There is no question that the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles have not played up to their expectations so far this season. Looking at each player and position individually, there are some players who have been more disappointing than most.There are 5 players in particular who have clearly stood out with disappointing performances thus far.
1. Michael Vick
Yes, it is easy to blame the quarterback for the troubles of a team and while Vick has had his moments of good play recently, overall, this season he has not played to his potential. While it can be argued that the Eagles would not have started the season with 3 close wins in 4 games without late game heroics from Vick, it can also be argued the games would not have been close if it was not for Vick mistakes. There is no question that Vick has been under heavy pressure with the injury problems at the offensive line, however that does not account for all of the 10 fumbles and 9 interceptions. His 10 fumbles are tied for the second most he has had in a season with Philadelphia, less than only 2010 where he had 11 in 12 games played. The 9 interceptions are the second most in Vick’s time in Philly, behind only last season where he had 14 in 13 games. Vick had began to control the ball before he suffered a concussion against the Cowboys, however it was still clear he was feeling the pressure of losing his job and the stress of an unsuccessful start to the season.
2. Nnamdi Asomugha
The signing of Nnamdi Asomugha during the lockout shortened offseason was arguably the biggest signing of the 2011 summer full of major acquisitions for the team. Since that time however, Asomugha has not looked anything like the pro bowl corner back the team was expecting to see. It can be argued that the struggles of last season can be attributed to a shortened offseason, new team and new defensive coordinator. After the 2011- 2012 season and this past offseason however, this season was supposed to be the year where the corner back returned to his elite form, so far we have seen anything but. On paper, Asomugha stats are slightly worse than they were during his prow bowl years of 2008-2010, but watching him during games shows he is not playing like the same player. Once considered a top 3 corner back in the NFL, he has looked mediocre at best this season, missing tackles, getting beat on simple routes and making stupid mistakes leading to big plays for opposing teams.
3. Jason Babin
Jason Babin was a bright spot during his first season back with the Eagles in 2011, with a career high 18 sacks and 34 tackles, this year has been a different story. Babin has recorded just 3.5 sacks in the first 9 games of the season and only 15 tackles. Last season Babin helped improve the defensive line throughout the season behind strong play and his leadership. Not only has his performance lacked this season, but his leadership skills have gone unnoticed and he is making noise off the field for the wrong reasons. Babin made it clear he was upset with the fans this season, and made it public after the 30-17 loss to the Falcons in week 8. Despite a sub par performance Babin thought the fans were being too critical of the team, and that he heard “vile things” being yelled at the players as they left the field. This shed a bigger light on the disappointing performance by the defensive line and Babin in particular.
4. Trent Cole
Once the face of the defensive line and a leader on the defensive side of the ball, Trent Cole has been nearly unheard of this season. Cole has just 1.5 sacks this season and 12 tackles. Cole led the team in sacks during the 2007, 2009 and 2010 season and finished with the second most during the 2008 and 2011 season. There is no doubt that the defensive line counts on him to lead by example and pressure the quarterback for them to be successful. Cole’s struggles mirror that of the rest of the defensive line and he has made it clear he is frustrated and baffled by the lack of sacks and pressure the line have produced this season.
5. Andy Reid and the Coaching Staff
I know, the coaching staff are not players, but it seems ridiculous to talk about disappointments on this team and not mention them in some way. There have been questions about Andy Reid during nearly all of his time in Philadelphia, but this season it has felt different. After Jeffrey Lurie made it clear that another average season was not going to be acceptable, everyone’s jobs have been on the line. The play calling this season has been worse than previous seasons, baffling anyone who has watched the team, with a lack of balance between pass and rush and mis steps in the red zone in particular. Last season, Juan Castillo was put in a position to fail as defensive coordinator of a defense that has never fully recovered from the loss of Jim Johnson and became a scapegoat when he was fired during the bye week. Time management and wasting timeouts have been an issue this season as they have for most of Reid’s tenure. This is the first 5 game losing streak during the Reid era and the first time the team lost the game following a bye in 13 previous seasons. While Andy Reid can not be blamed for everything that is wrong with the team and is still considered to be a great football coach, he is the only thing that has not changed on this team in 14 seasons and it is becoming clearer every week that he will not return next season.