NFL: Six Things We Now Know After Week One
At the end of the day the score didn’t reflect the relative disaster that was the Eagles 27 to 20 loss versus the Green Bay Packers.
Many sports pundits predicted the Packers to be Super Bowl contenders, the Eagles at best a 10-win team. However, the Eagles were able to make a game of what seemed to be an easy win for the Cheeseheads.
The first game in the "new era" of Eagles football had a little bit of everything; big play offense, clutch performances on the special teams, injuries, and a few surprises.
In the end the Eagles' and their fans came up short but certainly could walk away feeling as though their team was close to getting the victory.
As week one in the NFL is always the first glimpse into what might be expected for each team the rest of the season, there was a lot Philly fans and more importantly other NFL teams were able to glean from the Eagles week one performance against the Green Bay Packers.
Michael Vick Is...Well, Michael Vick
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- 278 total yards
- 16 for 24
- 101.9 QB rating
At a glance those stats suggest that Michael Vick found some new level of QB efficiency during his time in the clink.
Like Vick of old the quarterback was able to elude defenders with his feet and deliver sharp tight spirals to receivers with a flick of his wrist. At times it seemed like the Vick of 2010 was no different than the 2003 version who led the Atlanta Falcons to the Conference Final against the Philadelphia Eagles.
However, there was still the Vick of old that frustrated former coaches like Dan Reeves and Jim Mora Jr.
The eight times he missed his targets he missed badly, throwing behind, over, and generally around wide open receivers.
And when the Eagles were aiming to tie up the game on their final drive of the 4th quarter Vick showed his trademark indecision. He missed an opportunity to hit a wide open Jeremy Maclin in the end zone, was unable to recognize a one-on-one mis-match with 6'4 Riley Cooper, and seemed hesitant to scramble when it appeared he had a clear path to the end zone.
No one would say they were disappointed in the performance Michael Vick. The speed that made him a human highlight reel seems like it's about 90% back. And he lead the Eagles to an almost epic comeback in a brief opportunity.
Still he is Michael Vick. A quarterback who will make you "ooh and aah" one play and make you pull out your hair the next.
McCoy Is Starting To Get It
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Last year it appeared as though the Eagles may have overestimated the potential of LeSean McCoy. 'Oh what a difference a year makes.
With limited opportunities McCoy averaged five yards per carry.
In only 5 touches accumulated 82 total yards and a touchdown.
"Shady" McCoy was quicker to hit holes and overall seemed more confident once the ball was in his hands.
The season ending injury to fullback Leonard Weaver should certainly concern Eagles' fans but McCoy who reached the end zone only four times last year is already a 1/4 of the way to toppling last years total and could double his 2009 yard production of he continues at this pace.
The other Eagles tailbacks appear to be nothing more than Special Teams regulars so McCoy's week one performance should be a ray of hope for Philadelphia fans as they search for a replacement for Brian Westbrook.
Whether it's the rookie starter Kevin Kolb or old vet Michael Vick at QB, Andy Reid and the Eagles will need to lean heavily on their second year running back in an effort to create some semblence of offensive balance.
Come Back Soon Stewie
As the 6'4 lynch pin to Eagles defensive front seven laid on the ground one couldn't help but recall last years season ending injury to Stewart Bradley.
Who would have thought that we'd breath a sigh of relief to find out the injury was only a concussion.
Eagles fans will keep their fingers crossed that Bradley's concussion symptoms disappear quickly and he can return to field.
With Ryan Grant, who suffered a season ending ankle injury in the same game, on the sideline Packers second string running back Brandon Jackson ran through the middle of the Eagles defense almost entirely unabated.
What do we know? Omar Gaither is a fine special teams player, who never slacks on effort, and is willing to do just about whatever Andy Reid and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott ask of him. And yet, as he whiffed on tackle after tackle, it is clear that he can not fill the shoes of #55. Philly's front seven is imperative to long term success for this team. Nate Allen, Quinten Mikell and Asante Samuel all turned in strong week one performances. But without Bradley teams will feel more comfortable running the ball and targeting their tight ends.
The Eagles will have to hope that Stewart Bradley's concussion and ill-advised return to the game only a few plays later doesn't result in an extended stay on the injury list.
Jason Peters and The Offensive Line Need to Step Up!
The injury to Jamal Jackson is a dagger in an already thin Eagles' offensive line.
Still the torn arm muscle suffered by Jackson is not an excuse as the Eagles O-line turned out a performance that ranks them dead last in the NFL.
While the offensive line did allow for 150 Eagles' rushing yards, 103 of those came on broken plays.
Jason Peters, the marquee pickup of last year, did little to quell the complaints of fans who last year felt the player was overrated and a pick by name recognition alone to the Pro Bowl.
The O-line gave up five sacks (a number they will eclipse by week eight at their current rate) and allowed their QB to be hit six additional times. If this trend continues Kevin Kolb and/or Michael Vick should plan on familiarizing themselves with the trainer and a good chiropractor.
There may be murmurs (or rants) of a QB controversy but it will hardly matter whether their name is Kevin Kolb, Michael Vick, or Joe Montana. If the offensive line can't get it together Eagles' fans should prepare for a long season.
With an interior line that was already a pre-season question mark Andy Reid and Co. will have to find a way to eliminate free blitzers, reduce silly penalties and provide more than adequate protection for whoever is under center.
New Era, Same Andy Reid
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If city of Philadelphia is dubbing 2010 as a "New Era" in Eagles football Andy Reid must have missed the memo.
Clock management, play call and game planning have always been the faults on which detractors hung their hats. On Sunday Andy did little to prove them wrong.
As the Packers piled on sacks and relentlessly pressure against our quarterbacks, there was surprisingly little change in the game plan of the Eagles.
Where was the screen plays to halfbacks and wideouts?
Where was Brent Celek on short crossing or out routes?
Why was playmaker DeSean Jackson targeting on less than 15% of the Eagles plays?
It appeared Andy, rather stubbornly, stuck to his game plan despite a never-ending barrage of free runners at his QBs'.
With five minutes to go in the fourth quarter and down by only a touchdown the Eagles prepared for the biggest defensive stand of the day. A three and out would have given Michael Vick and the offense possession with about three minutes left.
Curiously Andy Reid chose to blow through all of his timeouts. Most damning of all was a timeout called on third down as the referee's prepared to call an "official timeout" to measure the spot of the ball.
Granted, the team got the three and out, but the offense fizzled.
Still had the Eagles held on to those three timeouts they could have reclaimed the ball with about 1:30 left on the clock.
Give Andy credit for a job about 60% complete. But NFL football is an hour long affair and good coaching for 36 minutes will not get the job done.
Whether it's the offensive coordinator or another voice, someone needs to get in Andy's ear, to save him from himself.