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!!!!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Big Names Being Cut

Hey guys,

I just posted recently, but I thought the news of the NFL cuts were so noteworthy that they were worthy of another post.

So first off, from an Eagles standpoint, the team has parted ways with 2 of their former starting safeties, being Macho Harris and Quintin Demps. How shocking is that? I thought that both players would stay on the team for sure. Demps due to his kick return abilities, and Harris due to his versatility to play both corner and safety. And if anything, they would surely be useful for depth right? Guess not. Both players got the axe. Maybe they will keep Macho Harris on the practices squad, but it's likely that he is picked up by another team.For someone expected to succeed Dawkins, Demps was a huge letdown, but we should have kept him for his returning abilities.

Cornelius Ingram was also cut the other day, which ends all the hopes of utilizing his red-zone potential. It would appear that he simply cannot stay healthy. I hope he also lands a spot on the practices squad so we can nurse him back to health. He really has a great deal of talent.
Around the league however, so many other noteworthy cuts were made:
TJ Houshmandzadeh- So the Seahawks don't see him as part of their plans. What a shame for them, because another team will pick him up in the blink of an eye. Whether it's to fill the void at WR in Minnesota, to help Donovan lead the redskins to the postseason, or even to give Jay Cutler a higher chance of bouncing back, TJ will find a home, that much is guaranteed.
Many teams, such as the Vikings, Redskins, or Bears, would be thrilled to have TJ's glue-like hands.

Matt Leinart- How silly the Cardinals must feel for having stuck with him so long. They should've traded for Donovan McNabb when they had the chance. Now, with Derek Anderson about to lead their franchise, the team will most likely lose the divison this year.

Javon Walker- I guess he really isn't the answer to the Sidney Rice dilemma. Someone will probably take him just for WR depth. However, this just means that the Vikings may be poised to seize Houshmandzadeh. If the rumors are true, Favre may have a new toy to play with who's better than Percy Harvin anyways.

Derrick Burgess- What a shame that he is no longer the sack monster he was back in the day. Remember how well he played in the in Philly's 2005 run to the Super Bowl? Or in the 2005 season when he laid down 16 sacks as an Oakland Raider? Too bad our DE depth is pretty solid, otherwise he would be a welcome backup to Trent Cole and Brandon Graham.
My best wishes to Derrick Burgess. Philly will never forget his contributions in Philadelphia

And the teams continue to get re-tooled and polished up for the season. Can you believe it? This is the last non-football Sunday! Bring it on Green Bay!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Eagles Trade for Cardinals G Reggie Wells

I thought I might see a move like this coming along soon, and now it has happened. The Birds have swapped players with the other birds (Arizona Cardinals) and given them an undisclosed draft pick for Guard Reggie Wells. Let's hope they didn't do anything crazy and ship away a top pick, but a 4th round pick seems reasonable for this lineman.
Wells has always been a solid player in Arizona. He was part of a Cardinals line that gave up the 2nd lowest sacks in Cardinals history last season. He also seems very healthy as he has started 90 straight games.

Where will Wells fit in to this team? Well has 78 starts at left guard, 10 at right tackle, and 2 at left tackle. As the left guard position seems pretty solid with Todd Herremans manning the fort Wells will likely be primarily a backup here. However, he will likely be very important as left tackle Jason Peters showed us last year that he is a bit prone to injury, at least from a short term perspective. With that in mind, if Peter were to go down and Herremans was called to fill in as left tackle, then we should all be glad we have someone with 78 career starts at left guard to fill in there.
Wells was part of an Arizona offensive line that surrendered the 2nd lowest number of sacks in Cardinals history.

All in all, so long as we did not surrender a 3rd round pick or higher for this, I am applauding this move. This was a real steal for a good lineman who had to be let go simply due to too much depth along the line in Arizona. Now he can help us fix our depth problems. And O-line protection is key for the Eagles, as we wouldn't want a Jason Peters injury to make what many are calling our skeptical chances of playoffs even more doubtful.

Adding Wells could mean one thing though, someone else on this line may be packing his bags to leave Philly soon. Most likely it will be Stacy Andrews, who has failed to impress coaches, fans, and compete for playing time. Nick Cole was adequate last year though, so we should be in good shape if the Eagles go in that direction.
Andrews has failed to impress anyone since we made a "splash" after the 2008 season in free agency to acquire him.

So look at the time, it sure flies doesn't it? We have just one more boring Sunday until the NFL season kicks off! Tune in later, as I will have my prediction for how the Birds will fair this season.