The Philadelphia Eagles have been a roller coaster that is not for fans with high blood pressure or heart problems. This team is beyond frustrating at times and great at others. The Eagles have played in five incredibly tight games this season despite out-gaining their opponents on the ground and through the air while averaging about three more minutes in time of possession.
This week the Eagles get a bye to try and collect themselves and get this thing turned around. They are 3-3 and just one game out in the NFC East. This season isn’t lost quite yet, but it is important to fix the mistakes right now. The players that aren’t executing need to get better quickly or get replaced. The players that are getting the job done need to be better utilized. Look at the New York Giants last season. They weren’t an elite team at every position, but they knew how to cover up their weaknesses and get the most out of their strengths. That should be the goal of the Eagles over the next 10 games.
Here are Five Champs and Five Chumps from the Eagles first six games.
McCoy is still playing at an MVP caliber level even if he is running behind a horrid offensive line. It has been pretty simple for the Ealges offense this season and every season since he was drafted in 2009. When McCoy gets 20 carries, the Ealges win. They are 10-1 when he gets at least 20 carries including 3-0 this season. He is averaging 22 carries in their three wins and 14 in their three losses.
Celek is averaging over four receptions and fifty yards a game while being relied upon as an extra blocker because of the Eagles putrid pass protection. He is taking a beating and getting right back up anyway. His toughness and versatility at his position have been one of the few bright spots on a offense that has the second fewest point scored per game.
Somebody needs to get in the coaching staff’s ear and get Brandon Graham on the field more. He is getting roughly around 10 snaps a game, but he still has the same number of solo tackles as Trent Cole (6) and only one less sack(0.5). He is the only defensive end who is getting consistent pressure, yet he is getting far less snaps. I expect him to see the field a lot more under newly promoted defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. He is fighting for a long-term coordinator job. Giving the majority of the snaps to players who make more money rather than the ones who are performing the best won’t help him land that gig.
Ryans has been an exceptional run stuffer this season and has been pretty solid in pass coverage as well. He isn’t an elite player anymore, but he is a great leader and a physical linebacker. When he makes contact with a runner or receiver just short of the first down line, they don’t get any further. He just has a knack for bring ball carriers down short of the first down line. It’s not luck, it’s field awareness mixed with physicality. He has been exactly what the Eagles needed at middle linebacker.
If you still think Nate Allen is a average safety after last week’s fourth quarter collapse against the Lions you are in serious denial. Allen went down in the fourth quarter and the Eagles secondary fell apart. Allen is still a young safety who was learning under a ex-offensive line coach. He was already learning under Todd Bowles when he was the defensive backs coach. Now he gets to play in a defense that is run by a defensive backs coach.
Surprised? I didn’t think so. Vick hasn’t looked good since he beat the Giants in that “Miracle” game back in December of 2010. Since then he is 10-10 in the regular season with an astounding 34 turnovers. Vick isn’t reading blitzes and isn’t growing as a quarterback. Right now he looks like an athlete trying to play the quarterback position. He has time to improve during the bye week, but I doubt he will.
The Entire Offensive Line
Nobody on this offensive line is doing a great job thus far. Evan Mathis and Danny Watkins have been okay. Todd Herremans has been up and down and anyone playing left tackle or center has been beyond terrible. They have surrendered 17 sacks and have given LeSean McCoy very little running room. This unit might actually deserve more blame than Michael Vick. Unfortunately for Vick, it is easier to replace him at quarterback then the entire offensive line.
In the Eagles last two games, both losses, offensive coordinator has called 138 total offensive plays. 95 of those plays have been called passes. Balance is key for an offense led by such an inconsistent and turnover prone quarterback. Oh yeah, and that LeSean McCoy guys is pretty good too.
I expected Landri to be the next Eagles to get a contract extension. He played well in the wide-9 scheme last season as he was filling in for Antonio Dixon after he went on IR. This season he was easily out playing Dixon at training camp and earned a starting defensive tackle spot next to Cullen Jenkins. Since the end of preseason he has done very little and appears to be outmatched as a starting tackle. He is losing a lot of snaps to Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton right now and I don’t expect Landri to be back next season.
Nnamdi hasn’t been as bad as everyone is making him out to be, but he was signed to a huge contract and brought in to be an elite cornerback. He doesn’t get graded the same way Kurt Coleman would at free safety as an ex-7th round draft pick. Nnamdi isn’t pressing like he used to and doesn’t have the recovery speed to make up for it. If I were to give him a letter grade through the first six games it would be either a C+ or a B-. Not bad, but not what we were expecting.
Maybe a defensive backs coach getting the nod at defensive coordinator will do wonders for his game, maybe he is well past his prime. Either way a player making $11 million this season and $15 million next season needs to play at a much higher level.