The Eagles’ First Quarter Report Card
After four games, the Eagles are leading the NFC East in the most heart-wrenching, teeth gnashing, expletive filled way that I’ve ever experienced as a fan. While last year’s squad will eternally be known as the “Dream Team” due to evil ESPN overlords that dwell at the depths of volcanoes conjuring up nonsensical story-lines to make into mass media frenzies, this Eagles team is much less exciting in comparison.
Last season the Eagles were soft and often came up empty in clutch situations at the end of the game. Dropped passes, missed tackles, and running backs deciding to pass mid-tackle dug the Eagles into a pit that they would never climb out of. The proof is easily found in their record. At this point last year, the Eagles were 1-3.
Through the first quarter of this year, the Eagles have proven to be quite the opposite: a hard-nosed bunch with an indefinable clutchness and a 3-1 record to show for it. For example, the Eagles were able to produce a go-ahead score within the last five minutes of the game against the Browns, Ravens, and Giants. Here are the numbers to show you just how impressive these drives were:
|Time of Posession||5:07||2:48||4:56|
|Time Left After||1:12||1:55||1:49|
For any football fan, that is a thing of beauty. As an Eagles fan? Nearly unfathomable in the Andy Reid era. Nevertheless, these Eagles are showing the type of grit and clutch execution that is pivotal come playoff time.
Now that I’ve gotten the more intangible aspects of this team out of the way, it’s time to examine how the Eagles have fared overall in their first report card of the year.
While Vick has struggled mightily on occasion, he’s proving to have nerves of steel in addition to his playmaking ability. The turnovers have been bad, but should level out. As I’ve said before, I don’t believe that Vick has necessarily been placed in a position to succeed. If the Eagles maintain the balance they showed in the Ravens and Giants games, then they sky is the limit for #7.
Running back: A
LeSean McCoy is one of the best backs in the league and the best player on the team. If they feed him the rock on a regular basis, this team is a Super Bowl contender. So, in the words of Keyshawn Johnson: get him the damn ball!
Stanley Havili’s playing time looks to be an interesting subplot for this team going forward. I like his versatility.
Wide receiver: C+
With Desean Jackson settled in to a nice contract and rookie Demaris Johnson providing an additional speedy threat, this group of receivers can be very effective. However, that depends on whether Maclin can get healthy and if Riley Cooper can learn to use his body more effectively to emerge as a red zone target.
Tight End: A-
Simply put, I love Brent Celek. Great hands, a solid blocker–one of the better tight ends in the league as far as I’m concerned. If the Eagles give him a few catches a game consistently, then he’ll move the chains almost every time. Clay Harbor has also done well with his expanded playing time which could lead to more two tight end sets down the road.
Offensive Line: D+
Without stud left tackle Jason Peters, this team is hurting badly. Compound that with Jason Kelce’s torn ACL and King Dunlap’s hamstring issues and this could get ugly.
Defensive Line: A
This unit is the deepest and most fearsome in the league. With the emergence of Fletcher Cox and continued excellent play from Cullen Jenkins, it’s hard to find any flaws.
While they’ve only produced a mediocre seven sacks so far this year, tight ends and running backs constantly need to provide a chip before running their routes. Also, the line’s ability to draw holding calls and create pressure is a key reason why this team has allowed teams to convert only 27% of their third downs: good for 3rd best in the league.
Trading a fourth round pick for DeMeco Ryans appears to be a great investment for the Eagles. The two-time Pro Bowl player has notched over 100 tackles in four of his six NFL seasons. It’s not hard to imagine him having a similar year this season. His leadership and energy are invaluable. Also, rookie Mychal Kendricks has been exceptional to this point.
Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie have done a pretty good job thus far. However, my concern is related to how they’ll handle bigger wide receivers throughout the year with their physical style. For example, Domenik Hixon, who stands at six feet two inches, put up 114 yards on six grabs. Also, Rookie Brandon Boykin has played well at times, but as seen on Sunday night, teams are going to attack him until he makes them pay.
This unit makes me the most uncomfortable. I believe that Nate Allen can develop into a quality player and that Kurt Coleman is a perfectly suitable option, despite his occasional discipline and tackling issues. The problem, however, is what happens when one of them gets injured?
I would like to see Alex Henery perform better on kickoffs, especially with the troubles on the coverage team.
Mat McBriar’s a decent holder as far as I can see, but after one game I really have no opinion on him.
Special teams units: D
Th return game has been essentially non-existent and coverage has been poor. Brian Rolle’s departure may not be the last.
As everyone knows, the Eagles need to run the ball consistently and the game planning against Arizona was dreadful to say the least.
This team has the to succeed to both sides of the ball. They’re tough, talented, and coming up clutch. However, with the turnover issues and coaching problems making it difficult, I can’t grade them any higher until they improve.
So, with my grades given out. Tell me what you think of them or how you would grade the team so far
Posted on October 4, 2012, in Posts and tagged alex henery. mat mcbriar, Andy Reid, Brandon Boykin, Brent Celek, Clay Harbor, cullen jenkins, demaris johnson, DeMeco Ryans, Desean Jackson, dominique rodgers-cromartie, Eagles, fletcher cox, Jason Peter, Jeremy Maclin, kurt coleman, Lesean Mccoy, Michael Vick, Mychal Kendricks, nate allen, nnamdi asomugha, riley cooper, Stanley Havili. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.