The Philadelphia Eagles had a big game last week when they hosted the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons were undefeated and coming off a bye, while the Eagles were 3-3 and far from being done. Fast forward one week and the Eagles are 3-4 and in need of a big win against a really bad defense in the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints are 2-5 and allowing the opposing quarterbacks a rating of 110.7. The Eagles are 3-4 and seem to have a different problem every week. They don’t rank really low in most categories except for turnover difference which they rank 29th with a difference of -9, but they didn’t turn the ball over once in a 30-17 loss to Atlanta last week.
The Eagles had a players only meeting this week to try and clear the air and gets things back on track. Player meetings aren’t that uncommon in professional sports, but you usually don’t hear about them unless things are getting pretty bad. With certain players efforts being questioned and the season on the line, this week was a perfect time for it.
The Eagles aren’t in a bad position to make a second half run this season. They sit at 3-4, just one loss behind either NFC wildcard spot. A lot can happen from here. We don’t know if 8-8 will earn a playoff spot in either the wildcard or the NFC East. Maybe they only need to finish at 8-8 with the right tiebreakers, maybe they need 10 or 11 wins. Right now this team just needs to get back in the win column.
Michael Vick reportedly said he wasn’t aggressive enough last week. That can be taken in different ways, but you can see that from the game tape. He averaged just 5.4 yards per passing attempt against the Falcons. That isn’t his style and that isn’t the Eagles style. It was almost as if he was playing scared. Like he was looking over his shoulder at backup quarterback Nick Foles before every snap.
Andy Reid is backing up Vick 100% going forward this season, which is huge for both parties. Going with Foles now or anytime this season would be a give up move. This team was 3-1 not that long ago. The coaching staff needs to make adjustments and help the plays fix their mistakes. That has been the issue all season long. Not one mistake has been fixed this season. They might go away one week, but they come right back the next game.
The 2011 Eagles had the mentality of an accomplished team before the season started. They expected to be great because they thought they were great. The 2012 version has been no different. Maybe a 3-4 record will wake them up. I believe it will.
Week 9 will be a “All In” type of week for the Eagles. Vick is going to play aggressive, the defense is going to give maximum effort and the coaches are going to coach likely their jobs depend on the game, because it probably does.
The Eagles have a chance to be a dangerous team the rest of the season. We all know the talent is there. It just needs to be better managed and the players have to execute much better. Now that they have fallen back to earth, they can be a team that plays like they are up against the wall.
The Monday night matchup against the Saints will really test this team’ s character. The Saints are 2-5 and will have a similar mentality as the Eagles. The only difference for them is that this season doesn’t have the same pressure as the Eagles does. The Saints lost their coach, Sean Payton, and a few players and assistant coaches to the Bounty Gate scandal. They can blame every short coming on that. The Eagles have nothing to blame but the coaches and the players.
Will the Eagles wake up and start to look like a playoff team again? Will shall find out Monday night.