Eagles Wake-Up Call: A Reason For Optimism?

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We’ve spent much of this week dissecting what’s gone wrong with the Eagles since their Week 1 win over the Redskins.

Confusion on defense. An inconsistent passing attack. Special teams miscues.




Those factors have led to a 1-3 record. But the truth is that around 7:45 p.m. Sunday evening, there's at least a chance the Eagles could find themselves in a tie for first place in the NFC East.

"I talked to our team about that on Tuesday because I had people tell me... I think it's if Dallas loses and we win, we are in first place, and I was fired up," Chip Kelly said sarcastically. "I called the league office and I wanted to find out when we get the trophy and when the trophy presentation would be.

"It doesn't matter if you're in first place in the first week of October. What matters is, are you in first place after December 29?"

And he's right, of course. The man who preaches "win the day" is not going to get caught looking ahead. But the same thinking doesn't apply to the fan base, the majority of which is looking for relevancy in 2013.

After a 4-12 campaign in 2012, an eventful offseason and an entertaining summer, the paying customers would welcome some meaningful games in December. In about 10 days, we'll know if that's looking like a possibility. But based on early returns, it seems the tough part of the schedule is in the rear-view mirror.

According to Football Outsiders' numbers, the Eagles have had the second-toughest schedule in the NFL so far. But more importantly, they have the softest schedule the rest of the way. The teams they've lost to have a combined 10-2 record. Of the remaining teams on their schedule, only two - the Lions and Bears - have winning records.

Of course, fans in New York, Tampa and other cities are probably thinking: We have the Eagles coming up on our schedule. Maybe we can get on track.

It'll be up to Kelly's crew to prove it's more middle-of-the-pack than bottom-feeder in  Year 1 of his program.

"Honestly I don't think you should be looking at anything else," Kelly said, when asked about ways to measure progress other than victories and defeats. "That's what we all get graded on at the end of the day is wins and losses. I think we as a group understand our plan and the process of how you win and how you lose and what contributes to that, and that's what this deal is all about.

"But at the end of the day, if you're not winning enough games, you're not going to be here very long, and if you are winning games, you're going to be around. ...The bottom line is, as Coach [Bill] Parcells said a long time ago ‑ I'm not the one that came up with it, and he did, but he's extremely right:  You are what your record says you are, so we need to go change that."

WHAT YOU MISSED

Michael Vick says anyone who thinks he's holding on to the ball too long doesn't know football.

Vick tells McManus that tight end Zach Ertz is destined for greatness.

Kelly says he's not listening to the USC "banter."

An All-22 look at the state of the Eagles' defense.

No hype, but lots at stake Sunday afternoon, writes T-Mac.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com looks at the Eagles' decision to stick with a two-gap 3-4:

What does have me confused is that Kelly and Davis talked about the difficulty of the transition from the Wide-9 to a 2-gap 3-4. They knew going in that would be a really difficult transition. They talked about finding a happy medium, so that the players could start to get adjusted to the new system, but also would be used in a way that would give them a chance to be successful this year.

That’s not happening right now. So a talented player like Curry sits. Graham plays minimal snaps. And Isaac Sopoaga is on the field, accomplishing virtually nothing.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Eagles 25th in his power rankings:

So much for that offense setting the league on fire. It's hard to do when the defense is so bad.

COMING UP

Plenty more to get you ready for Eagles-Giants.

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  • Eoin Cunningham

    Preseason I thought we’d go 2-2 for the first 4 weeks and after that the only game that I’d look at in the same light as the Denver game is week 17 against Chicago.

    The Giants are an abomination this year. Nothing works.
    Redskins D is worse than ours.
    The Cowgirls have only been to the playoffs twice in last 20 odd years for a reason. They’ll get in their own way, they always do.

    We could win the NFC East. It might not be pretty but we could.

    • Maggie

      Doesn’t matter how bad the Giants are. There often seems to be some weird dumb luck that happens with them.

      • Chali

        I second that, I’ve seen millions of crazy bounces go their way and Victor Cruz being the benificiary of half of them. I can still recall that one Dallas and Giants game where the ball hit the back foot of Witten right into Ross’s hands for an INT. . . crazy.

    • EaglePete

      Cowboys win division. Although another epic fail would not bother me one bit and with this lousy division it would be most epic to see them fall flat again esp after Romo signs big contract.

  • damrvrhunter

    It was really disconcerting reading all the criticisms that have been leveled against Chip and the organization these last couple of days. How can you give up on the team after just only four games? Are you freaking kidding me? UNREAL!

    • BlindChow

      Mostly because they started looking just like last year’s team, I imagine. When they started, the program looked innovative and explosive. Since KC, though, they’ve gotten sloppier and can barely score with a much more conventional offense.

    • KobraKai7474

      The whole point of replacing Andy Reid was because “he lost the team”. It wasn’t so much the fact that they lost 12 games last year as it was the way they lost them…. simply playing bad, unfocused football while making endless bonehead mistakes. Teams lacking in talent can still play hard and with focus, but last years’ Eagles did not, and cost their coach his job. To his credit, It took 14 years before Reid lost the team. Unfortunately, it is looking suspiciously like Chip Kelly might have lost them after 4 games.

  • JofreyRice

    Both Desean and Lesean have been Giant Killers throughout their career, so I’m expecting one of the two to have a big game–maybe both.

    It seems when things are going bad for Eli, they’re going really bad. It’s amazing, they actually have Brandon Jacobs on their roster–I didn’t even know that guy was still in the league! Without a running game, they try and maximize his effect on the game as much as possible, and I think he can press to make plays. Here’s to hoping that ends badly for the Giants and well for the Eagles.

    Overall, I’m hoping the Eagles will be able to pull off a win in Suckbowl ’13, and expecting us all to be in playoff mode by this time next week.

    • Adam

      Brandon Jacobs.. a great way to waste a snap since ’09.

      • #7

        Slowest RB in the league

    • Richard Colton

      David Wilson is looking like a first round bust at this point. I’m wondering if maybe he did some time with an EMT squad on Prince Edward Island.

      • JofreyRice

        He can fly, and can cut pretty well. Maybe he didn’t have the mental fortitude to handle Coughlin’s manner, in the way he probably got hounded for the fumbles? Strangely enough, I think mental issues were what caused tWatkins the firebug to be such a monumental bust. Suiting up to play football on Sundays just never game him the same thrill as watching an apartment complex utterly burn to the ground; really is a shame!

  • B-West

    Eagles in a rout, or Giants in a heartbreaker like Sheil picked. If the Birds can get some points up early, I think the Giants pack it in. If we they let them stay in the game, Eli steals it in the end.

    I’m drinking the ‘offense is close’ Kool-Aid… Its gonna be sweet when things start to click. Hopefully this week.

    • Maggie

      If you look closely, Eli is not the principal reason for improbable Giant wins. It’s more like some receiver uses his helmet instead of his hands or something odd like that.

      • BlindChow

        I heard the Giants started issuing two helmets to every player, to make catching easier for them.

    • Kevin

      I’m drinking the same Kool-Aid. I could see McCoy and Desean each going over 150 yards of offense, and us putting up 550 to 600 total yards. Just need points to go with it. The G-Men have a very mediocre D right now that is beat up on the back end. As long as we don’t stop ourselves. Maybe we should take a page out of the Broncos playbook and just not have a third down to convert.

      I agree, if we get rolling, the G-men will likely pack it in. If the D can pull off an early stop and we can put a few drives together, that will be huge. If we let’em hang around, it probably won’t work out well.

      • B-West

        Yup, I think our second tier weapons (Avant, Brown, Celek, etc) aren’t good enough to match good teams. But against the average and below average teams? I think they’ll be fine. They’ll draw enough attention and shoulder enough of the burden to get Shady and DJax loose.

  • Maggie

    Please, tight ends, HOLD ON TO THE BALL!! I don’t care which tight ends play or not. Catch and hold the passes that come your way!! Second, the Giants win from time to time, with plain dumb luck. Not great skill. I might not be able to watch because I can only hold my breath for so long.

  • #7

    I have Ertz on my fantasy team, but I never start him and we keep starting Stone Hands Celek..smh

    • Soybot

      I couldn’t imagine rostering Ertz in fantasy unless its a 16 team dynasty league, with huge benches.

      • #7

        Really didn’t have much of an option left. Picked him up on the waiver wire just on pure potential. Fleener is starting to come thru for me at TE

        • evanphilly

          Think its a good pick-up. If you can afford to stash him on the bench by seasons end you might be thanking yourself.

          • #7

            Exactly

  • Soybot

    Birds will jump out to an early lead, allowing the defense to pin their ears back and force turnovers. All the nay sayers will file off the Walt Whitman and back onto the bandwagon.

  • #7

    “Because the Giants can’t run the ball, maybe Davis can find a way to scheme up some pressure.”

    Oh Lord…we have to rely on Davis.

  • EaglePete

    I see Wilson getting his game back against us with his speed on the edge. I also think the Eagles offense gets in gear and puts up big numbers. I can sense a Giant frustration and sad sack faces on the sideline as the game winds down. Well, Eli always has that sad sack look so its hard to tell the difference, I mean the rest of the team. Coughlin with his face all scrunched up ala Djax punt return win. Eagles 35-20

  • Dr. Killinger

    Eagles 27 Giants 21. G-Men score 2 4th quarter TD’s to make us squirm. Eagles offense continues to struggle in the 2nd half.

  • aub32

    Can we please PLEASE PUH-LEASE have Boykin covering Cruz instead of playing OLB?

  • KobraKai7474

    If I see Brandon Boykin blitz again from the slot and leave the slot receiver uncovered even though no non-superhuman could actually get to the QB from location even if unblocked, I am going out to the shed to get the pitchforks and torches so I can create my own mob to march on the Novacare complex.

    • Richard Colton

      what if they just rotate Graham over to cover Cruz in the slot? problem solved

    • anon

      I’m going to laugh if Boykin gets a pick from playing back there. It’ll be the worst thing to happen to this d.

  • Anonymous

    Sheil and Tim,
    The new design looks good, and I’m sure it’ll be full of the same great analysis and insight that has been there since the beginning.

    The only issue I have is the next and previous story links at the bottom of each article are gone. Not a huge deal, but it was easier and quicker to just click on the links to go to the next story, instead of backing out to the homepage to pick the next story.
    Otherwise, keep up the amazing work, and I’ll keep reading!

  • evanphilly

    What would be worse: Eagles winning the division at 7-9 or losing to the Giants this week? I would go with the former. That being said, Eagles 38 Giants 17. This is going to be a rout. The next two weeks, this offense will shine.

  • Pennguino

    30-31 sounds about right. Giants scoring last. This offense gets off slowly and makes a couple plays here and there. Giants hang 24 points on us by the half. A late TD in the 4th allows us to reclaim the lead but the defense is unable to stop Eli on the final drive. TD with 45 seconds left. Offense can’t move the ball and ends in a pick.

  • Will

    Even if the Eagles make the play offs which is still a BIG if, this team will be outclassed, out gunned, and over matched. 1 and done at best. The next 5 games are against some of the worse teams in the NFL.