Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants: Quick Reactions from Week 11
—It won't look this way on the stat sheet, but Michael Vick had another good game—good, not great. His receivers dropped at least two touchdowns, but he did overthrow a wide open Clay Harbor and missed a couple of other throws. He had his first turnover of the season, but I think he's earned at least one freebie.
—For the most part, LeSean McCoy had a tough day. Holes were closing very quickly and there wasn't a whole lot of running room for much of the game, but two huge plays have his stat-line looking mighty impressive. My only real complaint with McCoy is his affinity for wanting to juke guys out, even when he can clearly just outrun them.
—I think I can just copy and paste my remarks week-to-week about Owen Schmitt: How in the world can the Eagles just let this guy walk? Just a solid guy who epitomizes what a football player should be.
—Jeremy Maclin still refuses to just catch the ball and go forward. His fear of getting hit is evident every time he touches the ball. But, with that said, it's hard to fault him after nine receptions for 120 yards. With some toughness on a consistent basis, Maclin could be one of the best receivers in the league.
—DeSean Jackson had a solid game with five catches for 50 yards. Someone correct me if I was seeing things, but it seemed like Jackson was short-arming quite often. For example, why not dive for that long ball from Vick? Why not stretch for that post that sailed over his head? D-Jack might be a bit gun-shy with guys around him.
—Brent Celek was, once again, non-existent. It's time to see what Clay Harbor can do with extended reps. Either Harbor breaks out or, at worst, he matches Celek's effort and goes without a catch.
—Jackie Smith, I mean Jason Avant, must be sick to his stomach. His eyes just got too big all alone in the back of the endzone. Avant might have the best hands in the league, so dropping something like that is a once-in-a-career type of thing. Or, it would be had he not dropped what would have been a game-winning touchdown against Washington a few weeks back.
—All things considered, this was an incredible effort by the offensive line. The blitzes bit them a little bit from time to time, but most of the time they were very, very good; yes, even Nick Cole got the job done. Mike McGlynn is this year's Winston Justice and will make things very difficult once Jamaal Jackson comes back next season.
—The offensive line, as a unit, was very good. Todd Herremans, however, made far too many bonehead plays. The clipping and chop block calls against him were 100 percent justified on a night of some terrible, terrible calls. He must clean up his game before it really costs the Eagles.
—Not a single carry for Jerome Harrison is ridiculous. How do you watch this guy go for over 100 yards including a 50-yard scamper against the Redskins and not give him a single carry the very next week?
—The play-calling by Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg was atrocious. Why do they think play-action will work when they haven't established the run? I counted at least four times in a row they ran play-action. Who exactly do they think they're fooling? Reid is enamored with Vick and will now put the entire team squarely on his shoulders the way he did with McNabb.
—As a unit, the front seven was very good against the Giants. They held Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs to a combined 17 carries for 39 yards. The blitzing was largely ineffective and they didn't get to Eli Manning often enough, but Eli wasn't going to beat them without a running game to lean on.
—For the first time this season, Trent Cole was held without a sack in back-to-back weeks. He will have to step up against division opponents if this team is going to stay on top of the East.
—Antonio Dixon is a monster. Mike Patterson is a plug. When Brodrick Bunkley gets back to 100 percent and Trevor Laws is tossed into the mix, the Eagles could have the best defensive tackle rotation in the league.
—Ernie Sims flew past the play a lot again against the Giants. He also blew coverage against Jacobs on a throw-back by Manning. It almost seems like he needs to just relax and learn how to play under control.
—Stewart Bradley, again, was worthless as soon as a blocker got into him. When he was left untouched, he was dangerous, but even a tight end was able to effectively shut him down. He still refuses to turn his head in coverage, but this was certainly one of his better games of the year.
—Brandon Graham seems to fall down far too often. He does a good job getting off blockers, but seems off balance when he does it. He, like Sims, must play under control. That said, he did a great job of stripping Bradshaw when Quintin Mikell stood him up. That's exactly what guys are taught to do, and he did it to perfection.
—Speaking of Mikell, he was largely unimpressive again. He missed too many tackles. He was fine in coverage, but the missed tackles are getting old. I always thought he was a poor man's Brian Dawkins (which is still a good thing), but he's had two or three chances every game to make a key tackle in the open field and has missed it.
—Asante Samuel was a one-man wrecking crew. I said during the offseason that it was time for the team to part ways with him because of his free-lancing and refusal to play within the scheme, but he's doing that now and it's translating into big plays. He's even tackling much better, though the zebras are now flagging big hits.
—It wasn't as impressive as last week, but Dimitri Patterson had a solid outing. Patterson was on Hakeem Nicks who pulled down six receptions for 65 yards, but no touchdowns and really only one big play. Overall, another good outing for Patterson. He's certainly earned his spot.
—Nate Allen did a good job in pass coverage and even flew to the line of scrimmage in run support a couple of times. He's looking like a steal in the second round.
—For this game, Sean McDermott gets a pass from me. I'm still far from being a fan, but the results are hard to argue. The defense slumped a little bit at one point, but they rebounded beautifully and shut down the second-best offense in the league. McDermott gets a thumbs up from me this week. Talk to me next Sunday around 7:30PM EST.
—It's taken a little while, but Bobby April seems to have gotten through to the special teams unit. They're flying down the field, the first guy is usually making the tackle or a swarm of guys are getting there all at once, and they've eliminated the big plays for the most part. The return game has hit a bit of a lull, but that can correct itself at any point.
—Sitting atop the NFC East is nice, but the Michael Vick-led Eagles can assert themselves as the best team in the NFC with a convincing win over the 7-3 Chicago Bears next Sunday. They've already beaten the Falcons and the Giants, so beating the Bears should leave little doubt.
Who can honestly say he was expecting to hear that this season?
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