The Eagles weren’t expected to do much in the 2010-2011 season. After trading their franchise quarterback (Donovan McNabb) they ushered in the “Kevin Kolb era” which lasted all of about a quarter and a half and then it became the “Michael Vick era”. Michael Vick, who was on the second year of a two year deal, finally got his wish and was once again a starting quarterback in the NFL. Among criticism from some fans who never forgave Vick for what he did he persevered and led the Eagles to a surprising 10-6 record and a playoff spot. He also was in MVP talk for most of his season as he finally became a complete QB.
With the playoffs looming the Eagles packed it in. They lost to quarterbacks Joe Webb and Stephen McGee to finish out the season but that didn’t stop the confidence of Eagles fans who flooded the local sports talk radio stations with talk of Super Bowl. Shortly after the last game of the season, a loss to the Dallas Cowboys, it was announced that the Eagles would host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. It would be a rematch of week 1 when the Eagles lost to the Packers 27-20.
If you are reading this you know the Eagles lost. They did not avenge their week 1 loss to the Packers and will not be hosting the Seahawks next week. The Eagles lost to the Packers 21-16 to end their season as quarterback Michael Vick was unable to lead a comeback. It’s a tough loss for a fan base that is still looking for their first Super Bowl and a fan base that is looking to point the finger.
You could certainly blame David Akers. Akers missed two field goals, one into the win, and one that was with the wind and normally a chip shot for the pro bowler. The Eagles lost by 5 so if Akers had made the two field goals the Eagles would have theoretically won. Because Akers missed field goals the Eagles went for a two point conversion so that brings David Akers total to 7 points he cost the Eagles.
You could blame yourself. I for one am getting sick of listening to sports talk radio and hearing the same thing every single playoff run the Eagles are in. The conversation usually goes something like this: “I don’t know why were scared of ______ (Team they are playing). They lost to _______ (the one bad loss they had). We have ________ (The one dominant player on our team at the time). And they _______ (throw meaningless stat that has nothing to do with the game.) Super Bowl baby”.
This is every year and I’m sick of it. Anyone that has watched this team this season knew they had a massive hole and it was called defense but that didn’t stop the idiots from calling up sports talk radio and saying they wanted the Packers. Well Joe Jackass from South Philly you got your wish. While Aaron Rogers didn’t play overly well on Sunday he won and thanks to a defense that has been atrocious the Packers and not the Eagles are moving on. Next time you want to call up and say ANYTHING regarding Super Bowl try and remember this.
You could certainly blame Sean McDermott and the defense. McDermott was hyped up by the local media upon getting hired as the “Next Jim Johnson” but we quickly learned two things. The first is that there is only one Jim Johnson and the second thing we learned was that McDermott was the exact opposite. It became very apparent of his ineptitude during last season’s playoff game when the Eagles lost to the Cowboys 34-14. Even though this was the Eagles THIRD encounter with the Cowboys offense McDermott simply couldn’t get together a game plan to stop the Tony Romo and the Cowboys.
That was the first example of McDermott’s ineffectiveness and it didn’t stop from there. The Eagles ranked 22 out of 32 teams for total defense this season. If you’re an unknown player and want to bust out for a big game then you should pray you’re going to play the Eagles defense. The last three weeks of the season McDermott’s defenses got torched by Joe Webb, Stephen McGee, and James Starks. None of those players had made a start in the NFL before playing the Eagles defense but they all had a field day.
McDermott’s defense can’t tackle to save their lives. Normally when you see a guy hit the line he gets wrapped up but with the Eagles defense you expect the opposing team to be able to muscle out five more yards. I’d say nine times out of ten the first man to make contact isn’t the one to actually make the tackle and that is a huge problem. The Eagles inability to address the linebacker position in the draft doesn’t exactly help McDermott. A line backer core that consists of a bunch of practice squad additions and late round draft picks isn’t expected to do much, and this group doesn’t. The Eagles have the worst Red Zone coverage in the league and it continued on Sunday.
McDermott needs to get fired but I fear it won’t happen. I can’t remember the last coach that the Eagles fired and I fear that trend will continue. If McDermott is relieved of his duties however the Eagles have a solid coordinator waiting in the wings. Dick Jauron is currently the Eagles defensive backs coach but he would for sure be the #1 candidate for the job if McDermott is fired. While Jauron hasn’t had much luck as a head coach in the NFL he has been a defensive coordinator twice and a head coach three times. He brings experience to the job and at this point he probably can’t do any worse.
Another person who should take the blame should be Eagles offensive line coach Juan Castillo. Normally one of the best offensive line coaches in the game Castillo’s line looked awful this season. The Eagles are lucky that they had a scrambling quarterback in Michael Vick because the line broke down quite a bit and forced both Vick, and Kolb out of the pocket. Winston Justice had an awful year that ended with him getting benched for King Dunlop. The Eagles need a guard pretty bad as Nick Cole has never done anything praise worthy. The Eagles are likely to address the offensive line early in the draft.
Finally the last person that should stand up and take the blame is the man who always stands up and takes the blame; Eagles head coach Andy Reid. Reid is damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t when it comes to his relationship with the Philadelphia fans. After an Eagles loss its customary to hear the same repetitive banter come out of “Big Red”. “We need to do a better job of that” and “I take full responsibility” and of course “Times yours”. Because he is the head coach of the team he is an easy whipping boy for the fans so when he takes ownership of a loss they rip him but if he were to get up and say “McDermott didn’t effectively use the defense” then the fans would likely rip him for throwing his coaches under the bus.
Reid has never won the big game but in all honesty he didn’t do a bad coaching job. He actually saved his time outs in the second quarter and did a decent job. The reason why he needs to take the blame is because he still lets Sean McDermott in the building and he didn’t utilize LeSean McCoy enough. I will remind fans however that Andy Reid DOES NOT call the plays. That is Marty Mornhinweg’s job and he is the one who abandoned the run. I think Reid should have said something to Marty but you usually expect teams to throw the ball when the team is losing.
The Eagles have tons of holes and this season they really overachieved. They now go into the offseason with a defense that couldn’t stop Stephen Hawking, and a defensive coordinator who is way over his head. They need to address their linebackers early in the draft as it’s unlikely that Ernie Simms will be back with the team. They also need to add another corner back to the secondary that featured Dmitri Patterson as your right cornerback.
The Eagles could take care of the secondary once free agency starts as All Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was granted his free agency Sunday morning thanks to a clause in his contract with the Raiders. The Eagles are always way under the NFL cap and have the money to spend on a guy like this. With Asomugha the Eagles would have two shut down corners in their secondary and a sophomore Nate Allen. It would then allow them to address the linebacker problem and offensive line although knowing the Eagles they’ll take another defensive tackle. Times yours.