Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Meltdown Against Minnesota Raise Red Flags

The MVP talks for Vick may have just gone out the window with his mediocre at best performance.
We had gotten used to it by now haven't we? Every year the Eagles have games that they have no business losing to far inferior competition. However, after shipping out Donovan McNabb, surely things would be different this year right? Surely Michael Vick would cement his MVP status once more?

Unfortunately, things in this organization remain largely the same. The Philadelphia Eagles just blew a game against the Minnesota Vikings, led by rookie Joe Webb, and a chance at a 1st round bye and the 2nd seed. When the hype for the team couldn't have been higher, the flying high Eagles seemed to crash and burn in this one and have now again raised questions about the team.
If Reid fails to rally the team once more, he will be on the hot seat here in Philly.
The game was simply awful and the Eagles did not get it done in any category. Whether it was special teams, passing the ball, running the ball, the play of the O-line, the pass D, the run D, coaching, it was hard to believe we were watching the 2010 Eagles last night. And then, of course, the costly penalties returned, putting the Eagles in bigger and bigger holes.

Clearly, the biggest weakness of the Eagles is their tendency to collapse, as they did last season against Dallas (sorry for bringing back the memories) and this season against the Titans and now the Vikings. Hopefully, Andy Reid will take advantage of the opportunity to rest his starters in preparation for Green Bay or the Giants in round 1 and hope that we can bounce back after a week to rest.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thoughts on Eagles

The 9-4 Eagles are currently tied atop the NFC East with the 9-4 New York Giants. While the Eagles hold the tiebreaker, that could mean little if they do not win the game against New York tomorrow afternoon. On paper, it will be a tough match up, as the Eagles are away and we all know how New York's defense was able to limit Michael Vick.

However, unless Vick gets knocked out of the game (totally possible with Osi, Tuck, and Pierre-Paul) the Eagles should win big. Many are surprised by my prediction, but the truth is the Eagles are simply a superior team. While New York's defense is certainly superior, the Eagles hold now the best offense in the league and second best offense in points per game. In the last meeting, it was a close game but the Eagles outplayed the Giants and were instead set back by their own mistakes. As December is when Andy Reid and co. historically play their best football, I have confidence that my team can get it done Sunday.
The Eagles will need rookie Jamar Chaney to step up to help contain bruising back Brandon Jacobs
New York will certainly make it a point to neutralize DeSean Jackson, so expect Maclin and Celek to see more grabs. However, with Asante Samuel's return, I believe the Eagles can hold New York to under 20 points and force Eli Manning into a mistake or two or three. And that should be enough for this offense to put the Giants away.

Of course a great deal will depend on the play of rookie Jamar Chaney, filling in at MLB. Bradley has been far from stellar this season but has always been excellent at stopping the run. Let's hope Chaney can keep up the great performance he had last week and help shut down Jacobs and Bradshaw.
So much for ushering in a grand new era in Washington.
In other thoughts, the benching of Donovan McNabb to me was a complete disgrace. Sure, McNabb is no longer the player he once was, but the failures of the Washington Redskins certainly cannot be placed on his head. Anyone who has seen Redskins games this season will know that McNabb often kept games close with his big plays, something Jason Campbell often failed to do. Sure he wasn't accurate, but accuracy has never been his strong point. And a 58% completion rating to go along with his receiving corps. and joke of an O-line could be far worse.

As many players have vocally criticized this decision, it is clear that McNabb is being used as a scapegoat. Upon arrival in Washington, the Shanahans have done little but divide that locker room and create unnecessary drama.

As an Eagles fan, however, I rejoiced at the news. Not because I am a McNabb-hater. I was/am Donovan McNabb's biggest fan. But now he will get a chance to play somewhere where he can be successful (Arizona? Minnesota? Perhaps even Cincinnati?) And now the threat of having McNabb in our division will be non-existant next season. And the way Mike Shanahan has been handling things, let's hope he keeps his job in D.C. as long as possible

Monday, December 13, 2010

Eagles Flying High

Even with a pedestrian performance by Vick, the Eagles still managed to cool down a red-hot Cowboys team
9-4 and with an opportunity to nab a first round bye? Who would have ever expected this from the 2010 Eagles! This team has shown again what I've been saying since week 3, they are Super Bowl contenders.

Of course we still have issues. The red-zone offense is still not solid and the red zone defense? Don't even get me started... The passing defense is also shown to be mediocre at best without Asante Samuel. But with Samuel returning soon, expect the passing defense to be much more effective and more turnovers generated.
Samuel's return is much needed in the rematch with the Giants
The news about Stewart Bradley and Brandon Graham could be better, but also could be much worse. As much as it hurts to hear this Eagles fans, Bradley has been an average MLB this season, nowhere near his 2008 form. If Jamar Chaney plays like he did last night, while he is certainly a downgrade the defense should not miss too much of a step. Graham also will not be missed that much with the return of Jacqua Parker, as well as having the likes of Daryll Tapp to fill in for him.

Without the leader on the defense (I believe it is Samuel at this point) and with Vick playing only an okay game, the Eagles were still able to cruise to a win over a red-hot Dallas Cowboys team. Next week will be a challenge, but the game against the Giants is a must-win. Especially if the Giants lose to the Vikings, it could very well clinch the division. With a win over New York, the Eagles would have the momentum to win out the remaining schedule (Minnesota, Dallas, both at home) and with the way the Bears are looking I believe they would seize the 1st round bye.
The Eagles may be the only team in the NFC capable of stopping the Patriots from earning their 4th Super Bowl victory.
Not that it would matter that much in the long run, as so long as the Birds make postseason, barring an injury to Vick or Jackson I can't see us not advancing to at least the NFC Championship, as I don't see a team that could stop us on paper except the Falcons with their homefield advantage. But who knows? Maybe a 1st round bye and extra week of rest is what will rejuvenate the team and allow Vick to do away with his former team. And the Eagles are likely the only team with a potent enough offense to stop the Patriots, who I believe will make their 5th Super Bowl appearance under Bill Belichick.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Random Thoughts and Such

Vick is having an MVP worthy season
So after 12 games of football, the Eagles are 8-4, a remarkable feat considering the team's expectations prior to the season. One can make a case for Andy Reid as coach of the year with his decision to play the resurgent Michael Vick.

While the Eagles lost a tough game against the Chicago Bears, the Eagles bounced back with a win over Houston and remain in the driver's seat in the NFC East. At 8-4, and with the Eagles entering a period when they historically play their best football and getting healthier, while this may be premature it may be safe to say the Eagles will make the playoffs.
Is Andy Reid the coach of the year?
However, the remaining schedule is no longer the cakewalk it appeared to be a week or two ago. Dallas remains to be played twice and is finally translating the talent they have onto the field under Jason Garrett. Anyone who has followed the Eagles in 2009 knows how much of a potential spoiler Dallas can be. The Giants are coming up in week 15 and while the Eagles triumphed in their past meeting, the Giants were the first team to find a strategy to slow Vick down (although still allowing over 250 yards in the process). Minnesota even remains as a potential spoiler with the improved play since Childress' firing.

While this schedule is not a breeze by any means, every game on that schedule is a game the Eagles should win. Therefore, if they play to their potential, the Eagles at 12-4 would likely take the 2nd seed and a 1st round bye, as the Bears have a tough schedule ahead (with Patriots, Jets, and Packers all remaining).
The return of Samuel will do wonders for the leadership on defense.

The return of Asante Samuel will be crucial to our chances of winning out. It's not just his improved coverage abilities, but Asante is an important leader for the defense. I think few people are noticing the continued impact of the loss of Brian Dawkins 2 years ago. Since Dawkins' departure, his void has not been effectively filled. It has been a combination of more vocal players on the field making up for the loss in leadership. As a result, the loss of any such leaders has substantial consequences. Vick is the undisputed leader of the offense, but the return of Samuel will be crucial to the defensive chemistry.

And after throwing 15 touchdowns this season with only 2 INTs and leading the Eagles atop the NFC East, is Michael Vick MVP worthy? I believe he is but it will be difficult, as many others are just as worthy, such as Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, and Matt Ryan. One thing is for sure though, if officials continue to ignore late hits and personal fouls against Vick, he may not last long enough to be eligible for such talks.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Eagles Have Super Bowl Potential (Now and Beyond)

The Eagles remain undefeated when Michael Vick starts all 4 quarters.
For the first 8-9 weeks it seemed like a consensus to most that the AFC was far superior to the NFC. However, that idea seems to be changing. The Defending Super Bowl Champ Saints defeated the Steelers on Sunday Night Football week 8. The Packers shut out the Jets 9-0 that week as well. We all remember, of course, the Eagles edging out the Colts in a game most experts predicted against them. And finally, the Atlanta Falcons defeated the Ravens.

All 4 of those teams were deemed Super Bowl contenders and among the most dominant teams in the NFL. They were also all AFC teams. However, now that they all feel to NFC opponents, it is clear that the NFC has just as much potential as the AFC and that this season's Super Bowl will still be unpredictable.

Yet, despite the renewed faith in the NFC, experts continue to rave about how the Falcons, Packers, Saints, and Giants all have championship aspirations. But aren't they forgetting someone?

Why not us? Why not Philly?
Vick and Jackson make the Eagles among the league's most potent offenses.
Do experts fail to realize that the Eagles have one of the most explosive offenses in the game? Averaging 376.2 yards (4th in the NFL) and 137.5 rushing yards (5th in the NFL) per contest? And that these stats were still the result of having Kevin Kolb instead of Michael Vick at the helm for about 4 games? Have they witnessed the Eagles shut down elite running backs week after week? Have they swept under the rug the fact that the Eagles are currently 3-0 when Michael Vick starts a whole game?

Of course, there are many holes on this team that remain. The offensive line is still too porous and must gel to help prevent another Vick injury. The defense, at 12th in the league, is by no means poor, but must make major strides if it wants to make this team a dominant one, including limiting big plays, which they have done excellently against Indianapolis and Atlanta. And of course, there is the question on everyone's mind. Can Vick stay healthy? Is it a matter of time before another big hit sidelines him for the season?
With LeSean McCoy and Vick leading the way, the Eagles have the 5th best running game in the NFL.
Maybe, and that is another issue at hand. If Vick can play more carefully though, this offense is and will remain a headache for all opponents.

This Eagles team has had a rough first half of the season, but have shown enough promise and bright spots to land us at 5-3, a record experts would never have dreamed of in the off-season. And if history tells us anything, Andy Reid knows how to mastermind second half rallies to make a playoff bid. And we all know that Andy Reid is a genius when it comes to deep playoff runs. (although unfortunately, not finishes).

In conclusion, if the Eagles continue to play Philadelphia Eagles football, why not us? When the Eagles are at their best, they can beat anyone in the league. Their biggest obstacle is and always has been themselves.
The gelling of this defense may be the difference between a jump for the Eagles from a good team to a dominant one.
This week, another obstacle to overcome will be Donovan McNabb and the Washington Redskins. While last week was quite the statement win, this is indeed also a significant game for Philly. A win here would put us at 6-3 and do much to prove experts and pundits wrong and show everyone, as I have here, that we have just as much a shot at the Lombardi Trophy as anyone.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Vick Continues to Show Why He is the Short-term and Long-term Future

At this point, letting Michael Vick walk in free agency would be a big mistake.
"Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years"

So to anyone who had a doubt before that Vick was the correct call at quarterback, you have been proven wrong for the 4th time this season. In every one of Vick's starts he has been phenomenal and is every bit the dynamic playmaker he was in Atlanta, if not better due to his improved passing abilities. He has yet to throw a pick all season long and continues to lead the league in passer-rating, as well as making huge plays with his legs.

Don't get me wrong, Vick was not necessarily the reason we won. The defense stepped up tremendously, limiting the greatest quarterback in the league, Peyton Manning, intercepting him twice, and consistently getting pressure on him. They were able to salvage a much-needed win for the Birds even after a series of poor calls by the refs that all could have cost the Eagles this game.
Vick gives the Eagles a chance to win every week and makes this whole offense better.
While the defense may be the main reason the Eagles came out with a W, Michael Vick's play is not far behind. Vick was clutch on almost every third down and continues to turn negative plays into positive ones, doing much to draw attention away from the abysmal offensive line.

Also, did anyone catch the post-game locker room celebration? It is clear that Vick has the unanimous support and respect of everyone on that 53-man roster. They truly believe that with him at the helm, the Eagles have a chance to win every single week. And the truth is with DeSean Jackson back as well and with the defense continuing to step up, that may very well be a reality.
The return of Jackson and Vick make the Eagles arguably the most dangerous offense in the league.
Obviously, there are still issues with this team. There are too many costly penalties. The red-zone offense still has problems. And while Vick has yet to throw an interception, that stat is a bit misleading, as he has had his share of careless throws. And the Eagles face a challenge ahead at the Washington Redskins. McNabb will be playing with a chip on his shoulder as he was benched for no reason against the Detroit Lions for the lowly Rex Grossman. If history teaches us anything, next week will be when he plays his best football (remember the Arizona game after the Baltimore benching?).
If the Eagles want to advance to 6-3, they cannot afford to underestimate Donovan McNabb next week.
Do the Eagles still have a shot at victory? Of course. On paper, Philly is by far the superior team, especially considering the Redskins have one of the worst pass-defenses in the league. But if the Eagles keep playing like they did on Sunday, this will be a long day for Donovan McNabb and co. If we can shut down Peyton Manning, McNabb should not pose too huge of a threat.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Week 8 Predictions

This is a bye that is very much needed by this Eagles team, as Vick and Jackson can get the rest they need and the defense can try to get itself straightened out. It's going to be boring this weekend without an Eagles game to watch, but to keep myself distracted, I decided to start doing week to week predictions and see how I am at this. Here goes!

Bears, Browns, Eagles, Falcons, Giants, Ravens

Dolphins (3-3) @ Bengals (2-4)
The Bengals are a mess of a team and their talent is not reflecting on the field. Dolphins

Jaguars (3-4) @ Cowboys (1-5)
As much as I would love to pick the Boys to go 1-6, they certainly are not as bad as the Jaguars, even with Jon Kitna taking over. Cowboys

Redskins (4-3) @ Lions (1-5)
This looks like a freebie for the Skins, as they move into NFC East title contention. Redskins

Bills (0-6) @ Chiefs (4-2)
Last week was a fluke. The Chiefs have a solid defense this season and will hold the Bills offense at bay and take advantage of their abysmal defense. Chiefs

Panthers (1-5) @ Rams (3-4)
Sam Bradford continues to show that he is the real deal and an emerging star QB in this league. Rams

Packers (4-3) @ Jets (5-1)
The Packers have been quite the disappointment this season. The defense has not been quite as solid and the loss of Ryan Grant has given the Packers virtually no success running the ball. Why they did not pick up another back such as Larry Johnson or Lynch is beyond me. But the Jets can shut down a team that relies primarily on passing the ball. Aaron Rodgers may face problems with his weak O-line. Don't be surprised if this game exposes Green Bay for the team they are. Jets

Broncos (2-5) @ 49ers (1-6)
Neither team is very good, but the Broncos slightly edge the niners in my book. Broncos

Titans (5-2) @ Chargers (2-5)
I have always liked the Chargers, and Norv Turner usually needs a half season or so before he gets things rolling. Something tells me San Diego will bounce back this week. Chargers

Bucs (4-2) @ Cardinals (3-3)
Terrible game, but somebody has to win. Bucs

Vikings (2-4) @ Patriots (5-1)
Even without Randy Moss, the Patriots look like they haven't missed a step. Favre continues to hurt his team on and off the field. Patriots

Seahawks (4-2) @ Raiders (3-4)
The Raiders have talent and will continue show that without JaMarcus Russell they can win games. Raiders

Steelers (5-1) @ Saints (4-3)
If the Browns could get 3 picks from Drew Brees, the most dominant defense in the league will have its way with the defending champs. Steelers

Texans (4-2) @ Colts (4-2)
I think this will be the season the Texans prove they can win within the division. Colts are a shell of the dominant force they were last season, especially after all the injuries. Texans

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Humiliating Loss to Titans Calls for Change

Reid is certainly not pleased after his team's embarrassing performance today.
Everything was going well, the Eagles were flying high. They established a comfortable 16-7 lead over the Titans and appeared in control of the game. Then, a botched assignment by the O-line killed an Eagles drive that would have assured at least 3 points, and allowed Tennessee to make it a one score game, 16-10.

Still, no worries, the Eagles quickly cut it back to 2 scores, 19-10. No time to panic right?

Wrong. BAM! 19-17 on a quick score. BAM! 20-19 Titans. In an instant, the Eagles found themselves on their backs 27-19, with all momentum drained and the game very well out of reach.

But who is to blame for this embarrassing performance by the Eagles? Is it Kevin Kolb? Who after lighting it up the past 2 games delivered a pedestrian performance? Is it Sean McDermitt? Who allowed Kerry Collins, of all quarterbacks, to overcome a two score lead?

The answer to these two questions is yes and yes. But first let me clarify:

Vick is and should be the man going forward: First of all, I am not throwing Kolb under the bus. He did not deliver his best performance today, but for the most part, Kolb effectively moved the chains and played okay. However, by no fault of his own, Kevin can only do so much as a quarterback. When he had pressure in his face, he was forced to throw the ball away, check it down to a halfback or tight end, attempt to scramble, or rush a throw downfield.
While Kolb is a fine quarterback, he simply does not have a capable offensive line to protect him.
While in theory Kolb may fit Andy Reid's offense more than Vick, this season that is not that case. The offensive line cannot sufficiently protect Kolb to allow plays to develop. He had to take what the defense gave him.

Vick, on the other hand, has the explosive speed and elusiveness to evade pressure and turn a negative play into a positive one. Kolb has proved me wrong about his arm, but the fact remains that his arm is simply inferior in arm strength to Vick. If under pressure but a wideout is alone on a streak pattern, Vick can get the ball more easily downfield to him. Also, Vick just simply has the experience to help win games, a fact that is often overlooked.
Vick has the ability to make something out of nothing and take advantage of Philly's speedy receivers with his big arm.
Andy said that Vick will be the starter after the bye. I hope he keeps his word. If it were up to me, if Vick continues to deliver strong performances I would extend him and trade Kolb. Kolb is a young QB and has shown he has a ton of potential. The Falcons got two 2nd round picks from the Texans for Matt Schaub. I don't know if the Eagles could pull that off with Kolb, but a 2nd or 3rd rounder is certainly realistic from a QB-needy team, like Arizona.

Now on to my next point:

A switch at defensive coordinator is a must: I defended Sean McDermott from all his critics last season. I told everyone that it was unfair to judge him after losing team leader and future hall of famer Brian Dawkins and having MLB Stewart Bradley lost for the season. Surely, next season, he will have things under control.

I was wrong. Yes, he has pressured teams way more than last season, but has failed to keep that pressure up in the 2nd half of games. Except for the Atlanta game, the Eagles allowed teams to nearly come back (or actually come back) every single game. Green Bay scored a great deal the 2nd half, putting pressure on Vick to try to catch up. Detroit and the 49ers of all teams nearly spoiled Eagles victories. And now Tennessee ruined our chances at going 5-2 before the bye.
It is becoming more and more apparent that McDermott is to blame for Philly's defensive collapses.
Clearly, the coaching is to be held responsible. And I'd hate to say this, but Sean McDermott has got to go. Bad play-calling and a lack of discipline has become far too consistent on this defense. Put him back at secondary coaching where he excelled. I'm ready to see what Dick Jauron can make of this young roster.

After a humiliating loss to the Titans, the Eagles now find themselves 4-3 and looking for answers. The season is by no means lost, as future opponents do not look nearly as nasty as they did over the summer (Colts, Redskins, Giants, Bears, Texans, Cowboys, and Vikings are all beatable teams). But this bye is very much needed if the Eagles are to right this ship going forward.

And with the return of Michael Vick (and DeSean Jackson hopefully) around the corner, Philly has all the potential to bounce back and find themselves once again in the postseason.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Eagles Should Stick With Vick After the Bye

It's been a long time since I updated, but let's get things started,

the main focus of this post is to deal with the re-started QB controversy in Philly. We all know that Vick lit it up after Kolb went down, and then after Vick went down, Kolb was the one who lit it up. With that being said, Andy Reid has a very decision on his hands. This week, he clearly is sticking with Kolb, possibly to let Vick heal, possibly not to disrupt the team's chemistry, and possibly to further test Kolb to give him more information as to who to be the starter.

While Kolb may seem like a more attractive long-term solution, and that may be true purely based on his age, if nothing else, I believe that Vick should remain the starting quarterback for the remainder of this season at least.

While Kolb has been impressive, the offensive line played pretty solidly in his absence. They weren't great by any means, but provided him with at least ample protection. As a pocket-passer, this is perhaps Kolb's biggest weakness. Yes, he does ineed have the athleticism to scramble if needed, but Kolb does not deal with pressure nearly as well as Vick does. What happens when the Eagles play the Giants? Can Kolb still put up stellar numbers with a formidable pass-rush to account for?
Kevin Kolb was spectacular and showed why Reid put his faith in him, but can he maintain th

Start Vick once he is healthy enough to play. Andy Reid named him the starter for a reason. Kolb is a good, maybe great QB and perhaps the next Aaron Rodgers. Starting him would by no means be a huge mistake. However, Vick is a game-changing playmaker, and that cannot be ignored. He has regained the lightning-quick speed and elusiveness that made him one of the most exciting players in the league in Atlanta. His biggest criticism has been his ineffectiveness in passing the football, but look here. He has completed 61.5% of his passes, 6 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and average 8.3 yards per pass all combining for a passer rating of 108.8. There's no denying that Michael Vick is back, and better than ever.
Vick is a dynamic playmaker who is difficult to account for defensively
His speed can allow him to not only escape pressure from even the quickest pass rushers, but enable him to turn what would normally be negative play (sack and loss of yardage) into a positive play (a rush for 30 yards). His big arm can punish defenses and allow the Eagles to score from anywhere on the field. The biggest issue will be if he can limit mistakes. If he continues to throw few INTs, he can truly put the Eagles in positions to win games. We would be witnessing the reincarnation of a young Donovan McNabb but better.

Andy Reid called his QB situation "a beautiful thing" and it is. Eagles fans, we truly have a luxury. 2 QBs who both appear capable of starting and having success in the NFL is a situation that is hard to come by. However, if Andy Reid truly wants a chance to win the Super Bowl this season, he will allow Vick to retake the starting role after the bye week.

However, it is truly a tough call. Both from a short-term standpoint and a long-term one. Let's just hope and pray that Andy will make the right decision here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

If McNabb Is Smart, He Will Not Re-Sign With Skins

McNabb says he is comfortable in Washington, likes being under Mike Shanahan, and is looking to get an extension done with the Skins. However, no extension has been made yet. Many are speculating that this is because the Redskins want to test him out to see if he is worth a long-term investment. However, just as much of it could be from McNabb's side too.

While Donovan McNabb has not been superb this season, his play has been solid and he is still among the top 10 Quarterbacks in the league. More likely top 7. He has had success so far, throwing for over 400 yards in one game and defeating his former Eagles team (although playing very subpar). However, if I were Donovan McNabb, I would use this one season to cement my reputation as a solid QB who can succeed without Andy Reid and add it to my resume for a future destination.

McNabb has stated that before he retires he would like to win a Super Bowl. For all that he has given the Eagles organization and fan-base, I know that few deserve that goal more than he in this league, and I wish the same for him (so long as it is not over the Eagles).
Is a Super Bowl ring truly realistic with the Washington Redskins for #5?
However, the sad truth is, while McNabb has greatly improved the Washington Redskins, his presence is not enough to make them a contender for the Super Bowl. As the Redskins were not able to acquire a WR to bolster their receiving corps. like Vincent Jackson, Terrell Owens, or Randy Moss, McNabb's weapons are mediocre at best. Santana Moss is a good receiver, but not great like he once was. Chris Cooley is a reliable target, but a tight end can only do so much. Other than those two, McNabb's weapons are not reliable targets at all. And with Clinton Portis at the end of his career and a porous offensive line, he truly has arguably fewer playmakers for weapons than he did in Philly. Also, what was once Washington's biggest strength, its defense, is struggling mightily this year.

The reasons to stay in DC would be that Mike Shanahan would be able to build a contender eventually. However, while that is indeed possible, can you count on that? The Redskins have so many holes on their team that it would surprise no one if not even Shanahan could resurrect the team.

No, as loyal as McNabb may feel to the Redskins, if he was serious when he stated his goal of winning a championship, he would play his heart out this season, but allow his final year on his contract run out and enter Free Agency.

Unlike before when he was traded, as an unrestricted Free Agent he would get to choose which franchise to sign with. And there are so many teams that would love to have his services. Included among these teams would be the Minnesota Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals.
With a great array of weapons in Minnesota, McNabb could be the missing piece of the puzzle, having perhaps even the likes of Randy Moss to throw to.
Minnesota would truly be a perfect fit for McNabb. As Brett Favre played phenomenally in 2009, he also showed us all that what is keeping Minnesota from being a Super Bowl contender is a playmaker at QB. We all know Favre is done after this season. Thus, Donovan would be the perfect man to take the Vikings to the promised land. The Vikings could rely on the production by Adrian Peterson to consistently move the offense. Their defense is stout enough to keep games under control. And with opposing defenses concentrating on stopping AP, McNabb can make plays by coming out of the play action, which is an area where he thrives.

Unlike Favre, McNabb would not throw interceptions and not hurt the teams offensive drives. His arm strength would take advantage of the plethora of talent in Minnesota, getting the ball to Percy Harvin, Visanthe Shiancoe, Sidney Rice, and perhaps even Randy Moss if the Vikes extend him.

Throw in former Eagles offensive coordinator Brad Childress and the Vikings and McNabb are truly a match made in heaven. A case can be made that this is an even more perfect fit than Favre is with them

The other team, the Cardinals, would not be as perfect of a fit, but McNabb's presence would do enough to allow them to again compete for the Super Bowl. The team has plenty of talent, but they also lack a playmaker at QB. Matt Leinart was a huge bust. Derek Anderson did little to fill the void. They have no one to get the ball consistently to one of the biggest playmakers in the game, Larry Fitzgerald.
With Donovan McNabb, the Cardinals would be able to get the ball consistently to perhaps the best receiver in the league
Perhaps it would be far-fetched to expect McNabb to make the Cardinals a contender once more, but he definitely would make them a playoff team and put them atop the NFC West once more.

Hence, if McNabb knew what was best for him, he would get out of DC at first opportunity and pursue a future in Minnesota or Arizona. With #5 at either team's helm (especially Minnesota), championship aspirations could very well be realized.

Also, he would be getting out of the NFC East, which would be great for the Eagles. But for himself as well, as Reid is very familiar with his weaknesses and may have exploited them on Sunday and contributed to his poor performance.

In conclusion, if McNabb were to declare himself a free agent after the 2010 season the sky is the limit for him. Who knows? With Carson Palmer's subpar play this season, perhaps the Bengals would be willing to part with him in favor of Donovan. Can you imagine that? Donovan McNabb throwing to Chad Ochocinco and his former bff Terrell Owens. Now that is a scary thought.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Length of Michael Vick's Injury May Affect Whole Eagles Season

It seems like this year the Eagles simply cannot catch a break. The injury bug has spread around our locker room like a bad cold.

It started during the off-season when Marlin Jackson suffered a right Achilles tendon rupture to sideline him for the season (although Nate Allen has more than stepped up to replace him). Then it was week 1 and our starting Center and Fullback Jamaal Jackson and Leonard Weaver were lost to season-ending injuries. Both players are big and I'd say essential parts of this offense. As the game went on, MLB Stewart Bradley and QB Kevin Kolb were knocked out with concussions.

Then things seemed to get better right? As Michael Vick lit it up after stepping in for the injured Kevin Kolb, it seems the Eagles finally had something going for them. A playmaker who was more than the answer at quarterback, but put Philly at the top of the NFC East and gave us hope going into this season.
But alas, the football gods are cruel. As Philadelphia was confident that Vick would be able to defend us during the return of Donovan McNabb, Vick is taken down after an impressive run, that was nullified by a holding call against Max Jean-Gilles...
Anything less than a standing ovation for the man who consistently won 10, 11, 12 games per season would have been an insult to #5
There were only two good things about the outcome of that game:
1) Donovan McNabb received a standing ovation and thunderous applause when he was introduced at Lincoln Financial Field. It was exactly what I expected and anything less would have made me ashamed to be an Eagles fan.

The media loves to paint a picture of Philly fans as classless morons, but we sure proved them wrong Sunday afternoon. Philly is just a city that loves football and cannot wait to win its first NFL Championship. While it is disappointing that McNabb did not deliver for us, we all recognize what he did for this franchise, turning a team of scrubs from worst to first (in the NFC East that is) seemingly overnight.

Of course, don't expect the media to emphasize our appreciation for Donovan. They know that does not make headlines.

Also just thought I'd mention that the lone INT that McNabb threw was to Nate Allen, the man the Eagles drafted with the pick we acquired from trading Donovan. Talk about irony!
2) X-rays on Vick were negative, but MRI's showed that he has cartilage damage in his ribs. Vick has stated that he could be out 1-2 weeks.

I pray that he plays Sunday against the 49ers, and I also pray that if he must miss time, that it may not be more than 1 week.
The Eagles will miss Vick's big arm, as Kolb primarily played the check-down game against the Redskins
The 49ers, despite their 0-4 record, are no pushover team. They have a stout defense. That is all that may be required to defeat a Kevin Kolb led Eagles. If Kolb plays the way he did against the Redskins, the 49ers will be poised for an upset. He is not comfortable in the pocket, tries to force throws to receives in traffic, (in the rare occasion that he decides to throw the ball down field) and his arm strength has not impressed me.

And then next week, the Eagles will be facing the Atlanta Falcons, a tough opponent even if Vick can play. The Eagles have a very real chance of going 0-2 and pushing their record to 2-4. As the rest of the schedule becomes quite nasty, I do not need to tell you that is not a hole a franchise wants to be in.

Thus, for the sake of this season, let's pray that Vick will be back soon to get things on track. The playoff aspirations of the Eagles may depend on it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Eagles Should've Just Kept McNabb

"Anything you can do I can do better..."As good as Vick is, McNabb simply is a better version of the same player.

This post was originally going to be primarily a discussion on how Michael Vick makes the Eagles offense better, as well as my thoughts on beating Jacksonville. However, as I was weighing the advantages of keeping Michael Vick, I just could not keep this in my system for much longer.

The Eagles should have just kept their 6X Pro Bowler and franchise quarterback, Donovan McNabb.

What are the pros of having Michael Vick leading our offense? It is because he can escape pressure, throw well on the run, and his strong arm can take advantage of the speed we have at receiver correct?

I hate to break it to you guys, but Donovan McNabb did all of those things. And he did them all better.

I will say that what Vick has over McNabb for sure is his elusiveness and ability to escape pressure. While Donovan, even at 34 years old, still is very mobile, even in his prime he could never escape defenders the way Vick does.

Yet, as good as Vick's arm strength may be, McNabb throws as good a deep ball as anyone in the league. This is also without the fact that McNabb has more rapport with the Eagles receivers and therefore would be more effective in hitting them.
Super 5 will soon be facing us in a new uniform, and may prove to us all how big a mistake the Eagles front office made.

Also, people have been praising Vick for being a pass-first guy and running only when it was necessary. But hasn't Donovan McNabb been doing this for too long?

And McNabb is also clearly not washed up. He is already changing the whole culture of a once terrible Washington Redskins team and making them a playoff contender.

Don't get me wrong, I am as excited as anyone for Vick to lead our team through 2010. I know he gives us the best chance to win this season and his strengths are what this team needs. And perhaps the chemistry he has with the team, as well as his incredible athleticism, will help us take advantage of a weak NFC East and a weak NFC in general to keep us in contention for the Lombardi Trophy.

Andy Reid better hope that Vick does just that, because if Vick fails to lead us to the postseason (or worse, Donovan gets there and we don't), that trade on Easter could go down as one of the worst in National Football League history.

Even a coach with as much respect and prestige as Andy Reid could find himself updating his resume.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Goodbye QB Controversy, Hello Michael Vick Era!

After a short-lived QB Controversy, Michael Vick will be leading the way throughout the 2010 season.
So the the Kevin Kolb era lasted a total of 30 minutes. I feel bad for him. I truly do. He played a poor first half, was knocked out, and had his job stripped of him from a rejuvenated superstar having successfully made a comeback

Yet, the NFL is a few things: 1) A Business. 2) Merit-based. 3) Winning now.

As a result, given how well Vick played last week, Reid clearly had no real choice but to promote football phenomenon Michael Vick to the starting job. Vick is the locker room's choice, the fan's choice, and now Andy Reid's choice. Everyone was shocked by this, as he had repeatedly defended Kolb on multiple occasions and proclaimed him as the starter of the future. However, I always took that with a grain of salt. I thought Andy was being sincere too about Donovan when he said #5 would remain the starter after 2009. See 1). If Vick is the best man for the job, loyalty can only go so far.
Kevin Kolb was put in a tough situation and had his starting job stripped of him after holding it for only 30 minutes.
As an Eagles fan, you can't help but be excited (Unless you cannot forgive him for his past). Vick not only showed the same elusive speed that made him a nightmare to defend in Atlanta, but he has taken on a pass-first mentality. What impressed me most against Detroit was that he did not set himself up for runs, but merely used it to escape pressure and turn a hopeless situation into a big play.

As I mentioned before, with Vick under center, teamed up with DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy, and Brent Celek, the Eagles arguably have the most potential for big-plays on offense than any other team. This was easily the best decision to make to win this season and sky is the limit for this young team.
Vick is certainly the best choice if we are to win right now. We will need his services when Donovan McNabb returns to Philadelphia in Week 4. Donovan McNabb, who was instrumental in bringing Vick to Philadelphia, could never have imagined that he would end up replacing him.
The NFC East is looking weak. With a good quarterback running our team I believe we can take this division. Vick still worries me by throwing into coverage from time to time. If he can limit his risk-taking and instead take off with his legs when he does not see an open man, we have as good a shot at this division than the other 3.

Many questions still exist. Will Vick perform as phenomenally against Jacksonville? Can he lead us to victory against McNabb's Redskins? Can his body hold up for 14 more games, and perhaps a postseason run?
While many will never forgive him for his actions, Michael Vick's story is truly one of redemption
No definite answers yet, but excitement? Definitely.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

So Begins the QB Controversy

Michael Vick has proven he can still play in this league, leading Philadelphia's offense to 35 points. Kolb has a lot of work to do if he is to ensure it is not in Philadelphia

Well, as much as Andy Reid will play this down, the quarterback controversy in Philadelphia has officially begun. All we will hear for the next few weeks is "who will start at QB?"

Michael Vick has shown us again that he has what it takes to be a starter in this league, while Kolb has yet to do that this season. His performance against Jacksonville will do little to avoid the controversy, as if he has a great game against the Jaguars, that means there will be great hype as to who to start in Philly. If he plays poorly, then there will be great hype as to whether or not Reid will keep him as the starter.
Will Kolb be able to rally the offense as well as Michael Vick did?

And then, it only gets more interesting. Questions will emerge as to who should suit up against Donovan McNabb in week 4. McNabb, as I expected, has not missed much of a step so far. He just came off a game passing for over 400 yards and nearly engineered a victory over a team that knocked off the heavyweight Indianapolis Colts. While Andy Reid may know how to exploit McNabb's weakness, the same can be said of Donovan.

Kolb obviously needs his chance, but unless he has a phenomenal game, passing for at least 3 TDs and no more than 1 pick, then I will want Reid to stick with Vick. Vick has impressed me with his ability to handle pressure. True, it was the lions, but the lions have a very impressive pass-rushing force. Kyle Vanden-Bosch and Ndamukong Suh are a formidable force and Vick was able to avoid pressure and make plays both with his legs and, most importantly, his arm.
Unfortunately, the better version of Michael Vick is a Washington Redskin, and will be back with a vengeance. #5 plays his very best football when he has a chip on his shoulder

Vick still has many flaws. He is prone to injury as he takes too many unnecessary hits. And he throws into coverage too often, as he nearly had 2 interceptions. However, maybe it's his rejuvenated athletic ability, or his strong arm, or perhaps just the way the offense seems to click around him. To me it is clear he would give the Eagles the best chance to win this season.

Of course, Kevin Kolb has his chance now to prove me wrong. If he does not perform well, Reid has a big decision on his hands. I know what he said, that Kolb is the starter, but I also believed him when he said McNabb would be the starter in 2010. In the end, he is a head coach and his responsibility is to the success of the team. Let's hope he makes his decisions with that in mind, rather than preserving his dignity.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Should Michael Vick Be The Starter?

Goodbye Donovan McNabb Era. Hello Quarterback controversy
I'm gonna start this article today with a story of when I was at training camp this summer. Kolb was throwing pretty well during practice. He looked far superior to both Vick and Kafka in the scrimmages. But then, as he threw a long bomb to Jeremy Maclin, he was picked off. A diehard elder Eagles fan in the back then yelled "PUT MCNABB IN!" and we all laughed with him.

Now, fast-fowarded a month into the season. It is a very similar situation. Only three things. 1) it's not practice anymore, it's a real game. 2) Kolb did not play remotely well. 3) Substitute McNabb for Michael Vick.
Kolb struggled to get anything done against Green Bay, while Vick almost led a brilliant comeback from a 20-3 hole.
Anyone who watched the game on Sunday will agree with me on this. Kevin Kolb was horrible. 5/10 for 24 yards are already lackluster stats, but somehow they don't capture the effect of his performance. If you watched the game you will know that he was wildly inaccurate, did not show up with any rhythm, and nearly threw many picks in the process.

As Donovan McNabb's biggest fan, I will hold back on the "told you so's." While we started the season 0-1, his Washington Redskins knocked off the arguably Super Bowl worthy Dallas Cowboys to start 1-0.
#5 is off to a 1-0 start, with plenty of reason to smile so far.
But I am now getting off topic. What was I saying...

Oh yeah, Kevin Kolb stunk up the place. Of course, one half of football is not enough to give up on him, but as he is still ailing from his concussion, Michael Vick will likely get the start against Detroit.

If Michael Vick is anything like he was against the Packers, I think we are in good shape. Vick is back. His old speed has been all-but completely rediscovered and I believe he is ready to return to his pre-convict ways.
And if Vick does indeed light it up against the Lions, then I, along with all of Philadelphia, will be calling for him to lead the team for the remainder of the season. Not only does Vick once again have the speed and elusiveness that made him one of the most exciting players in league history, but his passing abilities have improved drastically. He must have truly been putting in extra time with the coaching staff because he made some passes that had me astonished, thinking Donovan had been reincarnated.
If back to his Atlanta Falcons form, Vick can make us the most explosive offense in the league.
I know what you are thinking, he consistently threw behind his receivers. But we must also realize that Vick is still a backup. He does not practice with the starters nearly as much as Kolb does. I believe his accuracy can improve greatly if he is given time to develop chemistry with Jackson, Maclin, and Avant. Just look at the way the team rallied behind him after the 1st half. I believe that after a strong performance in week 2, the locker room will more than have his back. Players will follow QBs who make big plays in the long run.

Also, I believe Vick should start because as an Eagles fan I want us to contend now. I believe that Michael Vick can do that for us, as he was able to bring this offense to life just by stepping onto the field. Have we also forgotten that he revitalized the offense during the playoff game against Dallas last season scoring the lone touchdown of the 1st half? With Jamaal Jackson and Weaver out, we need a player with his legs who can escape pressure and at least extend plays, if not make big ones.
Andy Reid has a tough decision to make. Trading Donovan McNabb was not able to avoid a QB controversy.
The NFC East as of now does not look particularly strong. The Cowboys are still the inconsistent team they've been since the 2000's. McNabb's Redskins, while clearly improved, have offensive issues to deal with. The main force in the NFC East is the Giants, but I believe Philadelphia can contend for the title. With Vick, we will have one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Vick will be able to make big plays with his legs. He can use his arm strength to take advantage of the speed we have in DeSean Jackson and Maclin. Combined with a once again stout defense (pending Bradley's return) and I honestly believe the Eagles can contend for the NFC East crown.

Of course, the decision is not up to me, but to Reid. Andy may be inclined to keep Kolb because of what he has invested with him. Still, I hope Reid makes the decision that is best for the team, and not for his reputation.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Eagles Vs. Packers Matchup

So I figured I'd lay down a few thoughts before Sunday's showdown with the Packers. The Packers are a good team that many are predicting to appear in the Super Bowl. While I would not say that about Philly, I honestly believe that we are a good team too that can roll with the best. With that being said, let's see who gets the edge where:

Passing Game:

Philadelphia: Kevin Kolb. Kolb has great potential to play well. Whenever he has been good, he has shown impressive accuracy and a quick release. However, there have been times in the pre-season when I have called for Donovan's return. Still, against a weak Packers secondary and with the likes of Jackson and Maclin to throw to, Kolb can easily have a big day.
If we can get to Rodgers, we can seize victory. If not, he will make us pay dearly.
Green bay: Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is up against a tougher secondary, being coached by Dick Jauron. He has to worry about the ball-hawking Asante Samuel and a solid core containing the likes of Ellis Hobbs, Quintin Mikell, and Nate Allen. Yet, Rodgers is one of the best QBs in the league. He also has great weapons to work with. He also does not throw many picks, and will likely not hurt the team.

Edge: Green Bay
. Not enough is known about Kolb to give him the edge. It's hard to expect him to perform better than a top 5 QB.

Philadelphia: The defense will be great this year. I genuinely believe it. The return of Stewart Bradley will already do wonders. And Nate Allen will be an upgrade over Macho Harris, Quintin Demps, Sean Jones, and whoever else we threw in there last season. With great depth along the D-line against a weak Packers O-line, a few sacks will be made.
The return of Bradley will make us a feared defense once again

Green Bay: A stout defense that ranked among the top 5 in the league last season. Clay Matthews will surely have to be accounted for. Yet, their secondary took a huge blow as Al Harris and Atari Bigpy are placed on the PUP list. With backups manning those posts, Green Bay will be even more vulnerable to the pass than they were before.

Edge: Philadelphia. I genuinely believe that with a healthy defense, we can wreak havoc and get pressure on Rodgers. Rodgers is used to handling pressure, but rushing him is essential if we are to have a chance of victory. I truly believe that our defense has the potential to affect Rodgers more than theirs could affect Kolb.

Running game:
Philadelphia: This is a weak side of our game, but against a 3-4 defense, LeSean McCoy should have a slightly easier time. However, run-blocking has been a weakness of the team for quite some time. It is too early to know if Mike Bell will help solve our short-yardage woes.
Green Bay: Their running game is not phenomenal, but it is solid. Ryan Grant is a very underrated halfback. They finished last season ranked 14th in rushing, as opposed to 22nd for Philadelphia. Although they will have a bit of a harder time against Philadelphia, who has many DEs that are effective at stopping the run.

Edge: Green Bay.
While our defense may be better tooled to defend the running game, the edge goes to the Packers here. Philly's running game is mediocre at best. In the past it thrived on Westbrook's explosive big-play ability. I am not convinced that LeSean McCoy is that kind of player, and I therefore can foresee a sophomore slump for him. Green Bay has the edge over Philly here.

Special Teams:

Philadelphia: Philly has great threats at Special Teams. DeSean Jackson is a threat to enter the endzone whenever he is punt-returning. David Akers is a reliable kicker who made the pro bowl last season. Ellis Hobbs is also a solid kickoff return man. Our coverage units are a bit shaky, but we definitely have the potential to gain yardage/score with our unit, especially now that we have Bobby April as our coach.
Green Bay had one of the worst Special Teams units in the league last year in returning yards, coverage, and penalties
Green Bay: Last season, they had one of the very worst Special Teams units in the game. They have the potential to be better this season with many key players, such as Will Blackmon their returner. And Mason Crosby is a bit inconsistent, but has a strong leg and therefore can score many field goals on a good day. However, this unit overall is very inconsistent.

Edge: Philadelphia. The Packers struggle with Special Teams coverage. DeSean Jackson and Ellis Hobbs may both have big days against this unit.

Overall Edge: Green Bay (slight edge)

Theoretically, Green Bay should win this game. They are a team with the potential to make it to the Super Bowl. However, as I have shown you, Philadelphia matches up very well against Green Bay. It also does not hurt that Andy Reid has a fine history against Green Bay. The Eagles have a legitimate shot of getting the upset here and coming out with a W. I believe that if Kolb plays well and shows he deserves to be the starter here, the Eagles will win. Even if Green Bay is the better team, the Eagles match up against them very well.

Green Bay should theoretically win, as the high-powered offense led by Rodgers should be too much to handle. But it will likely be a close game.

And with a victory here, the way the schedule is looking, who knows? I would say the next 2 games are easy wins for the Birds. If we can win the McNabb bowl, then another 2 easy wins ahead. This team can start 6-0 if it gets to a strong start and rides its momentum just based on the schedule.
The Eagles have all the tools to succeed and get the upset. A victory in Green Bay would propel us through an easy first half of the season.

Of course, the rest of the schedule is nasty, but a strong start may be enough padding to make it to our 9th postseason appearance in 11 years. But to make that a possibility, it would have to start with Green Bay. Let's knock them off and play some Eagles football!

Who's pumped for Sunday? E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES!!!!!