Andy Reid: I hope he's calling a run
Are we sure the Reid impersonator that's at all the games in Philly carrying a pizza menu that looks like a play sheet didn't go to Dallas, lock Reid in a walk-in closet and assume his play calling duties on the sidelines.
The Eagles are ranked fourth in the league in rushing so the fact that they can run is no surprise. In the Cowboys game, not only did Eagles run the ball, but it was when and how they ran that was the story of the game. They ran the ball three or more times in a row more than once.
It was vaguely reminiscent of smash-mouth football, and the Eagles where doing the smashing. They mixed in the run, creating balance and taking some of the pressure off of Michael Vick. Most important, they pounded the ball down the Cowboys' throat when the game was on the the line and that's why they won, 30-27.
If this trend continues, the Philadelphia Eagles just became the scariest offensive team in the NFL.
I'm not saying they're perfect by any means. Over the last few weeks Vick has become more adept at west coast style timing. However, he still has a way to go in terms of mastering this offense. His timing has been his biggest weakness throughout his career. Oddly enough it's Michael Vick's feet that make him deadly, that are also his biggest handicap in the passing game.
Vick's personal rhythm costs him a beat on three step drops, which is a staple West Coast offense. Vick rarely gets the ball out right after the plants on the third step and steps up to throw. He has a slight hop before he steps into his throws.
This causes him to be a little late on his first read. Once he's late for the first read, it's easy to miss the second and third and that's why Vick ends up running so much of the time. Those times when it seems like he's holding the ball forever, he is. It's not that no ones open, it's that he was not able to throw the ball BEFORE they were and then it got too late.
Vick still doesn't know where all his receivers are, until he sees them open. Vick is great at hitting open receivers but being a great timing passer requires releasing passes to the spot receivers will be open, before the receiver is open. Vick's not there yet, but he's on his way.
As Vick is now the Eagles have quick strike capability. They can score from anywhere on the field. They are getting better at the west coast possession and ball moment game and yesterday they proved they can pound the ball with a lead.Very few team in history have been capable of all three.
That means they can get out to the early lead or come from behind. They can play the possession game to score and in the middle to keep the lead, but most important, they can run to chew up clock at the end of a game. This helps keep the ball out of the hands of opposing offenses that seem to be feasting on Philly's suspect defense since the loss of Asante Samuel.
Can the Eagles go all the way?
Samuel will be back for Week 15, but Stewart Bradley, the Eagles starting middle linebacker is out for the rest of the regular season with a dislocated elbow. If they were even a little better on defense the Eagles would be my Super Bowl pick right now. They could still win it, unless the worst happens.
Andy Reid being Andy Reid is the worst thing that can happen to the Eagles, other than an injury to Michael Vick. Of course, if Reid goes back to the 70 percent passing offense he usually reverts to, an injury to Vick will occur soon enough. Vick took a beating on Sunday, but that is not all the fault of the line. Part of it is because he holds the ball that extra beat.
As sick as it must make him, Reid has put together an offensive line that is better at run blocking than they are pass blocking right now. If Reid is able to stay away from his own tendency to put to much responsibility on his quarterback to win games for him, this team could go all the way.
The inability or unwillingness to pound the ball is the difference between appearing in just one Super Bowl or making it to four or five and possibly even winning a couple.