It’s relieving to see that some of the Eagles’ biggest problems from last year have not resurfaced this season and plagued the team. Nonetheless, a few have not only carried over into this season, but they have also hurt the team as a whole.
A lot of things could have happened that could have swung the team’s record in either direction.
However, this slideshow will not dabble in the hypothetical. Instead, it will examine the team’s biggest underachievers to this point in the year.
I hate to put these guys near this list because of how they’ve overachieved, but I have to.
Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen have improved this year. In fact, you could make the case that they’ve exceeded expectations.
Coleman plays the game with the kind of aggressive tenacity you love to see from a safety. How great was it when he threw Antonio Brown’s shoe after a huge catch while the Steelers were in a hurry-up offense?
Allen hasn’t been missing tackles.
However, these two have had a problem with play-action. Play-action plays have been an issue for Allen especially throughout his career.
That eliminates the last line of defense for a team against a big play. If that keeps up, it will most assuredly end up costing the Eagles a game or two.
Why can’t he kick the ball into the end zone? Kickoffs are a huge part of the game, and Alex Henery can’t seem to kick the ball far enough for a touchback.
Henery is a good field-goal and extra-point kicker, but he needs to get this part of his game together. The team can’t carry a specialty kicker for kickoffs.
To be honest, I don’t want him on this list because of the team’s record and the fact that he’s led fourth-quarter comebacks.
But the fact remains that the QB’s main function is to move the ball up the field, primarily through the air, by completing passes to guys wearing the same color jersey as the QB himself. Not to the ground, and not to the other team.
Michael Vick’s turnovers are a cause for serious concern—but it’s been blown out of proportion. He’s led his team to victory, and when he came off the field in Pittsburgh, his team was winning the game. The defense lost it because of the zone coverage that Ben Roethlisberger picked apart.
By no means should Michael Vick get benched for a rookie who had a few good preseason games, especially while his team has a winning record.
Nonetheless, if the Eagles start losing, and the turnovers actually contribute to the potential losses that seem to be a serious cause for concern, then it may be time to consider a change at quarterback.
It’s been five weeks since the start of the season, and I can’t think of one time that I said, “What a great return!”
I don’t care if he’s had a few catches for a few yards, and he may look promising as a wide receiver. His job on this team is to return punts and lock up decent starting field position for the offense.
How many times has he called for a fair catch inside the 10?
Moreover, fumbling the ball on a pivotal return like Johnson did during the loss at Arizona is not only grounds for losing your job, it’s grounds for being cut. That’s unacceptable.
The impending absence of the NFL's bet left tackle, Jason Peters, became much less of a threat with signing Demetress Bell to a five-year, $34.5 million contract. That is, of course, until he got beat out for the starting job by King Dunlap.
That alone is enough to call Bell a disappointment.
Furthermore, when King Dunlap went down, Bell has looked overmatched while on the field. He doesn’t look strong.
Demetress Bell gets overpowered, and he relies on finesse and technique when he blocks. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing given the protection schemes the Eagles run and their weaknesses on the O-line as it is.
Though he has shown flashes of ability, and he’s even improved on a weekly basis, his time to shine never came to fruition.
His performance thus far has not warranted his contract. It's also not warranted field time.
Let’s talk about the cornerback who takes up 11 percent of the team’s payroll, who has gotten beat for at least one huge gain or touchdown in each of the first five games.
The Week 2 touchdown to Jacoby Jones was forgivable. Larry Fitzgerald's touchdown in Week 3 was inexcusable.
On the Fitzgerald play, the defense was in a zone that safety Kurt Coleman got lost on. Asomugha was on Fitzgerald, and he saw that Coleman was nowhere near his assignment.
With the field empty behind him, and Fitzgerald on the brink of a huge play, Nnamdi Asomugha indecisively made a move to stay in his assignment instead of on Fitzgerald.
We all know what happened.
That was outrageous. Nnamdi Asomugha is, essentially, the quintessential high-profile free-agent bust. Cornerbacks who make that kind of money need to be good in zone and man coverage.
That’s not to say that he isn’t good—because he is. In fact, he’s played fairly well. We only hear his name so much because of the attention it commands.
When Asomugha first came to the team, his reputation was that of a 1B to Darrelle Revis’ 1A. What he has been is a good press cornerback and a mediocre zone cornerback.
Last year was an outright abomination for Nnamdi. Though this year is shaping up to be an improvement, it doesn’t look like the Eagles will be getting the return they expected on their Nnamdi Asomugha investment.
For a group of individuals who are studs and freak athletes, these guys have underachieved big time.
Where are all the sacks we’ve expected? They’ve gotten a lot of pressure, but they haven’t had as many tackles for losses as we’d like to see.
I can’t figure this out for the life of me, unless Juan Castillo is telling them not to hit the QB (which is not the case).
Jason Babin had a monster year last year in the sack column, and Trent Cole is a perennial beast on the end.
As a whole, the D-line has been good, but they haven’t done what's been expected of them: Punish the opposing QB to the point where he panics and makes bad decisions.
It’s safe to say that if the Eagles were 2-3, we’d be hearing a lot more criticism about their performance.
Short of ending the rotating-linemen experiment (which I don’t think is wise), what can they do?
Now that the Wide 9 has the components it needs to be successful, such as stud tackles, premier defensive ends and a solid linebacking corps, it’s fallen short of its expectations.
Is it time to start calling them out?