The Biggest Media Misconceptions About the Philadelphia Eagles

Randy JobstSenior Analyst IJuly 3, 2012

The Biggest Media Misconceptions About the Philadelphia Eagles

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    There may not be a team in the NFL that is more misconceived than the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Whether it is about the fans, the quarterback, the running game or just the overall ability of the team, the Eagles have always gotten a bad rap in the national media.

    It's time to clear up some of these misconceptions. Eagles fans get tired of being called "boo birds" and hearing about how they booed Santa almost 50 years ago.

    The problem with misconceptions is that they are usually based on generalizations and one moment in a team, player or coach's career.

    The Eagles have five misconceptions that really stick out in my mind. They couldn't be further from the truth.

    Nobody likes hearing the same misconceptions about their team from the national media, and it's time to clear them up.

5. Michael Vick Is a Terrible Red Zone Quarterback

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    Michael Vick isn't a bad red zone quarterback. He simply had a bad year in the red zone.

    Vick threw for 13 touchdowns inside the opponents 20 yard line, but he also threw four interceptions and completed just 52 percent. He had a quarterback rating of 71.9 in the red zone last season.

    It's unfair to label Vick as a bad red zone quarterback based on one season.

    Who on the Eagles had a good season besides a few pass rushers in the immortal LeSean McCoy?

    It's important to consider what a player has done in his entire career before considering what kind of player he is.

    In 2010, his first full season as starting quarterback with the Eagles, Vick was a completely different quarterback in the red zone.

    He threw for 13 touchdowns inside the 20 and just one interception. He also racked up nine rushing touchdowns in the red zone. That's 22 touchdowns compared to just one turnover in the red zone in 2010. He had a quarterback rating of 94.6 inside the 20.

    Vick can do a lot to dispel this misconception in 2012, if he takes better care of the football and uses both his arm and legs to make plays inside the 20.

    That's why he was successful in 2010, and that is the type of player we should expect to see in 2012.

4. The Wide-9 Scheme Doesn't Work

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    The wide-9 defensive line scheme received a lot of the blame for the defense's woes in 2011, but was it justified?

    The wide-9 scheme has to be utilized in a very specific way. You have to have athletic defensive ends and versatile defensive tackles that can both clog the middle and penetrate into the backfield.

    The wide-9 scheme also requires a physical presence at middle linebacker.

    The MIKE linebacker has to be able shed blocks and to avoid them as well. Soft linebackers are vulnerable against the run in the wide-9. The defensive line attacks the backfield, which allows the offensive line to get upfield and take away the linebackers in the run game. Bad linebackers in the wide-9 fall victim to this consistently.

    The problem with the wide-9 for the Eagles last season was neither the defensive line nor the scheme itself. It was the linebackers. It was plain as day.

    Jamar Chaney and Casey Matthews just don't cut it as middle linebacker in any scheme at this point in their career. Put either of them in the middle of the wide-9 scheme and what do you expect?

    It takes a physical and experienced linebacker to play in the heart of the wide-9. This is why DeMeco Ryans was such a great get this summer. He is the complete package for linebacker.

    The Eagles got by far too long with mediocre players as linebackers. They ran a defensive scheme that protected them better than the wide-9.

    Now, they are in a more linebacker-needy scheme.

    The run defense wasn't as bad as people think it was in 2011. It finished 16th in the league in rushing yards allowed at 112.6 per game.

    That figure should greatly improve with better play at linebacker in 2012.

    Hold off your judgements on the wide-9 scheme until we see how it looks with an elite player at middle linebacker.

3. Andy Reid Can't Win the Big One

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    Andy Reid has been the Philadelphia Eagles coach for the past 13 seasons, and in those 13 seasons, he has won a lot of games.

    126 to be exact.

    But is he just a good regular season coach similar to Marty Schottenheimer and Jim Mora Sr.? Those coaches never got to the Super Bowl and rarely had success in the playoffs.

    Is Andy Reid in that same category?

    I say not yet. Reid has taken the Eagles to five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl appearance in the 2004 season. He hasn't won the big one yet, but that doesn't mean that he won't.

    Reid has done a lot with some mediocre offenses in Philadelphia.

    Donovan McNabb was either great or lousy, but he has never really had a go at receiver, aside from one season with Terrell Owens, and hasn't had a good defense since the passing of the great Jim Johnson.

    This is where 2012 comes into play.

    The Eagles have two Pro Bowl-caliber wide receivers in DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, and the defense looks poised to be back on the level they were back in the early portion of the 2000s.

    Reid will have too much talent and experience on his roster over the next couple seasons not to win the big one and get away with it.

    He hasn't won the big game yet, but he has brought his team a lot closer to it than some coaches who have received a similar label, such as Jeff Fisher, Marty Schottenheimer and Jim Mora Sr.

    The next couple of seasons will tell us if Andy Reid not being able to win the big one is a fact or just a previous misconception.

2. LeSean McCoy Is Not a Short Yardage Back

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    There is belief out there that LeSean McCoy is not a complete back and that he is not a good short yardage back.

    This couldn't be further from the truth.

    Not only is McCoy a good short yardage back, but he might alo be the best in the league.

    There are two statistical categories that best define which backs are the most complete backs: broken tackles and the percentage of first downs and touchdowns converted on third and fourth down carries.

    McCoy was dominant in both categories.

    According to Football Outsiders, McCoy lead the NFL with 50 broken tackles. He actually had 13 more broken tackles than the NFL's leading rusher, Maurice Jones-Drew, in 65 fewer touches.

    McCoy was also much better on third and fourth downs than Jones-Drew was. 

    McCoy converted 21 of his 29 third and fourth down carries into first downs and touchdowns. That's 72 percent, which mean McCoy is successful on any third and fourth down carry three out of every four attempts.

    Jones-Drew wasn't nearly as successful. He had 33 carries on third and fourth down but converted just 18 of them for a percentage of just 54 percent.

    McCoy isn't the biggest running back out there, but he has become very skilled at converting on the short yardage downs, along with being that home run threat.

    The key for McCoy is his quick feet.

    Defenders don't get many clean shots on McCoy. It's hard for bigger defenders to bring him down when they are only getting just a piece of him.

    As long as McCoy stays healthy, I don't see this trend ending anytime soon.  

1. Philadelphia Eagles Fans Are Nothing More Than a Bunch of Boo Birds

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    This is and always will be the biggest misconception about the Philadelphia Eagles. This is something that has always driven Eagles fans nuts.

    Probably because it's not true.

    Philadelphia fans sport their teams in good times and bad. Watch a Phillies home game sometime; they have the worst record since June 1st but continue to fill out Citizens Bank Park.

    Eagles fans have been getting a bad rap since the 1968 season—better known as the year they booed Santa.

    There is a story behind all of this that upholds the Eagles fans good name.

    The team lost its first 11 games and was poised to get the first pick of the 1969 NFL Draft, where O.J. Simpson was the future first pick. The Eagles would go on to win the next two meaningless games, thus losing out on Simpson in the upcoming draft.

    The Eagles had one final game left in the miserable 1968 season against the Minnesota Vikings. It was a home game and there was a Christmas pageant.

    The field was too sloppy for the pageant, and instead, the team asked a fan to dress up as Santa. The fan was booed and hit with several snowballs.

    However, in the fans' defense, much of it was being aimed at head coach Joe Kuharich.

    Eagles fans were upset over a horrendous season that failed to earn them the first overall pick and future Hall of Famer, O.J. Simpson. You can't blame them for being angry.

    Eagles fans shouldn't be known for their booing. They should be known for being the most loyal fans in all of football.

    Their season ticket waiting list says it all.

    Currently the Eagles have about 60,000 fans on the waiting list but only lose about 15 season ticket holders a year. At that rate, it would take you 4,000 years before you could even buy season tickets, if you signed up for the waiting list today.

    The only NFL franchise that comes close to that length is the Green Bay Packers, but their waiting list is only about 500 years.

    Eagles fans have always been know for booing, but it's their consistently loyalty that deserves to be recognized.