Who are the Eagles Really????

The Philadelphia Eagles are a marvel in this short start of the NFL season.  With a 4 and 2 record, they seem to be in control of the season.  There are other questions that arise though.  Is it all smoke and mirrors?  Is the NFC really a true litmus test?  Is the Eagles defense and special teams just young and need time to gel?  I remember when Jim Johnson first got here with Andy Reid, Troy Vincent being interviewed and saying that “it would take 6 weeks for the Eagles to learn this scheme, but after that teams should be worried.”  Could this be a case of a young talented defense, new defensive coordinator, running his best imitation of a Jim Johnson’s blitzing scheme?  Or is it a case of parody in the NFL?  Another few questions are is King Dunlap a better left tackle then Jason Peters, right now?  Who should be the Quarterback, Mike Vick or Kevin Kolb?  Will the injuries that have already happen haunt this team for the rest of the season?  Lastly is this team a serious contender or is it just a case of mistaken identity.  With a team that is more skitzofrenic then Russell Crowe in a “Beautiful Mind”.  There is plenty of promise, but is it a team for the future or is it a team to win now?  King Dunlap was given more help then Jason Peters was, but in all fairness Jason Peters is a season veteran with a huge price tag.  Dunlap is basically a rookie playing out there and all the misdirection, potential screen pass set ups, end arounds and trick plays really worked to his advantage.  Another thing that was a helper for him is Abraham is a good size defensive end.  Smaller, faster defensive ends are going to be trouble for Dunlap.  All in all I will take a struggling rookie type who doesn’t jump off sides three times a game and doesn’t get a holding call in a key situation in the game.  Now as far as things go with the starting quarterback, I have no clue.  But if Vick comes back in as the starter it could ruin Kolb.  Just when it had seemed that Kolb beat the naysayers by throwing the long ball.  All he can do is check down?  No!  This issue with Vick showing up at 12:15 might be a glaring one in the future.  This is purely speculation, but my perception is that Vick was miffed he couldn’t play against his old team and that is why he was late.  Again that is just my opinion.  To answer the last question, injuries effect every team in football and if Peyton Manning goes down the Colts are done and likewise for any team.  So I ask you this who are the 2010 Philadelphia Eagles?  Only time will tell…..

Mixed Messages

The Philadelphia Eagles released a statement Saturday saying that they are not considering releasing quarterback Michael Vick at this time. The questions surrounded the star because he is in the midst of an investigation of a shooting. After signing with the Eagles following his two years in prison, Vick had seemingly stayed out of trouble, until June 25th.

On the eve of his 30th birthday, a former defendant on Vick’s dog fighting case was shot outside Vick’s restaurant, where he was out celebrating. Vick insists that he was long gone from the restaurant by the time of the shooing, but questions still remain.

This latest incident just adds to the controversy that surrounds Vick. The former Virginia Tech star, who was previously imprisoned for his famous involvement in a dog fighting ring, was given a second chance by the Eagles, but he does not seem to be making the best of his situation. While it is understandable that he can not have control over everything that goes on around him, it would be in his best interest to try to stay under the radar as much as possible.

It seems that Vick has put the Eagles in a difficult position. With the release of Donovan McNabb this off-season, the team showed they are committed to quarterback Kevin Kolb, with Vick backing him up. Now the team will have to decide whether Vick is worth the risk.

McNabb Apologizes

Donovan McNabb apologized Friday, to the fans in Philadelphia for not bringing home a Super Bowl trohpy to the city. The former Eagles quarterback spent 11 seasons in the city of brotherly love, taking the team to the 2004 Super Bowl and 7 playoff appearances, but was unable to bring home the ultimate prize.

The quarterback, who was traded to NFC East rival Washington Redskins during the off-season, feels that he let the city down by not achieving his goal. While many fans had hoped the face of the franchise would bring a much needed championship to the city, the overall feel seems to be sad to see him depart, especially to a rival.

So the question is, do you think Donovan needed to apologize? Whether he needed to or not, I think his intentions are good. He feels he let down a great amount of people who supported him, through the good and the bad, down and by acknowledging his own disappointment, shows how much he cares and looks fondly on his time in Philly.

McNabb has certainly cemented a place in Eagles history, only time will tell if his successor will be able to deliver a Championship.

What do you think of McNabbs apology?

Eagles release Brian Westbrook

The end of an era has arrived in Philadelphia. Brian Westbrook will no longer be an Eagle.

Philadelphiaeagles.com is reporting that the Eagles will release Westbrook today.

“Brian is one of the greatest Eagles of all time and he is even a better person and leader,” said head coach Andy Reid. “In my mind, there has not been a more versatile running back that the NFL has seen. I had a conversation with Brian this morning to let him know. This is by far the most difficult part of this job. We wanted to make this move now in order to maximize Brian’s chances of landing with another NFL team.”

Westbrook is the second former Pro Bowl running back to be let go in as many days as the Chargers cut ties with LaDainian Tomlinson.

Westbrook was with the Eagles for eight seasons and provided countless memories and big plays, helping his team to four NFC title games in his career.

Over the next few days Philly Sports Blogs will be bringing you some of our favorite memories of #36. In the meantime, we wish him the best. Enjoy a tatse of what 0ne of the greatest running backs in Eagles’ history provided.

It’s the offseason of Donovan McNabb

In Philadelphia every offseason is about Donovan McNabb.

Only this time, Philadelphia is not alone.

ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio says that the drama around McNabb is the story off the offseason. Bellow is an excerpt:

Philadelphia is the only team in the NFL with all three quarterbacks on its roster going into the final year of their contracts. Teams are calling, wondering who’s available, who’s not and what the Eagles would want in any potential trade.

The Eagles’ front office is listening. But here’s the kicker: The Eagles, according to multiple league sources, have so far told teams that both McNabb and his primary backup, Kevin Kolb, are not available.

Now, does that mean the Eagles won’t trade McNabb? Definitely not. Most league insiders believe the Eagles are just posturing right now, trying to determine the market and how to proceed. If the team says publicly or privately McNabb is on the trading block, its bargaining position would tank.

 You can read the complete article here.

The word sources has been thrown everywhere lately and none of it has been verified. On the same day a source  told a Buffalo newspaper that McNabb would be open to a trade to the Bills, and a source told ESPN that he would not be open to a trade to Buffalo.

Sometimes I think sources are pulled from the thin air.

It seems set in stone that at least one member of the Eagles’ quarterback trio and maybe a second will be traded. Who that is and where he/they end up is anyone’s guess right now. The speculation will be endless and the Eagles front office has to be loving every second of it. The more their quarterbacks are pumped up, the more the Eagles can ask for in a trade. The trading game is all about having leverage and with three quarterbacks that teams believe can be starters, the Eagles are holding all of the bargaining chips.

Among the teams that have talked to the Eagles, according to multiple sources, are the Denver broncos, Cleveland Browns, St. Luis Rams and Buffalo Bills.

David Akers an unsung hero for Eagles

Whenever talk surfaces about this era of Eagles football, the attention immediately goes to Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb – the duo that has spent the last decade together as coach and quarterback.

However there is another piece which has been vital to the teams’ success. A piece, which like Reid and McNabb, has had big success, while also drawling the ire of fans at times.

And right now, this piece is as responsible for the Eagles’ place in the standings as any other.

I am speaking of David Akers.

A member of the Eagles since 2000, Akers is enjoying one of the finest seasons of his career and should drawl big consideration for his fourth Pro Bowl, and first since 2004. In Sunday’s 27-24 win over the Redskins, Akers was perfect in four field goal attempts and drilled two touchbacks. He has now made 16-straight field goals. For the season Akers is 24-of-27 for an NFL-best 89 percent.

Akers actually had a brief stint with the Redskins in 1998, playing in one game and missing the only two field goals he attempted. Washington certainly never figured 11 years later it would be Akers who would put another nail in their coffin.

While Akers’ leg strength has never been an issue, his accuracy on field goals from 40-yards and out came into question over the previous two seasons when he was uncharacteristically inaccurate, going 12-of-25.

This year he is 11-of-14 in that category.

The talk this week will be about Reid finally showing a little commitment to the run and McNabb leading the team to its second-straight fourth quarter comeback, and rightfully so. Coaches and quarterbacks are the stars of the show, while the kickers stay in the background.

The only time a kicker’s name comes to the forefront is when he fails to come through.

I guess that’s why we haven’t heard much about Akers this season. All he has done is come through.

Eagles control their own destiny, notch 2nd win in a row.

The Eagles dominated every single offensive and defensive category in todays game and in the process managed to just barely win.  They had more total plays of offense, more yards passing, more yards rushing, had better yards per pass and rush attempt, had more time of possession, better 4th down efficiency, allowed fewer turnovers, and barely escaped with a win !!

Yes they were not as good on third down, thanks to the Redskins being unnaturally good at that, but they did everything they could to give the Redskins the game until the 4th quarter, from the initial onsides kick they misplayed, allowing Washington to have a 24 yard field, quickly shortened to a 19 yard field with the 5 yard penalty, to repeatedly being called for offensive penalties that negated many of their better plays.

They had a touchdown called back that turned into a field goal, they brought Vick in every time the offense gained any momentum and he promptly disrupted the rhythm of the game, they had countless passes dropped including three in a row by Brett Celek, they lost DeSean Jackson after another touchdown catch due to injuries,  yet they won the game to go to 7-4 and put their fate in their own hands for the first time all season.  Jackson’s catch was his shortest of the year, a mere 35 yards.  This guy is clutch and the best reciever we have had in years, and I hope he is recovered in time for next weeks contest !

Simply put, if the Eagles win out, and beat the Giants and Cowboys in their final meetings, they win the division.

If they beat the Giants and Cowboys and win 1 of their other three remaining games, they will win at least the wild card.

A couple positive observations, the one two punch of McCoy and Weaver was productive for the second week in a row.   The halfback/fullback tandem rushed for 120 yards on 23 carries and Buckley came through with the first touchdown of his NFL career to pull the Eagles within 2.  Then McCoy performed a balancing act to tie the game up with the 2 point conversion allowing Akers to win it with his field goal on the ensuing drive as the Eagles scored 11 unanswered in the fourth quarter for the win.  Assante Samual overcame an average first half with 2 interceptions to keep the Eagles in the game.  And the Eagles finally appeared able to convert a third and short with their running game, a quality they had been seriously lacking over the past 6 weeks.

Through the first three quarters fans had to be worrying about the Eagles repeatedly driving the length of the field and having to settle for field goals.  A 90 yard 10 play drive for the tying touchdown followed by a 10 play drive for the go ahead field goal hopefully put some of these qualms to bed, at least until next week.

One can only hope Reid won’t overplay Vick in the reunion next week with his former team, the Atlanta Falcons.  I think enough has been seen this year to confirm the “Vick experiment” is a dismal failure, it is time to let McNabb run this team for the final 5 games, and if not satisfied with his judgement and performance, you have Kolb chomping at the bit to have a go at it next year, I repeat for the millionth time this year……WE DON’T NEED VICK !!!

OK, got it out of my system, for now, on to next week.  We dodged a serious bullet against the Redskins, hopefully we will fare better against the Falcons.

Bad outweighs the good again for Eagles

For the second straight week the Eagles suffered a defeat, this time to the San Diego Chargers, 31-23. There were a few positives from the game, mainly Jason Avant’s breakout eight-catch, 156 yards. However, the bad once again outweighed the good. Here is a brief look at what went wrong on Sunday.

-      Brian Westbrook’s season and career may be over. A second concussion in a month knocked Westbrook out of Sunday’s game. His season is almost certainly over and you have to start to wonder about his career. At some point an athlete has to start thinking about his health going forward and Westbrook may be at that point.

-      The Eagles first three trips into the red zone produced just three field goals. One of the trips included a 1st-and-goal at the one.

-      Donvan McNabb passed the ball 55 times. Yes, the Eagles were trailing and had to throw more late, but that doesn’t excuse running the ball just 13 times.

-     LeSean McCoy was on the field for only two plays in the first half. The guy is a weapon. Even when Westbrook was healthy, the Eagles needed to find a way to get him on the field more.

-      Just two sacks, and no interceptions or forced fumbles for the Eagles defense. The banged up unit put up little fight against Phillip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson.

-      In case you haven’t heard, the Eagles can’t cover tight ends. That continued as Antonio Gates racked up seven catches for 78 yards, His biggest catch came on a 3rd-and-6 on the Chargers 42 with 4:54 left. Gates made a 17-yard reception that se the Chargers up for a field goal and worked the clock down to virtually nothing.

 There is a sampling of why the Eagles last their second straight. Feel fee to add to it.

Eagles, Vick take ride in spin cycle

At this rate, Yahoo is positioning itself to be the Next Fox News.

Yahoo is out spinning the truth again and this time Michael Vick and the Eagles are on center stage.

Anyone familiar with Yahoo, knows they put “catchy” but often false headlines on stories to drive audiences to click on them. It just happens to be the Eagles turn.

On the main page of the Yahoo web site there is a photo of Vick with the title “Vick not happy as an Eagle player.”

Of coarse this is another example of a media outlet taking a quote out of context and running with it.

In an interview with Bob Costas on NBC, Vick talked about the fact that he doesn’t want to be just a wildcat guy. Why would he? He is a former Pro Bowl quarterback who clearly still believes he has the skills to be a starter in this league.

Put just about any NFL player in Vick’s shoes and you could expect the same response. Are people really surprised that Vick isn’t thrilled about getting two touches a game?

Vick didn’t put his foot in his mouth like Cole Hamels did last week talking about looking forward to next season. He simply said that he wants to be a full-time player, not a guy used for a cameo. The bottom line is Vick would be happy to stay an Eagle, but only if he gets used.

Makes sense to me.

Unfortunately that doesn’t make for good chatter, so we will be hearing about Vick’s “displeasure” with the Eagles for the next few days and maybe weeks.

About the only saving grace is that it keeps fans from talking about losing to the Cowboys.

Westbrook ready to run wild on Cowboys

Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid announced today that running back Brian Westbrook should be able to play on Sunday when the Eagles host the Dallas Cowboys in NCF East action.

Westbrook suffered a head injury two weeks ago against the Redskins and missed the Eagles 40-17 beat down of the New York Giants last Sunday.

If he does indeed return, Westbrook will once again be the featured back meaning, LeSean McCoy goes back to being a change-of-pace runner.

McCoy played well filing in for Westbrook, breaking off a 66-yard touchdown run that helped seal the win.

The question is: Will Reid commit to the run again this week?

Sunday’s matchup is a big one as both teams are tied atop the division at 5-2. Having Westbrook healthy adds another weapon that will go against the Cowboys’ 10th ranked defense. Expect Dallas to come out firing after being eliminate from the playoffs – and embarrassed – 44-6, on the last day of the 2008 season.

Whether it is the Eagles who lead early or the Cowboys, the Birds cannot abandon the run, as they do so often.

Westbrook will be back, now he just needs Reid to call his number!

Leonard Weaver gets his chance to shine

All preseason Philadelphia Eagles fans heard about what a good signing Leonard Weaver was.

Weaver was a true fullback who could take on linebackers and open up big holes  for the running back tandem of Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy. He could also carry, the rock, something Eagles’ fullbacks before him struggled to do.

Through six games, Weaver’s impact seemed marginal at best. He almost never got a carry and was often on the sidelines, with the team going into  single-back sets. Until last week, Weaver had just six carries on the year.

Against the Giants, Weaver reminded people just how big of a piece he could be.
Weaver broke off a 41-yard touchdown run in what became a 41-17 whitewashing by the Eagles over their NFC East rivals.

Weaver finished with eight carries and 75 yards, more than doubling his production going into the games. Maybe the performance shouldn’t be that surprising, given Andy Reid’s tendency to run the ball in games when Westbrook is NOT playing.

Comcast Sports Net’s Ray Didinger has a good column on Weaver’s day here http://www.csnphilly.com/pages/landing_09?Didinger-Weaver-Finally-Given-a-Chance-t=1&blockID=86076&feedID=704

The word commonly thrown out when talking about the Eagles’ offense is “weapons.” DeSean Jackson is one, Brian Westbrook is another. Leonard Weaver belongs somewhere on that list. He won’t always have performances like he did last week, but he will continue to do the little things that has made his career such a successful one.

The fullback position is a dying breed in the NFL, making good fullbacks hard to find.

Weaver is a very good fullback and he reminded everyone on Sunday.

Brian Westbrook to be game-time decision

Eagles running back Brian Westbrook will be a game-time decision for Sunday’s contest against the New York Giants, announced had coach Andy Reid on Wednesday.

Westbrook has not practiced all week after a head injury knocked him out of the Eagles 27-17 win over the Redskins on Monday Night Football.

The Eagles head trainer sad that Westbrook’s eyes cleared up soon after the play that knocked him out and that he remembers everything that happened. Right now he is still dealing with headaches, though.

If Westbrook can not go it will be LeSean McCoy that gets the start.

I think the Eagles should and will use caution on this one and give Westbrook the week off. The NFL is already taking heat from congress about concussions and other head injuries NFL players have suffered and the league, so you can bet the league will pressure teams to chose the safe-side of things.’

I think many fans would also be a little excited over the thought of McCoy starting against the Giants. The first-year back out of Pitt had an impressive preseason and has played well in spurts when Westbrook has been out. In his lone start against Kansas City, McCoy rushed for 84 yards on 20 touches with a touchdown

Facing a tough Giants defense, McCoy could make a big statement that he is in fact the Eagles future at the position.

DEPTH: The Eagles signed running back P.J. Hill off the Saints practice squad on Wednesday. Hill was signed by the Saints as a rookie free agent out of Wisconsin. He scored three touchdowns and had 128 yards on 26 touches in the preseason.

Eagles to face Matt Cassel, for now

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley didn’t exactly give quarterback Matt Cassel a ringing endorsement. He did, however, assure that the highly-paid Qb will start against the Eagles this week.
If Cassel will finish, is another question entirely.
The rookie head coach said he would not hesitate to make a switch if he determined that Brodie Croyle gives the Chiefs a better chance to win.
“You’ve got to ultimately do what you think gives your team the best chance to win,” Haley told The Associated Press. “If that means another quarterback being in there other than Matt Cassel, then sign me up.”
Cassel put up modest numbers against the Oakland raiders last week, finishing 24-of-39 for 241 yards and no touchdowns. Last week with Cassel hurt, Croyle went 16-of-24 for 177 and tossed a pair of touchdowns.
Regardless of who plays quarterback on Sunday the Eagles need to have this victory. The Chiefs offense is dismal and their defense is average at best.
The fact that two games into the season they are already concerned about the quarterback position should be all you need to know about the way Kansas City’s season is heading.
With — or likely without — Donovan McNabb the Eagles should put this one away early. I just don’t see enough firepower on the Kansas City offense to come back from an early deficit. The Chiefs present the Birds with a great chance to put Sunday’s ugly loss to the Saints behind them.
With the way the Giants have started the season, it is a chance the Eagles can not afford to miss.

Eagles-Saints Report Card

I think that before the game if anyone had said the Eagles would have walked off the field at halftime down 17-13 to the Saints everyone would’ve been pretty happy considering that Kevin Kolb was making his first pro start.   If not for a few breakdowns the Eagles legitimately could’ve gone into the locker room up 13-10 poised for an upset.  As we all know, the Eagles made too many mistakes against a good football team.  This game reminded me alot of the New England Sunday night game from a couple years ago except that the Eagles were in position to win that game in the 4th quarter.  That was not the case on Sunday.

Passing Offense: Kevn Kolb exceeded every expectation anyone could’ve had.  He threw for 391 yards and his 71-yard touchdown strike to DeShaun Jackson to tie the score at 7 was a thing of beauty.  He did throw 3 interceptions, but two of them came late.  Grade: C – plus

Rushing Offense: The Eagles picked up 85 yards on the ground despite having to go to the air for much of the second half.  The Wildcat formation seemed to work as the Birds got 45 yards from that formation.  Westbrook got just 16 touches but did have to leave the game early.    Grade: C-plus

Run Defense: Poor tackling set the tone, especially on Bush’s late 19 yard scamper. When are these guys going to learn that you cannot bring down an NFL back by his ankles? The Saints got 133 yards on the ground – not a good number for a unit that was supposed to be improved against the run.  Grade: D

Pass Defense: Just like in 2006 Brees went thru the Eagles pass defense like a hot knife through butter.  311 yards and 3 touchdowns by the time it was all over.   Third down was the killer – 9 for 11 for 131 yards as the Eagles pass rush was non-existent.   The defense again looked flat on the first drive just as it had against the Panthers, an issue that Defensive Coordinator Shawn McDermott has to address.  Grade: D

Special Teams: Were they even there? Yes they sure were.  Ellis Hobbs was acquired because of his ability to field kicks and his fumble to start the half started the snowball rolling downhill.   Hobbs did have a 63 yard kickoff return and Rocca booted a 61 yard punt but unfortunately neither produced when the Eagles needed it, and Rocca gave the Saints a short field a couple of times in the second half.  Grade: F

Coaching: I think Andy Reid had a nice game plan, and I loved the call to go deep to Jackson on the second play of the game.  Unfortunately all the game planning in the world doesn’t overcome poor tacking and poor decision making.  I’d like to give Reid an F here just for saying that he holds himself accountable.  C’mon – ten years and that’s all he can come up with?  Grade: C

Overall: To be fair, I didn’t think the Eagles would win this game.  I also didn’t think they’d get blown out and they were right there at halftime and going into the fourth quarter they were only down 14 points which this offense certainly is capable of overcoming.  If nothing else, Kevin Kolb lasted longer than I thought he would and earned himself another start.  Grade: D

Eagles cut Hank Baskett

No longer will Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb or whoever else handles the Eagles quarterbacking position be able to “put the biscuit in the Baskett.”
In a move that is a bit of a head-scratcher, the Eagles cut wide receiver Hank Baskett to make room for Michael Vick on the active roster. The move comes on the heals of the Eagles signing Jeff Garcia and placing Shaw Andrews on IR.
Someone had to go, but Baskett?
The Eagles had carried seven receivers on their 53-man roster through Week 1. Apparently Baskett became expendable after Philadelphia selected Jeremy Maclin in the first round of April’s draft and added Brandon Gibson in the sixth round.
For his career as an Eagle, Baskett finished with 72 catches for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns in 48 games. Nothing spectacular, but Baskett was never given much of an opportunity to shine.
I don’t have a problem with the Eagles cutting a receiver, but I question the decision to cut Baskett and keep a career underachiever Reggie Brown. A first round pick, Brown had fallen far enough down the depth chart to be inactive in Week 1. I guess the Eagles still hold him in higher regard than Baskett.
In the end, this move may be a trivial one. With Jackson, Maclin, Jason Avant and Kevin Curtis on the field, it was unlikely Baskett or Brown would have much of an impact.
Still, I am not sure the Eagles cut the right receiver.