The Eagles have finally reached the midway point of the season, and it’s been a bumpy ride. Attempting to forget the soul-crushing losses against the Dallas Cowboys and the Oakland Raiders, it’s time for the Eagles to take a good, long look at themselves because the road to the playoffs won’t be an easy one.
The development of rookies on the offensive side of the ball has been phenomenal. Since the beginning of the year, the pair of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin has been averaging 20.4 yards and 13.5 yards per carry. When Terrell Owens was the primary receiver here, he used to put up those kinds of numbers, and now, the Eagles are doing this with mere rookies. Recently, in the absence of Brian Westbrook, “Shady” McCoy and Leonard Weaver have both demonstrated they are more than capable running backs. In the short time that McCoy has been the starter, he’s been averaging at 4.2 yards per carry, which is more than respectable. Leonard Weaver, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. What the Eagles lost in Correll Buckhalter, they gained a true power running back. He’s averaging a whopping 6.2 yards per carry on the ground. He has the demonstrated he’s more than willing to carry the team, that is, the opponents, for an extra yard or two. Weaver has heart, an intangible in football that’s worth more than its weight in gold. Lastly, Asante Samuel has been a bargain. He’s the silent leader of the defensive group, not Jeremiah Trotter. He leads the team with his five interceptions and fellow cornerbacks with 26 total tackles. Jeremiah Trotter…well, more about him later…
Andy Reid is Philadelphia’s Mike Martz, minus the blue jerseys. The Eagles are still passing at about a 2:1 passing/running ratio. Currently, the play calls have been more balanced, so this issue may be a work in progress. In the same vein, the Eagles running average yardage per game is merely average. True, the Eagles aren’t the Miami Dolphins with their Ronnie Brown or Minnesota Vikings with Adrian Peterson, but establishing a potent running game can open things in the air. Lastly, the Philadelphia Eagles have an erratic and explosive offense. One of the contributors is obviously the rookies, but the other contributors are Andy Reid’s play calling and Donovan McNabb’s “trick” arm. Reid’s all-or-nothing play calling leads to some exciting games (like against the New York Giants) or horrible disasters (like against the Oakland Raiders). Donovan McNabb’s “trick” arm is a perennial problem, it seems. He either throws into the ground or too high for his receivers at many attempts. Maybe he should talk to Brett Favre on how to make that an asset instead.
Michael Vick’s and Jeremiah Trotter’s overhype both have been proven disastrous. True, Michael Vick has been brought in for the Eagles Wildcat formation, but he’s only averaging 2.3 yards per rush. In an even more twisted irony, Michael Vick and Brian Westbrook have nearly the same quarterback rating, with Vick’s 42.4 and Westbrook’s 39.6. Those are some pathetic statistics for Michael Vick. The self-proclaimed leader of the defense, Jeremiah Trotter, is about as bad on the defensive side of the ball. Trotter has about six tackles total to date, leaving him hanging at the bottom of the defensive statistical chart with Quintin Demps and Chris Clemons. In fact, nearly two-thirds of the defensive roster has more than tackles than him. Sad, just sad.
With the Eagles flying over to San Diego, the Eagles require some tuning under the hood. But, as in Philly tradition, again, the tuning will come at the close of the regular season. I hope.