50 – The number of points by which the Eagles have been outscored this year. Their minus-50 point differential ranks last in the NFC. “What ifs” exist with every team. For example, what if Michael Vick’s pass to Jeremy Maclin against the Lions late in the game didn’t get tipped by Ndamukong Suh? What if Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham hooked his 34-yard game-winning field-goal attempt? What if the officials called holding on the linebacker covering Brent Celek Monday night, negating the pick-six in the first quarter?
But the bottom line is the Eagles are performing like one of the worst teams in the league. Football Outsiders ranks them 26th. According to their numbers, the Eagles have a 1.8 percent chance of making the playoffs. On the other hand, they have a 10.1 percent chance of earning a top-three draft pick. In the NFC, only the Panthers (2-6) have fewer wins.
So coaches and players can talk about the team being close and wonder what would have happened if they’d gotten a few more breaks. But this team is 11-13 in the last year and a half. The results suggest they are closer to the bottom of the league than the top.
50.9 – Average receiving yards per game for Jeremy Maclin. Many predicted a breakout season for the fourth-year receiver, but it’s been quite the opposite – a letdown. There’s no doubt that inconsistent quarterback play and the shaky offensive line have been factors, but Maclin has not been a difference-maker. With nine games left, he is on pace to set three-year lows for yards per game, catches per game and yards per reception. Prior to the season, there was thought that the Eagles might look to extend Maclin during the year (his contract is up after 2013). But it’s tough to justify doing that now, especially considering we’re likely looking at a new head coach and quarterback next season.
34 – The number of sacks Michael Vick took back in 2010. If you remember, part of the reason for the coaching staff shake-up was to get that number down and install Howard Mudd’s scheme. Two years later, Vick’s been sacked 27 times in eight games. Only Aaron Rodgers (29) and Jay Cutler (28) have been sacked more. We’re all aware of the injuries to Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins and now Todd Herremans. But it’s absolutely fair to question the lack of depth and the roster constructed by Andy Reid and Howie Roseman going into the season.
Everybody was expecting a dropoff, but the injuries have completely crippled this offense and this team. Keep in mind that the Peters injury occurred back in March. The Eagles moved swiftly to sign Demetress Bell, and he has been a disaster. At backup guard, they are starting a 6-8 rookie fifth-round pick (Dennis Kelly). And at backup center, they went with Dallas Reynolds, someone who spent three years on the practice squad. Again, we knew there would be a dropoff, but evidence suggests Reid, Roseman and Mudd did an inadequate job addressing offensive line depth.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Why was Vick sacked seven times against the Saints? We went to the tape. Warning: Images are not suitable for young children.
Here’s a player-by-player game review of the Eagles offensive linemen.
Reid says he’s not thinking about Jeffrey Lurie’s 8-8 comment during the preseason. It’s difficult to believe him.
According to a report, Roseman received a four-to-five year contract extension back in June. We take a look at how that could affect this team’s offseason plans.
Jason Babin played significantly more than Brandon Graham last week. Here are snap count notes.
Tim writes that at this point, the Eagles’ words ring hollow.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
According to Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com, the injury news on Herremans does not look good:
There’s a very good chance the Eagles will lose starting right offensive tackle Todd Herremans for the rest of the season with the foot injury he suffered Monday night during the Eagles’ loss to the Saints, according to two people familiar with his test results.
“It’s not good,” one team official said. “It doesn’t look good at all. We’re still waiting for [more test results], but it looks bad.”
The Eagles rank 21st in ESPN.com’s power rankings. Writes Dan Graziano:
They started the season at No. 7. There is no team, over the past two years, that has consistently fallen shorter of external expectations. But at this point, after they couldn’t even get the offense going in New Orleans of all places, we have to believe they’re just a bad team. I have them at 22. Ashley has them at 18. John Clayton has them at 23. That’s the range, and it’s pretty far from the range in which the Eagles expected to be at this or any other point this season.
The Eagles are back at Novacare to prepare for the Cowboys. We’ll check in on the mood in the locker room and also provide some All-22 analysis of where things went wrong for this team.