry, I don’t have time to elaborate on this (about to leave for work) and I haven’t done too much research, but these Eagles sort of remind me of the 2002-2003 “Cardiac Cats” Panthers who went to the SB. Dominating defense, good skill players on offense, and QB play that can either be terribly turnover-prone or explosive. Also, the really close, come-from-behind wins as a trademark on the season. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the comparison, I’m going to try and do some research on it in the next few days.

  • Zachary Kaplan

    Tommy,

    I’m negative (I mean my glass isn’t half empty, it’s broken, and has zero liquid in it), but I’m going with pretender.

    Last year it was the defense falling apart in the 4th quarter early in the season…This year? Really hasn’t been that much different. Vick has led three game winning drives this year, two where the defense had just allowed the other team to take the lead late.

    So if we have a offense that is sputtering (and that may be being nice), a defense that is great, but comes up small in key areas (short field or not, they’ve allowed two 4th quarter leads to be blown). How can I buy into this team? You cannot maintain that kind of football and win football games. The 2000 Ravens aren’t winning a Super Bowl in this day and age of the NFL. Eventually teams will score points on our defense, and I’m not sure we have the offense anymore to keep up with them.

    • Ark87

      1 man that the Eagles cannot disappoint.

      “So if we have a offense that is sputtering (and that may be being nice)”
      agreed, they definitely are sputtering where it counts, converting the ridiculous yardage into points.

      “a defense that is great, but comes up small in key areas (short field or not, they’ve allowed two 4th quarter leads to be blown).”
      In all 3 of the Eagles wins, the D came up big in the biggest moment. Each win the D had to stare down a team with over a minute on the clock and only needed to get into field goal range.

      In short, they came up big in the most key areas.

      It’s fine to be down on the O. It’s necessary to be down on special teams. Leave the D alone.

      • Zachary Kaplan

        Look I’m thrilled with a number of aspects of the defense this year, but I’m not 100% buying into them.

        Each of those games where they “held” off the opponent, they also allowed the opponent to go downfield earlier and score (with the exception of the Browns game, that was the offense that gave up the 7).

        But at the same time – I’m extrememly concerned with the defensive pressure, as there doesn’t seem to be as much of it as last year. Now that may just be teams are leaving in 6 and 7 blockers for our 4 rushers, but in the NFL – if you don’t get to the QB – sooner or later they’ll pick you apart (ala Eli Manning on Sunday night).

        I don’t think we’ve seen a dominate performance from the offense all season (pretty sure everyone would agree on that), and other than the Cleveland game, I’m not sure we’ve seen one on defense.

    • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

      4th quarter lead changes are just par for the course in the NFL these days. The two-minute drill has been replaced by the 45-second drill.

  • PhillyBirds

    Tommy,
    I despissed the icing the kicker as much as you, but can it be argued that it actually sort of worked here? He had the distance the first time and just missed it wide. Could it be argued that the second kick Tynes focused on accuracy and not distance??? We are giving Andy too much credit to say yes, but worth considering.

    I am going up to the Steelers game in Pitt Sunday, couldn’t be more excited. Although last time I went was that dreaded 2004 game, so maybe it’s best if I call off the trip. Or I’ll just wear my lucky underwear this time.

  • ChaosOnion

    I refuse to look at the CLE win as a bad win. CLE is 0-4, but they lost by 1, 7, 10 and 6 points. Nobody has blown them out yet. There were two games against CIN and BAL mixed in there and both teams have put up points this year.

    We caught them on a bad day and they caught us on a bad day. I want to see how the October road grater goes with 3 straight weeks against teams coming off bye weeks.

    • GermanEagle

      It wouldn’t surprise me if the Browns beat the Giants this week…

      • Anders

        I would love it.

  • GermanEagle

    Speaking of style:

    Me and my best man met Freddie Mitchell, Trent Cole, Cullen Jenkins and King Dunlap at a night club in Philly last Friday. They were all cool and drinking with us, though I found it a bit interesting to see Eagles players hanging out in a club at 3am just two nights before gameday.

    But it was a once in a lifetime experience in my life!!

    • A_T_G

      I find it a disappointing reflection on their character that players trying to win it all would invite Freddie Mitchell. Any word on whether he was able to hold on to his drink? Did he thank any body parts?

      • GermanEagle

        Lol, in Freddie’s defense I must say that he was a really friendly fella and not cocky at all. He did even buy us drinks.

        He did thank me for the German snuff he truly enjoyed though? :-)

        • bdbd20

          I was up at training camp once while Freddie was there and he was the only player to stay after practice and sign autographs for the fans. I think he must have stayed like 30 mins. I’ll always appreciate that, even though things didn’t end well for him here.

          • GermanEagle

            He’s my man now!

    • TommyLawlor

      Great story.

  • nicolajNN

    I can live with ugly wins, for now. Later in the year the play needs to be better, and for the Eagles it usually is. But it’s far better to have 5 or 6 wins at the half way point and not having to win every game in the last half just to make the play-offs

  • ICDogg

    In a way I enjoy the ugly wins early in the season. When a team wins ugly it counts just as much, as has been pointed out ad nauseum. But when wins are this tough it is character building. As opposed to causing complacence, there is a good chance that the team maintains focus and intensity. The team becomes closer, more unified, the players learn to rely on and trust each other more as they realize they all need to do so.

    I hate losing. I love winning. Ugly or not.

  • disqus_jB7dl5fzvO

    its so weird how the past 4 super bowl champs have played the eagles in the first quarter of the season

  • A_T_G

    It looks like a possible concussion for Q and a possible broken collar bone for Ammedola. Tough night for ex-Eagles.

  • ceteris_paribus1776

    I’m more optimistic about the team than last season, but still reserved. I think this team can make the playoffs. I didn’t think they would last season. I don’t think they are good enough in key spots, however, to do more in the playoffs than just get there.

    I think defensively they are certainly better than they were last year. They still generate pressure, but seem to be a little better against the run and more reliable in the secondary. They aren’t great, but solid and can get off the field on 3rd down. For these reasons I believe they can be a playoff team.

    Why I don’t believe they are more than that are coaching, QB, and Oline. Those are three of the most important aspects of a team, and three weakness of this team. Reid and MM are still Reid and MM, no matter what you tell yourself. When have they ever continually run a balanced offense, or made the necessary adjustments to put the team in position to win games? They will doubtlessly call a few great games throughout the year that will get everyone excited, but in the end Eagles fans have never been able to count on them to stick to what works when it matters. I’ll believe they’ve changed when I see they’ve changed.

    Mike Vick is still Mike Vick. Just as I don’t trust Reid/MM to call the right game when it matters, I don’t expect Mick Vick to beat the best teams in the NFL when it matters. I think he can QB a team to more victories than defeats, but his inability to pick up blitzes and make good decision has always cost him. I’ll believe he’s corrected the issues that have plagued his entire career when I see the results on the field. So far this year he’s played two pretty good games and two atrocious games.

    Lastly, this Oline is wretched. The losses of Peterson and Kelce are going to be very difficult to overcome. They were instrumental in the Eagles running stretch plays and being effective in the screen game. Those two aspects of the offense have been missing thus far this year, and are vital to the eagles running a more balanced offense. The running game against the giants was a bit more smash mouth out of the I than what we normally see. Maybe they stick with this we’ll have to see. Either way, I do think this weakness can be mitigated because of Mudd. He has a history of working magic. Unfortunately I think this weakness is the largest and has the most room to be made up.

    In short, I see this team as being entertaining throughout the year. They will be able to win against good opponents, but will continue to lay the typical Eagles’ stinker we have all come so accustomed to annually watching. And when push comes to shove in the playoffs, the Eagles will get shoved…

  • Ark87

    So this is what I don’t get. The cardinals took care of the Eagles pass rush extremely well with short drops and getting the ball out FAST. It seemed so effective,but it looks like they abandoned the tactic vs the Rams, who had a bajillion sacks on them last night. Why do nfl coaches turn away from something that works and not come back to it?

    Assuming the coach isn’t done, is there something the Rams do to discourage the quick throws? If so can we copy that? Would definitely help our pass rush get to the QB. I didn’t watch the game closely, anyone have any insight?

    • TheRogerPodacter

      maybe part of the thinking is “we did this last week and it worked. so now we expect the other team to be prepared for it, expecting us to run this game plan. now we will throw them off balance by running a different game plan!”

      or maybe thats just how i imagine AR thinks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=696449117 Michael Jorden

    Kind of interesting how much pressure the Rams were putting on the Cards. Makes me wonder if I’ve been over-rating our DL and Castillo’s performance some. But, you put our AZ game in the rear view and move on full steam ahead. I’ll take that win over the Giants any day and press on to bigger things against the Steelers in spite of their Bye.

    • Kevin_aka_RC

      That logic makes sense, but a) the Rams were at home and b) the Eagles just didn’t play well. We harassed better OLs than the Cards (Browns, Ravens) and completely blew up the Giants run game. Heck, the Giants had 3 points in the 1st half as we consistently pressured Manning .

    • Ark87

      The cards acknowledged their weak O-line vs us. They game planned to do short drops and quick routes to neutralize our 4 man pressure. All the teams have heavily game-planned against our 4-man rush thus far, and we haven’t been all that aggressive in sending blitzers to compensate. However the results have been good. The 4 man rush has still been effective enough to force teams to either do short drops/ short route/short yardage pass attack or keep extra blockers back in pass pro.

      No matter how you look at it, the defense has been stout as a result of the d-line being so feared, they aren’t getting the numbers, but they are having a definite impact on the games.

  • goeagles55

    Les Bowen said a “source close to the situation said the team absolutely sees a realistic chance” of Peters playing this season. That would be amazing to get him back a few weeks before the playoffs.

    Or, as a PFT commenter said, maybe he can come back for the Super Bowl when we play Revis and the Jets.