Correcting the 5 Biggest Misconceptions About the Philadelphia Eagles
There are several unfair misconceptions regarding the Philadelphia Eagles. Whether they are about Andy Reid, the fans of Philadelphia or the team in general, no team has more misconceptions about it in the NFL then the Eagles.
A large portion or these misconceptions regarding the Eagles has to do with their inability to win a Super Bowl. Whether the media is talking about the coach or the quarterback, the criticism regarding the current Eagles head coach and quarterback has always been that they can't win the big one.
Besides the belief that the current Eagles are incapable of winning a Super Bowl, there are several other mistaken views on the midnight green. Here are the five biggest misconceptions about the Eagles.
1. The 2011 Eagles Run Defense Was Beyond Awful
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The Eagles run defense struggled at times in 2011. Running backs had a great deal of success running right up the middle. But was the run defense actually as bad as most people believed in 2011?
No. In fact, they were better than half of the league against the run in terms of yards given up per game on the ground. The Eagles gave up 112.6 rushing yards per game, which ranked 16th out of 32 teams in the NFL.
The Eagles certainly had their problems against the run in 2011, but they were far off from being one of the worst in the NFL. A lack of experienced linebackers playing in a different scheme and a new defensive coordinator definitely played a part in the Eagles struggles against the run.
Add DeMeco Ryans, along with more experience in both the wide-9 scheme and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, and the results should be much better this season.
2. The Wide-9 Is a Bad Scheme
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Jim Washburn and his wide-9 scheme got mixed reviews in 2011. It helped the Eagles reach 50 sacks last season but it also caused a lot of problems against the run. Some people believe that the scheme doesn't work, it just opens things up too much against screens and the run game.
The Eagles' problems against the run in 2011 were more a case of poor linebacker player than it was a more aggressive defensive line scheme. The Tennessee Titans ran this scheme for years with Washburn, but they always had good linebacker player, whether it was Keith Bullock or Stephen Tulloch.
The Titans never won a Super Bowl with the wide-9 scheme, but that was more because of a mediocre secondary and the lack of a true Super Bowl-caliber quarterback.
The Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals also run the wide-9 scheme, and both were playoff teams in 2011. The scheme calls for athletic linemen and a middle linebacker capable of getting around blocks from 300-pound offensive linemen.
The Eagles head into the 2012 season with a more capable middle linebacker in DeMeco Ryans, along with two outside linebackers in Brian Rolle and Jamar Chaney who have a full season's worth of starting experience in the wide-9 scheme.
3. The Eagles Front Office Doesn't Work Well with Drew Rosenhaus
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Every year since the 2005 season, Eagles fans have had a bad feeling in their stomachs each time they hear the name Drew Rosenhaus. Rosenhaus was Terrell Owens agent during that fateful 2005 season in which Owens was nothing more then a distraction and a hindrance to the whole team. Owens was eventually released.
Now, every time a player is represented by Rosenhaus on the Eagles roster and is in the final year of his contract, Eagles fans assume the worst. But since 2005, Rosenhaus has been nothing but professional with the Eagles.
This off-season, the Eagles have been able to re-sign DeSean Jackson and Evan Mathis, and are also in the process of signing LeSean McCoy long-term as well. Both Jackson and Mathis are represented by Rosenhaus, and both players signed very team-friendly deals that made both sides happy. We can expect the same thing with McCoy in the next couple of weeks.
I think both the Eagles front office and Rosenhaus learned a lot of from each other after the 2005 fiasco. We can expect to see a more professional relationship between the two sides for years to come. Rosenhaus is one of the premier sports agents and the Eagles are one of the most well-run NFL teams.
4. The Eagles Need to Draft a Strong Safety
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A lot of sports writers and bloggers alike have been calling for the Eagles to spend a first-round pick on strong safety Mark Barron. This would be a huge mistake by the Eagles front office should they go that route.
It would be the third straight season they draft a strong safety. Kurt Coleman was a seventh-round pick in 2010 and Jaiquawn Jarrett was the Eagles seventh round draft pick last year. Both players are capable starters in the Eagles defense. Coleman proved his worth in the second half last season, while Jarrett has the potential to be a really solid starter.
The Eagles defense doesn't do well with bigger, hard-hitting safeties like Mark Barron. They have always utilized faster safeties that specialize in pass coverage rather than stacking a strong safety in the box.
When you watch Barron on film, you see a really hard-hitting safety that is really good in run support. What you don't see is a player that you can trust in pass coverage. Coleman is a much more reliable player in pass coverage, with still plenty of room to get better.
Expect the Eagles to spend their draft picks on outside linebackers, pass rushers and a kick returner.
5. Andy Reid and Michael Vick Can't Win the Big One
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Andy Reid has been hearing that he can't win the big one since his early failures in the NFC championship. Michael Vick has had his share of big game failures as well, from the loss in the NFC championship game in 2005 to his costly end zone interception against the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers in the 2011 playoffs.
The fact is that Reid knows football and knows how to run his offense. He has gotten the most out of Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, A.J. Feeley and Michael Vick. He has drafted extremely well and made all the right football decisions. It's only a matter of time until he brings a Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia.
Vick is on the verge of becoming an elite quarterback. Turnovers and injuries are the only things holding him back. He just needs to learn to slide and protect his body, along with protecting the football.
Both Reid and Vick will eventually win the big one in Philadelphia, but until they do, this will continue to be the biggest misconception about the Eagles.