With the Eagles having their bye week last Sunday and sitting with record of 3-3, we weren’t subjected to another 4th quarter collapse or any post-game news conferences having to explain what went wrong. We tune in hoping to hear the participants confirm what we just witnessed on the field. The problem with that is, when listening to professional football players and coaches give their accounts of a loss, it usually doesn’t come across with much merit.
The Eagles are a classic example of this trait. They come into every season with high expectations on finally ending the city’s long-suffering Super Bowl drought. Every year Andy Reid assembles what he thinks is the roster that will get the job done, but time and time again the plan falls short. But he continuously finds a way to convince fans and most of the local and national media that he is smarter than everyone else when it comes to constructing a champion. He also has done a wonderful job selling his players on this same concept. Which on the surface, is a great message to send, but when he and the players become delusional, that’s where the problem begins.
After the Eagles finished 8-8 last season, almost all the players and Reid, talked about how they were better that what we saw. How circumstances like the lockout attributed to their slow start. Or how adjusting to a new defensive scheme and novice defensive coordinator was the reason they could keep teams from dancing in their endzone. And Michael Vick didn’t have the OTAs to further hone his defense-reading skills. DeSean Jackson’s contract squabbles distracted his ability to run pass routes with any enthusiasm. Don’t forget the Eagles won their last 4 games when the pressure was off against nobodies to finish strong and how it all came together and will carry over to this season.
So far the Eagles are .500 and the play has been down right bad at times. Not so much defensively, even though Todd Bowles gets the coordinator’s job for the rest of the season, but the offense has been anything but explosive. The so-called strength of this squad has been a comedy of errors and mismanagement. Vick has turned the ball over at a record pace and the line in most cases couldn’t block my grandmother. Jackson, with new contract in the bank, is a one-trick pony, who can only run fly patterns and not much else. LeSean McCoy has to be the most underutilized player in the NFL.
The vaunted Eagles pass rushing defensive ends have been an undersized, non-dominant group . Nnamdi Asomugha hasn’t quite lived up to his shut-down corner billing and the safeties don’t scare any receivers when going across the middle.
But when you hear the players and coaches tell their side of the game, it’s never their fault. Other than Vick, who will concede he needs to stop turning the ball over, they somehow always beat themselves. If they can only stop making mental errors, they’d be undefeated. The Eagles claim they’re better than how they play. They sometimes say they weren’t ready to play and to that I ask….why not? The season is only 16 games long, one game a week, sometimes on occasion there may be a Thursday game. So how can you not be ready to play a game once a week? It all points to the ego of a pro athlete no letting us know their true feelings. It’s simply not being good enough to beat the guy in front of you or acknowledging when a team is just better.
So, no matter how much the Eagles players and Andy Reid talk about how their record is not indicative of all the talent on the roster, the bottom line is, the talent on the field and on the sidelines has never been good enough.