The Eagles are 3-2 and in first place in the NFC East.
Some people see me write this and think I’m nuts. They see that statement as some confirmation that everything is okay with the Eagles and there are no concerns, even if I follow that statement with 2 paragraphs detailing some problems that I think the team does have.
Let me explain why I continue to point out our record and division standing. Andy Reid is a process coach. What you see in September isn’t the same as late October and definitely not December. He fine tunes the team every year. There is always progress, even if it doesn’t turn out to be enough (see the 2011 season).
The Eagles are in first place in the division despite the fact that there are some serious problems. This is meant to give you hope that the team can remain in a good spot as the team does improve.
From 2000-2011, there was at least one 3-game winning streak every year. That includes years like 2005, 2007, and last year when things were very rocky at times. I can’t guarantee you a 3-game winning streak this year since all seasons are different, but history tells you that it is likely to happen.
The Eagles get better after the bye. The Eagles are much better down the stretch. 3-2 is a base, not a destination.
Our record in the final 11 games:
2011 – 7-4
2010 – 7-4
2009 – 8-3
2008 – 7-3-1 (wait…you can tie in the NFL?)
2007 – 6-5
I think most people agree this team has a lot of talent. Andy Reid doesn’t have to re-invent the wheel. He’s got to preach ball security, better blocking, and better execution to his offensive players. When we lost to the Giants 3 times in 2000, it was because we just didn’t have the talent to play with them. I think we’ve got the talent to play with anyone right now.
The defense needs more takeaways. That’s really my one big concern. They did a great job in the opener, but have been too quiet since then. Turnovers are impact plays. We’re not getting enough of them.
Special Teams showed progress on Sunday, but still needs a lot of work. This subject will get a full post in the coming days.
I fully expect this team to have a good showing down the stretch, just like previous Reid teams. I see no reason for this group to be different. I expect 10 or 11 wins.
What about the playoffs? Let’s talk about them after Thanksgiving. We need to see how much progress the team shows. It could be that the team shows marginal improvement and it becomes clear that we won’t get far in the playoffs. Or it could be that the team really comes together and looks great down the stretch and we become a Super Bowl favorite.
I fully understand where the doubters who see this as a mediocre team are coming from. You can make a good argument that shows this is a definite possibility, but I don’t think you can strongly argue that it is the likely outcome. History says different.
This is a young team that has played a tough schedule and is winning despite serious turnover problems. Think how good this team can be as they gain experience and improve. Think how good they can be if the turnovers stop. I know that not everyone thinks the turnovers will stop.
Vick has now gone 3 straight games without an INT. That’s very good. As for fumbles, I’m not sure what to say. Per NFL.com, he lost 4 last year and 3 of them came in the first 2 games. If that trend holds true, the fumbles should go away. The difference is that this year he’s already lost 5 and we’re just a third of the way done with the season. If Vick loses 15 fumbles, we’re definitely in for a long year. I just don’t anticipate that number to stay so high.
The Eagles remain a flawed team, but Reid and his coaches have a strong track record of fixing issues as the season moves along. If they’re able to do that, the 3-2 start could be a springboard to a very good final record.
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There was a lot of good discussion going on in the earlier QB post, but there were about 80 comments as of the time I wrote this and it can be difficult to carry on a good conversation when a post has that many replies. Feel free to bring the QB debate to this comments section as well.