Giant Letdown: Thoughts and Personal Reaction from Today's Eagles Game
The Eagles will win.
The Eagles will score 40 points.
Mike Vick will have a monster game.
Before this game, the consensus from fans, analysts and Philly radio hosts alike was that the Eagles were going to walk right through the Giants on the road to their second win of the season. Clearly, a 29-16 loss was not the result many people were expecting.
There really is no doubt the Giants dominated this game. They had an answer for everything the Eagles threw at them, whether it be added pressure, man coverage or the incredible deep-ball accuracy of Mike Kafka.
Well, now onto the analysis of what can only be described as a big disappointment.
Casey Matthews Is in No Way Ready to Start in the NFL
The Eagles decided to part ways with middle linebacker Stewart Bradley before the season, thus leaving a gaping hole at the position.
Queue in Casey Matthews. Not many fifth round picks are asked to start Week 1. Not many fifth round picks are Clay Matthews’ brother. Expectations were high.
Despite being from a gene pool that rivals the Manning’s as the best NFL family of all time, Casey is not ready for the speed of the NFL. He constantly gets blocked to the point where he cannot even come close to making a play. By the time he escapes the pressure from the linemen, the play is 10 yards downfield and he is left to play catch-up. The Eagles even switched him to outside linebacker in hopes that it might kick-start his play.
It was not the best decision. Today, Casey made an insultingly stupid mistake and let Brandon Jacobs run right by him en route to a receiving touchdown. He was completely out of position and did not seem to realize it until Jacobs was trotting towards the end zone.
While Matthews did manage to come up with a few solid tackles, it was not a good performance. Unless he can mature overnight, expect to see more and more of rookie linebacker Brian Rolle.
LeSean McCoy Has Reaced Elite Status
Today’s performance of 128 rushing yards and a touchdown on 22 carries may not look insane on paper, but it does not do him justice. McCoy had next to nothing to work with. He made apparent three yard losses from poor blocking into 10-yard gains. And all the while, he constantly made Giants defenders look absolutely silly. At this point, he’s become one of the most elusive runners in the league.
The Eagles relied on him heavily today, and he proved he is ready to carry the load.
Get Brent Celek the Ball
This has been as frustrating as it gets. Brent Celek has been completely underutilized thus far.
In 2009, this was a guy who had 76 catches for nearly 1,000 yards. There is absolutely no reason for the 6’4" Celek to be on the sidelines or blocking while the Eagles are attacking in the redzone. It doesn’t matter how fast DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are; Brent Celek is their most viable target in the redzone. Vick needs to look out for him much more often than he does. With so much focus on the weapons split out wide, Brent Celek has been foolishly tossed to the side.
Jeremy Maclin Is the Eagles' Best Wideout
Maybe he isn’t the fastest, but it’s becoming apparent that Maclin is more reliable than DeSean Jackson.
When Michael Vick needs a play, he looks for Maclin. Despite the critical drop last week, Maclin still has better hands than DeSean. His combination of size, speed and hands make him a much easier target for Vick. You can see it when they play. DeSean dropped a perfect pass that him in the hands today. The catch would have given the Birds a first down and possibly help them score the points they so desperately needed.
When they want a Hail Mary deep ball, they throw it to Jackson. When they need a first down, it’s Maclin every time.
Broken Record: The Offensive Line
I’m not going to say too much about this subject. Everyone in America knows the line cannot protect Vick.
But wow, was the line was frustrating to watch today. They jumped off sides on what felt like every other play. Not to mention, they could not stop the pass rush or block for McCoy. The Eagles were stuffed on the two yard line despite running two, yes two, quarterback sneaks.
It’s unacceptable. The game starts and ends at the line. Something needs to change before Michael Vick’s season is over.
The Phillies Are the Best Medicine
The Eagles are the No. 1 threat to my health. My weekly mood tends to depend on the outcome of the Eagles game.
I was completely demoralized after watching the Eagles get dismantled today. But, despite being on their worst losing slide since 2000, the Phillies pulled it out today. It’s always a treat to see Doc Halladay go out and dominate a division rival.
At least one Philadelphia team beat a New York team today.
Personal Reaction: Upset but Not Shocked
I didn’t expect the Giants to dominate the way they did, but I can’t say I expected the Eagles to win. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but I had my worries (and rightfully so).
With all the questions surrounding the Eagles, it’s really not a shocker. There’s a negative for every positive. The Eagles have so many kinks to work out, none more important than the protection of their franchise quarterback.
The Eagles now stand at 1-2. It’s not the start we fans expected or wanted. It’s not panic mode yet, but if the offensive line doesn’t step it up, the siren may begin to ring.