Eagles' midterm report card: Not good
Jeff McLane, Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2012, 2:08 AM
For the second straight season, the Eagles are 3-5 at the halfway point of the season.
They took a different path this year, but the result has been the same - a team that has underperformed, has been uninspiring, and has appeared to have given up.
Coach Andy Reid has eight games to save his job, but based on the first half of the season he has lost it along with his mojo.
Here's the Eagles' report card at midterm:
Quarterback (C-) - Michael Vick has not had a good first half, but it's hardly his fault, as most are now realizing. The offensive line has been a disaster from snap No. 1 in Cleveland (more on that unit later). That being said, Vick has made some horrific decisions with his throws - more in the early going than of late - and has struggled reading defenses.
Running backs (B -) - The biggest hindrance for LeSean McCoy and the Eagles running game has been the play-calling. A stubborn Reid and Marty Mornhinweg have not gotten it through their heads that they don't have the line for pass happiness. McCoy, meanwhile, continues to give full effort and somehow has 623 rushing yards at the halfway pole. Backup Bryce Brown has been better than Ronnie Brown, but that isn't saying much.
Wide receivers/tight ends (C+) - Hip injuries slowed Jeremy Maclin early in the season, but the fourth-year wideout has been a disappointment. This was supposed to be his breakout season as he enters the final year of his contract. DeSean Jackson, on the other hand, has warranted the extension he received in the offseason. He leads the Eagles in catches and yards and has not dropped a pass. Tight end Brent Celek started off hot but has been become error-prone with turnovers, drops, and penalties. Jason Avant runs in slow motion.
Offensive line (F) - Injuries have decimated Howard Mudd's starting five, but that does not excuse some of the worst blocking this franchise has seen since Antone Davis wore the green. Before suffering a season-ending foot injury, Todd Herremans was unsteady at right tackle. Danny Watkins has been out with an ankle injury, but the right guard took a giant step back from the end of his rookie season. Demetress Bell, signed to replace the lost-for-the-season Jason Peters, has been a disaster. Dallas Reynolds was put in a tough spot filling in at center for Jason Kelce (also gone for the season), but he has had trouble making calls before the snap. The rest can't seem to execute Mudd's unorthodox blocking technique.
Defensive line (D) - Jim Washburn's line, full of itself and boastful at the start of the season, would be labeled a failure if it weren't for the budding Fletcher Cox and the improvement of Brandon Graham. All the line is essentially asked to do is rush the passer, and it can't even do that. Defensive end Trent Cole has made one play all season. Jason Babin, once one-dimensional, has zero dimensions now. Defensive tackles Cullen Jenkins and Derek Landri are aging and have been ineffective. Ends Darryl Tapp and Phillip Hunt have a half-sack between them. Rookie Vinny Curry can't even dress on game days. Cox has impressed as a run defender, but pass-rushing was supposed to be his forte.
Linebackers © - The Achilles' heel of the Eagles defense a year ago, the linebackers have been the most consistent on defense. Rookie Mychal Kendricks has tailed off, but he has done an above-average job in pass coverage. DeMeco Ryans has solidified the run defense up the middle and provided a steady voice in the huddle, but he is a liability in the secondary.
Defensive backs (C-) - While it could be opined that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha were the best pair of cornerbacks in the league through the first month of the season, their fortunes have declined along with the defense over the last several games. Rodgers-Cromartie seems to have forgotten that he's playing for a contract. Asomugha, more than a step too slow, seems disinterested. Neither can tackle consistently. The safety play has not been abysmal, but Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman are just a couple of guys.
SPECIAL TEAMS (D)
For Bobby April, who likes his war metaphors, the special teams have been a dud. Considered one of the best at his trade, April is another coach who has looked ordinary working under Reid. His cover units have improved, but they were leaky early in the season. His return teams have yet to break a big one. Kicker Alex Henery has missed only one field goal.
Expectations, in some circles, were probably too high, but the Eagles have as many former Pro Bowl players as any team. Anything better than 5-3 at the break was unrealistic, but there's no way the Birds should be the reverse, with losses to the Cardinals, the Lions, and, after their slow start, the Saints. Reid's coordinators - the departed Juan Castillo, Todd Bowles, Mornhinweg, and April - have been ineffective, but it all funnels back to Big Red. His players are undisciplined, they're passionless, and they're poorly coached. Reid has failed his team after eight games.
Contact Jeff McLane at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.
Jeff McLane Inquirer Staff Writer
1 reply to this topic
Posted 08 November 2012 - 05:07 AM