What They Should Be Thinking Today: Philadelphia Eagles
The NovaCare Complex is quiet, and the Philadelphia Eagles are off for the next six weeks. As they begin their vacation, this is what they should be thinking.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Still Has to Prove It in Pads
We're excited about the fact DRC has been one of the team's most impressive players in organized team activities, but he also looked really good in training camp last year.
We need him to be more consistent in all phases of cornerback play this season, because Asante Samuel was way better than anyone gave him credit for.
Hopefully most of his struggles last year can be pinned on the lockout limiting his ability to prepare, and he was never very comfortable in his role. This year, he's fully prepared and slated to play a lot of press-man. That might change everything, but what he's done in OTAs should be taken with a grain of salt.
Demtress Bell Will Have to Win the Starting Left Tackle Job
There aren't a lot of positions where we aren't set, but because Jason Peters is done for the year, we have a bit of a hole at left tackle. We signed Demetress Bell to a fairly lucrative contract in April, but that's no reason to lock him in as the starter too quickly
This is a crucial position, obviously, and Bell has lacked consistency and struggled with injuries for much of his career. As a result, we're being smart about this and giving King Dunlap, who was selected 11 spots after Bell in the 11th round of the 2008 draft, a chance to compete for the job in training camp.
Dunlap's had some rough moments, like when he gave up three sacks against the 49ers in 2010, but he actually performed quite well in limited action last season. With only a one-year contract in place, he might have enough inspiration to use his familiarity with the offense to his advantage and give Bell a run for his money.
Nothing bad ever comes from a good old training camp position battle.
Michael Vick Is Both a Gift and a Curse
Obviously, it's great to have the most uniquely talented man in football as our quarterback, but sometimes it feels like managing Vick is a lose-lose engagement.
Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Bob Ford thinks we should let Vick run wild. Here's what he wrote today about our approach with No. 7:
[Andy] Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg want Vick to play a less-risky game to keep him on the field. That's all very reasonable, except that the only thing that makes Vick special is the risky way he plays the position.
It was either Ray Nitschke or Friedrich Nietzsche who said you have to be careful about "casting out your demon" because it might be the best thing about you. If the Eagles turn Vick into some version of himself with all the edges padded, he might just stink. Which, by the way, might have already happened to some extent.
Which approach should the Eagles take with Michael Vick?
The problem is that we're gambling either way. If we roll the dice with Vick and let him do whatever the hell he wants, he might make more big plays, but he might also take more big hits. Last year, we attempted to force him to be more conservative, which also didn't pay off. Besides, he ended up taking a beating anyway—this time inside the pocket.
If we're not saving his body regardless, we suppose it makes more sense to adopt Ford's philosophy and swing for the fences, but it's also possible that 2011 was just an adjustment period.
We need to decide whether to give it another year under this new approach. We don't have the talent to win without Vick, so you'd think the best approach would be one that increases his chances of staying on the field. The problem is that, at this point, we're still not sure which approach accomplishes that.
This is one area in which the preseason will be very important.
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