Vince Young's interview in training camp at Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania this year issued a quote that has pretty much been the Achilles heel of the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles. Young said that with his trade and that of safeties Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, running back Ronnie Brown and defensive end Jason Babin, he would describe the Eagles this year as a "Dream Team".
In a season that has seen Young, nursing a hamstring injury, still not taking a snap and rookie kicker Alex Henery from Nebraska having a horrible last few weeks, it's looking more like a nightmare than a dream. Not to mention the concussion and hand injury to Michael Vick and the anemic defensive line. The Eagles started with a blowout against the Rams, but their season took an ugly turn with meltdowns against the Falcons, Giants and 49ers. The Dream Team has gone scoreless in the fourth quarter of those games and has not been able to make a defensive stop or field goal that could have this team 4-0 instead of 1-3.
The Eagles aren't the only Philadelphia team that is having problems. The Phillies suffered an end-of-season slump where they lost eight in a row, nine of 10 and 12 of 16 before winning their last four—three against the Atlanta Braves chasing them from the 2011 postseason. The Phillies' fate may have been sealed during that winning streak. By eliminating the Braves they had to face the St.Louis Cardinals in the NLDS. Roy Halladay was masterful in Game 1, while Cliff Lee stumbled in Game 2. Cole Hamels's success in Game 3 brought us back to his MVP playoffs in 2007, and Roy Oswalt's collapse in Game 4 has set up a match-up between two of this year's prominent pitchers, with Halladay and Cardinals Chris Carpenter in this NLDS championship game.
The Eagles will need to effectively stop the run and put more pressure on the quarterback on defense while Vick, LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin will need to continue to make plays especially in the fourth quarter.
The Phillies will need a bigger contribution offensively from Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, while Lee and Oswalt will need to step up and keep the upcoming games close if the Phillies have plans to continue deeper into the postseason.
Whatever the outcome of the Phillies game Friday night against the Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park and the Eagles this Sunday against the 3-1 Buffalo Bills—followed by division match-ups against the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys—it will define whether these are truly Dream Teams or just daydreaming!
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