It is hard to get excited about the Eagles this year.
There are too many questions about them, and that’s why they will not be hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy at New Orleans this season.
The Eagles will be a playoff team as a wild-card team, and they will win a playoff game this year. That’s as far as they are going to go this year. If they make it past the second round, consider this season a success.
Here’s a list of issues that will hinder the Eagles from achieving their goal of winning a championship:
The quarterback is a problem for the Eagles whether folks want to admit it or not. Michael Vick makes exciting plays, but he can’t read defenses and he can’t slide when he has to. His 14 interceptions from last year should raise concerns. He does not make smart decisions, like when he has to throw the ball away rather than making something happen. He is still not a great thrower; his success as a quarterback is predicated on his running game.
These are not things an elite quarterback does. He has to make better decisions with the football. He can’t be throwing at the wrong guy at the wrong time. This year has to be different than last; he can’t put himself in a position where he loses the ball.
Eagles head coach Andy Reid has done all he could to make Vick a better passer, but it has not worked. The Eagles quarterback spent more time running than throwing last year. It’s hard to think that is going to change.
Also, Vick is a lock to get hurt this season. He has been injury-prone in his career. This is what happens when he runs into defenders all the time with his style of play. The Eagles have to hope their quarterback does not miss significant amount of time. If he is out for a month or for the season, forget about the Eagles making the playoffs. Even with Nick Foles showing great promise in the pre-season, there is no telling this would translate into the regular season.
It would be nice to see Foles play this year, but he is not ready to take the Eagles to the playoffs. He has lot to learn as a NFL quarterback before he can be the guy that the Eagles can rely on in leading them to the playoffs. That means patience is required rather than expecting him to do well right away.
If Jim Johnson was alive, it would be easy to be sold on the defense with him running that unit as a defensive coordinator. However, as Eagles fans know, this is not the case.
It’s hard to believe Juan Castillo can get the best out of his defensive players as a defensive coordinator, especially since he has been an offensive line coach prior to last year. There are questions if he is actually running the defense with the Eagles hiring Jim Washburn and Todd Bowles as defensive assistants this year. One can make a case either of those two is running the defense.
Plus, the Eagles secondary is a question mark. Quarterbacks have had an easy time throwing the ball against that secondary, and their tackling last year was piss-poor.
It remains to be seen if the linebackers are good enough to go after the quarterback. That is a must for a team to win a championship as the Giants showed in January when Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora made the lives of Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith and Tom Brady miserable by attacking them relentlessly. The defense can’t keep giving up big plays and committing penalties. It remains to be seen if that happens.
Then, there is Reid. One wonders if he is a championship-caliber coach. His inability to win a championship with great teams he had with the Eagles is a sore spot. He should have won at least one title. No one can fault him for 2005 with the Patriots being the better team, but he should have won in 2003 and 2004.
There is no excuse for his team to lose to the Buccaneers and Panthers at home in the NFC Championship Game back in 2003 and 2004. Those losses are on the coach for being out-coached and not getting his guys ready for this moment.
Reid constantly makes decisions that make you wonder what’s going on. He is too pass-happy at times, and he never makes adjustments in the second half. It continues to be a problem.
Reid’s strength is developing quarterbacks as he did with Vick, Donovan McNabb, A.J. Feeley and Kevin Kolb. Still, being a quarterback coach and head coach are two different things. He still has to show he can win the big one.
Last year was on Reid for his team not getting off to a good start. This can’t happen again. There’s no question he is on the hot seat; so he has to show what he can do this year.
It’s hard to think he will be fired if the Eagles don’t win the Super Bowl, but if his team does not make the playoffs, he will be coaching elsewhere next year.
Winning a playoff game may be enough to sway Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to keep Reid. It would be a way to stay the course and have his head coach engineer the Foles era.
Still, one has to wonder if Reid has it in him to win a championship. He may be one of those coaches that is not good enough.
The Eagles will score points, and they have enough talent to play. Still, the cons outweigh the pros when it comes to assessing their championship hopes.
As always, it’s wait until next year for the Eagles. It has only been 51 seasons since they won their last championship; so what’s another year?