Ugly Loss, But Not Time To Panic

Posted: September 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 115 Comments »

The Eagles had another game where they out-played the opponent for parts of the game, but ended up losing due to big time mistakes and a 4th quarter meltdown.

Let’s keep things in perspective.  The Eagles won the opener.  The Eagles had 4th quarter leads in the last 2 weeks.  They blew the leads, but the point is that the team was good enough to be in position to win.  Any talk about the Eagles being awful or a team that needs to be rebuilt are crazy.

The Eagles need to learn that they are going to get everybody’s best shot this year.  Matt Ryan and the Falcons wanted revenge last week.  The Giants wanted revenge this week.  We were able to get leads on both teams, but the opponents didn’t quit.  They played with an edge.  They executed really well in clutch situations and made critical plays.

Really good teams know how to stay focused when leading.  They are greedy.  They want a 3 point lead to be 10.  If they’re shutting a team down, they want to keep that going.  And so on.  They know how to play at a high level all game.  They know how to impose their will on an opponent.

This current Eagles team is loaded with talent, but they are still learning how to play together.  Will that happen in a week or a month?  Will it happen at all?  We don’t know.  I trust Andy Reid and the coaching staff, but there are no guarantees.  This is a unique team and was put together in unique circumstances.

Reid and his coaches had a bad game against the Giants.  Andy made some poor decisions.  He’s still figuring out this team.  They have all the talent in the world, but right now they lack the mental toughness of the classic Eagles teams (2001-2004).  Andy needs this group of players to hurry up and become a team.

It isn’t a case of egos or anything like that.  I’m talking about esprit de corps.  Back in 2002 Donovan got hurt.  The next week we went to SF for a MNF game.  Koy Detmer played really well in his place.  The OL had a great game.  The defense was outstanding.  The team knew they had to play better without #5 on the field.  The 2006 team came together after Donovan’s injury.  The team responded to the challenge and played as a whole.

Right now we are missing that.  Vick goes out and the team lets down.  Can’t have that.  That is when the defense needs to step up and make plays.  The problem is that we’ve got a lot of new players and young players. It can take time for that kind of chemistry to develop.  Andy Reid needs to come up with whatever tricks he can.

Last year Reid really got on the team after the loss to the Skins at The Linc.  Players talked about how he challenged their manhood and they saw a side of Andy they weren’t familiar with.  The team responded with very good run defense in the games vs SF, ATL, and then TEN.  I’m sure Big Red will get into the Eagles pretty hard after this loss.  They deserve it.

Missed tackles are inexcusable.  There’s no lack of effort.  Guys just aren’t getting the job done.  It wouldn’t shock me to see the Eagles do some tackling in practice.  Reid will work the guys hard until they get better.  He’s not going to settle for this kind of sloppy play.  He’ll try different things until the results improve.

The biggest lesson of the day…TDs beat FGs.  We were 1 of 5 in the Red Zone and had to settle for FGs.  The Giants scored TDs.  All the yards and dominance of TOP mean nothing if you don’t get in the end zone.  Part of the blame is on the players, part on the coaches.  This is a group problem and will take a group solution.

Everybody should be frustrated after a game like this, but let’s not go all gloom and doom.  The season is young.  Every media member said over the summer to expect the team to get off to a slow start.  Well, we’re 1-2.  The losses are to talented teams with veteran QBs.  There are issues to fix, but we’re not getting blown away.  Our problems can be solved.

One quick comment on the game itself…Reid’s decision to go for it on 4th/1 was terrible.  We had the lead.  We needed to punt and force them deep.  The Giants had already stonewalled us in short yardage situations near the GL and elsewhere.  Dumb risk.  And we paid the price for that decision.

115 Comments on “Ugly Loss, But Not Time To Panic”

  1. 1 Steve H said at 9:45 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    I’d be more optimistic if we were progressing, but we’re regressing. Week 1 we were sloppy early but stablized as the game went along. Week 2 we were really up and down, and week 3 we were pretty much garbage through most of the game. We just dropped a game to a Giants MASH squad in humiliating fashion.

    I can appreciate trying to be optimistic and that the season is early, but we don’t have all year to get things together. If we drop too many more games here early we might not be able to dig ourselves out of the hole we’re currently excavating.

    Casey Mathews and Kurt Coleman need to be challenged for their jobs. Those 2 first quarter plays were abysmal.

  2. 2 Anonymous said at 10:05 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Coleman deserved to get benched today. Bad game. Gotta see the tape on Casey to know for sure, but I did like what I saw from Rolle when he got in there.

  3. 3 Anonymous said at 12:04 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    The TD pass to Jacobs was an awful play by Matthews, and you could tell the Giants were targeting him on that play. It was a weak play action pass (the type where the RB doesn’t really get all that near the QB, but the QB extends his arm out). The WRs on the outside were clearing out from the left side, and Jacobs was matched up one on one with Jacobs. Matthews bit hard on the fake and then hesitated before trying to recover on covering Jacobs. Manning in the meantime was looking Jacobs the whole way.

    The rest of the game, I noticed Matthews make two solid tackles in traffic on a couple runs up the middle and the game book has him with three tackles total (I don’t remember the 3rd one). Don’t get me wrong, his problems don’t overshadow the problems from the rest of our defense (or offense). Coleman’s awful game stood out a lot more, but I also expect more from a starting LB.

    Honestly, I feel bad for Matthews. The coaches have put way to much pressure on him. The fact is, if he came here and was a STs player this year, I wouldn’t be hard on him at all, but the coaches put him in a starting role. Not only that, but they change his position last second to the WIL and expect him to be productive. At least with Chaney and Fokou, they have played in those spots at the NFL level.

  4. 4 Anonymous said at 10:13 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Worrying is okay. Too many problems not to be concerned. I just don’t think it is time to panic.

  5. 5 Keith McMillan said at 12:37 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    Exactly. Being an optimist/realist doesn’t mean you fail to acknowledge there are issues. It means you don’t look at the issues and quit because they look daunting.

    I should hope the team never takes on the personality of some of our more-quick-to-throw-in-the-towel type fans. This can still be an awesome season, but it’s gonna take some work. And I’m gonna enjoy watching them dig out.

  6. 6 Alex Karklins said at 9:47 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    “Can’t have that” is quickly becoming your catch phrase. Can’t have that.

  7. 7 Anonymous said at 10:03 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Wonder if MC Hammer can turn it into a song?

  8. 8 Alex Karklins said at 10:22 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    He would probably do it for a bite of your sandwich. 😉

  9. 9 Jon Blank said at 9:48 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    No fix at linebacker, Castillo is clueless and Andy is still inept. 3 games in the book and Vick has been knocked out of 2 games with different injuries. Smells like 6-10 to me and pretty close to panic time.

  10. 10 Jon Blank said at 9:49 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Can’t make the playoffs in September or October, but you sure can miss them.

  11. 11 Anonymous said at 1:31 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    Never heard this before. It’s a good line and all too true.

  12. 12 Anonymous said at 9:49 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Before the season I thought this was a good team, that could be great, they haven’t showed they are a bad team, they have not flat out sucked, I continue to believe it’s a good team. With that said we need to get better and cut out the mistakes. And I would say that we seem to be doing a better job vs the run.

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 10:08 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    We are giving at least one big run a game. I’m not happy with that at all. That being said, defensively, our problems were a lot more in the passing game than in the run game.

  14. 14 Anonymous said at 10:26 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Correct and in short yardage we are not good at stopping the run either, partly due to bad tackling. I just don’t think Falcons or Giants consistently got 5 yards or more

  15. 15 Edward Nicholls said at 9:51 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    The defence has been sloppy as expected but it’s Vicks sloppyness that really has me worried. He’s just not playing close to what he achieved last year, I’m with him that he’s getting hit waaay too much and he needs to start getting some calls but he’s throwing picks and fumbling over and over.

  16. 16 Anonymous said at 10:04 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Vick isn’t off to a great start. Maybe the lack of an offseason is hurting him worse than we realized.

  17. 17 Anonymous said at 3:46 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    Vick is also sounding like he’s getting his cockiness back – the few comments he’s made have sort of slipped through the cracks (specifically, “you can’t design a defense to stop me”) and his answers in his press conferences are more “I’m getting better at” and less “I’m working on getting better at.” That last point may sound like a stretch but to me it indicates the underlying psychological makeup – he believes he’s made these improvements and yet he turned the ball over twice against Atlanta and twice against NYG, not to mention that fumble that he had which magically fell into Jason Peters’ hands.

    He didn’t tough out the hand injury (on his non-throwing hand) – which may be the responsible thing, but it just looks really bad after Tony Romo leads his team to a comeback win with 2 broken ribs and a collapsed lung. And he spent the entire second half looking dejected on the sidelines instead of maybe trying to rally the team.

    I assume most people are going to say this is overboard. Hell, I’ll probably wake up tomorrow and come to that same conclusion, but I’m furious that we don’t seem to be improving as a team, and for two straight weeks, we get the very chilling reminder that the most talented team in the world is still limited to going only as far as the idiocy of its coaching staff will take it. God damn.

  18. 18 Anonymous said at 9:57 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    “Hey guys, first 52 minutes, you played better than last time against this team. Way to go. But the last 8 minutes you have to pick it up.”

  19. 19 Anonymous said at 10:12 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    I agree with Tommy. New Eagles sucks. Bring back Eagles Classic.

  20. 20 Anonymous said at 10:27 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    The Coke company will let you know of their decision.

  21. 21 Jon Blank said at 10:15 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    I’m still trying to figure out why Owen Schmidt gets TWO touches on a critical goal line series.

    Although I guess that’s like trying to figure out how an offensive line coach gets promoted to D coordinator.

  22. 22 Anonymous said at 11:21 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    “cuz he can hurdle people and break facemask! moar owen!”

    -“wonderful” Marty Morningwig

  23. 23 Keith McMillan said at 12:40 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    The weird thing about the goal-line calls is people quibble when we throw too much and they’re incomplete. “Da hell are we doing, just mash it in there!”

    Then when we mash it (remember the Eldra Buckley game against Chicago) and don’t get in, people say we should have thrown.

    I’ve become convinced over time that all goal-line calls that don’t work are bad calls.

    Nobody gripes about the unimaginative 1-yard dives that get in.

  24. 24 Anonymous said at 12:52 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    If only the coaching staff shared in the fan’s advantage of seeing the result before deciding on the right call.

  25. 25 Anonymous said at 1:01 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    Well… the “old” problem in the McNabb days was running the same play three times in a row: that stupid roll-out to the right, throw at Celek’s feet play. Hence the calls for more runs.

    I can’t speak for others, but I’d like to see a mix. Try to power it through on one play, if it doesn’t work, try something to the outside… we do have the fastest QB ever. I’d be okay with him running the McNabb naked bootleg. What’s frustrating is 3 dives in a row, or 3 “inside screens” or “shovel passes” or whatever that crazy play to McCoy is that worked against the Rams once and is therefore on tape for the Giants and not a surprise.

    Other food for thought is this “stretch play” that we’re using a lot more this year. That’s obviously not a part of the goal-line package, so once you get down there, you’re mixing in runs and things you don’t do elsewhere on the field and probably don’t practice as much. The lack of ability to get 2 yards when needed is an ancient Eagles dilemma… hence the frustration.

  26. 26 nathalie a said at 10:17 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    “td’s beat fg’s”, i agree, but if i may interject, tackles beat players before they have the opportunity to score a td. damn. i’m so upset. this didn’t look like an nfl team, at times. the giants didn’t win, the eagles lost. if that makes any sense.

    also, on june 1st, i wrote about michael vick and the impact of the botched offseason on his preparation. i was pessimistic. i’d have loved to be wrong.

  27. 27 nathalie a said at 10:18 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    oh, and yes, i’m panicking. this was plain ugly, and there is no excuse. i’m not even sure there are explanations.

  28. 28 Anonymous said at 10:21 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    I’m not in panic mode, but I’m reasonably concerned. I expressed my concerns about the Falcons prior to that game; Atlanta was desperate, and I’m not shocked that we lost that game. But this was our home opener, all of our receiving weapons against their depleted secondary, all of our secondary “studs” against their depleted wide receiving corps. How did this happen?

    I could prattle on for quite awhile on all the things that irked me about this game. Why go for it on 4th-and-1 at midfield when you have the lead and your defense finally had a grasp on the momentum? Why did we even sign Ronnie Brown if you’re going to run the ball twice at the goalline with Owen Schmitt? Etc, etc. But I’m determined to not allow this loss to eat me up.

    The schedule seems to get a little softer in the coming weeks. Practices need to be amped up. Positions need to be challenged. Men need to be tested. This team has a lot of work to do, and I’m hopeful that there is enough time for it be done.

  29. 29 Jon Blank said at 10:29 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Bills and Redskins are both undefeated. With the way Castillo has his defense playing and the high probability that Vick is out next week, the Niners game is no gimme either. Eagles could very well be looking at 1-5 or 2-4 going into the bye week.

  30. 30 Anonymous said at 10:24 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Is Assante Samuel now our defense’s best tackler? He’s made some nice stops this year and the other guys are missing tackles all over the field.

  31. 31 Anonymous said at 10:26 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    All joking aside, no. Asante avoided Turner several times last week and it hurt us.

  32. 32 Anonymous said at 10:32 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    It seems like the short-yardage issues are to be expected. A small o-line doesn’t get a great push. Are we running plays with that in mind? Are our short yardage plays ones that give time for things to develop?

    I always worried about us trying to implement the wide 9. I love watching the d line do it’s thing. But my understanding is that your LB’s must be a lot more active with tackling. It seems like a poor decision given that we knew the LB’s were going to be a weakness. But since that’s what we’re going to be doing how do we fix it?

  33. 33 Anonymous said at 10:35 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Does this count as this year’s “Raiders game” or will it get worse?

  34. 34 Anonymous said at 10:37 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    I said on Twitter during the game that it felt like last year’s NFCE opener, the loss to WAS in Donnie’s revenge game. Both games a lot alike.

  35. 35 Anonymous said at 10:52 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    That is a better comparison. Hopefully we won’t have a complete and utter stinker this year.

  36. 36 Anonymous said at 10:40 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    I really cannot believe how bad the defense looked. I fully expect to get owned on the ground every week. What I did not expect is to give two quarterbacks in back to back weeks 4 passing touchdowns. Jim Johnson is rolling over in his grave right now. Clearly whether it is Chaney or Matthews in the middle matters little.
    As a side, did Kelce get hurt or get benched? I noticed JamJax playing in the 4th at center.

  37. 37 Anonymous said at 10:51 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    LG Mathis got hurt. Kelce took his spot. JamJax at C.

  38. 38 Alex Karklins said at 11:36 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Ugh. Hope he’s OK. I enjoy following his Twitter posts.

  39. 39 Anonymous said at 5:32 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    I’m sorry, Danny Watkins isn’t even first off the bench at this point? I admit it, I’m getting concerned, short offseason be damned.

  40. 40 Anonymous said at 10:42 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Are fans calling the plays in the red-zone? Give it to Schmitt twice? I’m in the panic camp until I see some sort of attempt at preparation from the coaching staff.

  41. 41 Anonymous said at 10:44 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    At some point Tommy, and it won’t be too far away, we will be what our record says we are.

  42. 42 Anonymous said at 10:50 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Agreed. But let’s see what that is. If we have some nightmare start, we’ll deal with it. Ask a Chiefs fan what a bad team is. They weren’t competitive for 2 weeks. We’re losing right now, but based on mistakes and sloppy play, not a lack of talent. We’ve got a chance to turn things around.

  43. 43 Anonymous said at 10:45 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Question for you guys/gals…do you watch other games on Sunday? I find that watching other teams helps me to keep things in perspective. GB/CHI is good game. ATL/TB good game. Raiders upsetting the Jets.

  44. 44 Jon Blank said at 10:50 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    I usually have trouble watching other games after an Eagles loss. I need to decompress, usually by bitching about Andy and co on various websites and with various family and friends. 🙂

    That being said, the invention of the red zone channel makes it tough not to watch, since it is pure awesomesauce.

  45. 45 Anonymous said at 10:51 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    I watch other games when the Eagles aren’t on, but after they drop a turd on us like today not even other coaches’ terrible decisions can give me perspective.

  46. 46 Anonymous said at 10:52 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Tony Gonzalez with a RZ TD catch in the 4th Q. Tampa still leads 16-10.

  47. 47 Anonymous said at 10:57 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    I do watch other games, not as intensely as Eagles though. The football season is too short to only watch Eagles. However I have a hard time watching playoffs when Eagles are of out it.

    Greatly enjoyed watching the last 2 minutes of Bills – NE

  48. 48 the guy said at 10:57 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    I’ll watch other games, but not nearly as closely as I would if the Eagles had won. Sometimes I’ll have the games on but really pay no attention after a loss.

    An Eagles loss, especially an ugly one, tends to take the fun out of football for me.

  49. 49 Anonymous said at 11:02 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Watching other games is the only way I got through 1997-99.

  50. 50 Jon Blank said at 11:04 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    It’s easier to watch other games when you don’t expect the Eagles to be good. We are all expecting more because of the talent level on the field, making the losses tougher.

  51. 51 the guy said at 11:17 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    That sort of thing is why I greatly prefer late or night games for the Eagles. I can watch and enjoy at least 1-2 games before the Eagles ruin everything and put me off football for a week.

  52. 52 Nathan said at 11:56 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Who would have thought the Bills could be down 21 to 0 to the Patriots and come back to win.? And on top of that they picked off Brady 4 times. I’m pretty sure he only threw 4 ALL of last year. Crazy.

    This is one reason why I love the NFL so much. The Bills and the Lions are 3-0. Teams get a chance to rebuild and the playing field is leveled as much as possible. This isn’t baseball where one team can spend more money on one player than one team does on their entire roster.

    As for the Eagles, I’m as frustrated as the rest of you, but I agree with you, Tommy. There is a ton of talent on the team. Fortunately this isn’t the BCS where one loss usually costs you a chance to win a championship. However, we are losing our room for error. We have to clean up the mistakes. No more dropped passes, missed tackles, fewer penalties, etc. Those things are fixable.

  53. 53 Anonymous said at 11:59 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    I have decompress as others said. Today it was Tiger Woods PGA. Last week it was Simpsons’ and Family Guy reruns. It all depends. I did eventually get to the point that I turned on the redzone channel today. It made me feel better that every other streak in the NFL was broken (Lions winning for the first time in Minny since ’97. Bills beating the Pats after 13 straight losses). Still not happy with this team though.

  54. 54 Steve H said at 5:03 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    I will watch the other games but only if theres an interesting one on. For instance I did watch the end of the Vikes/Lions game (Jeff Backus almost singlehandedly cost them the game with that double false start/sack combination) and I was tuning in and out of the Jets game for a while. The GB/Chicago game was interesting for a while also (I am fascinated by how efficiently Aaron Rodgers uses all his recievers) but the SNF game was not interesting at all.

    It absolutely helps me decompress after a tough loss to watch other games.

  55. 55 the guy said at 10:56 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    It’s really early yet, but these losses could hurt the Eagles if they have to fight for a wild card spot. 1-3 in the NFC, 0-1 in the NFC East, and ATL is a playoff contender they might have needed a tiebreaker for.

  56. 56 the guy said at 11:13 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    What lottery numbers should I be using?

  57. 57 Jon Blank said at 11:14 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    The opposite number of whatever defensive play Castillo calls.

  58. 58 Anonymous said at 11:08 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    There you are harping on the 4th and 1 again. You just don’t get it, it isn’t AR’s fault they didn’t execute the play. McCoy had a great day but I guess it makes no sense to take a risk with a hot RB. Usually your blogs are spot on, but not today. No offense but this was pretty weak, your approach is simple you are just protecting yourself from being wrong by saying they may gel or they may not. Can’t say this was one of your better blogs.

  59. 59 Anonymous said at 11:14 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    I was against the call before the play happened. Problem is that you had the risk of the Giants stopping the play. You then give them the ball near midfield and they have momentum. We had a 2-pt lead. You play to protect that lead. Shady is a great RB, but isn’t great in short yardage.

    You can disagree all you want. I’m not offended by that. Still, it was the wrong decision.

  60. 60 Anonymous said at 11:57 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Tommy, you dope, you should know better than to think Andy should have to punt here. It works for Mark823 all the time in Madden…Shady never lets him down.

  61. 61 the guy said at 11:15 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    They hadn’t properly executed a short yardage play the past 7 times they tried it. Why would they make it this time?

    It’s not Andy’s fault they didn’t execute, but we do expect him to actually watch the game.

  62. 62 Jon Blank said at 11:16 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Yet they would rather give the ball twice to Schmitt on a key red zone series than take a chance with the hot Mccoy.

    I hated the decision to go for it as well. Terrible decision given the situation and it cost us the game.

  63. 63 Anonymous said at 11:17 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Not to mention you can’t compare the goal line shut down to the 4th and 1 shut down. Different play and different guys running it obviously. Owen Schmitt getting stuffed doesn’t always equate to McCoy getting stufffed as well. Like I said rather take that risk, and if you truly trusted the defense you would not mind risking giving the Giants good field position.

  64. 64 Jon Blank said at 11:18 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    But nobody trusts the defense, with good reason.

  65. 65 Anonymous said at 11:24 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    If this makes any sense, I don’t mind when the Eagles get beaten, but I do mind when they beat themselves.

    I can forgive – to a certain extent – things like missed tackles, dropped passes, etc. But when you go 1 for 5 in the red zone because you don’t know what you’re doing down there, you run a 5 yard route on 3rd and 6 (Steve Smith), you go for it on the subsequent 4th down despite having a lead… well, those ones really hurt. Especially when many of these mistakes are things we’ve seen before. Yes, these are new players, but when the biggest errors are coming from the sidelines. that’s simply inexcusable.

    This is now two weeks in a row where we’ve given a game away. The silver lining crowd can point to 4th quarter leads against slightly-above-average teams with chips on their shoulders, or to the growing pains of new players and coordinators, or to a shortened off-season or whatever, but you can’t ignore that a lot of the issues seem to be systemic.

    Perhaps the biggest repercussion of today’s disaster is that we’ve now eliminated any breathing room as far as record and division go. We can no longer afford a Raiders ’09 or Vikings ’10 type loss which, in my opinion, neither of these games were. We’re likely to still have one of those baffling stinkers this season, and now all we can do is cross our fingers that it comes outside the division and that the rest of the NFC East chokes on a few (Dallas should have choked last week but Harbaugh declined a “leverage” call and gave them the game… watch that decision have the biggest effect on our post-season eligibility).

    This one hurts. Last week hurt, too, but I assumed Reid would use it to get his act together and inspire the team. Guess not.

  66. 66 Anonymous said at 11:28 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Lots of good points in this post.

  67. 67 Anonymous said at 3:54 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    Agreed. And while I’m not thrilled with any losses, I’m okay with them if we play very competitively with the Green Bays or other elite teams of the league. We were outclassed by a Giants team that, on paper, we had dead to rights. League parity, blah blah blah, if a team loses more than half of its starting defense and all but one of its major receiving options, there’s no way we should lose to them if we’re a good team.

  68. 68 Anonymous said at 11:26 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    “Really good teams know how to stay focused when leading. They are greedy. They want a 3 point lead to be 10. If they’re shutting a team down, they want to keep that going. And so on. They know how to play at a high level all game. They know how to impose their will on an opponent”.

    See this logic compleatly contradicts not going for it on 4th and 1. By that logic the Eagles should be hungry and take the risks. I get your arguement but I think you are looking at the situation in the wrong way. The bigger problem is not being able to run it for one yard, not taking a risk.

  69. 69 Anonymous said at 11:30 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    You have to know your team. We’re not great at 3rd/1 or 4th/1. Risky is okay, but it was a dumb risk. Matchup didn’t favor us. Downside is you gave the ball to the opponent 25 yards away from FG range and you only had a 2 point lead.

    You have to understand the context of the situation. I’m not against Reid taking 4th down chances. This particular one was a bad decision.

  70. 70 Anonymous said at 11:42 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    You got me there, I guess it wasn’t the best of choices 🙂

  71. 71 Jon Blank said at 11:42 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Given the fact that the Eagles failed and the decision to go for it completely turned the game around, I find it tough to listen to any arguments that it was the right decision.

  72. 72 Virgile RAINGEARD said at 11:45 PM on September 25th, 2011:

    Random points:
    – we’re lucky we got Shady. He masks a lot of our inefficiencies
    – Apart from the DL, nothing to save from our defense right now
    – Desean is still not cutting his drops. He wants elite WR money, but isn’t one. Dynamic but inconsistent playmaker, that hasn’t been, and probably never will be a go-ot guy.
    – Look at our first 2 opponent: ATL got beaten pretty badly by CHI and lost to TB / STL got beat by the Giants and got annihilated by the ravens

    What does it says about our team ?

  73. 73 Jon Blank said at 12:04 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    1 loss between the Eagles next 3 opponents. With Juan’s defense sucking and Vick hurt, the Eagles could legitimately be a 1 or 2 win team by the bye week.

  74. 74 Keith McMillan said at 12:34 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    Tommy, I appreciate your levity in situations like these. I don’t find many like minds elsewhere.

    1) Give the Giants credit. It was a tight game in the fourth quarter like they usually are; this time they made the plays.
    2) We knew this assembly of talent was not going to be perfect out of the gate. I’m encouraged that they’re in every game. This season was never going to be perfect from the start (though 6 of their first 7 looked winnable). This is about being good enough to get into the playoffs and playing great when we get there. And being healthy then.
    3) Come on. The Eagles ALWAYS do this. They play like dogtrash once or twice early on, then they go on some ridiculous tear. I’m not even a little bit worried. Yes they have issues, but they always do, and they figure them out.
    4) People blaming the front office in the middle of games kill me. We should be able to win with who they threw out there. Obviously the LBs are suppar, but you had to go cheap somewhere to bring in all that high-priced talent elsewhere.
    5) I don’t have a problem with Castillo or the Wide 9. The defensive scheme has its limitations, but to me it looks like players are getting to the right spots and missing tackles. That means the scheme is sound and the coaching is working and the execution is poor.

    This week’s loss is much less encouraging than last week’s. It’s an uphill climb from here, with Vick hurt, and that game at the Bills in 2 weeks no longer looking like a gimme.

    But you know what? This team was built for this. They’ve got the talent; it’s something else they are missing. Now they’re humbled. The *have* to come together now. There is no other way.

    Should still be a fun ride.

  75. 75 Jon Blank said at 12:40 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    Or this is just 10 win talent with a 6 win coaching staff.

  76. 76 Anonymous said at 12:50 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    You really were not kidding when you said you had to decompress and bitch about Reid and co.

  77. 77 Jon Blank said at 1:17 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    I lost faith in Reid years ago. I believe he will never lead the Eagles to a championship as he is too often out coached on game day. Furthermore he has too many personnel blind spots and too often tries to prove himself smarter than everybody else usually to the detriment of the team (Castillo a prime example).

    I hope he proves me wrong, and will gladly eat crow if it happens, but its not looking good.

  78. 78 Anonymous said at 12:54 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    I agree with this, let’s take it one week at a time. It’s not like we usually have a fast start. And no matter how crappy one team is supposed to be NFC East games are almost always tight tough games,

  79. 79 Anonymous said at 1:23 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    You’re really “not even a little bit worried?” I’m all for optimism, and I think people in this space are far more rational than your average, chicken-little Eagles’ fan, but there are legitimate areas of concern… or at least enough to merit a little bit of worry.

    Your point of the Eagles ALWAYS doing this highlights one area: in game coaching decisions. Going for it on 4th down was a horrendous call. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one screaming at the TV before it happened. Not challenging the “interception” last week was also terrible. Giving the ball to Schmitt twice in one drive and running essentially the same play three times in a row… a week after screwing around in the red zone cost you points. Trying 63 yard field goals. Trying 20 yard field goals on second down with 9 seconds left before the half instead of taking a poke at the end zone…

    The starting QB has been knocked out twice in two weeks. We’ve lost 4th quarter leads (that should’ve been bigger leads, by the way) both weeks. We don’t seem to be able to tackle. Penalties. We’ve given up 4 TD passes two games in a row… this week to journeymen receivers.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m not sticking a fork in the team or anything, but the fact is we have some legitimate concerns, and we’re now in a hole and in a position where we can’t afford any more slip-ups.

    I just find it hard to believe that anyone could honestly say he is “not even a little bit worried.”

  80. 80 Steve H said at 5:12 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    Optimism and blind faith are 2 different things imo. My main point is that we’re not getting better. If things continue to get worse before they get better, we are in a lot of trouble.

  81. 81 Steven Dileo said at 12:39 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    OT: But did anyone else seem like the Eagles jerseys were darker than normal?

    Anyway, I think it’s time to bench Casey. I also think its time to see what Jarret has got.

  82. 82 marc said at 1:12 AM on September 26th, 2011:


    I wrote you an email in the preseason when Kelse became the center that this Eagles line presented a serious short-yardage problem. Too small up front.

    I kept thinking about how the Patriots stoned the Colts’ Edgerrin James at the goal line on 3 or 4 straight plays in 2005 (or so).

    The Colts were too small.

    This Eagles are too small up front for those 3rd & 1 and 4th & 1 plays.

    Just like the Colts.

  83. 83 Jon Blank said at 1:20 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    On a completely different note; Was anybody else surprised the Eagles wore green? It was sunny, hot and humid. I thought the Eagles usually wore white at home in the early part of the season for specifically that reason. Plus, when you consider the Giants had fatigue issues last week and would have had to wear dark blue had the Eagles chosen to wear white, it just seems like a no brainer. Like pinning the giants deep with 4th quarter lead or not handing off to your fullback twice in a critical goal line series seems like no brainers.

  84. 84 Anonymous said at 1:29 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    I wasn’t online during the game, but I can guess what the comments were from this write-up.

    I think the perspective of watching other games is a great point. If Philadelphia was in New England, they would need to have police helicopters scanning the rooftops for jumpers tonight.

    The team has issues, and the last two weeks were painful as a fan, but I am still optimistic for the season.

    Also, if that was a career receiving day for the Giants new tight end, I hope he stays with them for years to come.

  85. 85 Anonymous said at 1:54 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    Tommy always love your posts but i have to disagree with you in terms of “talent”. What talent? I agree that they have areas of extreme strength but football is a game of matchups and you are only as good as your weakest link. And to be honest, I think the LB’s and safeties stink and they can’t get better. Matthews just doesn’t have NFL speed and Dan Klecko commented on that on 94 WIP. I know you need to look at the tape but I was at the game and Matthews sucked and pretty much all the giants did was throw at him. I really believe we don’t have a LB that could make certain contenders rosters. Also look at andy reids last two drafts. the guy just can’t draft defense and our first 2 picks ARENT EVEN ACTIVATED. I’m panicking talk me off the ledge. sorry for the lengthy post

  86. 86 Christopher Miller said at 2:28 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    After last week’s loss, I was bummed but encouraged. I agree with an earlier poster…with the noteworthy exception of McCoy who looks like an absolute stud, we look like we regressed this week. Maybe the team as a whole is taking one small step back so they can take a big step forward. Shifting all three young LB’s around is bound to be a setback, but what the heck is the excuse for everyone else. I am not panicking yet, but I am real disappointed.

    I feel like now might be a nice time to bring in/trade for a veteran LB. I don’t expect some blockbuster acquisition…just a solid, experienced, and preferably more physical guy to plug in the middle. Move JC and MF back to where they were, and perhaps push one with Rolle. It is time for Howie to work some magic.

  87. 87 Anonymous said at 2:41 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    Usually I listen to Reid’s press conference after the game but put it off six hours. The vibe I get from watching that is the trial period is over for some guys and if he looks willing to make changes within reason.. obviously certain spots on the D are what he’s talking about.

  88. 88 chris cornett said at 2:45 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    Coleman’s play has been troubling. It seems like he’s making the rookie mistakes this year that he didn’t make as a rookie last year.

  89. 89 Anonymous said at 4:02 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    Given that: 1) nearly half the starters on D look like they should be on the PS rather than starting, 2) the whole “let’s make the O-line coordinator the DC” is looking more and more as ridiculous as it sounds, 3) third-and-short continues to be an nightmare offensively and 4) our new $100 million QB has suffered a concussion and a broken hand in successive weeks, along with taking a ton of hits, there should be, at the very least, a tremendous sense of urgency at this point, if not outright panic (I myself have not yet pushed that button, but my index finger remains poised a mere one-quarter inch away from pushing it pending the outcome of next weeks game versus the Niners).

  90. 90 Anonymous said at 5:27 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    It’s the same problems every year. Weak in the middle on defense. (Our safeties and LBs flat out suck) And inconsistencies on offense.

    The offense worries me more than the D. The D is built to play with a lead. The offense is just not clicking. Vick has 6 fumbles, 3 lost, on the year. Receivers are dropping passes. Our TEs are non-existent in the passing game. Shady has been awesome. As well as Peters. Other than that? It’s worrisome. I was optimistic after last week’s loss, but it’s hard to be now. As someone mentioned above, this team seems to be regressing, as opposed to progressing.

  91. 91 Anonymous said at 9:45 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    Looks like Vick is out 3-4 weeks according to Howard Eskin, our offence hasn’t been great so far and I can’t see it improving without Vick. If the defence doesn’t step up we are in serious jeapoardy of being 2-4 come the bye week. I’d hope we would beat the 49ers but can easily see us losing to the Skins and the Bills. Can we panic now with the latest injury news?

  92. 92 ChowderFACE said at 11:58 AM on September 26th, 2011:

    Add in Maclin likely out as well as cooper. Looks like Smith and Jackson better step it up and actually start catching balls that hit them directly in their hands.

  93. 93 Derek Campbell said at 12:09 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    By my counting (feel free to confirm), under Andy Reid the Eagles are:

    September: 21-19 .525
    October: 27-19 .587
    November: 32-18-1 .637
    December: 35-15 .700

    Under Reid the Eagles start games and seasons slow. But what he’s done, from where he started, and for how long he’s done it – this is a bargain I’m more than willing to continue.

  94. 94 Jon Blank said at 2:36 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    Why? Because it has led to so many championships? The only time the Eagles made the super bowl under Reid they didn’t start slow at all.

  95. 95 Derek Campbell said at 2:42 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    Because unlike almost every other team in the NFL, the Eagles have been SB contenders almost every year for the last 10 years. And because Reid’s been doing it so long, this isn’t a team he inherited anymore. He made the last few teams.

    The championship point is short-sighted and foolish. Reid has been a great coach (perfect? no. great? for sure).

  96. 96 Jon Blank said at 3:20 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    Short sighted? Maybe if this was year 3 of the Andy tenure. But Andy has had plenty of years to prove that he will NEVER win a super bowl with this team.

  97. 97 Zachary said at 12:27 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    The reason I’d argue it is time to panic is because I don’t see anything that gives me confidence that will make a key play in a close game or a key stop in a close game. With the free agent additions we made, I thought I would have that.

    The early Reid teams, I was fairly confident that McNabb would get that first down, that the Defense would force a stop or make a play. I haven’t had that feeling for 4 or 5 years I’d say.

    I’m not saying our season is over, or we can’t make the playoffs. But I’d have no confidence in this team to win in any fassion other than a blow out.

    Also I’d like to mention that our up coming 4 game strech doesn’t look as easy as it did when the schedule was released –

    49ers – okay they look bad
    Buffalo – 3-0
    Washington – 2-0
    Dallas – 1-1

    I’d say we have to have 3 of these, at least.

  98. 98 Anonymous said at 1:06 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    Including the chicago game the week after we /have/ to go 3-2 to stay even close to the playoff hunt.

  99. 99 Anonymous said at 1:40 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    Not time to panic? Man, if this isn’t the time to panic, I’m not sure when is a good time to panic. When we’re 1-6? That’s doesn’t become panic, that becomes apathy.

    Our franchise QB looks like he’ll miss 2-3 weeks. So now that SF game looks really shaky. Buffalo is rolling right now and is scoring a ton of points. Washington regardless of their record seems to play us tough most years and they look much improved. Ok, we get Vick back for game 7, but Dallas still has talent and would be no surprise to beat us.

    Yes, we could very easily be looking at 1-6 or 2-5 with the upcoming schedule

    Tommy, I always appreciate your objective view, that’s why I read your stuff, but considering the cirmcumstances, I’m in full on panic mode. The notion that we won’t have Vick for two or three games is scary, especially considering our upcoming opponents.

  100. 100 Derek Campbell said at 1:58 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    In the early Reid teams you were fairly confident McNabb would get that first down? I think you’re forgetting how bad the offense was until 2004. Even down 14-0 yesterday everyone in the world knew the Eagles had the guns to come back.

    The Eagles start slow under Reid; start slow and finish strong. After 12 full seasons of watching this I’m amazed that so few see that.

  101. 101 Zachary said at 2:37 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    The offense was bad under Reid in 2000-2003?
    2000 – 12th in points scored
    2001 – 9th
    2002 – 4th
    2003 – 11th

    The offense is scoring more points in the last few years yes, but compare it to the defense? The net change is not good.

    I’d take the toughness, both mental and pyhsical of the early Reid teams over his last 5 or 6 any day of the week. McNabb when he was coming into his own in the early part of the 2000’s was as much of a threat as Vick in my mind. And unlike now, if we had a lead, I was confident we’d keep it. I’m not bashing Vick or anyone specific on this team – well maybe our HC, but I feel this team has and does lack both mental and pyhsical toughness.

    We can out talent some teams – like the Rams, but you better believe, any close games, I’m biting my nails and assuming a loss.

  102. 102 Derek Campbell said at 2:55 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    Pts scored, in this case, is misleading because the Eagles had a great defense for those years. Their offense’s yds/game ranking for those same years:

    2000: 17
    2001: 17
    2002: 10
    2003: 18

    Admittedly better than I would have thought. But not an offense to inspires confidence.

    However, my main response to your IP was, the Eagles have always started slow. Panicking about a 1-2 start, with their losses being to Atlanta (#1 in NFC last year) and the Giants (division rival still pissed about last year’s game), is foolish in the extreme. That’s a tough way to start the season, and 1-2 is a tolerable way to come out of it.

  103. 103 Jon Blank said at 2:38 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    I think its more like the Eagles start weak, reach their peak strength with a few games left in the season, and then finish weak.

  104. 104 Anonymous said at 3:52 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    That doesn’t fit with the win percentages above.

    You might be thinking that almot every season ends with a loss, but that is true for most teams and better than the alternative for all but one of th rest.

  105. 105 Anonymous said at 1:30 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    The NFC is the best conference this year. We can’t go 2-4 and hope to go 8-2 down the stretch because we’d have to go 5-1 in the division to make that happen (2 losses in conference games against playoff-caliber teams). That means we need to beat SF/Washington to go 3-3 and hopefully tune it up post bye-week. Otherwise, we have no shot.

    I’m not feeling this team. I have no idea who they’re trying to be.

  106. 106 ike said at 1:53 PM on September 26th, 2011:


    I think we’d all appreciate if you set out in order of priority the Top 5 things that, if they happened, would lead you to say: “It’s time to panic.”

  107. 107 Ian Mattie said at 2:20 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    Tommy have you considered the 4th/1 call to go for it more of a reason that andy knew vick was coming out of the game soon and needed to get the points?

  108. 108 Anonymous said at 2:31 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    Tommy – I love your blog – but you must be kidding when you say its No Time To Panic – absolutely horrendous display – and yes this is all on you fat Reid – his act is wearing thin and though he has been a successful coach here – I think its time for him to go…stupid stupid decisions right from the offseason…making Juan Castillo the DC (any bets if he keeps his job after this season), handing the MLB and the Tackle spots to Rookies with no freaking backup plan (got lucky they picked up DeVan)…this season is quickly going down the tube…..this team has no chemistry..the Offense sucks, Defense sucks and the Special Teams – the less said is better…c’mon you jump offsides on a FG try and hand over the first down..this team and the coaching staff is a mess..lets for once call it the way it is rather than sugarcoating it!!

  109. 109 Anonymous said at 2:46 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    What I considered an even more egregious display of boneheaded calls than the 4th & 1 call was the one crucial series down on the goal line. Owen Schmitt is the least skilled of all the skill players on the offense. He got not one, but two…two freakin’ carries on the goal line yesterday. I’ll remind everyone, this was a guy the Eagles couldn’t wait to replace after cuts around the league were made. The Birds put in waivers claims on two FBs who were released. This is the guy they wanted to attempt to score a crucial TD with?? What the heck was MM thinking? Trying to get cute? Outsmart the defense?? Outsmart himself??

    I realize something was wrong with Vick and under normal circumstances want the ball in Vicks hands down there. But if Vick isn’t right, then Shady is the go-to guy. If Shady isn’t that guy, then maybe Ronnie Brown (230 pound Ronnie Brown mind you). But not, I repeat, NOT Owen Schmitt.

  110. 110 Anonymous said at 3:02 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    As always, you have one of the best and most insightful blogs in Philly.
    However, I feel that maybe you are trying to be too much like Dave Spadaro with this team. From the beginning fo the offseason, when every other person was worried about the LBs, you stated that they would be better than last year and that Chaney and Matthews were clear upgrades. You still seem to maintain this and it is killing me. I do not think the sky is falling, but I truly believe that his team will not make the playoffs and our defense will be a liability all year. I have seen NOTHING from our linebackers that gives me hope. They looks lost, and when they are in position, they can’t physically make the play. That combination leaves me feeling pretty pessimistic.
    I really do appreciate your optimism and love the blogs, but with Vick out for 3-4 weeks(per Eskin), and our defense seemingly regressing, do you see hitting .500 before the bye week?

  111. 111 Anonymous said at 3:32 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    Too much like Dave Spadaro? In times gone-by words like that would be a challenge to a duel with short pistols!

  112. 112 Anonymous said at 3:17 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    My big concern is about leadership? Who are the leaders on this team? Who is stepping up in the huddle and bringing guys together? Most of the guys on offense are young, and our defense doesn’t seem to have a true identity yet, and I’m concerned about not seeing more rallying the troops going on in these games.

  113. 113 Anonymous said at 3:31 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    from blogging the beast –

    absolutely poor poor job coaching…well i guess one thing Castillo is good at is head butting his LB’s…i actually feel bad for Casey Matthews…its not all his fault…hes a rookie being thrust into a starting LB job by the coaches with a shortened offseason……every team has issues but coaches scheme to cover up their deficiencies – unfortunately Castillo does not look like he can do that..
    PS: was flying back home from NY – I immediately used my Credit Card to get the game on DirecTVon the flight back and had to quietly watch the game and swallow hard and listen to a couple of Giants fans on adjacent seats whooping and hollering!

  114. 114 Tom Adams said at 3:45 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    4th and 1 call was just dumb. Even if they converted they weren’t going to run out the clock. Combined with the fact they were about 0 for 10 in short yardage situations in the game up until then – ugh.

    I don’t understand this defense. I liked the fact we didn’t blitz much in the first 2 games. Yesterday it seemed like we blitzed the whole first quarter (and got killed) – I thought that was the point of the “Wide 9” – pressure from the D-line. Finally, why do we have $40 million tied up in 2 corners but seem to play a soft zone most of the time? Makes no sense, especially when we aren’t matching up with Pro-Bowl WR’s.

    This one is on the coaches.

  115. 115 Anonymous said at 4:11 PM on September 26th, 2011:

    I thought I’d never say this, but can we have the lockout back?!