The Eagles: What Scares the Hell Out of Me
Pay very little attention to the results of Thursday night’s game against the New York Jets. Pre-season for the Philadelphia Eagles ended last Friday night in Kansas City. With that picture in mind, Eagles fans should have some serious angst about whether their beloved football team can possibly finish better than a mediocre 8-8 this NFL season.
The following are one man’s concerns:
1. Kevin Kolb. I only give more fuel to the Donovan McNabb lovers here, but Kolb needs a ton more work before we can all say he’s going to be the guy to lead this franchise to some kind of championship. Yes, the new QB’s offensive line has been as porous as a coffee filter, but against the Kansas City Chiefs last week, Kolb looked plenty skittish and gun shy about getting hit and therefore not stepping into or finishing the play. In the pre-season, he was 0-for-8 on third-down passes and overall only 1-for-11 in converting ANY kind of a first down. And that first down was converted when Kolb somehow wormed himself out of the pocket after it looked as if he would be sacked, then scrambled for the necessary yardage. (For the McNabb lovers waiting for me to say the Eagles would have been better off keeping number 5, sorry to disappoint you. I don’t miss him in the least). [SIGNUP]
2. Michael Vick. Just what is the purpose of inserting Vick into the game in the red zone when you have anointed Kolb as your permanent starter and when you desperately have to develop confidence in your starting quarterback precisely in situations such as that? And in the pre-season? Hey, I can see the Eagles trying to throw the opposition a curve ball at times during the season by putting Vick in the game. But why show that hand in the pre-season? Kolb needs to execute some plays in the red zone to give him confidence for the regular season. The kid already looks like he’s having a confidence problem, and you jerk him in meaningful situations for Vick? Doesn’t many any sense to me.
3. The Offensive Line. Andy Reid is in denial. I heard the Eagles coach say that he feels pretty good about his depth on the offensive line with guys like Mike McGlynn, Max Jean-Gillies, and Nick Cole providing backup help to banged up starters. Huh? The Eagles offensive line right now stinks. Todd Herremans coming back last week was a good thing. But it’s looking more and more to me like Stacy Andrews is a stiff (can’t we purge ourselves of this Andrews family once and for all?) I’m quite positive that Jamaal Jackson isn’t going to be at full strength when he finally gets back into the lineup. And Jason Peters? Geez, Jason Peters frustrates the hell out of me.
4. Jason Peters. What is the deal with an offensive tackle who, a couple af years ago, was good enough to be in the Pro Bowl, not being able to absorb instructions on a snap count? Peters has had four false start penalties this pre-season already and did that several times last season. What does he have, ADHD in the huddle? Come on, Brother. Listen in the huddle, listen at the line, and don’t even react to that defensive lineman who’s trying to get you to jump by faking his bull rush before the snap. You can do it! I know you can.
5. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Yes, I’ve been reading about how many receiving weapons the Eagles have and I would buy it a lot more if Jeremy Maclin would show me some consistency. Maclin looked like Todd Pinkston against the Chiefs, seemingly afraid to make a play with an occasional bout of alligator arms. Maybe the kid is jaking it in pre-season, but I need to see some toughness out there. Now we all know DeSean Jackson is a presence. But am I the only one who worries about his fragility? Teams are concentrating on bodying DeSean up this year — much like the Cowboys did in the final two games last season. He had a couple of injuries in training camp and got blasted head on in the Chiefs game. When guys start getting banged up, they get less assertive out there. I hope this doesn’t happen to the Eagles main “weapon.”
Here’s the good news: the Eagles defense looks fine. Trent Cole and Brandon Graham were really tough to block in the Chiefs game. Stewart Bradley looks pretty good so far. Rookie safety Nate Allen has gotten trucked on a couple of plays this pre-season, but seems to be in the right position on every play. Which means the Eagles this pre-season have given us the exact opposite impression we expected: that a potent offense would carry the defense. Not so far anyway. And I’m still sticking with an 8-8 non-playoff year.
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