Philadelphia Eagles: 5 Things That Need to Be Fixed in the Second Half of Season
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The Philadelphia Eagles have a legitimate shot to make the playoffs.
Okay, you have to believe in the records suggesting the Eagles are still alive and ignore the cold hard facts telling you Philadelphia is as good as dead.
But maybe, just maybe Andy Reid can turn this thing around and fix some major problems facing the Eagles.
The good news going into the second half of the season is the Eagles will get immediate answers. Philly takes on a Dallas team that can exploit every weakness fans have grown accustomed to.
Dallas has an incredible defensive end in DeMarcus Ware dying to beat whoever the Eagles trot out there at tackle. And when he gets through he may put Michael Vick on the bench permanently. And the front seven of Dallas can easily stuff the Eagles on any short-yardage situation.
Jason Witten is more than capable of exposing the linebackers and DeMarco Murray is ready to have a field day against the wide-nine.
Reid might have a trick up sleeve and the Eagles are ready to string together a couple wins and make a run at the division title. To get there here are the five things that need a fixing.
No. 5: Short-Yardage Situations
At this point it doesn't matter what the Eagles do to get a first down. Actually, don't do the "Ronnie Brown Fumble Option Play."
Outside of that, who cares if Andy Reid runs gadget plays, uses jumbo formations or lines himself under center?
We may not like watching the play develop and there will never be a moment when the fans feel confident, but there's nothing that can be done at this point to fix the true problem, which is the offensive line.
They'll have their moment in a little bit.
No. 4: Juan Castillo
All of the intensity in the world won't amount to squat if the players aren't in place to make a play.
See the wide-nine against the run. Most of this falls on Reid not giving Juan Castillo the sufficient pieces to run the technique effectively. But at a certain point the defensive coordinator has to be held accountable for not making the necessary changes.
Castillo needs to either ditch the technique or tweak it to bring out the best in his players.
Right now it is getting gashed on the ground and it is allowing teams to run the ball even when they're down by 20 points, which is the exact opposite of what teams are supposed to do when they trail big.
No. 3: Andy Reid
Had to be bad advice.
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First, don't listen to anything Mike Shanahan says. He's the same dope who thought Rex Grossman and John Beck gave his team the best chance to win.
Second, focus on managing the clock, timeouts and challenges.
It's going to win or lose this team a game at some point down the stretch. And the way things stand, the Eagles can't afford to lose a game because Reid decided to challenge a play in the first quarter, which will cost the Eagles a timeout and ultimately three points at the end of the half, which in turn is the losing margin,
Finally, don't be scared to make an adjustment.
If the Cowboys come out running the ball and it's apparent Castillo isn't adjusting the wide-nine, slap him over the head and do something about it.
If Vick can't hit the broad side of your belly stop making him throw it.
The talent is there, but everyone is beginning to question if the coach is.
No. 2: Michael Vick
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Michael Vick can overcome almost every flaw on this team.
If Reid's play calls become too predictable and the defense causes a play to break down, Vick can use his athleticism to come up with a game-changing play.
The defense can put the Eagles in a hole and Vick will find a way to put points on the board in a hurry.
The only thing Vick can't overcome on a consistent basis is a poor offensive line.
We saw Vick's play deteriorate last season and it was from the excessive hits he took in the pocket. Some of the other hits came from Vick not sliding or going out of bounds.
The second part falls on Vick. If he can avoid those hits maybe the beating he takes in the pocket won't add up as quickly and it will allow him to finish this season stronger.
No. 1: The Offensive Line
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This is it. No one player, coach or collective group is more important to the success of this team in the second half of the season than the offensive line.
If the defense gets torched, and it probably will, the offensive line can solve everything.
There is enough talent at the skill positions for the Eagles to win a shootout against any team at any venue. But if the skill players don't have the time and protection you might as well forget about the Eagles having any shot for the postseason.
The only way to fix the problem is through consistency. Reid needs to pick a group of players and stick with them. Danny Watkins is either in or out. Pick a position for Todd Herremans and stick with it.
Injuries can obviously change all of that, but that's out of Reid's control. The point is to control what you can and trust the decisions made.