Philadelphia Eagles: 5 Biggest Obstacles in the Way of Winning NFC East
The Philadelphia Eagles own the NFC East. They have won six in a row versus their rival New York Giants. They got their revenge against the Cowboys in their own matchup that mattered while the Redskins seem to be doing more damage to themselves.
The Eagles are the clear cut favorite to win the NFC East, but they still have a few mountains to climb before they get there.
The New York Giants had an excellent draft and are poised to take back control of the East. The Redskins are looking to clean up some of the mess they have created and will release anyone who isn't completely on board with head coach Mike Shanahan, well except for Albert Haynesworth. Finally, the Dallas Cowboys well have a healthy Tony Romo and with an aging core of players, will be looking at one final run before they have to move some vital pieces away due to salary cap issues.
The NFC East is always one of the most competitive divisions in football and sometimes the talented teams doesn't always win, sometimes it's just about finding ways of winning ball games.
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Michael Vick is the most dangerous man in football. No one else is a capable of throwing a 70 yard bomb or flying by defenders by a 70 yard run of his own.
Michael Vick made his comeback official in 2010. Vick started just 11 games but still threw for over 3,000 yards and 676 rushing yards as well. He had done enough to show that Vick, not Kevin Kolb, was the Eagles new franchise quarterback.
There are still some major concerns going in to 2011. Vick has struggled at times going through his progressions. Vick tends to just look at his first two receiver options and than taking off when their not open instead of going through all his reads. A better pocket presence in 2011 would go along way in Vick's success in 2011 and a possible MVP trophy.
Injury concerns seem to be the biggest worry with Michael Vick. He is a running quarterback, even if he doesn't always have to rely on his feet. The concern is that Vick will get hurt like he did in Week 4 in 2010. Vick missed three games following a rib injury against the Redskins. For the Eagles to have continued success, Vick has to stay healthy. Whoever the backup quarterback is, they aren't going to have anywhere near the success Vick will with this offense.
Michael Vick's continued growth as a complete quarterback and his ability to stay healthier than he did in 2010 will be crucial for the Eagles' success in 2011.
The New York Giants
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The New York Giants are the biggest threat to the Eagles in the NFC East. No one is hungrier than the Giants. They have had to hear all off-season long about how they have lost six in a row to the Eagles.
The Giants had a ton of success against the Eagles in 2010, having the lead in the fourth quarter in both games only to squander the lead in both games.
The Giants have failed to make the playoffs the last two seasons and everyone's job will be on the line if they fail to either beat the Eagles or make the playoffs.
I expect a more turnover conscious Eli Manning and season filled with a bit more luck on their side will put the Giants in a better position to win the East in 2011.
The Eagles Defense Is Very Inexperienced
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To say the Eagle's defense is young would be an understatement. Obviously Trent Cole and Asante Samuel are very polished NFL veterans, but you can't say that about the rest of the unit.
Nate Allen will be in his second season as the Eagles starting free safety while rookie Jaiquawn Jarrett is expected to be the starting strong safety.
The Linebacking core is expected to be even young with two starting linebackers entering their second season, Jamar Chaney and Keenan Clayton, have a combined four starts between them.
With new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo implementing simple defensive scheme, the continued growth of a very young defense will be key in 2011.
Poor Pass Protection
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The Eagles gave up an incredible 49 sacks in 2010. Michael Vick's body broke down late in 2010 and he never got consistent protection to make the plays he was making earlier in the year.
Winston Justice struggled even before injuring his knee midway through the season and whoever was at right guard, Max Jean-Gilles or Nick Cole, were a huge liability on the line.
New offensive line coach Howard Mudd should greatly improve the pass protection in 2011, but another season of Michael Vick running for his life could keep the Eagles out of the playoffs and out of contention in the NFC East.
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The Philadelphia Eagles were riddled with injuries in 2010. The Eagles lost starters Nate Allen, Ellis Hobbs, Stewart Bradley, Brandon Graham, Jamaal Jackson to season ending injuries and nearly every other starter missed time due to injuries last season.
In order for the Eagles to win the NFC East once again, it's not about having every single starter healthy, but having the means to overcome injuries.
The Eagles need to find a quality backup quarterback in the event that Kevin Kolb gets traded in case Vick does does down for a couple of games again. Depth on the offensive line will be key as well with guards Max Jean-Gilles and Nick Cole probably on their way out.
Injuries are going to infest every NFL team, it's just a part of the game. The way you overcome them as having a ton of depth and a system that can be run successful with backups and starters. The Eagles and Patriots always seem to be the best in the league at doing that, and that will only become more vital in 2011.