The Philadelphia Eagles' lost season gets an injection of positivity and energy on Sunday when quarterback Michael Vick makes his return from various injuries. Although the Iggles' opponent, the Miami Dolphins, are no longer the winless punchline they were for the first half of the season, the Fins aren't exactly Super Bowl-bound, either.
So maybe the Philly fans will finally have something to smile about, if only for a fleeting few days.
The NFL's answer to the NBA's Miami Heat, the so-called "Dream Team" as dubbed by backup QB Vince Young, has been anything but. In fact, the Eagles have one-upped the nightmarish fallout from assembling an underachieving all-star team—the Heat actually had a pretty good season despite being plagued by disgust and detractors until their elimination in the NBA Finals.
Man, would the Eagles love to have suffered that same indignity.
Instead, they've been floundering through the regular schedule and have been essentially eliminated from postseason contention. Injuries have played a part, but the majority of the blame falls on underachieving players (that's you, Nnamdi Asomugha), incompetent coaching (here's looking at you, Andy Reid and Juan Castillo) and general foolishness (c'mon down, DeSean Jackson). At this point, Philadelphia's just trying to avoid a losing record.
That said, winning heals all wounds...temporarily.
With these five halftime adjustments, the Eagles could ease their suffering for at least a week:
1. Match the Dolphins' Intensity
Maybe it's just me, but it looks like the Eagles have quit on their coaches and each other. With the amount of talent on the roster, they should be able to dictate the flow of the game even though the Dolphins have vastly improved.
Instead, it was the Fins flying around the field, blocking punts and getting to Vick.
Lack of effort is the only explanation—Philly awoke in the second quarter and opened up a good lead, but they need to keep the pedal down in the second 30 minutes.
2. Give Michael Vick Some Help
I'm no Vick apologist; I think he's overrated, but only because he gets hurt so often. The guy's physical gifts are undeniable, and more importantly, he seems to be the only Eagle playing with any sense of purpose or pride (except possibly LeSean McCoy).
Philly needs to follow their leader and give the QB some support by, I don't know, blocking a bit? Catching the football? Call 'em the little things.
For the first few offensive series, the Miami pass rush seemed to be on a permanent jail break. I know Vick is mobile, but damn...
Me thinks it's pretty tough to elude four defenders who are basically untouched. Even with injuries on the offensive line, professionals have to be able to do a better job than that.
4. Get Jeremy Maclin Involved
Along with getting Vick back from the shelf, the Eagles also welcomed back arguably their best wide receiver in Jeremy Maclin. Since the dude is lightning in cleats, it would be a good idea to get him more involved in the game plan.
Although that's not totally fair—Maclin saw his share of targets in the first half, so the Eagles need to keep involving him in the scheme, but Jeremy needs to start catching more of those looks.
5. Wrap Up
Maybe the problem with all that talent on defense is that it's more enamored of highlights than proficient play? Whatever the cause, the Eagle defenders need to stop worrying about the flashy play and just tackle somebody.
Good grief, Reggie Bush is playing better these days, but hombre is NOT Barry Sanders.