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.