If I doubted it before their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars this past Sunday, I am now officially going on record as saying the Philadelphia Eagles are in real, legitimate trouble as they head into their bye week and begin preparing for the second half of their topsy-turvy 2006 season.
Prior to the last two games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Jaguars, I would have sad that the Eagles often porous defense would be their downfall, but now, I’m am equally concerned about their inefficient offense and have to say, that for a team that appeared to be a legitimate NFC Super Bowl contender only a few weeks ago, the Eagles have more holes than the “Wiffle Balls” I used to play with as a child on the streets on Philadelphia back in the mid to late 1970s.
Let’s take a look at every area where the Eagles are currently ailing.
I don’t know how else to say it, but head coach Andy Reid appears to be totally clueless all of a sudden. Make no mistake about it; the way the Eagles are currently performing – especially offensively – is a direct extension of the Reid himself.
Not only did Reid have the worst coaching season of his career last season, when he, for all intents and purposes, totally abandoned the running game, but he has been almost as equally inept the past two weeks, and continues to fail to utilize the immense talents of running back Brian Westbrook in the running game.
Just looking at the Eagles first four drives of Sunday’s game against the Jags, says everything you need to know about Reid’s play calling that you need to know.
I will say this, if Reid doesn’t get his act together soon, the Eagles, who have a hellacious stretch of games in the second half of the season, might as well hang it up. With road games against the Colts, Giants, Cowboys and even Redskins, the Eagles look like they could be in serious trouble.
Okay, I’ve defended quarterback Donovan McNabb enough throughout his career (although I have ripped him on occasion). It’s time to take the kid gloves off and get right to the point. McNabb has looked lethargic and has not played with any sense of urgency for the past two games, discounting the Birds’ furious fourth quarter rally against the Bucs.
One play in particular seemed to define everything that is wrong with McNabb right now. On one play, and I can’t even remember which quarter at this point, McNabb had about 20 seconds in the pocket to either throw the ball, run it, or throw it away, and idiotically held on to the ball for a senseless sack that did nothing but hurt his team even more. I hate to say it, but McNabb’s lack of running the ball is beginning to hurt the Eagles. I saw several opportunities for him to at least gain positive yardage with his feet and he did absolutely nothing.
Personally, I think both McNabb and Reid need to look at tape of Indianapolis Colts, and more specifically, Peyton Manning, to see how a real offense is supposed to be run.
And speaking of Manning, how good would the Eagles be if he were at the helm instead of McNabb?
I’ll tell you how good. They’d be undefeated – and that’s the simple truth of the matter.
Let’s see – the Eagles would appear to have one legitimate running back in Brian Westbrook and seem to only want to use him on screen passes, swing passes and an occasional run every now and then. Kept saying the Birds lack of a “big back” would come back to haunt them and it has – big time.
However, if Reid would just try running Westbrook a little more, I think that would help the offense immensely. Remember, this guy has the ability to go the distance every time he touches the ball, which leads me to believe that Reid is either blind or incompetent at this point.
I’m sorry, but the Eagles entire offense, including the offensive line, looks totally atrocious right now. The O-line isn’t opening many holes on the few runs the Eagles do call, although I will admit that their pass blocking probably hasn’t been as bad as it would appear. If only they had a quarterback who knew how to get rid of the damn ball.
For a unit that looked as though they were improving by leaps and bounds earlier this season – and actually appeared to be a strength for the Eagles offense – they have looked totally pedestrian the past two games. Of course, they can’t throw the ball to themselves, so I have to blame a lot of their lack of success on McNabb. However, I’m not going to blame all of their failures on number 5. To be blunt about it, this group rarely got open against both, the Bucs and Jags and had better learn how to get more separation from the defensive backs that, all of a sudden seem to be glued to their respective jerseys.
So there you have it – every ailment the Eagles are currently suffering from offensively. This bye week couldn’t come at a better time for this unit either. Hopefully, they can work out some of the kinks (knots) and come back with a better performance in the second half of the season – and one that is more reminiscent to the way they played earlier this season. If not, I’m going on record to say that the Eagles can kiss this season goodbye.