New season, new Quarterback, and a youth movement that is supposed to take us to the next level. Those were the things that the Philadelphia Eagles franchise used to hype up the 2010 season. After trading franchise QB Donovan McNabb to the division rival Washington Redskins, the Eagles gave the reigns to QB in waiting Kevin Kolb. While Kolb had only started two games in his career, those two games looked good.
The Eagles had also let a bunch of veterans go in the past few seasons. Names that normally were fixtures on a ferocious Eagles defense became ghosts. Guys like Brian Dawkins, Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown, Jeremiah Trotter were all either traded, or just sent packing. And of course how could you forget Brian Westbrook who took his bags to San Francisco.
For a city that demands a winner it was a bold move, but a move that many wanted. People got their wish and saw the future on Sunday as the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Green Bay Packers 27-20 in the first regular season game. I think, however, it was a loss that most people saw coming.
The Packers entered the game with one of the best QB's in the game. Aaron Rodgers had a break out season in 2009 throwing for over 4400 yards, 30 TD, and only 7 INT. The Eagles were throwing out a suspect secondary which featured a rookie safety in Nate Allen. It looked like a formula for disaster if you were an Eagles fan.
Rodgers actually didn't light up the scoreboard like most thought. He did have a nice day but only threw for 188 yards with 2 TD but also 2 INT. The story in this game however wasn't the Packers All Pro QB but instead the rash of injuries that fans were subject too during the game.
The new era brought back a familiar face for Eagles fans as the youth movement met the "Body Bag Game of 2010" This game saw 5 starters leave the game with injuries. It started with Eagles FB Leonard Weaver going down with a nasty knee injury. It was one that when you saw the replay you said to yourself "The knee isn't supposed to bend that way". He has a torn ACL and will be out for the season. Next up was new Eagles QB Kevin Kolb who was injured on a Clay Mathews rush. What appeared to be a jaw injury ended up being a concussion. The amazing part was he went back in the game, but then came out at halftime.
Stewart Bradley also has a concussion, Jamal Jackson has a torn muscle, and Packers RB Ryan Grant left the game with an ankle injury. It was a game that just kept getting worse if you were an Eagles fan.
Michael Vick came on in relief of Kevin Kolb and played well. He was moving the offense and actually looked like a QB. But then the old Michael Vick came out and ruined everything. You know that Vick I'm referring to. He's the one who sits in the pocket and acts like he's looking for a receiver, then out of nowhere he jukes out of the pocket nearly missing a defender who he almost juked into. Vick then proceeds to give up on ever throwing the ball and run with it. Yea it works for a bit but then you need a 4-1 first down and he dials up a very predictable quarter back draw play which everyone saw coming. Vick ended the day 16-24 with 175 yards passing and 103 yards rushing. He added a passing TD to Jeremy Maclin.
**Michael Vick looked good. He moved the ball well and really gave a jolt to an offense that looked dead. He was able to mix in the legs that made him so famous, with the big arm that got him drafted. He had a huge game considering he only played one half.
**Rookie safety Nate Allen became the first Eagles rookie to have an interception in his first game since Eric Allen in 1988.
**The pass rush for the Eagles looked good. The first few drives Rodgers didn't look good and it was mainly due to Eagles rushing him to throw the ball. Trent Cole added his first sack of the season while the always criticized, undersized, Jaqua Parker added 2 sacks.
**When do we hold Sean McDermott accountable? All we heard about was how this defense wouldn't miss a beat when McDermott took over for the late, great, Jim Johnson.
When I look at this defense I see one that cant beat a legit NFC contender. They looked awful three times last season against the Cowboys, and against the Packers they didn't look much better. NO ONE on this team seems to be able to know how to tackle. The secondary was exposed at times (see Greg Jennings TD) and at no point did it remind you of a Jim Johnson defense.
The 2006 Patriots secondary that the Eagles have isn't good, everyone knows it, but instead of taking an Earl Thomas who can play S/CB they took Brandon Graham, who took Jaqua Parkers job. That's the guy who had 2 sacks.
**Be careful what you wish for. For 10 seasons WIP phone lines were flooded with people complaining about Donovan McNabb and saying that the franchises best QB had to go. Well Sal from South Philly you got your wish. McNabb was traded and were graced with Kevin Kolb who looked more like Bobby Hoying, then Tom Brady.
Criticize McNabb all you want but he ran the west coast offense and made it his own. Not the most accurate passer but once every 15-20 plays he would go for a big bomb to a speedy receiver like DeSean Jackson. While he threw balls at receivers feet, its a lot better then throwing it into a defenders hands. Oh and McNabb had mobility too.
"Hey you know I like dis Kolb guy alot. He had a hell of a game against da Saints last year ya know and.....I just think day McNabb cant get it done so lets give dis Kolb kid a shot" That was what a typical phone call to a Philadelphia sports radio sounded like nearly a year ago so lets see what they sound like now. Kolb looked awful. He looked lost, flustered, and it looked as if he never watched game tape at all and never prepared. He threw into double, sometimes triple coverage and never took a shot at a deep ball. What is the point of having a speedy receiver like Jackson and not using his speed?
Kolb probably wont play week 2 because of the concussion but it might be a blessing in disguise. The better Vick does the more his trade value goes up. Teams like Buffalo need fans in the stands, and a QB. But not matter what if Sunday was a sign of the future then we need a time machine because Kevin Kolb looked atrocious.
**The injuries are racking up quick. The Eagles avoided them in training camp, and pre season but they came in bunches on Sunday. Jamal Jackson, and Leonard Weaver are out for the season. Look for former Temple grad Dan Klecko to be signed and take Weavers place. Mike Mcgylnn, who had his first career reception Sunday, will be used in Jackson's spot. He looked good on Sunday under center.
Stewart Bradley is a long shot to play next Sunday as well after suffering a concussion. Omar Gaither will fill in for Bradley who was playing his first game since the 2008 season. And Kolb wont play because of a concussion as well. Injury bug has hit the Eagles hard, and in a big way.
**Bobby April didn't make a good impression on Eagles fans. His first game as the Eagles special teams coordinator must have forgotten to prepare his team for Jordy Nelson, who ran all over the field on Sunday. The Eagles haven't had a good special teams coordinator since current Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh.
**Andy Reid time management. Same story different year. Would someone tell him when to appropriately use a time out please!
The Eagles will take on the Lions next Sunday at 1. The Lions are coming off a heart breaking loss to the Bears on Sunday. While the Lions seeing the Lions on your schedule usually brings joy to any football fans soul know this isn't the same Lions that went 0-16 a few years back.
Led by former first overall pick Mathew Stafford this Lions team is actually talented. While Stafford might not go because of a shoulder injury they still posses a great receiver in Calvin Johnson. They also have rookie running back in Jahvid Best who rushed for just 20 yards on Sunday but added 2 TD to his stat sheet.
Their defense isn't as bad as it used to be either with their front four being a pretty talented bunch. Led by new additions Kyle Vanden Bosch and the second overall pick Ndamukong Suh they will look to pressure whoever is under center for the birds. The last time Vanden Bosch had a big compliment at DT he had 12.5 sacks. He had 11 tackles on Sunday.
While the Eagles should still win I don't know if its going to be as big of a cake walk as many people think. It all really depends on who is under center for the Lions on Sunday. If its Stafford then they have a shot, but if its Shaun Hill then the birds should be looking at win #1 of the 2010 season